Tata Steel Chess: Anand ups the ante

by Macauley Peterson
1/16/2018 – Magnus Carlsen drew quickly with Wei Yi to start round three, and there were more draws to follow including the leader Anish Giri. That gave Anand an opportunity to pull equal on 2½ points. In the challengers, top seed Vidit Gujrathi scored for the second straight day, but Anton Korobov kept pace, and both now stand at 2½ as well. | Photo: Alina l'Ami Tata Steel Chess on Facebook © 2018 Tata Steel

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Vintage Vishy

Chess fans in Norway watching TV2 were undoubtedly disappointed by the quick draw in Magnus Carlsen vs Wei Yi — it was so quick, in fact, that Magnus had barely run a minute off his clock, needing only the 30 second bonus per move to reach a repetition draw on move 46. In all, five of the seven games in the Masters were drawn, but fans attending in Wijk aan Zee nevertheless had plenty to cheer for. In particular, Viswanathan Anand notched an impressive win, one that brought him back into a tie for first.

Afterwards, speaking on the live webcast, Anand struggled to explain his opponenet's decision on move 28 that gave Anand a vital tempo and initiative:

 

"I think axb4 is just astonishing, because I dreamed of getting this position with the rook on a5, and here I get it just for free."

A few moves later, it appeared as though Caruana had some attacking chances, but Anand 'called his bluff', finding a precise defence that shut down Black's counterplay:

 

Black is menacing ...Rc2, but Anand put a stop to it with 34.Ra2! correctly recognizing that shifting to the first rank with 34...Qd1+ 35.Kh2 Rc1 was relatively harmless. The white king can be reasonably safe on g3 in the event of a check on h1. That left Caruana 'short-stacked' and needing to go 'all-in', and in the process he weaked his own king position beyond repair.

The coup de grâce, however was the flashy move that forced resignation:

 

In the post-game analysis Anand said he was actually tempted by 42.Bxg7, but while on air worked out that in fact this would allow black back into the game! Instead his 42.Rd6! was immediately decisive. White is threatening Rxh6# and the only move to stop it 42...Qc1 would be refuted by 43.Rd8! with multiple mate threats. Anand lamanted that there is no longer a daily beauty prize, referring to the "prize of the public" that was once traditionally awarded before the start of rounds 2 to 13. It was discontinued in 2014.

He did, however earn the admiration of his successor to the World Championship: 

Other grandmaster pundits were similarly impressed:


Replay Anand's comments in full:

Viswanathan Anand goes through his win with GM Robin van Kampen | Tata Steel Chess YouTube

Gawain gets a win

Gawain Jones' debut so far in the Masters group has gone quite well, as a solid draw against Karjakin and a turbulent one with Caruana must have aided his confidence going into today's game against the uncompromining Adhiban Baskaran.

As Simon Williams warned in his round-up of the day's action (which you can replay below), "Don't underestimate his calculation skills, he might get some very big scalps in this tournament."

 

Play through the moves right on the live diagram!

In this position after 30.Ra1, Adhiban needed to immediately regroup with 30...Bd8, when White has nothing concrete. But by inserting 30...Qb2 31.Ra7 and only then 31...Bd8 Jones' attack was too strong: 32.Qd6! Qb1+ 33.Kh2 Re8 34.Qc6! and the threat of Nf6+ with a discovered attack is unstoppable.

 

Here Adhiban unfortunately had no time to go for mate with 38...Nf2, as 39.Qh5+ Kg8 40.Ra8+ and White mates first! But the necessary retreat 38...Qb8 39.Qxf6 Qxa7 40.Qh4+ Kg8 41.Qd8+ picking up the black knight, left Gawain two pawns up and winning comfortably.

Adhiban Baskaran

It was one of those days for Adhiban | Photo: Alina l'Ami © 2018 Tata Steel

Jones could scarcely have asked for a better start Tata Steel Chess YouTube

Standings after three rounds

 

Click or tap a player name to see rating progression, or on a result to open a game via live.chessbase.com


The other player in the chasing pack with 2 / 3 is Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Today facing Maxim Matlakov, 'Shak' was quite critical of his opening play, saying that only black had chances for an advantage as the game unfolded. Yet, the game remained equal throughout, and the players shook hands on move 25. 

Mamedyarov was pleased with his round two win, which he described as "like Karpov" Tata Steel Chess YouTube

Wesley So called chess, "over scientific", with a heavy burden of theory making it difficult to fight for an advantage. He praised Karjakin's "accurate defense" resulting in a draw. 

So: "As Bent Larsen said, 'you've got to win Wijk aan Zee once before you die', and I have won it once". Tata Steel Chess YouTube

Vladimir Kramnik and Hou Yifan

Vladimir Kramnik and Hou Yifan were quite friendly both before and after the game | Photo: Alina l'Ami © 2018 Tata Steel

Hou Yifan got on the score board finally, with a draw with black against Vladimir Kramnik. Afterwards they analysed for quite a long time at the board, and she emerged pleased with the improvement of her play today, following a rough start.

Hou: "I actually threw away a very good position against Anish [Giri]...today I'm satisfied with the result.

Hou has been awarded a prestigous Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University and she said she has "no clear idea" how much she'll be able to combine chess and university. Prioritising the most significant tournaments to play, will be the key. This is already her seventh time playing in Wijk aan Zee.

"It should be a kind of turning point in my life, considering how to balance chess [with my studies and future career.]"

She will try to maintain her level, but admits that it will be difficult.

Round 3 round-up show

Simon Williams looks at the games of the day:

Watch live at 21:00 CET (3 pm EST) each day or replay all daily round-ups in ChessBase Videos

All games of Round 3

 

Complete Round 3 commentary

Commentary by GM Robin van Kampen and Stefan Kuipers | Tata Steel Chess YouTube

The Challengers

Vidit Gujrathi's back-to-back wins put him in a good position to take the lead, as he'll have white against Harika on Tuesday. His victim Monday was Bassem Amin, the first African player to break 2700, who, along with Vidit, is making his Wijk aan Zee debut.

Amin blundered in the endgame, right after time control: 

 

Black's d-pawn is dangerous, but 42.Kf3 keeps it under control for now. Unfortunately going the other way with 42.Kf1 led to disaster. Can you see why? (Replay the game below.)

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi is in the driver's seat | Photo: Alina l'Ami © 2018 Tata Steel

Matthias Bluebaum got off the mark on a lucky break in an equal ending against Jorden van Foreest:

 

Essential was 31.Ke3, but van Foreest thought he could get away with 31.Rd5?

The position would be equal but for the straightforward 31...Bf3, embarrasing White's rook. (If 32.Rd6 there's Ke7 double-attack, not to mention Bc6 exploiting the pin.)

Anton Korobov also netted his second win of the tournament when his opponent Benjamin Bok tried to force matters in a minor piece ending:

 

After the exchange on d4, White found the strong 48.h5! forcing Bok to give up his knight on g5, since 48...gxh5 49.g6 leaves black with no way to defend his a and h-pawns.

Standings after three rounds

 

All games of round three

 

Additional photos

Alina l'Ami is the official photographer and her photo galleries can be found at the tournament's Facebook page.

Several of these photos are also included in the gallery slider at the top of this story!

Round and daily round-up show schedule

All rounds start at 13:30 CET except January 17th and 24th at 14:00, and the final round on January 28th at 12:00 Noon.

We'll be recapping each day's action with a live webcast at 21:00 CET (3pm EST) from a variety of familiar ChessBase contributors:

13. Jan Round 1 Yannick Pelletier
14. Jan Round 2 Daniel King
15. Jan Round 3 Simon Williams
16. Jan Round 4 Daniel King
17. Jan Round 5 Simon Williams
18. Jan Rest day  
19. Jan Round 6 Simon Williams
20. Jan Round 7 Daniel King
21. Jan Round 8 Yannick Pelletier
22. Jan Rest day 2  
23. Jan Round 9 Lawrence Trent
24. Jan Round 10 Yannick Pelletier
25. Jan Rest day 3  
26. Jan Round 11 Daniel King
27. Jan Round 12 Lawrence Trent
28. Jan Round 13 Daniel King
ChessBase authors

Links




Macauley is Editor in Chief of ChessBase News in Hamburg, Germany, and producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast. He was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.
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Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/16/2018 10:31
@ Thomas Richter :

Globally, I don't disagree with you. Nonetheless, I am rather under the impression that when a player is above 40 AND declining in terms of Elo ratings (when going under 2750), it is more difficult for him that for a younger GM in the same situation (as Nepomniachtchi, who was under 2750 in December 2017, for example) to obtain invitations for top-level tournaments.
Thomas Richter Thomas Richter 1/16/2018 09:18
@Petrarlsen: The issue with Topalov might rather be that he is no longer fully devoted to chess, plays only sporadically and only financially very attractive events such as a rapid/blitz show in Saint Louis - but many organizers won't pay him the appearance fees he used to get at his prime.Players just below Topalov - Radjabov, Harikrishna, Navara, Wojtaszek - get occasional invitations. Not regular ones, not Chess Tour, but occasional ones. Any GM can also find Swiss opens and team competitions corresponding to his level and to realistic financial expectations. The late Viktor Korchnoi played a blitz event in the Netherlands asking and getting rather modest conditions - just because he wanted to play chess and had no other commitments/opportunities on that particular weekend.
thirteen thirteen 1/16/2018 12:20
"Don't tell Gawain!" Another thrilling ginger GM round up show. R3. The irrepressible Simon Williams continues his style.
Resistance Resistance 1/16/2018 11:59
Sweet victory from Gawain J. against B. Adhiban, and congratulations to both, Vishy and Fabi C., for the great game they gave us... (you gotta have bllz, and feel pretty confident of your powers to conduct the game in such creative, sacrificial fashion against a player of Vishy's caliber, who took up the gauntlet and came out victorious. Bravo!).
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/16/2018 10:05
@ Danstacey : I fully agree indeed !...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/16/2018 10:02
@ digupagal : Yes, it more or less boils up to one thing : as long as Anand will have the necessary playing level to stay in the "2750+ zone", it will be sufficient for him to play against all the top-players, and when he will go under 2750, he will not participate anymore in top-level tournaments (unless he goes back later to the "2750+ zone", which could also be possible). It is what seems to be happening to Topalov, who is 2749, today, and doesn't seem to participate in any top-level tournaments, these days... Indeed, why on earth would Anand have to retire, if he keeps a very high playing level ??? (...and, seeing his last game against Caruana, he DOES really keep a very high playing level !!...)
Danstacey Danstacey 1/16/2018 09:59
I love the comment from Magnus. Great respect at the top level.
digupagal digupagal 1/16/2018 08:18
Besides this is an individual sports and there is no team as such which gets affected by his bad play. Eventually once his game deteriorates, he would move down the ladder in terms of rating points and would not be invited to these events. And so he would not be an obstacle to any new player's ambitions at such premium tournaments.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/16/2018 04:29
To win such a game (Anand - Caruana) against the World n° 2 isn't a small feat ! If Anand had retired several years ago, following some of his critics, we would be deprived from games as this one, and Chess would be the poorer...

I've never understood why Anand "should" retire, and I think that this game is a good demonstration in this direction. Yes, from time to time, Anand has an "off" tournament, but when he plays well, he can still perfectly well play astounding games, as this one... And, in my opinion, this is the only thing that really counts, all in all...
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