Tata Steel Chess to kick off in less than a week

by André Schulz
1/9/2022 – The Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2022 will take place in Wijk aan Zee on January 14-30. The Masters and the Challengers sections will be played concurrently. The Open had to be cancelled. World Champion Magnus Carlsen leads the field. Alireza Firouzja is not taking part. | Photos: Tata Steel Chess

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Tata Steel 2022 - Masters and Challengers

The Tata Steel tournament in Wijk traditionally opens the tournament calendar of the year for elite players, and this year is no exception. It will be held in the second half of January, from 14 to 30 January.

The great atmosphere of the tournament is created by the delightful mix of amateurs and professionals. Some of the world’s best players play in the Masters, while in the numerous open tournaments in the multi-purpose hall De Moriaan, hundreds of club players also compete for points while providing a special setting. This year, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the tournament will take place again, but on a smaller scale. The Masters and the Challengers will be played, but the Open had to be cancelled by the organizers, led by Jeroen van den Berg.

As usual, 14 grandmasters will play in the Masters, led by the old and new World Champion Magnus Carlsen. With Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin, there are also two of the last three challengers for the world crown in the field.

Carlsen and Vidit, from better times, when spectators were allowed in the playing hall

Anish Giri and Jorden van Foreest will represent the Dutch colours. The two local heroes played a tiebreak for the tournament title last year. Van Foreest won, and thus became the first Dutch tournament winner since Jan Timman in 1985.

With Shakriyar Memdyarov, an experienced world-class grandmaster is playing. The somewhat younger generation is represented by Richard Rapport, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Daniil Dubov. Andrey Esipenko is even younger. Vidit and Praggnanandhaa represent India, the country of the main sponsor, Tata Steel. Sam Shankland completes the field.

One name that one would have expected among the participants after his successes last year is missing: Alireza Firouzja. The new world number two was supposed to be invited, but the organizers could not agree with the player, or his father, on the financial conditions. This happens very rarely, said Jeroen van den Berg in an interview.

Of course, the organizers and the spectators would have loved to see Alireza Firouzja in this field. It is good if a player knows his market value. But if he overestimates himself, nobody is helped, least of all the player himself, who misses an opportunity to learn and put himself in the limelight again. 

All participants - Masters

# Fed Name Rating Ranking
1 NOR Magnus Carlsen 2865 1
2 USA Fabiano Caruana 2792 4
3 NED Anish Giri 2772 7
5 AZE Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2767 9
4 HUN Richard Rapport 2763 11
6 POL Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2760 13
7 RUS Sergey Karjakin 2743 18
8 IND Vidit Gujrathi 2720 24
9 RUS Daniil Dubov 2714 27
10 RUS Andrey Esipenko 2714 26
11 USA Sam Shankland 2708 29
12 NED Jorden van Foreest 2702 35
13 SWE Nils Grandelius 2672 67
14 IND Praggnanandhaa R. 2612 195


Parallel to the Masters, a Challengers tournament will take place again this year. Last year, this tournament was on hiatus. Here, too, established players will meet rising talents. In addition, the organizers are integrating some female players.

The Challengers field is led by the Kazakh Grandmaster Rinat Jumabayev (33). At the last World Cup in Sochi, he eliminated Fabiano Caruana.

Surya Ganguly and Erwin L’Ami are among the experienced grandmasters in the field.

With Arjun Erigaisi, Thai Dai Van Nguyen, the reigning Dutch Champion Max Warmerdam, Jonas Buhl Bjerre, Daniel Dardha, Lucas van Foreest and Wolodar Murzin, there is a whole pack of young, hungry players. Among them is certainly former U16 World Champion Roven Vogel, who is the only German player in Wijk aan Zee. Roven Vogel won the 2020 Tata Steel Qualifiers to advance to the Tata Steel Challengers. Polina Shuvalova and the 20-year-old Chinese Zhu Jiner represent the female gender — They are the top two players in the girls’ world rankings.

The youngest participant is the French Grandmaster Marc Andria Maurizzi (14). He is also a great talent in football.

All participants - Challengers

# Fed Name Rating  
1 KAZ Rinat Jumabayev 2631  
2 IND Arjun Erigaisi  2629  
3 IND Surya Ganguly 2627  
5 NED Erwin l’Ami  2622  
4 CZE Thai Dai Van Nguyen 2609  
6 NED Max Warmerdam  2599  
7 DEN Jonas Buhl Bjerre 2586  
8 BEL Daniel Dardha 2533  
9 NED Lucas van Foreest  2530  
10 RUS Wolodar Murzin  2519  
11 RUS Polina Schuvalova 2516  
12 FRA Marc Andria Maurizzi 2496  
13 CHN Zhu Jiner  2672  
14 GER Roven Vogel 2452  

All ratings as of 1 December 2021

The tournaments will be played on January 14-30 over 13 rounds. Rest days will be on Wednesday the 19th, Monday the 24th and Thursday the 27th.

Steel and chess: creativity and innovation

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament has a long tradition. What started as an employee tournament has evolved into a world-class international tournament that grandmasters and amateurs alike keep their schedules free for. Tata Steel chose chess because chess requires strategic thinking and focuses on finding creative solutions to complex problems.

Tata Steel has exactly the same focus. Steelmaking is a high-tech process where innovation plays a crucial role. Tata Steel employees work continuously and tirelessly to find clever solutions to improve processes and products. Only in this way is Tata Steel able to provide its customers with cutting-edge products with which they can distinguish themselves in their markets. At the same time, Tata Steel contributes to the creation of a sustainable society through its product and process innovations.  


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


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Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 1/11/2022 09:19
The chess players are more than welcome in Wijk aan Zee, but their direct neighbour, a stone throw away, Tata itself, a lot less. The steel works keeps on grossly violating environment rules, blaming 'accidents' and subcontractors, and up till now getting away with it. But maybe not for much longer, which might have consequences for the tournament. The great majority of inhabitants would be sorry for the chess players to go, but they won't shed much tears on it, as they will be freed from raining graphite and other health threatening polution.
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 1/11/2022 10:32
Dear Frits Fritschy,
You cited the lines, "But if he overestimates himself, nobody is helped, least of all the player himself, who misses an opportunity to learn and put himself in the limelight again." and commented,
"I heard some roaring laughter from an Icelandic grave... "Your wit is much appreciated. How many would remember that chess players all over the world benefited on account of Bobby's "extravagant" demands? Still something is wanting in the present case. We have yet to know what Alireza himself has had to say.
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 1/11/2022 10:19
The Tata House has an illustrious history from Jamshedji Tata to JRD Tata. I would not say the same today. Like every business house, it is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. Tata Steel itself ran into losses in the UK and Europe after acquisition from Corus.
The Tatas had to give up their Nano car project after an agitation on account of a controversial land acquisition in Bengal, India. They have also run into trouble with Air India after a Canadian court gave a judgement in favour of Devas share holders(here they are not to blame as they are paying for the sins of the government). The most notorious bit is the dispute between Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry that led to the exit of the latter: https://rb.gy/mgeggo
I am well-aware of all the support extended by the Tata House to a number of social activities from science to culture, not to mention chess. But let us not exaggerate. The publicity generated by this tournament is GOOD for Tatas too.
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 1/10/2022 05:56
Hedis Hedis 1/10/2022 12:06
In 2011 I played with Jorden van Foreest(11) in group 3F Jorden's Dutch rating was 1924 One month later it was 2073.
I was crushed in 21 moves
Gerald C Gerald C 1/9/2022 11:48
@Frits I've seen some games played by Maurizzi and I'm not impressed (there are so much indian and uzbekh talents) . But OK, we will see.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 1/9/2022 11:35
Gerald C,
French 14-year old Maurizzi is one of the biggest talents at the moment, and after Abhimanyu Mishra the youngest GM. It has been part of the policy of Tata for many years to give new stars (and strong women) a chance to make their name in the Challengers.
Also part of Tata (Corus/Hoogoven) tradition is the strict qualification system. Everybody has a chance to qualify by promotion for the Masters, just by keep on being promoted. Vogel qualified for the Challengers by winning the next lower group.
Gerald C Gerald C 1/9/2022 11:12
Why should Alireza overrate himself ? Maybe the organizers underate his value. The bottom part of the Challengers section seems weak, M-A Maurizzi and R. Vogel will suffer.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 1/9/2022 10:10
By the way, Zhu Jiner's rating is a bit lower than 2672.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 1/9/2022 10:06
"But if he overestimates himself, nobody is helped, least of all the player himself, who misses an opportunity to learn and put himself in the limelight again." I heard some roaring laughter from an Icelandic grave...
tom_70 tom_70 1/9/2022 07:57
Would be a lot more interesting if Firouzja was there, but he appears to be one of those guys who makes a lot of demands before he has proved himself to the world. Most of those types are usually bust in whatever field they are in.
Leavenfish Leavenfish 1/9/2022 06:17
What - Magnus somehow found the "motivation" to play against this field...with no Firouzja? Maybe eating Firo alive in the World Rapid/Blitz was enough to satisfy him.