Tata Steel Chess R10: Gukesh and Abdusattorov co-leaders

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
1/25/2024 – Gukesh D. and Nodirbek Abdusattorov scored full points on Wednesday to go into the second rest day of the Tata Steel Masters sharing the lead with 6½/10 points. Sharing third place at a half-point distance are Praggnanandhaa R. and Anish Giri, while Ian Nepomniachtchi is one of four players standing a half point further back — Nepo joined this group thanks to a victory over world champion Ding Liren. In the Challengers, Marc’Andria Maurizzi won again and now has a full-point lead over Leon Luke Mendonca. | Photo: Tata Steel Chess Tournament / Lennart Ootes

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Abdusattorov comes out on top

For a second day in a row, Max Warmerdam suffered a defeat in a rollercoaster game that lasted over six hours. This time around, the Dutchman first had an inferior position, then regained the balance, then found himself in the driver’s seat, and finally erred and lost the game. His rival was Nodirbek Abdusattorov, who entered the round sharing the lead with three of his colleagues.

When the time control was reached, Warmerdam, playing white, had a clearly better position according to the engines.

It is true that White has two pieces for a rook and has already dealt with his opponent’s threats along the g-file, but converting this advantage into something tangible is surely difficult under the circumstances.

Three moves later, White had traded Black’s a and b-pawns for his own f-pawn, but the evaluation is now balanced. Apparently, Warmerdam entered the line without noticing that Abdusattorov had a strong tactical idea to counter the knight’s pawn-grabbing foray.

44.Nxc6 here fails to the spectacular 44...Rxf2+, and after 45.Kxf2 Rd2+ 46.Ke3 Qg5+ Black regains the material and gets a winning position in all playable continuations.

Perhaps Warmerdam counted with this capture in his calculations, but here realized that he needed to play 44.Nd3 instead, and the sharp struggle continues.

Importantly, despite reaching the control with similar amounts of time on their clocks, by this point Abdusattorov already had a 20-minute edge over the Dutchman. Not surprisingly, the time divergence led to Warmerdam making more mistakes than his opponent in the ensuing battle. The decisive error came on move 67.

67.Bc4 is a losing manoeuvre (67.Qd5 or 67.Bf5 are required). Warmerdam played this move with only 3 seconds on his clock, while Abdusattorov had still over 11 minutes. Thus, the Uzbek star had enough time to find the winning 67...Qf6+, when 68.Qc3 fails to 68...Rxf2+ 69.Nxf2 Qxf2+, and Black will emerge two pawns up in a queen endgame in all ensuing lines.

Warmerdam did not block the check with his queen but played 68.Ka3 instead, and resignation came three moves later, as the black rooks and queen can easily weave a mating net around the white king.

Gukesh also scored a full point to remain in the shared lead. The Indian prodigy outplayed Alexander Donchenko with the black pieces after the German grandmaster fearlessly began pushing his kingside pawns right out of the opening.

The third decisive result of the day was seen in the game featuring the two protagonists of the exciting 2023 match for the World Championship. Ian Nepomniachtchi, playing white, defeated world champion Ding Liren and now stands at a 1-point distance from the leaders.

Importantly, Nepo later told Fiona Steil-Antoni that Ding was “visibly unwell” from the start of the game. This was Ding’s third loss of the event — he had previously been defeated by Praggnanandhaa and Alireza Firouzja, two players who, like Nepo, will participate in the next edition of the Candidates Tournament.

GM Karsten Müller analysed (below) the wins obtained by Gukesh and Nepo.

Results - Round 10

Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu

Praggnanandhaa held Vidit Gujrathi to a draw with black | Photo: Tata Steel Chess Tournament / Jurriaan Hoefsmit

Gukesh 1 - 0 Donchenko

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Nepomniachtchi 1 - 0 Ding

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Ding Liren, Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi defeated Ding Liren in a 36-move encounter | Photo: Tata Steel Chess Tournament / Lennart Ootes

Game analysis by Robert Ris

Standings after round 10

All games

Challengers: Maurizzi widens the gap

With three rounds to go, world junior champion Marc’Andria Maurizzi has a full-point lead over Leon Luke Mendonca in the Challengers Tournament. Maurizzi outplayed Eline Roebers with the black pieces in a double-edged position.

Engines here give 28.Kg3 as the best way to deal with the threat of Qa4-h4. Roebers, however, played the much more human 28.h4, allowing Black to get a strong initiative with 28...Rab8 29.h5 Rb3 30.Qc5 Qf4

And now came the decisive mistake, as White went for 31.Rh3 instead of playing the correct 31.Qc1, which would have kept the game going — albeit Black would still have a clear edge.

Maurizzi had little trouble finding the forcing sequence 31...Rb2+ 32.Kf1 Qg5 33.Qg1 Qd2 34.Rg3 and the good-looking 34...Bc4+

Roebers resigned, since 35.Nxc4 fails to 35...Qd3+ 36.Re2 Qxe2#

Meanwhile, Mendonca held top seed Hans Niemann to a draw with black. In the one other decisive game of the round, Jaime Santos got the better of Stefan Beukema (analysed below).

Results - Round 10

Santos 1 - 0 Beukema

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Jaime Santos

Jaime Santos | Photo: Tata Steel Chess Tournament / Lennart Ootes

Standings after round 10

All games

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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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