Wijk aan Zee: Aronian off to a 2.0/2 start, Caruana beats Karjakin

by ChessBase
1/15/2012 – Two decisive results, and two extremes. Levon Aronian declared that it was time to take his game to another level (some of us mistakenly thought 2800 was another level), and after a veritable see-saw battle against Nakamura, he had the last word and is on 2.0/2. Fabiano Caruana joined the chasers with 1.5 after he beat Karjakin, who is now on a worrisome 0.0/2 start. Report with video analysis.

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The 74th Tata Steel Chess Tournament will take place from January 13 to 29, 2012 in the sports hall Moriaan in Wijk aan Zee. There are three grandmaster tournaments with fourteen players each playing thirteen rounds at 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. Rest days are on January 18, 23, and 26.

Tata Steel Tournament 2012

Round two

The tournament poster

Group A: Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 15th
Veselin Topalov - Loek van Wely
Vugar Gashimov - Gata Kamsky
Vassily Ivanchuk - Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian - Hikaru Nakamura
Fabiano Caruana - Sergey Karjakin
Anish Giri - Teimour Radjabov
David Navara - Boris Gelfand

It was a day of extremes even if only two rounds have taken place. Fabiano Caruana took advantage of what appears to be a slightly out-of-sorts Sergey Karjakin and beat him. It was a strange game in which once again Karjakin was caught underestimating his opponent's prospects, and when the Italian GM moved in for the attack, it was too late. Caruana won the exchange and went into a straightforward endgame he had no trouble converting. This places Fabiano in the group with 1.5/2 while Sergey faces a very unpleasant 0.0/2. If it is any encouragement to the young Russian, Anish Giri had a 1.0/4 start at Reggio Emilia and still managed to pull off a win.

Ivanchuk showed signs he was getting back into gear as he kept Carlsen under pressure

Ivanchuk managed to place Carlsen in the seat usually reserved for the Norwegian's opponents: suffering through an endgame with a persistent disadvantage throughout. The main difference is that Magnus did not slip and avoided getting into fatal trouble. As Vassily explained after they had shaken hands, "I wanted to win the game, but unfortunately it was a draw."

Levon Aronian was not superstious facing the Dutch defense in a Dutch event

The most exciting clash, and one of the longest, was Levon Aronian's game Hikaru Nakamura. It is hard to really judge such a sharp game in which the American played his usual uncompromising style with a Dutch, and at some point seemed to have gained the edge. Whatever the case, time trouble erased the slate, and the balance swung once more. With a queen for rook and piece, Nakamura failed to generate enough counterplay and the Armenian's pieces soon took over the position. WIth his win, he avenges his loss to Hikaru a month earlier at the London Classic, and takes an ideal 2.0/2 start.

GM Daniel King analyzes Aronian-Nakamura in his daily round-up. The full show is
available at any time on Playchess to premium subscribers.

Tomorrow Carlsen faces Aronian with white, and you can be sure sparks will fly.

The official round two video report (courtesy of the Tata Steel Facebook page)  

Group B: Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 15th
Alexander Motylev - Vladimir Potkin
Sergey Tiviakov - Jan Timman
Ilya Nyzhnik - Erwin L'Ami
Daniele Vocatura - Viktorija Cmilyte
Sipke Ernst - Harika Dronavalli
Pentala Harikrishna - Kateryna Lahno
Dimitri Reinderman - Lazaro Bruzon

The crowd can be seen pressing against the barriers to see the players live

Tiviakov showed the first round loss was but a slip as he beat Timman in round two,
though Pentala Harikrishna is on 2.0/2.

Group C: Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 15th
Pieter Hopman - Maxim Turov
Lisa Schut - Elina Danielian
Anne Haast - Etienne Goudriaan
Lars Ootes - Baskaran Adhiban
Hans Tikkanen - Daan Brandenburg
Sahaj Grover - Elizabeth Paehtz
Matthew Sadler - Tania Sachdev

IM Andrew Martin sent detailed analysis of the game Hopman-Turov, won by second
seed Maxim Turov (2637) playing a modern Benko Gambit.  

Photos by Joachim Schulze

© Frits Agterdenbos of ChessVista


There will be full broadcast of all games on the official site and on the Playchess server, which will provide live audio commentary of the most interesting games (free for Premium members) starting at 15:00h for each round, 14:00h for the final round.

Date Round Day Commentator
14.01.2012 Round 1 Saturday Pelletier
15.01.2012 Round 2 Sunday King
16.01.2012 Round 3 Monday Seirawan
17.01.2012 Round 4 Tuesday King
18.01.2012 Free Day Wednesday
19.01.2012 Round 5 Thursday King
20.01.2012 Round 6 Friday Seirawan
21.01.2012 Round 7 Saturday Seirawan
22.01.2012 Round 8 Sunday King
23.01.2012 Free Day Monday
24.01.2012 Round 9 Tuesday King
25.01.2012 Round 10 Wednesday Pelletier
26.01.2012 Free Day Thursday
27.01.2012 Round 11 Friday King
28.01.2012 Round 12 Saturday Trent
29.01.2012 Round 13 Sunday King

Commentary begins at approx. 3 PM and lasts 2-2.5 hours with breaks in between. A round up show is provided at 8 PM server time.


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 a free Playchess client and get immediate access. Or you can get our latest Fritz 13 program, which includes six months free premium membership to Playchess.

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