Tata Steel R11: Van Foreest takes down Giri

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
1/29/2022 – Anish Giri is all but out of contention for first place at the Tata Steel Masters tournament, as he was defeated by Jorden van Foreest in Friday’s eleventh round. Magnus Carlsen signed a draw against Vidit Gujrathi and has a half-point lead over Richard Rapport going into the final weekend of the event. Moreover, Carlsen will get a free point in the last round, when he was supposed to face Daniil Dubov, who had to leave the tournament after testing positive for Covid-19. | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit

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Free points for Carlsen and Rapport

As announced by the organizers before the start of round 11, Daniil Dubov has withdrawn from the Tata Steel Masters tournament after testing positive for Covid-19. Since the Russian had played more than half his games, the results he had obtained will be included in the final standings table, while the Russian’s last three opponents will get wins by forfeit — i.e. Richard Rapport, Praggnanandhaa and Magnus Carlsen.

In hindsight, in pure competitive terms, it is “fortunate” that Dubov also forfeited his game against Anish Giri, as the three current main contenders for first place will all get the same “free point” in the end. For Carlsen in particular, who was paired up against Dubov in the last round, this means that keeping his half-point advantage in the next round will grant him tournament victory with one round to spare.

Despite this twist of fate, though, Giri is all but out of contention for tournament victory, as he was defeated by defending champion Jorden van Foreest in round 11. Giri is now a full point behind Carlsen, which means the Dutchman would need to win both his games and hope for Fabiano Caruana to beat the world champion on Saturday.

Caruana, by the way, won his round-11 game, as he got the better of Praggnanandhaa with the black pieces.

Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit

The crucial encounter of the round, which was a repeat of last year’s deciding playoff, saw Van Foreest entering a questionable line of the Nimzo-Indian with the white pieces. The defending champion was willing to take risks after his loss against Andrey Esipenko, and his approach ended up paying off.


White here went for 16.Rxf6, giving up an exchange to get the initiative on the kingside. It was a tough place to be for Giri, who could not counter his compatriot’s excellent play. Soon enough, White regained the material while keeping his massive initiative on the kingside.


There followed 28...Bd7 29.Bxg6 fxg6 30.Bxf6+, and Black is in deep trouble. Giri continued playing until move 42, but his rival was clearly in good form and did not falter until securing the full point.


Anish Giri

Jorden van Foreest also beat Anish Giri in last year’s Armageddon decided for tournament victory | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit

Later on, Carlsen missed a big — yet difficult to find — chance to take down Vidit Gujrathi in a rook endgame.

Round 11 results


Standings after round 11


All games - Round 11


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Nguyen and Bjerre both win in the Challengers

The two players chasing sole leader Arjun Erigaisi in the Challengers group, albeit a whole two points behind, won their games in round 11. Thai Dai Van Nguyen beat Roven Vogel, while Jonas Buhl Bjerre got the better of Volodar Murzin.

In the penultimate round, Nguyen faces Arjun in an all-important encounter, while Bjerre will try to profit from a potential win by Nguyen in his game against Zhu Jiner.

Round 11 also saw Marc’Andria Maurizzi grabbing his second win of the event, and once again he did it in style, beating Daniel Dardha in a 23-move encounter.


Black resigned in this position — watch out for those long-range pieces pointing out your vulnerable king!

Marc’Andria Maurizzi, Daniel Dardha

Marc’Andria Maurizzi versus Daniel Dardha | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit

Round 11 results


Standings after round 11


All games - Round 11


Replay all the Challengers’ games at Live.ChessBase.com


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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