Tata Steel 2023: The "youngest" Wijk tournament of all time

by André Schulz
1/11/2023 – On Saturday the first round of the Masters and Challengers will be played in the traditional Tata Steel Tournament in Wijk aan Zee. The 85th Wijk aan Zee tournament promises to be exciting: In the Masters young talents such as Gukesh, Erigaisi, Abdusattorov, Keymer and Praggnanandhaa meet experienced top players such as Carlsen, Ding, Caruana, Aronian and So, and the Challengers also offers an interesting line-up. | Photos: Website of Wijk aan Zee

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The youngest Tata Steel tournament of all time

This year, the great Dutch chess tournament, which once started in Beverwijk and has now been at home in the seaside resort of Wijk aan Zee for decades, is celebrating its 85th edition. Meanwhile, the Indian multinational Tata is the main sponsor and continues to support the tournament.

Magnus Carlsen and Ding Liren, the world's number one and number two, start this year in Wijk aan Zee. Carlsen, who is currently World Champion in classical, in rapid and in blitz chess has won Wijk more often than any player.

Magnus Carlsen

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Carlsen has won the tournament eight times: 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 und 2022. Vishy Anand, who won the tournament five times, does not play this year, but several players who won in Wijk before start this year. Fabiano Caruana, winner of Wijk 2020, Levon Aronian, who won the tournament in 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2014, Wesley So, winner of the 2017 tournament, and finally Jorden van Foreest, who won in 2021.

In the Masters Anish Giri and Jorden van Foreest represent the colors of the host country. Richard Rapport - the Hungarian has changed federations and now plays under the Romanian flag - is another top-class participant. Jan-Krzysztof Duda from Poland was also supposed to play, but had to cancel for personal reasons and will be replaced by the Iranian grandmaster Parham Maghsoodloo.

The 22-year-old Maghsoodloo is the link to the group of juniors in the Masters. This year, five of the 14 participants are 19 years old or younger. The 16-year old Gukesh Dommaraju and the 17-year old Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu are the youngest players in the field. Vincent Keymer and Nodirbek Abdussatorov are both 18 years old while Arjun Erigaisi is 19.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alireza Firouzja, the two top French players, are missing from the field. In the the Wijk aan Zee tournament 2021, Firouzja was still playing when Jorden van Foreest and Anish Giri started the tiebreak match that had to decide who would win the tournament. Firouzja felt disturbed, and when asked to play in 2022, Firouzja and the organisers could not come to an agreement.

However, Firouzja was also absent from the World Rapid and Blitz Championships in Almaty, where the world's best junior, who is also considered to be one of the world's best blitz and rapid players had been expected. The fact that Vachier-Lagrave does not play this year in Wijk is probably a coincidence.

German chess fans are of course particularly keen how Vincent Keymer will fare in the Masters. After all, the young German is on the rise and just finished second at the World Rapid Championships in Almaty.

Vincent Keymer

The Challengers also has an interesting, international, strong and young field. Top seed is Amin Tabatabaei from Iran, second seed is Saleh Salem from the United Arab Emirates. Third seed is Javokhir Sindarov, another talent from Uzbekistan. The second German, who starts this year in Wijk, is Alexander Donchenko.

Alexander Donchenko

Vaishali Rameshbabu, the sister of Pragg, is one of two female participants. The young Dutchwoman Eline Robers is the other. Both have very tough tasks ahead of them.

Eline Roebers

The young Slovakian Jergus Pechac is also a great talent. Abhimanyu Mishra, the youngest grandmaster in the history of chess, also takes part. As does Luis Paulo Supi, Brazil's number one. Mustafa Yilmaz represents Turkey, Adhiban Baskaran plays for India, and Erwin l'Ami, Max Warmerdam and Thomas Beerdsen help Eline Roebers to hold up the Dutch colours. It's an interesting field that promises colourful games.

Erwin L'Ami

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Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg and his team again managed to create a very exciting field in both tournaments, with many players from the world's top, the best juniors, and a number of local players. Moreover, young and strong female players have also been invited. It will be exciting to see if and how the established players can keep the ambitious juniors at bay in the Masters and how the young guns will play among themselves.

Masters

01 Magnus Carlsen 2859
02 Ding Liren 2811
03 Fabiano Caruana 2766
04 Anish Giri 2764
05 Wesley So 2760
06 Richard Rapport 2740
07 Levon Aronian 2735
08 Dommaraju Gukesh 2725
09 Parham Maghsoodloo 2719
10 Arjun Erigaisi 2718
11 Nodirbek Abdusattorov 2713
12 Vincent Keymer 2698
13 Jorden van Foreest 2690
14 R Praggnanandhaa 2678
 

Challengers

01 Salem Saleh   2677
02 Amin Tabatabaei   2660
03 Javokhir Sindarov   2654
04 Alexander Donchenko   2636
05 Jergus Pechac   2628
06 Erwin l’Ami   2627
07 Max Warmerdam   2619
08 Mustafa Yilmaz   2617
09 Luis Paulo Supi   2612
10 Adhiban Baskaran   2611
11 Abhimanyu Mishra   2549
12 Thomas Beerdsen   2521
13 Rameshbabu Vaishali   2425
04 Eline Roebers   2343

Schedule:

January 13: Opening Ceremony
The first round starts January 14, the last round is on January 29, all rounds start at 14.00 CET.

Round 5, on the 19th of January, will take place at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam.

The rest days of the Tata Steel Masters will be on January 18, January 23 and January 26.

The rest days of the Tata Steel Challengers will be on January 19, January 23 and January 26.
January 29: Closing Ceremony.

The festival includes a large number of Elo- and Amateur open tournaments. All tournaments are played in parallel to the masters tournaments in the De Moriaan venue. The games will be commented on in the Café De Zontag. There is also an extensive program with side events.

Tournament page...


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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