Wijk aan Zee Rd5: Gelfand, Ivanchuk, and Nakamura win

by ChessBase
1/19/2012 – It is only fair that they be credited, especially as it also marks their first wins in the tournament. Gelfand beat Karjakin with a beautiful Najdorf remniscent of his Candidates success, while Ivanchuk and Nakamura rolled over their opponents in impressive fashion. The game of the round was nevertheless the incredibly exciting draw between Carlsen and Giri that went all the way. Round five report.

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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 five

Group A: Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 19th
Teimour Radjabov - Veselin Topalov
Sergey Karjakin - Boris Gelfand
Hikaru Nakamura - David Navara
Magnus Carlsen - Anish Giri
Gata Kamsky - Fabiano Caruana
Loek van Wely - Levon Aronian
Vugar Gashimov - Vassily Ivanchuk

Everyone deserves a chance to bask in the glory of a win, and this round was a chance for some of those who hadn’t already.

A view of Group A before the gong is rung

The first to score was last year’s winner, Hikaru Nakamura, who had been struggling with his form until now, but not today. He took on the luckless David Navara who seems to have become the tournament’s target, and the American did not miss him. Right from the opening he obtained an edge, and after a couple of mistakes by the Czech, it was sac-sac-mate.  When asked whether the rest day had been the source of the pixie dust, he responded that in fact it was his game against Anish Giri. For some inexplicable reason he had left that game feeling at peace, in a mood where chess just seems easy, and even regretted the rest day, anxious to play then and there.

The next lion to wake was the ever dangerous, ever unpredictable, Vassily Ivanchuk,  who came out of his den, growling and hungry for blood. Vugar Gashimov, who is the tournament’s rookie, was unable to parry the Ukrainian’s lunge, and it was decided after 20 odd moves.

Karjakin was unable to maintain his comeback as he ran aground against Gelfand's Najdorf

World championship challenger Boris Gelfand also showed up with the “good stuff”, reminding the audience why he had been the last one standing in the Candidates matches last year. Sergey Karjakin, who had managed to make it back to 50%, faced Gelfand’s Najdorf, and what a Najdorf it was. A mistake by the Russian was all it took for the Israeli to go for gold with a brilliant exchange offer after which White’s position soon collapsed.

Despite the 'peaceful' result, there was nothing peaceful about their game

In spite of the three decisive results, all interesting and entertaining, the game of the day was still the thrilling draw between Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri. Carlsen chose the offbeat Smyslov system against Giri’s Kings Indian, and soon they were both in unknown territory. At first it was unclear who would seize the initiative as both chose energetic plans, but somewhere Magnus went wrong, and soon the young Dutchman was the one calling the shots.

Anish Giri discusses the game, and what went on in his mind (courtesy of the Tata Steel Facebook page)

Things really seemed to be going downhill, when just when time pressure was beginning to be felt, Carlsen came up with an astonishing Na4 that only began to show its poison as they played on. That single knight move, after losing the exchange, tied up Black’s forces so badly that it was completely unclear how Giri would capitalize on his material advantage. Time pressure began to loom and Anish suddenly became anxious to take the draw while he could feeling that he was losing control over the game. He exchanged into a slightly worse endgame, but nothing serious enough to compromise his half-point.

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

As Levon Aronian chose to not take any unnecessary chances against Loek Van Wely, who later said he had hoped Aronian “was going to try some fancy business, and then profit from his risky strategy”, but the Armenian specifically mentioned he had not felt like taking any risks this time round, and a draw was agreed.

Group A standings after five rounds

Group B: Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 19th
Kateryna Lahno - Alexander Motylev
Harika Dronavalli - Lazaro Bruzon
Viktorija Cmilyte - Dimitri Reinderman
Erwin L'Ami - Pentala Harikrishna
Jan Timman - Sipke Ernst
Vladimir Potkin - Daniele Vocatura
Sergey Tiviakov - Ilya Nyzhnik

Pentala Harikrishna has led the B Group so far with 4.0/5

While Alexander Motylev made up some of the gap between him and leader Pentala Harikrishna by beating Kateryna Lahno, and Cuban Lazaro Bruzon move to 50% after a very disappointing start, the game of the B Group was Timman's. Jan Timman may no longer have the consistency that took him within a whisper of the 2700 club, back when the only two players in it were Kasparov and Karpov, but on occasion he brings back that old flair that has made him the greatest Dutch player since Max Euwe.

Jan Timman (right) showed some of his old magic in his win over Sipke Ernst

Jan Timman comments on his win (courtesy of the Tata Steel Facebook page)

Steve Giddins, oft-time contributor, and one-time editor in chief of the British Chess Magazine, has kindly allowed us to use his notes published in his blog.

Group B standings after five rounds

Group C: Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 19th
Elizabeth Paehtz - Pieter Hopman
Daan Brandenburg - Tania Sachdev
Baskaran Adhiban - Matthew Sadler
Etienne Goudriaan - Sahaj Grover
Elina Danielian - Hans Tikkanen
Maxim Turov - Lars Ootes
Lisa Schut - Anne Haast

Not much changed in the C group, and Turov is making short shrift of his lower rated opponents at 5.0/5.

Maxim Turov has had an impeccable 5.0/5 start

Group C standings after five rounds


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
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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