Tata 09: Aronian takes 1.5 point lead

by Albert Silver
1/23/2014 – What do you do when your nearest rivals close in on you? You beat them off with.... a b-pawn. That is what Levon Aronian did to Sergey Karjakin, and with no other managing to keep pace, he has opened a 1.5 point lead with two rounds to go. Other results were Harikrishna's win over Naiditsch, and So beating Van Wely in a King's Indian. Four players are tied with 5.5/9. Illustrated report.

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The 76th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament takes place from 10 to 26 January 2014. The top players will compete in two groups (previously there were three), with twelve players in each, instead of fourteen. The structure of the amateur tournaments remains unchanged. Both groups start on January 11th 2014, with all rounds starting at 13:30h (1:30 p.m.) local time, except for the last round on January 26th, which begins at 12:00h. Two rounds will be played in Amsterdam and Eindhoven and will start at 14:00. The time controls are 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.

In front of the high tech campus from Eindhoven

Round nine - Masters

Group A: Round 9 - Thursday Jan. 23
Richard Rapport - Anish Giri
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura - Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Arkadij Naiditsch - Pentala Harikrishna
0-1
Boris Gelfand - Leinier Dominguez
½-½
Wesley So - Loek van Wely
1-0
Levon Aronian - Sergey Karjakin
1-0

A short meet-and-greet lunch with the Tata Steel people

The players and the brainiacs from the campus

The ninth round of Wijk aan Zee can be considered pivotal in at least one respect, clearing up who would be leaving with the gold. On the other hand, it all but muddied the waters regarding second or third, since at least six players can legitimately lay claim to the honors.

Sopiko and Anish - a very cute couple

The final sprint to the end as the details are taken care of

He is the boss! Everyone is having a good time, right before the round started.

Dook van den Boer, Director Strip Products Mainland Europe
at Tata Steel, with the tournament director, Jeroen van den Berg

Loek van Wely and his lovely wife

This first game to end was interestingly the lightning loss by Arkadij Naiditsch to Pentala Harikrishna. The German GM played an incredibly primitive attack on the Indian, playing an offbeat d4, Nc3, and Bf4 followed by castling queenside and flinging his kingside pawns forward with no regard for his opponent’s replies.

Pentala Harikrishna played a perfect game

It was refuted so fast, and efficiently, it had to be almost gratifying to know that one cannot simply throw out all strategic theory without punishment. To the Indian’s credit, his replies were picture perfect, and the scoresheets were signed on move 19.  

Harikrishna shares his lightning win with live commentator Erwin L'Ami

Boris Gelfand and Leinier Dominguez played a Gruenfeld Exchange that never took off. White pushed for space, but instead mass exchanges took place and the steam evaporated as they drew.

The Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez has shown enormous class
and is now in the world top ten in the live ratings

Loek Van Wely played a Classical King’s Indian against Wesley So, and he seemed to have sufficient initiative to hold the draw though not more. Unfortunately a serious mistake on move 30 (30…f3! was necessary) sealed his fate and he was unable to save the game.

Wesley So first broke 2700 last year, and now is entering
the top twenty with a live rating of 2737 at the moment

Both Richard Rapport against Anish Giri, and Hikaru Nakamura against Fabiano Caruana were long, hard fought games that ended in balanced rook endgames. Being the fighters they are, the games pursued their course until the last drop of blood had been squeezed out of them, but the resulting draws were never really in doubt.

Despite a difficult last few rounds, Nakamura has lost none
of his fighting spirit

The game of the day was without a doubt Levon Aronian against Sergey Karjakin. Despite a breakneck speed that had left his opponents panting behind, the Armenian was finally in danger of being caught by Sergey Karjakin, who was now trailing a half-point behind, and in round nine they met. A decisive result by either could determine the top spot right there and then.

The beginning of the end

[Event "76th Tata Steel Masters"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2014.01.23"] [Round "9"] [White "Aronian, L."] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2812"] [BlackElo "2759"] [PlyCount "121"] [EventDate "2014.01.11"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Bg2 c6 9. e4 d5 10. exd5 cxd5 11. Ne5 Bb7 12. O-O Nc6 13. Bf4 Na5 14. Rc1 Ba3 { Sergey Karjakin has been championing this system and with good results. He reached this exact position three times in 2013, and scored two wins, one over Aronian himself, and one over Jon Hammer.} 15. Rb1 Bb4 16. Ne2 {Peter Leko was the only one to try 16.Ne2, and was the only one to draw. Aronian seems to acquiesce that 16.Na4 is not working.} (16. Na4 Ne4 17. a3 Be7 18. cxd5 exd5 19. b4 Nc6 20. Rc1 Rc8 21. Bh3 f5 22. f3 Nd6 23. Qd3 Nxe5 24. dxe5 Rxc1 25. Bxc1 Nc4 26. f4 b5 27. Nc3 Qb6+ 28. Rf2 d4 29. Ne2 Rd8 30. Qxf5 d3 31. Qe6+ Kf8 32. Qf5+ Ke8 33. Qxh7 d2 34. Bxd2 Rxd2 35. e6 Rd1+ 36. Bf1 Qxe6 37. Qh5+ Kf8 38. Nc3 Qc6 {0-1 (38) Aronian,L (2813)-Karjakin,S (2767) Stavanger 2013}) 16... Nc6 17. Bg5 Be7 18. Nf4 Qd6 {The novelty as Sergey deviates first. It bears mentioning that in the game against Leko, White achieved a serious edge.} ( 18... Ne4 $6 19. cxd5 exd5 20. Nxc6 Bxc6 21. Bxe7 Qxe7 22. Re1 Qf6 23. Rc1 Bb7 24. Re2 Rae8 25. Rc7 Ba8 26. Rxa7 Bc6 27. Rc2 Qd6 28. Qc1 Qb8 29. Ra3 Bb7 30. b4 Qd6 31. Rb3 Qf6 32. Qb2 g5 33. Nd3 Nd6 34. a4 Nf5 35. Ne5 Nxd4 36. Qxd4 Qxe5 37. Qxe5 Rxe5 {Here the Hungarian had a significant advantage which he failed to convert.} 38. Re3 {1/2-1/2 (56) Leko,P (2744)-Karjakin,S (2786) Zug 2013}) 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. cxd5 exd5 21. Bxd5 Bxe5 $2 {A bad mistake and so soon after the novelty. It makes one wonder whether the Russian forgot his preparation.} ( 21... Rad8 {was necessary after which} 22. Re1 Nxe5 23. Bxb7 Qb8 $1 24. Be4 Rxd4 $1 {recovers the pawn with a balanced position. The rook is untouchable, since} 25. Qxd4 Nf3+ {[%cal Rf6d4] wins the queen.}) 22. dxe5 Qxe5 23. Re1 Qf6 24. Nh5 Qh6 25. Qg4 Qg6 26. Qh3 $1 {White is not interested in exchanging queens here. There will be no respite for Black.} Rad8 27. Nf4 Qf6 28. Be4 g6 29. Nd5 Qg7 30. Rbc1 {The obvious threat is Rxc6 Bxc6 and Ne7+} Kh8 $2 {A decisive blunder.} ({Karjakin need to play} 30... Rfe8 {instead to prevent the tactic.}) 31. Nxb6 $1 {winning a pawn, and as will be seen: the game.} axb6 32. Bxc6 Bxc6 33. Rxc6 Rd2 34. Qh4 Rxa2 35. Qb4 h5 36. Qxb6 {White has now a clean extra passed b-pawn, and makes no mistake as he converts his advantage.} Ra1 37. Rcc1 Rxc1 38. Rxc1 Qb2 39. Rd1 Kh7 40. Qb5 Kg7 41. Qd3 Rb8 42. Rb1 Qe5 43. Qd2 h4 44. Qb2 Qxb2 45. Rxb2 Rb4 46. Kf1 Kf6 47. Ke2 Kf5 48. Kd3 g5 49. Kc3 Rb7 50. b4 Kg4 51. b5 Kh3 52. gxh4 gxh4 53. f4 Kg4 54. b6 f5 55. Kd4 Kxf4 56. Rb3 h3 57. Kd5 Kg4 58. Kc6 Rb8 59. Rg3+ Kh4 60. b7 f4 61. Rg7 1-0

Daniel King's Highlight of the day

Though first place seems a virtual lock for Levoin Aronian with 7.0/9 and a 1.5 point lead over the rest, the same is not true of silver and bronze. Four players are tied with 5.5/9 and two more at 5.0/9. Anything can happen in the last two rounds, what will it be? Don't miss the final rounds on Saturday and Sunday for the Masters as tomorrow is a rest day. The Challengers will still be played though.

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Standings after nine rounds

Photos by Alina l'Ami

Schedule and results

Group A: Round 1 - Saturday Jan. 11
Leinier Dominguez - Anish Giri
½-½
Loek van Wely - Sergey Karjakin
0-1
Pentala Harikrishna - Levon Aronian
½-½
Fabiano Caruana - Boris Gelfand
1-0
Richard Rapport - Wesley So
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura - Arkadij Naiditsch
1-0
Group A: Round 2 - Sunday Jan. 12
Anish Giri - Arkadij Naiditsch
1-0
Wesley So - Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
Boris Gelfand - Richard Rapport
0-1
Levon Aronian - Fabiano Caruana
1-0
Sergey Karjakin - Pentala Harikrishna
½-½
Leinier Dominguez - Loek van Wely
½-½
Group A: Round 3 - Monday Jan. 13
Loek van Wely - Anish Giri
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna - Leinier Dominguez
1-0
Fabiano Caruana - Sergey Karjakin
1-0
Richard Rapport - Levon Aronian
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura - Boris Gelfand
½-½
Arkadij Naiditsch - Wesley So
½-½
Group A: Round 4 - Wednesday Jan. 15
Anish Giri - Wesley So
½-½
Boris Gelfand - Arkadij Naiditsch
½-½
Levon Aronian - Hikaru Nakamura
1-0
Sergey Karjakin - Richard Rapport
1-0
Leinier Dominguez - Fabiano Caruana
1-0
Loek van Wely - Pentala Harikrishna
½-½
Group A: Round 5 - Friday Jan. 17
Pentala Harikrishna - Anish Giri
0-1
Fabiano Caruana - Loek van Wely
1-0
Richard Rapport - Leinier Dominguez
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura - Sergey Karjakin
½-½
Arkadij Naiditsch - Levon Aronian
0-1
Wesley So - Boris Gelfand
1-0
Group A: Round 6 - Saturday Jan. 18
Anish Giri - Boris Gelfand
½-½
Levon Aronian - Wesley So
1-0
Sergey Karjakin - Arkadij Naiditsch
1-0
Leinier Dominguez - Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
Loek van Wely - Richard Rapport
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna - Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Group A: Round 7 - Sunday Jan. 19
Fabiano Caruana - Anish Giri
½-½
Richard Rapport - Pentala Harikrishna
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura - Loek van Wely
0-1
Arkadij Naiditsch - Leinier Dominguez
½-½
Wesley So - Sergey Karjakin
½-½
Boris Gelfand - Levon Aronian
½-½
Group A: Round 8 - Tuesday Jan. 21
Anish Giri - Levon Aronian
½-½
Sergey Karjakin - Boris Gelfand
1-0
Leinier Dominguez - Wesley So
1-0
Loek van Wely - Arkadij Naiditsch
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna - Hikaru Nakamura
1-0
Fabiano Caruana - Richard Rapport
1-0
Group A: Round 9 - Thursday Jan. 23
Richard Rapport - Anish Giri
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura - Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Arkadij Naiditsch - Pentala Harikrishna
0-1
Boris Gelfand - Leinier Dominguez
½-½
Wesley So - Loek van Wely
1-0
Levon Aronian - Sergey Karjakin
1-0
Group A: Round 10 - Saturday Jan. 25
Anish Giri - Sergey Karjakin  
Leinier Dominguez - Levon Aronian  
Loek van Wely - Boris Gelfand  
Pentala Harikrishna - Wesley So  
Fabiano Caruana - Arkadij Naiditsch  
Richard Rapport - Hikaru Nakamura  
Group A: Round 11 - Sunday Jan. 26
Hikaru Nakamura - Anish Giri  
Arkadij Naiditsch - Richard Rapport  
Wesley So - Fabiano Caruana  
Boris Gelfand - Pentala Harikrishna  
Levon Aronian - Loek van Wely  
Sergey Karjakin - Leinier Dominguez  

Grandmaster Group B

Group B: Round 1 - Saturday Jan. 11
Etienne Goudriaan - Zhao Xue
0-1
Baadur Jobava - Jan-Krzysztof Duda
½-½
Merijn van Delft - Kayden Troff
0-1
Radek Wojtaszek - Dimitri Reinderman
0-1
Anna Muzychuk - Jan Timman
½-½
Ivan Saric - Benjamin Bok
½-½
Yu Yangyi - Sabino Brunello
0-1
Group B: Round 2 - Sunday Jan. 12
Zhao Xue - Sabino Brunello
½-½
Benjamin Bok - Yu Yangyi
1-0
Jan Timman - Ivan Saric
½-½
Dimitri Reinderman - Anna Muzychuk
½-½
Kayden Troff - Radek Wojtaszek
½-½
Jan-Krzysztof Duda - Merijn van Delft
1-0
Etienne Goudriaan - Baadur Jobava
0-1
Group B: Round 3 - Monday Jan. 13
Baadur Jobava - Zhao Xue
1-0
Merijn van Delft - Etienne Goudriaan
1-0
Radek Wojtaszek - Jan-Krzysztof Duda
½-½
Anna Muzychuk - Kayden Troff
1-0
Ivan Saric - Dimitri Reinderman
1-0
Yu Yangyi - Jan Timman
1-0
Sabino Brunello - Benjamin Bok
0-1
Group B: Round 4 - Tuesday Jan. 14
Zhao Xue - Benjamin Bok
1-0
Jan Timman - Sabino Brunello
1-0
Dimitri Reinderman - Yu Yangyi
1-0
Kayden Troff - Ivan Saric
0-1
Jan-Krzysztof Duda - Anna Muzychuk
0-1
Etienne Goudriaan - Radek Wojtaszek
0-1
Baadur Jobava - Merijn van Delft
1-0
Wednesday, Jan. 15 – Free day
Group B: Round 5 - Thursday Jan. 16
Merijn van Delft - Zhao Xue
½-½
Radek Wojtaszek - Baadur Jobava
0-1
Anna Muzychuk - Etienne Goudriaan
1-0
Ivan Saric - Jan-Krzysztof Duda
1-0
Yu Yangyi - Kayden Troff
½-½
Sabino Brunello - Dimitri Reinderman
1-0
Benjamin Bok - Jan Timman
½-½
Group B: Round 6 - Friday Jan. 17
Zhao Xue - Jan Timman
0-1
Dimitri Reinderman - Benjamin Bok
½-½
Kayden Troff - Sabino Brunello
½-½
Jan-Krzysztof Duda - Yu Yangyi
0-1
Etienne Goudriaan - Ivan Saric
0-1
Baadur Jobava - Anna Muzychuk
½-½
Merijn van Delft - Radek Wojtaszek
0-1
Group B: Round 7 - Saturday Jan. 18
Radek Wojtaszek - Zhao Xue
1-0
Anna Muzychuk - Merijn van Delft
½-½
Ivan Saric - Baadur Jobava
½-½
Yu Yangyi - Etienne Goudriaan
1-0
Sabino Brunello - Jan-Krzysztof Duda
0-1
Benjamin Bok - Kayden Troff
½-½
Jan Timman - Dimitri Reinderman
1-0
Group B: Round 8 - Sunday Jan. 19
Zhao Xue - Dimitri Reinderman
0-1
Kayden Troff - Jan Timman
½-½
Jan-Krzysztof Duda - Benjamin Bok
½-½
Etienne Goudriaan - Sabino Brunello
½-½
Baadur Jobava - Yu Yangyi
1-0
Merijn van Delft - Ivan Saric
½-½
Radek Wojtaszek - Anna Muzychuk
½-½
Monday, Jan. 20 – Free day
Group B: Round 9 - Tuesday Jan. 21
Anna Muzychuk - Zhao Xue
½-½
Ivan Saric - Radek Wojtaszek
1-0
Yu Yangyi - Merijn van Delft
1-0
Sabino Brunello - Baadur Jobava
1-0
Benjamin Bok - Etienne Goudriaan
½-½
Jan Timman - Jan-Krzysztof Duda
1-0
Dimitri Reinderman - Kayden Troff
1-0
Group B: Round 10 - Wednesday Jan. 22
Zhao Xue - Kayden Troff
½-½
Jan-Krzysztof Duda - D. Reinderman
1-0
Etienne Goudriaan - Jan Timman
0-1
Baadur Jobava - Benjamin Bok
1-0
Merijn van Delft - Sabino Brunello
0-1
Radek Wojtaszek - Yu Yangyi
½-½
Anna Muzychuk - Ivan Saric
½-½
Thursday, Jan. 23 – Free day
Group B: Round 11 - Friday Jan. 24
Ivan Saric - Zhao Xue  
Yu Yangyi - Anna Muzychuk  
Sabino Brunello - Radek Wojtaszek  
Benjamin Bok - Merijn van Delft  
Jan Timman - Baadur Jobava  
Dimitri Reinderman - Etienne Goudriaan  
Kayden Troff - Jan-Krzysztof Duda  
Group B: Round 12 - Saturday Jan. 25
Zhao Xue - Jan-Krzysztof Duda  
Etienne Goudriaan - Kayden Troff  
Baadur Jobava - Dimitri Reinderman  
Merijn van Delft - Jan Timman  
Radek Wojtaszek - Benjamin Bok  
Anna Muzychuk - Sabino Brunello  
Ivan Saric - Yu Yangyi  
Group B: Round 13 - Sunday Jan. 26
Yu Yangyi - Zhao Xue  
Sabino Brunello - Ivan Saric  
Benjamin Bok - Anna Muzychuk  
Jan Timman - Radek Wojtaszek  
Dimitri Reinderman - Merijn van Delft  
Kayden Troff - Baadur Jobava  
Jan-Krzysztof Duda - Etienne Goudriaan  

Commentary schedule on Playchess

Day Date Round English German
Friday January 24 Free    
Saturday January 25 Round 10 Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff
Sunday January 26 Round 11 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff

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.



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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