Recap of Tata Steel so far

by Alejandro Ramirez
1/23/2015 – Wijk aan Zee has something special about it. For many fans it is the most exciting of the major round robins organized this year, and this edition has been nothing but a pleasure to watch. We have had ups, down, disasters and miraculous recoveries. We give you a player by player review, from top to bottom, of their current situation and some of their highlights.

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The Tata Steel Chess Tournament has two main tournaments. They are played according to the 'round robin' system, whereby each competitor plays in turn against every other during the tournament. The Tata Steel Masters has 14 participants and the Tata Steel Challengers has 14 participants. Both groups start on January 10th 2015 and the last round is on January 25th. All rounds in Wijk aan Zee begin at 13.30 hours, except for the last round on January 25th, which begins at 12.00 hours. The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move.

Admission to the playing hall in Wijk aan Zee, Rotterdam and The Hague is free of charge

Recap of Wijk aan Zee, Masters Group:

Wijk aan Zee has something special about it. It is unclear if its the city, which is windy and cold, the atmosphere provided by the organizers, or the players that are chosen for this event. But for many fans it is the most exciting of the major round robins organized this year, and this edition has been nothing but a pleasure to watch. We have had ups, down, disasters and miraculous recoveries. Some players have found themselves luckless, while others seem to never run out of it. We give you a player by player review, from top to bottom, of their current situation and some of their highlights.

Masters standings after ten rounds

Jobava, Baadur

Jobava is a very unique player. His opening choices and his planning process seems to be unlike any other player at his strength. He takes something that you could see in a coffee house game and makes it work. Wonderfully. Well, at least he does sometimes. This tournament has not been kind to Jobava as he has seen his plans dashed and thrashed by his opposition. With only 1.5/10, he is losing an amazing amount of rating, but he can hope to salvage some of it with three consecutive wins - something that he is fully capable of doing.

Best Moment
Jobava's best moment of this tournament has to be his comeback win against Wojtaszek:

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.17"] [Round "7.3"] [White "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"] [Black "Jobava, Baadur"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E11"] [WhiteElo "2744"] [BlackElo "2727"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r3r1k1/1b3ppp/p7/2Bqn3/P2QN1n1/1P6/6PP/1B1R1RK1 b - - 0 27"] [PlyCount "21"] [EventDate "2015.01.10"] 27... Qxd4+ {Wojtaszek has built up a strong advantage. He has the pair of bishops and a potential outside passed pawn.} 28. Bxd4 $2 {The hallucinations begin.} (28. Rxd4 $16) 28... Nxh2 $1 {The Pole must have missed this move.} 29. Rf5 $2 (29. Rf4 $11) (29. Kxh2 Bxe4 30. Bxe4 Ng4+ 31. Kg3 Rxe4 32. Rf4 Rxf4 33. Kxf4 h5 34. b4 {is complex.}) 29... Rad8 $1 30. Nc5 Nhf3+ $1 31. gxf3 Nxf3+ 32. Kf2 Rxd4 33. Rxd4 $2 (33. Rd3 $15) 33... Nxd4 34. Nxb7 Re2+ 35. Kf1 Rb2 { saving the bishop lands White in a hopeless endgame, but giving it up is no better.} 36. Rd5 Rxb1+ 37. Kf2 Ne6 0-1

Saric, Ivan

No one before the tournament gave Saric any chance of taking the title with him back to Croatia, but with such a dazzling performance in last year's Challengers and an overall good year for him a lot was expected from this relatively young player.

Best Moment
Saric has one win in this event, and it was a (nearly miraculous) comeback against Jobava

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.13"] [Round "4"] [White "Jobava, Ba"] [Black "Saric, Iv"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D43"] [WhiteElo "2727"] [BlackElo "2666"] [PlyCount "76"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 g6 8. e4 $5 {Even though this idea looks bizarre, to play e3 and only then e4, it has been employed in the past by a very strong player...} dxe4 9. Nxe4 Bb4+ {White's point is that the only way to punish the e4 advance is with this check, but in that case the move g6 might not be desirable.} 10. Ke2 Qe7 (10... Qf4 11. Qd3 Be7 12. g3 Qc7 13. Bg2 {Gave White a slight edge in the game Kramnik-Leko, 2009. Though admittedly that was a blitz game.}) 11. c5 O-O 12. Qa4 {part of the point is that Black's bishop is nearly trapped, so White will try to use the time while Black saves it to improve his position.} Na6 13. a3 b5 (13... e5 $5 14. axb4 exd4 15. Kd3 Bf5 16. Nfd2 Nc7 {Gives Black compensation, but it is hard to say exactly how much.}) 14. Qb3 Ba5 15. Ne5 Nb8 {Black has kept all his material, but it feels something has gone wrong. He was unable to exploit the king position on e2 and White now has a nice bind all over the place.} 16. Qg3 (16. Qe3 $1) 16... Bc7 17. Ke3 $2 {Sometimes, however, Jobava just oversteps his limits...} (17. f4 $1 Rd8 18. Rd1 Bb7 19. h4 $1 h5 20. Qg5 $16 { White's bind is strong. The bishop on b7 is garbage and the rest is suffering for Saric.}) 17... g5 $1 {Creating swift counterplay. The threat of f5 is very real.} 18. f4 f5 19. h4 {A valiant attempt, but it doesn't come close to working.} Bxe5 20. dxe5 fxe4 21. hxg5 hxg5 22. Rh5 Rf5 {White simply lacks enough pieces to form an attack.} 23. Be2 Qg7 24. fxg5 Nd7 25. Rah1 Nf8 {Now there is no chance of creating a threat.} 26. Rh8+ (26. Qh2 Ng6 27. g4 Rf7 28. Rh6 Kf8 29. Rh7 Qxh7 30. Qxh7 Rxh7 31. Rxh7 {was perhaps the best hope, though White remains down a piece.}) 26... Qxh8 27. Rxh8+ Kxh8 28. Kxe4 Bd7 29. Ke3 Rf7 30. Qh4+ Kg8 31. Qe4 Rc8 32. a4 bxa4 33. Qxa4 Rb8 34. b4 Rf5 35. Bf3 Rxe5+ 36. Kd4 Rxg5 37. Kc3 Rc8 38. Qxa7 Rg7 {perhaps an odd time to resign, but Black does have a winning position.} 0-1

Hou Yifan

The Women's World Champion has had a rough event. After having a fabulous year many thought this would be her breakthrough tournament, where she would finally surpass Judit Polgar's rating. She has had the chances to do that, but she has not taken advantage of them. The most important moments were her miss win against Saric, and against...Fabiano Caruana!

Best Moment
Despite not being able to finish him off, her game against Caruana was top-notch, outplaying the second rated player in the World with Black! What an exciting game! Both in time pressure and after the time control was reached. Hou Yifan missed a brilliant chance against Caruana:

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.20"] [Round "9"] [White "Caruana, F."] [Black "Hou Yifan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2820"] [BlackElo "2673"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/5pp1/8/4pq1p/6nP/PP2B1P1/2r1QP2/5RK1 w - - 0 33"] [PlyCount "34"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 33. Qd1 {Black has sacrificed her queenside pawns for an initiative on the queenside. White is tied up, but the pawns are rolling and Black doesn't have a clear threat yet.} Rb2 (33... Nxe3 34. fxe3 Qe4 35. Qf3 Qxf3 36. Rxf3 Rc3 $11 ) 34. Bc5 e4 35. Bd4 Ra2 (35... e3 {again leads to a draw:} 36. fxe3 $1 Rf2 $1 37. a4 Rxf1+ 38. Qxf1 Qc2 39. Qf3 {and Black has nothing more than a perpetual with Qh2+ and moving the queen somewhre on the second rank, threatening Nh2+}) 36. a4 Kh7 {A move that reminds me of Kasparov: always improving the king before looking for final blows.} 37. b4 Ra3 {An interesting idea.} (37... Qd5 38. Bc3 Qf5 $11) 38. a5 $2 (38. Qc2 Qf3 39. a5 Rd3 40. Bb6 Ne5 $13) 38... Rf3 $2 (38... Rd3 $1 {This move is a winner!} 39. Qa1 Qf3 {threatening e3.} 40. Qb2 $8 g5 $1 {Black's attack on the kingside is too fast and too strong. White collapses.} 41. Bh8 (41. hxg5 h4 42. gxh4 Qf4 $1 $19) (41. a6 gxh4 42. a7 h3 { is too slow for White.}) 41... f6 $19) 39. Qb1 Rd3 40. Qb2 Qd5 41. Bc5 $6 (41. Be3 {is worse for White, but survivable.}) 41... Ne5 (41... f5 $1 {Black threatens e3.} 42. a6 e3 43. fxe3 Rd2 {and there is no check on b1.}) (41... e3 42. fxe3 Rd2 43. Qb1+ Kg8 44. e4 Qc4 45. Rd1 $11) 42. Be3 (42. a6 Nf3+ 43. Kh1 e3 $1 $19) 42... Nf3+ (42... f5 $1 {This move first! It would have prevented the counterplay in the game.} 43. Rc1 f4 44. Bxf4 Nf3+ 45. Kf1 (45. Kg2 e3 $19 46. Bxe3 Nxh4+ 47. Kh3 Qg2+ 48. Kxh4 Kg6 $3 {And White is helpless against Qh2 mate. A very difficult thing to see, for sure.}) 45... Rd1+ 46. Kg2 Ne1+ 47. Kh2 e3 $1 48. Qb1+ Kg8 49. Rc8+ Kf7 50. Rc7+ Ke8 $1 51. Qg6+ Kd8 $19) 43. Kg2 f5 44. Rc1 $1 {The only move. White's counterplay hits right on time to save him.} f4 45. Rc7 Nxh4+ $1 {Black is also right on time to force a draw.} 46. gxh4 (46. Kh2 fxg3+ 47. fxg3 Nf5 $19) 46... f3+ 47. Kg3 Qd6+ 48. Bf4 Qg6+ 49. Bg5 Qd6+ {A fascinating draw.} 1/2-1/2

Loek van Wely

Loek Van Wely is a player that can have a catastrophe over the board, or he can beat one of the top players in the World. Despite his low rating, he is a dangerous opponent. Even though his current score isn't bad at 3.5/10, he missed many good chances, most notably against Wojtaszek and Saric.

Best Moment
He did, however, cleanly sweep Hou Yifan. Van Wely mentioned she was unlucky to fall into one of the lines he had prepared, but he just played a great game:

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.21"] [Round "10"] [White "Van Wely, L."] [Black "Hou Yifan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2667"] [BlackElo "2673"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1b2rk1/p2pp1bp/2p3p1/2P1p1B1/4N2Q/8/Pq3PPP/R3R1K1 w - - 0 17"] [PlyCount "15"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 17. Rad1 {This is a hard position to evaluate. Black is up two pawns but her position lacks development. Her bishop on c8 is specially bad. She tries to rip apart the position immediately, but it was probably better to have some patience.} d5 $6 {Too hasty.} (17... Qxa2 18. Bxe7 Rf4 19. Qg3 a5 $5 {The position remains unclear. Black could even consider sacrificing the exchange on e4.}) 18. cxd6 exd6 19. Rxd6 {The strange thing about Hou Yifan's decision is that her king position is now clearly bad, whereas before d5 it wasn't that bad.} Bf5 20. Nf6+ Bxf6 21. Bxf6 Rab8 $4 {This, however, is just a blunder.} ( 21... Qxa2 22. h3 Rf7 (22... a5 {and initiating counterplay might be a touch better.}) 23. Bxe5 {looks painful for Black, as she will have to be careful about the diagonal for the rest of the game, but she might somehow survive.}) 22. Qc4+ Rf7 23. Red1 {Simple, Black cannot avoid Rd8+} Qb1 (23... Rbf8 24. Rd8 {doesn't change anything as Rxf8 and Rd8 mate is coming.}) 24. h3 1-0

Aronian, Levon

Levon Aronian is the defending Champion of Tata Steel, and last year after this tournament he was considered to be the "obvious" challenger to Magnus Carlsen's crown. However, only one year later, it is clear things are not quite the same. Aronian has not had a catastrophic year by any means, nor any absolutely horrible tournaments, heck - it's even hard to find a bad game from him. But somehow or another he has slowly dropped in the World Rankings. Currently, in the live ratings, he sits at eighth in the World.

Best Moment
Clearly his best game was his demolition of Jobava:

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.20"] [Round "9"] [White "Aronian, L."] [Black "Jobava, Ba"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A56"] [WhiteElo "2797"] [BlackElo "2727"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 g6 {Even though this move has been played thousands of times, it is irregular. It is safr for Black, if he is trying to play the Benoni, to go for the 3...e6 move order.} 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. e4 O-O 6. Bd3 e6 7. h3 exd5 8. exd5 {This is what is uncomfortable. It is hard to create counterplay without a target on e4.} (8. cxd5 Re8 {might allow Black to save a tempo on d6 and immediately pressure e4.}) 8... a6 9. a4 a5 $6 {Rather dubious. These plans of locking down the queenside are not comfortable for Black. He gets a knight to b4, but as we will see this doesn't necessarily translate into counterplay.} 10. Nge2 Na6 11. Bg5 Nb4 12. Bb1 b6 13. O-O Ba6 14. Nb5 h6 15. Bc1 {Black's position is already difficult. He has no space, which means it is difficult for his queenside to connect with his kingside.} Bxb5 16. axb5 Ne8 17. Ra3 {Meanwhile, White easily swings over to one side or another as he pleases.} Nd6 18. Rg3 Nxc4 {Aronian was surprised that Jobava took the pawn, but it seems uncomfortable to do anything else. Suffering for free is not fun! This, however, is refuted swiftly.} 19. Nf4 $1 Ne5 20. Nh5 $1 {White's attack simply unfolds itself. The knight is very clearly taboo, but losing the g7 bishop is unacceptable as well.} Qh4 (20... gxh5 21. Qxh5 $1 $18 (21. Bxh6 {is strong also.})) 21. Nxg7 Kxg7 22. Re1 {And now the other rook swings into action. Notice how useless Black's knight on b4 is.} d6 23. Re4 Qd8 (23... Qf6 {kept Jobava alive only a little longer. White has a way to crash through:} 24. f4 Nd7 25. f5 g5 26. h4 $18) 24. Qh5 {Black simply can't keep the kingside together. For example:} (24. Qh5 Rh8 25. Rxe5 dxe5 26. Bxg6 {is completely crushing.}) 1-0

Radjabov, Teimour

Radjabov is an interesting player. Mangus Carlsen described him as somewhat who sometimes was ambitious, and sometimes simply wasn't. It's difficult to predict if he will go for an all out fight or if he will try to make the position as drawish as possible from the beginning. That doesn't change, of course, his sheer strength. This tournament he has simply been unable to get the positions he really enjoys.

Best Moment
Radjabov's cleanest game was probably his win against Wojtaszek

Wojtaszek, Radoslaw

 

Radoslaw Wojtaszek was poised to be this tournament Cinderella story. He started off beautifully, including wins against Carlsen and Caruana. However, he started losing some momentum. After two draws he lost twice in a row, and he will need a victory in round eleven to bring himself back up.

 

Best Moment
It's hard to choose which one was better, his victory over Carlsen or Caruana, but in my opinion it was the one against Caruana that takes the cake.

[Event "77th Tata Steel Chess Masters"] [Site "Rotterdam"] [Date "2015.01.15"] [Round "5"] [White "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A88"] [WhiteElo "2744"] [BlackElo "2820"] [Annotator "Chirila Cristian"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "NED"] {The Polish player is simply having the best tournament of his life. Beating the two best players in the world in a span of 3 days must feel quite legendary. What is more or less surprising to me is Caruana's opening choice, the Dutch! This seems like a provocative statement saying: "You might have beaten the world champion in this opening, I can do better than that!"} 1. d4 f5 (1... d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 f5 4. b4 {Wojtaszek-Carlsen 1-0 2015 (3 days ago)!} ) 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 (3. Nf3 g6 {if white would have tried to repeat the early queen side grab spacing push} 4. b4 e6 {black has this option now, with the pawn on d7 black can create some threats winning a few tempos in the process} 5. Qb3 b6 6. Bb2 Bb7 7. e3 Qe7 8. a3 Bg7 $11 {with a tricky move order, black achieved a nice version of a queens indian defense, he also forced white into making some concessions with Qb3 and a3}) 3... g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 {this is the tabya position of the Leningrad Dutch, black has a lot of set-ups to chose from} c6 (7... Qe8 8. d5 Na6 9. Rb1 Bd7 10. Nd4 c6 { Wojtaszek lost a game against Malaniuk earlier in 2014 in this position, this must have ignited Caruana's originality during his game preparation} 11. dxc6 bxc6 12. b4 $14) 8. Re1 {preparing the e4 push} (8. d5 e5 $13 {Nakamura loves this position as he used it in his infamous win against Gelfand, in Tata Steel 2012!}) 8... Na6 (8... Ne4 9. Qc2 Nxc3 10. bxc3 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Ba3 Re8 13. Rad1 $14 {white has a nice advance in development, though he must be careful due to his damaged pawn structure. His dynamic advantage might dissapear and then he will be left with a difficult position.}) 9. b3 {the move that scores the best in the database, Wojtaszek was well prepared} Ne4 10. Bb2 Nxc3 11. Bxc3 Nc5 12. Ng5 $5 $146 (12. Nd2 d5 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Rc1 Ne4 $11 {has been tried before, black seems to be doing fine}) 12... d5 13. Nh3 {this is the difference, now the knight is heading to f4-d3 from where he will have a nice control over the central squares} Ne4 14. Bb2 Be6 (14... dxc4 15. bxc4 Be6 16. Qc2 b5 {this was an interesting try, forcing the matters in the center and trying to obtain a few white squares on the queen side} 17. d5 $1 (17. cxb5 cxb5 18. Nf4 (18. Bxe4 fxe4 19. Nf4 Bd5 {is good for black}) 18... Rc8 $13) 17... Bxb2 18. Qxb2 cxd5 19. cxb5 Qd6 20. a4 $14 {white has a nice queenside majority, while black can try to create some active play against the white king using his central domination}) 15. Nf4 Bf7 16. cxd5 cxd5 17. Nd3 a5 18. a4 b5 {maybe a bit too optimistic} (18... Qb6 19. e3 Rfc8 20. f3 Nf6 21. Ne5 Be8 22. Ba3 e6 23. Bc5 $14) 19. axb5 Qb6 20. e3 Rfb8 21. Bf1 Qxb5 22. Ra3 Qe8 23. f3 Nd6 24. Qa1 {the pressure on the a pawn is mounting} g5 25. Bc3 {now the pawn is lost, black can only hope for a succesfull attack on the kingside} g4 26. f4 Ne4 27. Bxa5 {the game follows a strikingly similar scenario to what happened in the Woztaszek-Carlsen game. White grabbed a pawn without worrying too much of what will happen on the kingside.} h5 28. Rc1 $1 {I like this nice defending resources, white is leaving the e1 square for the bishop, defending and also preparing the exchange of a few heavy pieces} h4 29. Be1 Bf6 30. Nc5 ( 30. gxh4 Kg7 31. Rxa8 Rxa8 32. Qb2 Qh8 33. b4 Bxh4 34. Bxh4 Qxh4 35. b5 $16) 30... hxg3 31. hxg3 Nxc5 32. Rxc5 e5 $1 {nice resource} (32... Rxa3 33. Qxa3 e5 34. fxe5 Be7 35. b4 Bxc5 36. bxc5 {white has two pawns for the exchange but black might be able to hold due to the somehow exposed white king}) 33. Rxa8 Rxa8 34. Qb1 exd4 35. Qxf5 Qxe3+ {too gready} (35... Qe6 36. Qxe6 Bxe6 37. Rc6 Kf7 $11 {was a much better version of the endgame}) 36. Bf2 Qe6 37. Bd3 (37. Qb1 Be7 38. Rc7 Bd8 39. Rc1 Bb6 40. Bd3 $16) 37... Qxf5 38. Bxf5 Ra1+ 39. Kg2 d3 (39... Ra3 {pawn grabbing actions were required} 40. b4 (40. Rc8+ Kg7 41. Rc7 Kg8 42. Rb7 {now that the rook is off the c file black can create different threats} Ra2 $11 {no more Rc2 defending resource}) 40... d3 $132) 40. Bxd3 d4 41. b4 $16 Bb3 $2 (41... Ra3 42. Bf5 Rb3 43. b5 d3 44. Bxg4 Rb2 $14 { would have been much more resilient}) 42. b5 {pawns have to be pushed!} Be7 43. Rh5 (43. Rc8+ Kf7 44. Bxd4 Rd1 45. Bc4+ Bxc4 46. Rxc4 $18) 43... Rd1 44. Be2 Rd2 45. Bxg4 Rb2 46. Bf3 (46. b6 Bf7 47. Ra5 $18) 46... Bb4 (46... Bf7 47. Bd5 d3 48. b6 d2 49. Bxf7+ Kxf7 50. Rh1 $18) 47. b6 {another great game from the Pole. As a future advice to his opponents, don't test this guy in the Dutch, he just slayed two monsters in it while making it look easy..} 1-0

Ding Liren

Despite starting with a loss, Ding Liren recovered in spectacular fashion: a hat trick that put him at 3.0/4! He was very close to the leaders at all time; but his tournament, kind of like Wojtaszek's, didn't sustain the starting strength.

Best Moment
Like we have seen, Jobava seems to be a common target for "best moment":

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
[Date "2015.01.12"]
[Round "3.1"]
[White "Ding, Liren"]
[Black "Jobava, Baadur"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A41"]
[WhiteElo "2732"]
[BlackElo "2727"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2015.01.10"]

1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 Bf5 4. Nc3 h6 {This idea of playing Bf5 and h6 is
very uncommon, and usually not successful. A similar idea was employed by
Jobava against Mamedyarov in Tromso, but the Georgian player was annihilated
there as well.} 5. g3 Nbd7 6. Bg2 c6 7. d5 c5 8. O-O g5 $6 {Sometimes Jobava's
creativity produces spectacular and awe-inspiring games. Sometimes he shoots
himself in the foot.} 9. h4 g4 10. Ne1 Bg7 11. e4 Bh7 12. Nd3 {Black's
kingside is too weak. If he castled kingside he will slowly die.} a6 13. a4 Qc7
14. Be3 O-O-O {However castling queenside is even more suicidal.} 15. Rb1 e6 $6
(15... a5 16. Nb5 Qb8 17. b4 $5 axb4 18. e5 $1 {with a strong attack.}) 16. b4
$1 exd5 17. bxc5 $1 {Black is already completely lost.} dxc4 (17... dxc5 18.
Nxd5 Nxd5 19. cxd5 $18 {One would think White has sacrificed something to
reach this position, but he hasn't...}) 18. e5 (18. cxd6 Qxd6 19. e5 $18) 18...
Nxe5 19. Rxb7 Qa5 20. Nxe5 dxe5 21. Qa1 {White is preparing Qb2, Rc1, Rfb1,
Rxf7, c6...} Rd3 22. Qb2 (22. Qb2 Rxc3 23. Rxf7 {leaves Black defenseless
against Rxg7, Qb7+, etc etc.}) 1-0

Caruana, Fabiano

It's hard to say that anyone that has 6.0/10 in Tata Steel is having a "bad tournament"; however it doesn't feel as if Caruana is quite on par. He has had a couple of close calls, and although his tournament is decent, he isn't giving Carlsen the run for his money that a lot of people though he would.

Best Moment
My favorite game of his in this tournament so far was the one he played in round one against Ding Liren. Being honest, I thought he would start stampeding after it!

[Event "77th Tata Steel Chess Masters"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2015.01.10"] [Round "1"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D78"] [WhiteElo "2732"] [BlackElo "2820"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "NED"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 d5 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. b3 dxc4 8. bxc4 c5 9. Bb2 Qb6 10. Qc1 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Nc6 (11... Bd7 {was interestingly seen today as well in the Shankland-Wei Yi game.}) 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Nd2 {Despite this natural move being played rather quickly, Caruana took a relatively long think here.} Bf5 14. Nb3 Rac8 $6 {Perhaps not the best, but more practical tests are needed in this line.} 15. e4 $1 Be6 (15... Nxe4 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. g4 $18 {loses a piece for Black.}) (15... Bxe4 16. Bxf6 Bxg2 17. Bxg7 Bxf1 18. Bxf8 $18 {is no better.}) 16. e5 Nd7 17. Re1 $6 (17. c5 $1 {Would have kept some pressure on the board.}) 17... c5 $1 {Now Black has good counterplay against c4.} 18. Nd2 Qa6 19. Re3 Rb8 20. Ra3 Qb6 21. Rb3 Qc7 22. f4 Nb6 23. Rb1 Rbd8 24. Bc3 $6 {A careless move.} Qd7 25. Bf1 $6 {And this just starts to be too passive.} Bf5 26. Ra1 {White has completed his anti-development and, of course, it is now time for Black to strike to punish the awkward position of White's pieces.} f6 $1 27. exf6 exf6 28. Rb5 Na4 $1 {A nice move. The pawn on c5 is defended and the c3 bishop has to go to an awkward square.} 29. Nb3 (29. Ba5 Rde8 $15) 29... Nxc3 30. Qxc3 Be4 $1 {Clinching down on the position. The threat is f5 and neither capture on c5 is satisfactory.} 31. f5 $6 (31. Nxc5 Qc6 32. Nxe4 f5 $19 {White loses the exchange.}) 31... Qxf5 $1 32. Re1 (32. Rxc5 Qd7 {and White's position is defenseless against the power of the pair of bishops.}) 32... Rfe8 $1 33. Rxc5 Qd7 (33... Qxc5+ $1 34. Nxc5 f5 {would have won the exchange and probably forced Ding Liren to resign, but Caruana had less than 30 seconds for the previous moves, living on the increment.}) 34. Qc1 f5 35. Qf4 Re7 {Simple.} 36. h4 a5 $1 {Nicely calculated. a4 is a serious threat as the knight must guard d4.} 37. Rxa5 Bc3 {The fork is now deadly. The rest is easy, even in time pressure.} 38. Rd5 Qa7+ $1 39. Kh2 Rxd5 40. cxd5 Bxe1 0-1

Giri, Anish

Giri is an interesting player. He has propelled himself in to the top-10 in the World, and by a wide margin. His massive 2789 live rating is very deserved; he shows that he has technique, class, understanding and above all confidence to play some of the best games of chess you can ever see. He seems to have some problems against certain players, but in general he has had a solid event and he has scored good wins.

Best Moment
Even though his technique at the end was not the best, his game against Ding Liren was simply awe-inspiring.

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.20"] [Round "9"] [White "Giri, A."] [Black "Ding Liren"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E92"] [WhiteElo "2784"] [BlackElo "2732"] [PlyCount "149"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 1. c4 g6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 a5 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Na6 10. Nd2 Bd7 11. O-O Qe8 12. b3 Nh7 13. f3 h5 14. a3 Bh6 15. Rb1 Nc5 16. Qc2 f5 17. b4 axb4 18. axb4 Na4 19. Nd1 g5 20. Bf2 g4 21. fxg4 Bxd2 22. Qxd2 f4 23. gxh5 Ng5 24. Bh4 Nxe4 25. Qc2 Bf5 26. g4 Ng3 27. gxf5 Nxf1 28. Kxf1 e4 29. f6 Kh8 30. Nf2 f3 31. Bd1 Qxh5 32. Qxe4 Nc3 33. Qd4 Rf7 34. Qxc3 Qxh4 35. Bxf3 Ra2 36. Rb2 Rxb2 37. Qxb2 Qxf6 38. Qxf6+ Rxf6 39. Kg2 Rf8 40. b5 Kg7 41. Ne4 b6 42. h4 Ra8 43. h5 Ra2+ 44. Kf1 Kh6 45. Be2 Ra8 46. Kf2 Rf8+ 47. Ke3 Rf7 48. Bf3 Rf8 49. Kf2 Ra8 50. Be2 Ra3 51. Nf6 Ra8 52. Ke3 Rf8 53. Ne4 Ra8 54. Kf4 Rf8+ 55. Kg3 Ra8 56. Nf2 Ra2 57. Bd1 Rb2 58. Ne4 Rb1 59. Be2 Rb2 60. Kf2 Ra2 61. Ke3 Ra8 62. Bg4 Ra4 63. Kf4 Rxc4 64. Bd7 Kxh5 65. Kf5 Kh6 66. Bc6 Kg7 67. Ng5 Rh4 68. Ke6 Kg6 69. Nf3 Rf4 70. Nd2 Kg5 71. Ke7 Rf5 72. Ne4+ Kf4 73. Nf6 Ke5 74. Nd7+ Kd4 75. Kd8 1-0

Ivanchuk, Vassily

Before Jobava came along, Ivanchuk was easily the most unpredictable player here. He could have a fantastic result, or he could crash and burn. His genius is unparalleled - I have had the pleasure of engaging in conversation with him and the amount of knowledge, calculation power, and sharpness in this person is simply amazing... and I'm not necessarily talking about chess!

Ivanchuk started phenomenally in this event, much better than what his rating forecasted. Despite his lagging a little in the last few rounds, his score is still great and he has shown everyone he definitely belongs in these elite events... as if there was any question about it.

Best Moment
It's hard to pick one game, but his victory against MVL really caused an impression on me

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.13"] [Round "4"] [White "Ivanchuk, V."] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2715"] [BlackElo "2757"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bc1 Nf6 8. Be3 (8. f3 {is another way of side-stepping the repetition, but it does cut off some of White's ideas in certain variations of the English attack.}) 8... Ng4 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bh4 g5 11. Bg3 Bg7 12. h3 Ne5 13. Be2 Nbc6 14. Nb3 b5 15. a4 {A novelty. It avoids some ideas of Nc4, so it does make some sense to play this.} (15. Nd5 Nc4 16. Bxc4 bxc4 17. Nd2 Bxb2 18. Rb1 Be5 $6 {was the nice positional game Adams-Vallejo Pons in 2005 which was won by the Englishman.}) 15... b4 16. Nd5 {One of the next three Black moves is a dubious one, as after Ivanchuk castles he holds an advantage. However, which one and why is beyond my comprehension on the complexities of this Najdorf variation and its subtleties.} e6 17. Ne3 Bb7 18. Qd2 Qc7 19. O-O-O O-O-O 20. Kb1 {The problem for Black is that it is harder for him to transfer his pieces to the queenside and create threats than it is for White to do the same. If Black expands on the kingside he has no real targets to hit, so the question is... what does he do?} Kb8 21. f3 a5 22. h4 $1 {Playing in both sides taxes Black's position. Someone will now have to defend the g5 pawn as trading it would leave him a structural weakness and pushing it would allow f4, dislodging Black's best piece.} Na7 23. Nd4 Ng6 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Rxh8 Bxh8 26. Bc4 Nf4 (26... Be5 27. Bf2 d5 {shouldn't work, but it at least made things somewhat uncelar.} 28. exd5 Nf4 $16) 27. Bb3 Qc5 28. Nc4 Ba6 $2 {A blunder in a bad position.} (28... Qxd4 29. Qxd4 Bxd4 30. Rxd4 Nc6 {is not something anyone wants to play.} 31. Rxd6 $16) 29. Bf2 $1 Bxc4 30. Nb5 Qc6 31. Bxa7+ Ka8 32. Bxc4 Qxc4 33. Bb6 {is completely hopeless. White will pick up a5 and b4 while Black is still planless.} (33. Bb6 Rd7 34. g3 Ng6 35. b3 Qc6 36. Bxa5 $18) 1-0

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime

MVL, the voracious chocolate-eating Frenchman, is one of the most outstanding players of the World. His chess is uncompromising, theoretical, interesting nad technical... all at the same time! His showing in Wijk aan Zee this year has been great, including fantastic wins against Giri, Hou Yifan, Saric and Ding Liren.

Best Moment
As a personal pick, his technical win over Anish Giri was his best effort in this event.

[Event "77th Tata Steel Chess Masters"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2015.01.18"] [Round "8"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2757"] [BlackElo "2784"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "NED"] [TimeControl "40/6000+30:20/3000+30:900+30"] 1. e4 {0} e5 {0} 2. Nf3 {0} Nc6 {0} 3. Bb5 {0} Nf6 {0} 4. d3 {0} Bc5 {0} 5. Nbd2 {4} Nd4 {35} 6. Nxd4 {79} Bxd4 {7} 7. c3 {74} Bb6 {7} 8. Nc4 {48} O-O {371 } 9. O-O {11} d5 {4} 10. exd5 {14} Qxd5 {20} 11. Nxb6 {296} axb6 {14} 12. Bc4 { 6} Qd6 {11} 13. Bg5 {360} Bg4 {535} 14. Qd2 {407} Nd7 {249} 15. d4 {635} exd4 { 82} 16. cxd4 {30} Nf6 {331} 17. Bf4 {239} Qd7 {140} 18. Be5 {348} Be6 {14} 19. Bxf6 {198} gxf6 {21} 20. d5 {172} c6 {210} 21. Qh6 {413} cxd5 {463} 22. Rad1 { 490} Qe7 {1747} 23. Bd3 {188} f5 {55} 24. Rfe1 {22} Ra4 {207} 25. Bxf5 {47} Rh4 {7} 26. Qe3 {5} Re8 {300} 27. Bxe6 {126} fxe6 {5} 28. Rxd5 {25} exd5 {12} 29. Qxe7 {6} Rxe7 {2} 30. Rxe7 {8} Rc4 {21} 31. g3 {72} Rc2 {35} 32. b3 {25} d4 { 161} 33. Rd7 {15} 1-0

So, Wesley

Talk about a success story! Somehow, one way or another, Wesley So has catapulted himself to the top of the top of the World. He has even surpassed Hikaru Nakamura in the live ratings, taking what was once an untouchable spot as the top American player. If anyone had any doubts of how strong he is, this tournament should have cleared them up. He is currently in second place, and although there is a full point separating him with Carlsen, it is still possible that Wesley So somehow wins the event.

Best Moment
This is an easy pick; Wesley's opening preparation destroying Vassily Ivanchuk:

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.18"] [Round "8"] [White "Ivanchuk, V."] [Black "So, W."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C88"] [WhiteElo "2715"] [BlackElo "2762"] [PlyCount "52"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3 Bb7 9. d3 d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nbd2 Qd7 12. Nxe5 Nxe5 13. Rxe5 Nf4 14. Nf3 Nxg2 {As spectacular as this move is, along with the idea that follows it, it was already known. Gustafsson had employed two months ago against Guliyev. Before that, there was also a game Jolly-Gozzoli in July.} 15. Kxg2 a5 {This is the point of the position. Black wants to swing over the rook via a6 to g6, but he is also threatening a4 trapping the White bishop. This is very uncomfortable to meet over the board.} 16. Rxe7 (16. a4 Ra6 17. Qe2 Rg6+ 18. Kh2 Bd6 19. Nh4 Bxe5+ 20. Qxe5 Re8 21. Qf4 Rf6 22. Qg3 Re1 23. Bh6 Rxf2+ $1 24. Qxf2 Rxa1 25. Nf5 Rh1+ 26. Kg3 Bc8 27. Qg2 Qxf5 28. Qxh1 Qg6+ 29. Kf2 {and here Black, for some reason, had to first place the strong intermezzo 29...bxa4 before taking on h6 to keep his advantage. Gulyiev-Gustafsson, 2014.}) 16... Qxe7 17. c3 Ra6 {White isn't up much material. Black's game kind of plays itself, bring the pieces over to the kingside, while White has no development. Ivanchuk is already lost at this point.} 18. d4 Rf6 19. d5 a4 20. Bc2 Rd8 21. Qe1 Qd7 22. Ng5 h6 23. Ne4 Rg6+ 24. Kh2 f5 25. Ng3 Qxd5 26. Qg1 Qf3 (26... Qf3 {Black is threatening to take on g3 and, if White recaptures with the f2 pawn, to play Qe2 followed by mate.} 27. Be3 Qxe3 $1 {fails just the same.} 28. fxe3 Rd2+) 0-1

Carlsen, Magnus

The king. The magician. Magic Magnus has been on a roll this tournament. He started out absolutely atrociously, with a pale 1.0/3, but look at his streak! Six wins in a row and a draw with Ivanchuk in The Hague puts him in first place with a full point lead; but, as he said himself, a loss against MVL in the next few rounds could change absolutely everything.

Best Moment
Carlsen's 6-0 was a thing of beauty, almost comparable to Caruana's 7-0 start in the Sinquefield Cup. For me, his best effort was certainly against Caruana himself:

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.16"] [Round "6"] [White "Caruana, F."] [Black "Carlsen, M."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2820"] [BlackElo "2862"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] {The duel between the number one and number two in the World. Both players have yet to prove that they are in tip top shape at this event, so the battle was on!} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d3 Bg7 6. h3 Nf6 7. Nc3 b6 {Pretty unusual, actually this move hasn't been seen for a few years. The much more normal plan is} (7... e5 {with the follow up of Nd7-f8-d4.}) 8. Be3 e5 9. O-O O-O 10. a3 Qe7 11. Qb1 $5 {Not a very subtle move, as White obviously wants to break the queenside with b4, but one that is not so easily met.} Nh5 {Carlsen decides that the best way to fend off an attack on the queenside is with his own counterattack on the kingside.} 12. b4 f5 { Signalling the fight!} 13. bxc5 f4 14. Bd2 bxc5 15. Qb3+ Be6 16. Qa4 Rac8 17. Qa5 g5 18. Na4 g4 19. hxg4 Bxg4 20. Qxc5 {White has won a pawn, but Black has opened some dangerous lines on the kingside that he swiftly intends to use for the attack. Despite the fact that Caruana is up material it is probably mcuh easier to play this with Black. The attack looks very menacing.} Qf6 21. Nh2 ( 21. Rfb1 Qg6 22. Kf1 {and making a run for it might have been the best option.} ) 21... f3 $1 {Very powerful. Suddenly White is in real trouble.} 22. Nxg4 Qg6 {The knight on g4 cannot be defended, as it is suicide to bring it back to e3.} 23. Qe7 (23. Ne3 Nf4 24. Rfe1 (24. g3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Qh5#) 24... Nxg2 $19) 23... fxg2 $1 24. Rfb1 Qxg4 25. Qg5 Qe2 26. Qe3 Qg4 27. Qg5 Qxg5 {Black must exchange queens, but his initiative is not dead.} 28. Bxg5 Nf4 $1 {This annoying knight is not so easily dealt with. If White captures it the bishop on g7 becomes a monster, if it is ignored the g2 pawn remains defended.} 29. Bxf4 (29. Kh2 $1 {was probably the only chance to keep the game going. Black still looks to be better after a move like 29...Kh8, but White has some chances.} Kh8 $1 $17) 29... exf4 30. Kxg2 f3+ 31. Kf1 Rf4 $1 {Black doesn't take the exchange! Instead he is using this time to set up some mating threats. } 32. c3 Rd8 33. d4 (33. Ke1 Rxd3 {is too horrible to be played.}) 33... Bh6 { Winning, but not as good or as pleasing as...} (33... Bxd4 $1 34. cxd4 Rh4 35. Kg1 (35. Ke1 Rxd4) 35... Kh8 $1 {Leads to a swift checkmate.}) 34. Ke1 Rxe4+ 35. Kd1 c5 36. Kc2 cxd4 37. Kd3 Re2 38. c4 Rxf2 39. Rd1 (39. Rb2 Rxb2 40. Nxb2 Rb8 {would have kept the game goi ng, but with two extra pawns I can't believe Caruana would have saved this.}) 39... Re2 0-1

The action will continue tomorrow from Wijk aan Zee. The pairings are creating some interesting drama for the top spots in the last rounds, and you should not miss it! Join us on www.playchess.com as the last rounds of this exciting tournament unfold.

Photos by Alina l'Ami for the official website

Schedule and results - Masters group

Round 1 - Saturday Jan. 10
Radjabov, T. - Van Wely, L.
½-½
Ivanchuk, V. - Jobava, B.
1-0
Vachier-Lagrave - Hou, Y.
1-0
Ding, L. - Caruana, F.
0-1
Saric, I. - Aronian, L.
½-½
Giri, A. - Carlsen, M.
½-½
So, W. - Wojtaszek, R.
½-½
Round 2 - Sunday Jan. 11
Van Wely, L. - Wojtaszek, R.
½-½
Carlsen, M. - So, W.
½-½
Aronian, L. - Giri, A.
½-½
Caruana, F. - Saric, I.
1-0
Hou, Y. - Ding, L.
0-1
Jobava, B. - Vachier-Lagrave
½-½
Radjabov, T. - Ivanchuk, V.
½-½
Round 3 - Monday Jan. 12
Ivanchuk, V. - Van Wely, L.
1-0
Vachier-Lagrave - Radjabov, T.
½-½
Ding, L. - Jobava, B.
1-0
Saric, I. - Hou, Y.
½-½
Giri, A. - Caruana, F.
½-½
So, W. - Aronian, L.
1-0
Wojtaszek, R. - Carlsen, M.
1-0
Round 4 - Tuesday Jan. 13
Van Wely, L. - Carlsen, M.
0-1
Aronian, L. - Wojtaszek, R.
½-½
Caruana, F. - So, W.
½-½
Hou, Y. - Giri, A.
½-½
Jobava, B. - Saric, I.
0-1
Radjabov, T. - Ding, L.
0-1
Ivanchuk, V. - Vachier-Lagrave
1-0
Round 5 - Thursday Jan. 15
Vachier-Lagrave - Van Wely, L.
½-½
Ding, L. - Ivanchuk, V.
½-½
Saric, I. - Radjabov, T.
0-1
Giri, A. - Jobava, B.
1-0
So, W. - Hou, Y.
½-½
Wojtaszek, R. - Caruana, F.
1-0
Carlsen, M. - Aronian, L.
1-0
Round 6 - Friday Jan. 16
Van Wely, L. - Aronian, L.
½-½
Caruana, F. - Carlsen, M.
0-1
Hou, Y. - Wojtaszek, R.
½-½
Jobava, B. - So, W.
0-1
Radjabov, T. - Giri, A.
½-½
Ivanchuk, V. - Saric, I.
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave - Ding, L.
1-0
Round 7 - Saturday Jan. 17
Ding, L. - Van Wely, L.
1-0
Saric, I. - Vachier-Lagrave
0-1
Giri, A. - Ivanchuk, V.
½-½
So, W. - Radjabov, T.
½-½
Wojtaszek, R. - Jobava, B.
0-1
Carlsen, M. - Hou, Y.
1-0
Aronian, L. - Caruana, F.
½-½
Round 8 - Sunday Jan. 18
Van Wely, L. - Caruana, F.
0-1
Hou, Y. - Aronian, L.
½-½
Jobava, B. - Carlsen, M.
0-1
Radjabov, T. - Wojtaszek, R.
1-0
Ivanchuk, V. - So, W.
0-1
Vachier-Lagrave - Giri, A.
1-0
Ding, L. - Saric, I.
1-0
Round 9 - Tuesday Jan. 20
Saric, I. - Van Wely, L.
½-½
Giri, A. - Ding, L.
1-0
So, W. - Vachier-Lagrave
½-½
Wojtaszek, R. - Ivanchuk, V.
½-½
Carlsen, M. - Radjabov, T.
1-0
Aronian, L. - Jobava, B.
1-0
Caruana, F. - Hou, Y.
½-½
Round 10 - Wednesday Jan. 21
Van Wely, L. - Hou, Y.
1-0
Jobava, B. - Caruana, F.
0-1
Radjabov, T. - Aronian, L.
½-½
Ivanchuk, V. - Carlsen, M.
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave - Wojtaszek
½-½
Ding, L. - So, W.
½-½
Saric, I. - Giri, A.
0-1
Round 11 - Friday Jan. 23
Giri, A. - Van Wely, L.  
So, W. - Saric, I.  
Wojtaszek, R. - Ding, L.  
Carlsen, M. - Vachier-Lagrave  
Aronian, L. - Ivanchuk, V.  
Caruana, F. - Radjabov, T.  
Hou, Y. - Jobava, B.  
Round 12 - Saturday Jan. 24
Van Wely, L. - Jobava, B.  
Radjabov, T. - Hou, Y.  
Ivanchuk, V. - Caruana, F.  
Vachier-Lagrave - Aronian, L.  
Ding, L. - Carlsen, M.  
Saric, I. - Wojtaszek, R.  
Giri, A. - So, W.  
Round 13 - Sunday Jan. 25
So, W. - Van Wely, L.  
Wojtaszek, R. - Giri, A.  
Carlsen, M. - Saric, I.  
Aronian, L. - Ding, L.  
Caruana, F. - Vachier-Lagrave  
Hou, Y. - Ivanchuk, V.  
Jobava, B. - Radjabov, T.  

Schedule and results - Challengers group

Round 1 - Saturday Jan. 10
Shankland, S. - Wei, Y.
½-½
Dale, A. - Haast, A.
½-½
Navara, D. - l' Ami, E.
½-½
Timman, J. - Klein, D.
½-½
Van Kampen, R. - Sevian, S.
1-0
Michiels, B. - Gunina, V.
½-½
Saleh, S. - Potkin, V.
½-½
Round 2 - Sunday Jan. 11
Wei, Y. - Potkin, V.
1-0
Gunina, V. - Saleh, S.
1-0
Sevian, S. - Michiels, B.
0-1
Klein, D. - Van Kampen, R.
½-½
l' Ami, E. - Timman, J.
½-½
Haast, A. - Navara, D.
0-1
Shankland, S. - Dale, A.
½-½
Round 3 - Monday Jan. 12
Dale, A. - Wei, Y.
½-½
Navara, D. - Shankland, S.
½-½
Timman, J. - Haast, A.
0-1
Van Kampen, R. - l' Ami, E.
½-½
Michiels, B. - Klein, D.
0-1
Saleh, S. - Sevian, S.
½-½
Potkin, V. - Gunina, V.
1-0
Round 4 - Tuesday Jan. 13
Wei, Y. - Gunina, V.
1-0
Sevian, S. - Potkin, V.
1-0
Klein, D. - Saleh, S.
0-1
l' Ami, E. - Michiels, B.
1-0
Haast, A. - Van Kampen, R.
0-1
Shankland, S. - Timman, J.
½-½
Dale, A. - Navara, D.
0-1
Round 5 - Thursday Jan. 15
Navara, D. - Wei, Y.
½-½
Timman, J. - Dale, A.
1-0
Van Kampen - Shankland, S.
0-1
Michiels, B. - Haast, A.
1-0
Saleh, S. - l' Ami, E.
0-1
Potkin, V. - Klein, D.
1-0
Gunina, V. - Sevian, S.
0-1
Round 6 - Friday Jan. 16
Wei, Y. - Sevian, S.
1-0
Klein, D. - Gunina, V.
1-0
l' Ami, E. - Potkin, V.
½-½
Haast, A. - Saleh, S.
½-½
Shankland, S. - Michiels, B.
1-0
Dale, A. - Van Kampen, R.
0-1
Navara, D. - Timman, J.
1-0
Round 7 - Saturday Jan. 17
Timman, J. - Wei, Y.
0-1
Van Kampen, R. - Navara, D.
0-1
Michiels, B. - Dale, A.
1-0
Saleh, S. - Shankland, S.
½-½
Potkin, V. - Haast, A.
1-0
Gunina, V. - l' Ami, E.
1-0
Sevian, S. - Klein, D.
1-0
Round 8 - Sunday Jan. 18
Wei, Y. - Klein, D.
1-0
l' Ami, E. - Sevian, S.
½-½
Haast, A. - Gunina, V.
1-0
Shankland, S. - Potkin, V.
½-½
Dale, A. - Saleh, S.
0-1
Navara, D. - Michiels, B.
1-0
Timman, J. - Van Kampen, R.
0-1
Round 9 - Tuesday Jan. 20
Van Kampen, R. - Wei, Y.
½-½
Michiels, B. - Timman, J.
½-½
Saleh, S. - Navara, D.
0-1
Potkin, V. - Dale, A.
½-½
Gunina, V. - Shankland, S.
½-½
Sevian, S. - Haast, A.
1-0
Klein, D. - l' Ami, E.
½-½
Round 10 - Wednesday Jan. 21
Wei, Y. - l' Ami, E.
1-0
Haast, A. - Klein, D.
½-½
Shankland, S. - Sevian, S.
½-½
Dale, A. - Gunina, V.
½-½
Navara, D. - Potkin, V.
½-½
Timman, J. - Saleh, S.
0-1
Van Kampen, R. - Michiels, B.
1-0
Round 11 - Friday Jan. 23
Michiels, B. - Wei, Y.  
Saleh, S. - Van Kampen, R.  
Potkin, V. - Timman, J.  
Gunina, V. - Navara, D.  
Sevian, S. - Dale, A.  
Klein, D. - Shankland, S.  
l' Ami, E. - Haast, A.  
Round 12 - Saturday Jan. 24
Wei, Y. - Haast, A.  
Shankland, S. - l' Ami, E.  
Dale, A. - Klein, D.  
Navara, D. - Sevian, S.  
Timman, J. - Gunina, V.  
Van Kampen, R. - Potkin, V.  
Michiels, B. - Saleh, S.  
Round 13 - Sunday Jan. 25
Saleh, S. - Wei, Y.  
Potkin, V. - Michiels, B.  
Gunina, V. - Van Kampen, R.  
Sevian, S. - Timman, J.  
Klein, D. - Navara, D.  
l' Ami, E. - Dale, A.  
Haast, A. - Shankland, S.  

Venues

The tournament has a slight change this year. Most of the rounds will be played in the traditional De Moriaan Community Centre in Wijk aan Zee, but two of the rounds will be played elsewhere. Last year the tournament traveled to the National Museum in Amsterdam and the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.

This year the fifth round will be held in De Rotterdam. De Rotterdam is a building on the Wilhelminapier in Rotterdam, designed by Rem Koolhaas in 1998.

Rotterdam is ready to host Tata Steel!

The tenth round will be played in the International Press Cnetre Niewuspoort in the Hague. Councillor Karsten Klein of The Hague had this to say: "The Hague is honored to be able to host the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2015 at the heart of the Dutch parliamentary democracy. Our city has a long history of international chess tournaments, a tradition which is continued in this manner. "

Commentary on Playchess

This being the first major event of the year, it is clear that we will be bringing you live commentary on our server www.playchess.com!

Day Date Round English
Sunday January 18 Round 8 GM Simon Williams
Monday January 19 Free  
Tuesday January 20 Round 9 GM Daniel King
Wednesday January 21 Round 10 GM Simon Williams
Thursday January 22 Free  
Friday January 23 Round 11 GM Daniel King 
Saturday January 24 Round 12 GM Simon Williams
Sunday January 25 Round 13 GM Daniel King

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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Dr Zeiss Dr Zeiss 1/23/2015 12:22
Caruana lost his top form because of his mad playing schedule of late 2014 and still has not recovered fully. At the moment his "mediocre" results are simply due to his bad time management which almost invariably leads to blunders just before time control. It is hard to understand why he keeps doing that. Someone with authority should have a serious discussion with him about that.
blitzterminator blitzterminator 1/23/2015 11:35
The "Masters standings after ten rounds" doesn't show Chinese flag. What's wrong with it?
Niklesh Niklesh 1/23/2015 10:58
Wonder full report with selected best games of players ! Full of information !!
ashperov ashperov 1/23/2015 10:51
With a very few exceptions, i think its mostly that the field has been ultra competitive. Bar ofcourse carlsens 6 win run surge which was due to mostly sheer detirmination. Other than him, no one has stood out. Which in this case is a sign of high level competitiveness and not lack thereof.
Chucky shocked me for the wrong reasons against Carlsen, however he must have had nightmares of Magnus winning streek. So one can hardly blame him for bailing out. Also due to his age, perhaps he felt the strain and took a well deserved break (since its clear he had run out of steam a little). Fancy him to bounce back with full force in the last three rounds! the "two" day rest will do him well. it seems crazy his short draw, however there is logic to his "madness"
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