Tata R09: Carlsen beats Hou, takes full point lead

by ChessBase
1/22/2013 – The top seed Magnus Carlsen booked yet another win – his fifth in this tournament – this time with black against the bottom seed, Chinese GM Hou Yifan, who now has five losses and one win. Magnus is a full point ahead of the World Champion Vishy Anand, who drew his game against Peter Leko. Loek van Wely beat Ivan Sokolov with black. Full report with video interviews and GM analysis.

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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 nine report

By GM Alejandro Ramirez

The rest day rekindled the player’s fighting spirit, but too many of today’s games were ‘close matches’ and plenty of draws occurred.

Group A: Round 9 - Tuesday January 22
Ivan Sokolov - Loek van Wely
Peter Leko - Vishy Anand
Sergey Karjakin - Pentala Harikrishna
Hou Yifan - Magnus Carlsen
Erwin L'Ami - Levon Aronian
Wang Hao - Fabiano Caruana
Hikaru Nakamura - Anish Giri

The subtleties of the Najdorf are details that elude even some grandmasters. However both Peter Leko and Vishy Anand are very well versed in the subject, and after only 25 moves they agreed to a draw in an equal position.

L’Ami punished Aronian’s aggressive setup against the English by putting heavy pressure of his own on the queenside. The idea with Bd7 and Qc8 looked somewhat silly as nothing happened on the h-file. However, even though White was able to win a pawn, it’s hard to say if he held a strong advantage at any point. Through some accurate play Aronian steered the game into a drawn endgame, where White’s bishop was just too bad.

Previously it was mentioned that Karjakin plays the Berlin with both white and black. In this case he was White but it seemed that Harikrishna was able to play toe to toe with him in this strange Berlin endgame. Karjakin never had any chances and needed to find some accurate defensive moves to fully equalize.

Wang-Caruana (that's Fabiano thinking in the picture above) started out as a boring and solid affair, but quickly turned messy and interesting. The fabulous bishop trap setup with 17… e4! and 18… Na7! forced Wang to find some resourceful moves in order to not be down a piece. The resulting material balance was of a rook and two knights against a queen, but the queen was aided by two passed pawns on the queenside. It’s possible that Caruana missed many chances to push for some sort of advantage, mainly on move 41… Rc3!? seemed better than the passive 41… Rb8. After winning the queen for a rook and a knight, Caruana had an extra knight, but it was powerless against White’s passed a-pawn. It sacrificed itself on a8 to force a stalemate.

Giri held an advantage during the entire game against Nakamura. His pair of bishops and strong central pawns were obvious assets, and he must be disappointed he was unable to use them. His rook move near the end, 37… Rg6, was particularly bad and it simply forced a draw since his abandoned kingside was collapsing. Giri missed many moves to solidify his center and use his advantages. Nakamura escapes yet again, and it speaks volumes about his resourcefulness that he has not lost a game so far considering the kind of positions he has gotten, but it also should make him ponder if something is going wrong in his preparations.

The pendulum of the advantage seemed to swing wildly in the game Sokolov-Van Wely. After obtaining a good position from the opening, Loek was definitely in charge. However, after playing some inaccurate moves, it seemed that Sokolov more than equalized.

White certainly missed his chance when on move 31 he could’ve played the very strong move Qf4! forking both the d6 knight and the h4 bishop. Without the h4 bishop, Black’s attack would’ve been null and the positional advantages were all White’s. Time pressure followed with more mistakes, but finally after the move 36… Qc7 it was obvious that the game was Black’s. Sokolov played a few more moves by inertia and had to resign.

The lowest rated player was paired against the highest, and sometimes that yields very interesting results. In this case, Hou went for the throat with the pawn sacrifice 12.e6 which has dubious value. Carlsen took the pawn slowly and started repelling the Chinese GM’s attack. The fantastic move 33… c3! was a real shocker.

Carlsen gave back his extra pawn for his own initiative, and it was both very real and very strong. A resulting endgame put Carlsen in control of too many passed pawns for Hou’s queen and the game was over, giving Carlsen a commanding lead of the tournament.

Magnus Carlsen analyses his game against Hou Yifan

Replay all the games of the round on our JavaScript player

Current standings

In the latest Live Chess Ratings (updated on 22 January 2013 at 21:59 GMT) Magnus Carlsen has reached a new peak of 2870. We find it hard to imagine how high this Norwegian kid still intends to go and who in the world could think about putting the breaks on him.

# Name Rating
1 Carlsen 2869.7
22 (30.11.1990)
2 Kramnik 2810.0
37 (25.06.1975)
3 Aronian 2801.3
30 (06.10.1982)
4 Radjabov 2793.0
25 (12.03.1987)
5 Anand 2783.7
43 (11.12.1969)
6 Karjakin 2779.6
23 (12.01.1990)
7 Caruana 2773.9
20 (30.07.1992)
8 Nakamura 2771.2
25 (09.12.1987)
9 Topalov 2771.0
37 (15.03.1975)
10 Mamedyarov 2766.0
27 (12.04.1985)

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

Impressions and Interviews from round nine – by Vijay Kumar

Results of the B and C Groups

Group B: Round 9 - Tuesday January 22
Sergey Tiviakov - Robin van Kampen
Maxim Turov - Sergei Movsesian
Daniil Dubov - Sipke Ernst
Jan Smeets - Romain Edouard
Nils Grandelius - Richard Rapport
Alexander Ipatov - Predrag Nikolic
Arkadij Naiditsch - Jan Timman
Group C: Round 9 - Tuesday January 22
Igor Bitensky - Alexandra Goryachkina
Krikor Mekhitarian - Lisa Schut
Hjorvar Gretarsson - Sabino Brunello
Mark van der Werf - Robin Swinkels
Twan Burg - Fernando Peralta
Oleg Romanishin - Alexander Kovchan
Miguoel Admiraal - David Klein

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:

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 nine

Magnus Carlsen
Fabiano Caruana
Erwin L'Ami
Levon Aronian
Loek van Wely
Pentala Harikrishna
Sergey Karjakin
Viswanathan Anand
Peter Leko
Daniel Stellwagen


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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