Tata R08: Carlsen beats Karjakin, forges ahead

by ChessBase
1/20/2013 – In a marathon 92-move game against Sergey Karjakin, Magnus Carlsen (as so often) managed to "squeeze blood out of a stone", as a GM colleague put it, and win an essentially drawn position. This put the Norwegian number one in the world back in the sole lead in Tata Steel. Caruana and Aronian also scored, against L'Ami and Hou Yifan respectively. Full report with videos and GM commentary.

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January 2013
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75. Tata Steel Chess Tournament

This event is taking place from January 12-27. The venue is as usual the traditional De Moriaan Center in the Dutch sea resort of Wijk aan Zee. The tournament has three Grandmaster Groups, which have 14 players and are held as full round robins (each competitor plays against every other). The rate of play for all three groups is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and finally 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 seconds/move increment starting with the first move of the game.

Round eight report

By GM Alejandro Ramirez

If one word describes today’s round, it would be perseverance. The player’s tried their hardest, sometimes in hopelessly lost positions, sometimes in seemingly drawn, to achieve that extra half point. Some with success, some without...

Group A: Round 8 - Sunday January 20
Loek van Wely - Hikaru Nakamura
Anish Giri - Wang Hao
Fabiano Caruana - Erwin L'Ami
Levon Aronian - Hou Yifan
Magnus Carlsen - Sergey Karjakin
Pentala Harikrishna - Peter Leko
Vishy Anand - Ivan Sokolov

Giri played yet another ultra-solid game against Wang Hao. The setup he chose gives White the pair of bishops, but not too much room to use their power. The game was drawn after multiple exchanges left Black with just enough to give a perpetual check on the kingside before Giri’s passed c-pawn became a problem.

Anand’s treatment of the Schliemann Ruy Lopez was poor to say the least. Sokolov simplified into a drawn position but it would have been interesting if he kept on playing some other way. Harikrishna-Leko saw the very sharp Najdorf fizzle out into a drawn endgame in which neither side had a serious chance of winning.

Van Wely-Nakamura was a show of resilience by the American. He was pinned against the ropes the entire time, and just as it seemed that Van Wely was winning, a timely exchange sacrifice forced all the pawns off the board and the draw was agreed. Loek cannot be happy with the result as it is certain that he could have pushed for a win at some point.

Hou Yifan played an intrepid game by quickly sacrificing a pawn against Aronian for the better structure and a slight initiative. This seemed to be going well until she inexplicably played 24… Ra6?! and 25… Rxa2+? instead of accepting the return sacrifice. This maneuver cost her a piece, and Aronian doesn’t forgive such a material advantage. Hou Yifan tried and tried but to no avail.

L’Ami’s trusty Caro-Kann put him in a world of suffering this time.

Fabiano Caruana pressed very hard with his space advantage, and it worked wonders. The resulting endgame is known to be very unpleasant for Black, since the kingside pawn storm is still quite strong. L’Ami collapsed under pressure and Caruana finished with a nice flourish: the exchange sacrifice on c3.

Carlsen-Karjakin was simply amazing. The sheer willpower that Carlsen has to win games is outstanding. Any lesser player (which is everyone) would’ve agreed to a draw at some point during the game. Gawain Jones commented on Facebook that Carlsen “squeezed blood out of a stone” in this position, and I think this rather British analogy makes sense here. The opposite colored bishop endgame, with rooks, seemed dead, but somehow after opening up the kingside Karjakin started facing problems. His reluctance to sacrifice his bishop for two passed pawns – which would’ve drawn – saddled him in a dangerous position where White’s pawns were clearly an issue. Even the opposite colored bishop endgame at the end seemed drawn, but actually with very precise play Carlsen proved that it was winning. The world number one scores another important point and regains his solo lead in Tata Steel.

Replay all the games of the round on our JavaScript player

Current standings

GM Danny King Play of the Day – Magnus Carlsen - Sergey Karjakin

Results of the B and C Groups

Group B: Round 8 - Sunday January 20
Robin van Kampen - Arkadij Naiditsch
Jan Timman - Alexander Ipatov
Pedrag Nikolic - Nils Grandelius
Richard Rapport - Jan Smeets
Romain Edouard - Daniil Dubov
Sipke Ernst - Maxim Turov
Sergei Movsesian - Sergey Tiviakov
Group C: Round 8 - Sunday January 20
Alexandra Goryachkina - Miguoel Admiraal
David Klein - Oleg Romanishin
Alexander Kovchan - Twan Burg
Fernando Peralta - Mark van der Werf
Robin Swinkels - Hjorvar Gretarsson
Sabino Brunello - Krikor Mekhitarian
Lisa Schut - Igor Bitensky

Standings in the B Group

Standings in the C Group

Commentary schedule

There is full broadcast of all games on the official site and on the Playchess server, which will provide live audio commentary of the most interesting games (free for Premium members) starting at 14:30h for each round, 14:00h for the final round. Commentary begins at approx. 3 p.m. and lasts 2 to 2½ hours, with breaks in between. A round-up show is provided at 8 PM server time. Commentary is available, by the following experts:

21.01.2012 Free day  
22.01.2012 Round 9 Yasser Seirawan
23.01.2012 Round 10 Daniel King
24.01.2012 Free day  
25.01.2012 Round 11 Yasser Seirawan
26.01.2012 Round 12 Yasser Seirawan
27.01.2012 Round 13 Daniel King

Interviews with players after round eight

Magnus Carlsen

Jan Timman
Loek van Wely
Fabiano Caruana
Pentala Harikrishna
Peter Leko
Robin van Kampen
Anish Giri
Levon Aronian
Ivan Sokolov
Viswanathan Anand
Sosonko and Ljubojevic


The games are being 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.

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