Tata Steel Rd.6 bis: The Nak, the McChine, and GM Tom Thumb

by ChessBase
1/22/2011 – The sixth round was such a rich day with so much interesting chess, that we found ourselves with quite simply too much material for a single report. As a result, we are making a second complementary report to give tribute to the many fighters who helped make it an exceptional day. Here are commented games from all three groups, and a gallery of pics of those future stars. More games and pictures.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


This event is taking place from January 14th to 30th, 2011 in the traditional De Moriaan Center in Wijk aan Zee. There are three Grandmaster Groups, with 14 players each and each competitor playing against every other. The rate of play is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and finally 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 seconds/move increment starting with the first move of the game. Games begin at 13:30h local time (CET), except for the last round on January 30th, which begins at 12:00h. There are three rest days, on January 19th, 24th, and 27th.

The Nak, the McChine, and GM Tom Thumb

The sixth round was such a rich day with so much interesting chess, that we found ourselves with quite simply too much material for a single report. As a result, we are making a second complementary report to give tribute to the many fighters who helped make it an exceptional day. How else would you describe ten wins in fourteen games in the A and B group alone? And don't think C is any less combative as they had six wins in seven in rounds four and five!

Hikaru Nakamura's win in round six, while perhaps not as exciting as Kramnik's sparkling victory over Shirov, packed a great deal more punch as far as the tournament was concerned. After losing the lead to Anand, it might have seemed as if it was the world champion's time in the limelight, and Nakamura's fifteen minutes of fame (so to speak) were over. Over his dead king! His win over L'Ami was a bit more than just a game that helped him rejoin the lead, it also helped show the evolution that has appeared in the American in which he is more than just a speed demon with a fantastic ability to crunch variations. We are now seeing a player with much better prepared openings, with a more solid positional foundation in his games, and a much more refined endgame technique that he will gladly use to squeeze the point if that is what is required.

L'Ami,Erwin (2628) - Nakamura,Hikaru (2751) [E32]
73rd Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 21.01.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 b5 7.cxb5 c6 8.Bg5 cxb5 9.e3 Bb7 10.Nf3 h6 11.Bh4 a6 12.Bd3 d6 13.0-0 Nbd7 14.Rfc1 Qb6 15.Qc7. 15.Bg3 Nh5 16.Qc7 Nxg3 17.Qxd7 Nh5 18.Qc7 Qxc7 19.Rxc7 Rab8 20.Rac1 Nf6 21.Nd2 Rfc8 22.Nb3 Kf8 23.Na5 Ne8 24.R7c3 Ke7 25.f3 Kd7 26.Kf2 Rc7 27.e4 Ba8 28.Ke3 Rbc8 29.Rxc7+ Nxc7 1/2-1/2 Wang Yue (2689)-Mamedyarov,S (2752)/Baku 2008/CBM 124 (48) 15...Rfc8 16.Qxb6 Nxb6 17.Bg3 Rxc1+ 18.Rxc1 Rc8 19.Rxc8+ Nxc8 20.h3 Ne4 21.Bh2 Kf8 22.Ne1

This imprecision may seem almost innocuous, but it allows Hikaru to his opponent far more trouble than you'd think. The problem stems simply from two immediate factors, the white squares on the queenside and Black's numerical advantage. With the white king temporarily restrained and the bishop locked away on h2, it is a 3-2 fight. 22...Nd2! 23.f3 f5 24.Nc2 Ke7 25.Kf2 Nb6 26.Ke2 Nb3 27.Nb4 Na5 28.Bc2 Nac4 29.Nd3 a5 30.Bg3 Nd5 31.Bf2 g5 32.g4

32...a4! Inch by inch Nakamura has been weaving his way in and gaining space on both sides of the board. By fixing the panws on a3-b2, he not only robs the biship of a square, but not forces L'Ami to constantly check tactics there as the sacrificial motifs abound. 33.e4 fxe4 34.fxe4 Ndb6

There is only one way to avoid losing, can you find it? It is not easy frankly, and no doubt the Dutch GM was also short of time. 35.e5? Alas this doesn't do it, and Kf3 fails to Nd2+.

The move is 35.d5! The idea is that after 35...exd5 White has the resource 36.e5!! dxe5 37.Nxe5! Nxe5 38.Bxb6 and White's bishop pair combined with Black's bad bishop compensates the extra pawn. After the bishop goes to d4 there will be no chance of winning as Bg7 will always be threatened. 35...Be4 36.exd6+ Kxd6 37.Bg3+ Ke7 38.Kd1 Bxd3 39.Bxd3 Nxb2+ 40.Ke2 Nd5 41.Be4 [41.Bxb5 Nc3+] 41...Nc3+ 42.Kf3 b4 43.Be1 Nbd1 0-1. [Click to replay]

In the "B" group, much was made, deservedly so, of McShane's fantastic win over Wojtaszek, which helped him keep the lead, and at the expense of the top Elo in the tournament with 2726 no less. In the headline we nicknamed him McChine (as in machine) because to our astonishment, his late opening and middlegame play was so spot on, that even the engines were unable to find a fault. Great play by the Englishman, and it is little wonder his current performance is in Kasparov-land.

The smile of a guy with a 2900+ performance

McShane,Luke J (2664) - Wojtaszek,Radoslaw (2726) [B23]
73rd Tata Steel GMB Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 21.01.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.d3 Na5 8.0-0 Nh6 9.Qe1 Nxc4 10.dxc4 f5 11.e5 Be6 12.b3 Nf7 13.exd6 Qxd6 14.Bb2

Black's excessively excentric opening play has landed him into hot water. 14...0-0 15.Rf2 Rae8 16.Nb5 Qb6 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.a4 a5 19.Rd1 Bc8 20.Re2 e6

21.Ng5! This insidious move actually threatens to win the queen. Not via some double attack, something a little more direct. 21...Rd8 The only move. 21...Nxg5? 22.Rd6! and the queen is caught.; 21...h6? 22.Nxf7 Kxf7 23.Rd6! and caught again! 22.Rxd8 Rxd8 23.Nxe6+ Bxe6 24.Rxe6

24...Rd1 As ugly as it may be, losing yet another pawn, this move is forced. 24...Nd6? just drops all the pieces after 25.Nxd6 Rxd6 26.Qe5+ Kh6 27.Rxd6 25.Rxg6+ hxg6 26.Qxd1 Qe6 27.Kf2 g5 28.Qd5 Qh6 29.fxg5 Qh4+ 30.Ke2 Qxh2 31.Qxb7 Kg6 32.Qc6+ Kxg5 33.Qf3 f4 34.Qh3 Qg1 35.Nc3 Nd6 36.Qf3 Qc1 37.Kd3 Qg1

38.Qxf4+ Resigns since after Kxf4 39.Ne2+ Ke5 40.Nxg1 1-0. [Click to replay]

Tania Sachdev had a fantastic result by mating leader GM Daniele Vocaturo

The "C" group came "oh so close" to having a new leader. First, the lovely Tania Sachdev outdid herself by actually mating the leader GM Daniele Vocaturo, but what is more, young Ilya Nyzhnyk was within inches of a fantastic turnaround, when his opponent made a serious mistake, and allowed Ilya's pieces to swarm around his king. The Ukrainian was down to a minute for his last ten moves, and he went for the repetition (missing a win 'en route') a few moves before the time-control. Had he won, he would now be in sole first, as it is Nyzhnyk and Vocaturo now share the lead with 4.5/6 followed by GM Kateryna Lahno with 4.0/6.

GM Ilya Nyzhnyk

Van Der Werf,Mark (2439) - Nyzhnyk,Illya (2530) [A15]
73rd Tata Steel GMC Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 21.01.2011

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Nge2 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d3 Ne8 9.Be3 Nc7 10.d4 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Ne6 12.Nde2 Nc5 13.f4 Be6 14.b3 Qc8

Van der Werf's opening choice is perfect since this sort of bind can be extremely challenging to play with Black. 15.Rf2. 15.Re1 a5 16.Rb1 Bh3 17.Bh1 Bg4 18.Qd2 Rb8 19.a3 Na6 20.Nb5 Qd7 21.Nec3 Rfd8 22.Bb6 Rdc8 23.Bf2 Rd8 24.Nd5 e6 25.Nb6 Qe7 26.Bg2 e5 27.f5 gxf5 28.h3 Bh5 29.exf5 f6 30.Nd5 1/2-1/2 Sunye Neto,J (2510)-Leitao,R (2360)/San Jose do Rio Preto 1995/EXT 1998 (70) 15...Bg4 16.Qd2 Rb8 17.Rb1 Mark threatens b4 and sidesteps any pins along the long diagonal that might empower a b5 push from Black or prevent a Nd5 of his own. 17...a5 18.Nd4 Bh3 19.Bf3 Re8 20.Ndb5 b6 21.Nd5 Qd7 22.a3 f5?

23.e5! Houston we have a problem. 23...Ne4. The pawn is untouchable since a piece is lost after 23...dxe5 24.Bxc5 and if 24...bxc5? 25.Nf6+ wins the queen. 24.Bxe4 fxe4 25.Nxb6 Rxb6 26.Bxb6 Qb7 27.Be3. 27.c5! dxc5 (or 27...dxe5 28.Qd5+ e6 29.Qxe4 Bf5 30.Qe1 Bxb1 31.Nd6+/-) 28.Qd5+ e6 29.Qxc5 27...dxe5 28.Qd5+ e6 29.Qc5 Rd8 Black is starting to get counterplay so White strives to exchange queens to avoid trouble. 30.Qb6 Qc8

In theory, not the best move, but seeing his opponent trying to exchange queens Nyzhnyk rightly judges that Van der Werf may do so to his detriment, 31.Qc7? A blunder that swings the balance of things. Now Black is better, though nothing decisive...yet. 31...Qxc7 Ilya was down to one minute on his clock by now, so was under maximum pressure. 32.Nxc7 Rd3 33.Re2 exf4 34.gxf4

34...Nd4! 35.Kf2. 35.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 36.Kh1 Bg4 37.Rg2 Bf3 would be nasty too.

35...Bf6 Argh! This was the collective sound of groans on Playchess. Just 35...Nxe2 36.Kxe2 Bg4+ 37.Kf2 Bf6 was enough as the bishop on e3 is lost. 38.Bc5 e3+ 39.Bxe3 (39.Kg3 e2+ 40.Kg2 (40.Kxg4 h5#) ) 39...Bh4+ 36.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 37.Ke1 Bc3+ 38.Kf2 Black is still better, but Ilya is playing with seconds on his clock, and goes for the safe repetition. 38...Bd4+ 38...Rf3+ 39.Kg1 Bd4+ 40.Kh1 Rxf4 41.Rbe1 e3 would still leave White with a lot of work to do to save it. 42.Nb5 Bc5 43.Nc3 Kf7 39.Ke1 Bc3+ 40.Kf2 Bd4+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Gallery of players from "C" group

Dariusz Swiercz

Benjamin Bok

Roeland Pruijssers

Jan-Willem De Jong

Robin Van Kampen

Kateryna Lahno

Daniele Vocaturo

Murtas Kazhgaleyev

Ivan Ivanisevic

Sebastian Siebrecht

Mark Bluvshtein

Mark Van Der Werf

Pictures by Frits Agterdenbos (Chess Vista) and Joachim Schulze (Schachfotos)

Watching the games

It goes without saying that the options to watch the games live are wide and varied. You can watch them at no cost on Playchess, enjoying the software's new options to display multiple boards at the same time, and if you are a Premium member, live grandmaster commentary will be provided on Playchess for every round by GM Daniel King, author of the best-selling Power Play series, and GM Lubomir Ftacnik.

A 10-minute sample of the Daily Roundup by GM Daniel King on the fourth round action.

If you miss the live games, you can always watch the commentary after the fact, or get an abridged tale via the Daily Roundup show also hosted on Playchess. Again, if you miss the show, it remains available on the server at your disposal.


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register