Tata Steel Chess R10: Gukesh beats Pragg in wild struggle

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
1/26/2023 – Magnus Carlsen and Dommaraju Gukesh continued their good runs of results in round 10 of the Tata Steel Masters, as they scored full points in the only two decisive games of the day. Carlsen has won three games in the last four rounds and is now sharing third place with Wesley So, while Gukesh won two out of his last three encounters to recover from a subpar start in Wijk aan Zee. | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit / Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

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Carlsen climbs to shared third place

It is never wise to rule him out of contention. After losing two games in a row last week, Magnus Carlsen has won three out of his last four encounters to climb to shared third place in the standings of the Tata Steel Masters. The world champion now stands one point behind sole leader Nodirbek Abdusattorov with three rounds to go in the 14-player tournament.

The event is quite long, after all — if we go by today’s standards:

In Wednesday’s tenth round, Carlsen, playing black, outplayed Parham Maghsoodloo in a queenless position with rooks and minor pieces still on the board. In the final three rounds of the event, scheduled to take place between Friday and Sunday (following the third rest day of the event), the Norwegian will face So, Arjun Erigaisi and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu in that order. Carlsen will get the white pieces in the next two rounds.

The one remaining decisive game of the round saw Dommaraju Gukesh beating his compatriot Praggnanandhaa in a sharp battle that lasted 40 moves. The Indian prodigies went all out from the word go, as Gukesh opted for a plan with an early Rg1/g2-g4 out of a Symmetrical English. This was Gukesh’s second win in three games — the 16-year-old defeated Maghsoodloo, also with white, two rounds ago.

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

A second win for Gukesh

The two youngest players in the field kept the audience fully engaged, as a fighting struggle was guaranteed once Gukesh pushed his pawn to g4 on move 11. Mistakes were made by both sides, but we got to witness a human, enthralling battle between two extremely talented, uncompromising talents.


Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa

Analysing — Gukesh (aged 16) and Praggnanandhaa (17) | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Standings after round 10 - Masters


All games - Masters


Donchenko bounces back, shares the lead

Three games finished decisively in round 10 of the Challengers. Most notably, Alexander Donchenko bounced back from his loss against Erwin l’Ami with a win over Max Warmerdam. The German thus caught up with Mustafa Yilmaz, who had regained the sole lead in the previous round. Yilmaz signed a safe draw in his game with white against Adhiban Baskaran.

The remaining two decisive games saw Amin Tabatabaei and Luis Paulo Supi defeating Thomas Beerdsen and Velimir Ivic respectively. In a curious turn of events, the one player who had not scored a single win so far in the event (Supi) beat the one player who remained undefeated after nine rounds (Ivic).

Donchenko and Yilmaz are sharing the lead on 7 points. A half point back stands Javokhir Sindarov, while Ivic and Tabatabaei are tied for fourth in the standings, with 6 points each. Tabatabaei will feature in two key encounters in the following two rounds, as he will face Donchenko and Sindarov on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Amin Tabatabaei, Thomas Beerdsen

Amin Tabatabaei and Thomas Beerdsen | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit / Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

While explaining his victory over Warmerdam to Fiona Steil-Antoni, Donchenko highlighted the following position as the turning point of the game.


Donchenko confessed that he did not expect to get the kind of advantage that he got after playing this innocuous-looking king move. The German explained:

I would say that mostly it came down to [the fact] that somehow I managed to — actually, unknowingly — create a position where his active play completely ran out. And I only realized it when he had already invested 10-15 minutes, and I did not see any move for him either.

Alexander Donchenko, Max Warmerdam

Game over — Alexander Donchenko and Max Warmerdam | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit / Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Standings after round 10 - Challengers


All games - Challengers



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.