Wijk aan Zee Rd8: Almost, almost, and gotcha!

by ChessBase
1/24/2012 – Today's round was marked more by near misses than actual wins, of which there were only one. Although neither of the leaders was in a position to win, the same was not true of Caruana who missed a winning attack available on move 17 against Ivanchuk, nor Kamsky who was dead won against Gelfand. Gashimov won his first game, beating Giri in a very sharp Najdorf. Pictures, videos, and 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

The beaches around the North Sea are quite empty in spite of the many chess players

The rough sea and windy conditions undoubtedly play a big part. Note the stranded
ship is no longer there.

One of the stamps from the World Championship match between Anand and Topalov

Topalov is kind enough to add his autograph where Anand's had already been obtained

Round eight

Group A: Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 22nd
Veselin Topalov - Levon Aronian
Fabiano Caruana - Vassily Ivanchuk
Anish Giri - Vugar Gashimov
David Navara - Loek van Wely
Boris Gelfand - Gata Kamsky
Teimour Radjabov - Magnus Carlsen
Sergey Karjakin - Hikaru Nakamura

Today's round was marked more by near misses than actual wins, of which there were only one. Although neither of the leaders was in a position to win, the same was not true of everyone.

Aronian analyzes with Topalov

Carlsen and Radjabov had a protracted struggle in which Magnus seemed to have an advantage at one point, but somehow it never went beyond this. Push he did though, and although it got a bit risky, he avoided overcommitting and a draw was agreed. When asked about it after, he justified his choice, "You should expect to fight for every half-point."

To the delight of the media, Carlsen and Radjabov analyzed their game extensively in
the press room.

Over twelve minutes of their analysis was caught on film (courtesy of the Tata Steel Facebook page) 

Fabiano Caruana had a significant advantage against Vassily Ivanchuk, but failed to make the most of it, and it drew after a sacrifice yielded no more than a repetition. The engines, in their merciless analysis, pointed out an attacking pattern that would probably have lead to a more positive result. While it is a fair comment to protest that humans are not computers (thank god), one cannot help pointing out that this still amounts to an inordinate number of squandered opportunities for the Italian star, and his opponents may not be so kind when it is their turn in front of the goal.

Neither player was at his sharpest, so a draw was a fair result

Still, if Caruana missed an attack, Kamsky missed an outright win against Gelfand that persisted over several moves. He later explained that his mind was a blank at this point, and unable to see the win he felt was there, just took the draw.

Anish Giri with his two little sisters and his mother

Although it would be fair to say Gashimov is smiling because he won, truth be told,
he smiles with good humor even after his losses. Quite exceptional.
(photo: Frits Agterdenbos / www.chessvista.com)

The one decisive game of Group A was unexpectedly by Vugar Gashimov. He admitted he was helped by Anish Giri’s strange opening play, but be that as it may, it was a very sharp Najdorf that had the audience trying to guess the moves.

IM Andrew Martin shared his analysis of the game between Giri and Gashimov

Since there is no such thing as too much of a good thing, here is GM Daniel King's
analysis from the round up show The full show is available at any time on Playchess
to premium subscribers.  

Group A standings after eight rounds

Group B: Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 22nd
Alexander Motylev - Daniele Vocatura
Sipke Ernst - Ilya Nyzhnik
Pentala Harikrishna - Sergey Tiviakov
Dimitri Reinderman - Vladimir Potkin
Lazaro Bruzon - Jan Timman
Kateryna Lahno - Erwin L'Ami
Harika Dronavalli - Viktorija Cmilyte

Erwin L'Ami moved into 3rd-4th with his win
(photo: Frits Agterdenbos / www.chessvista.com)

In Group B, the ranks are starting to shift, though Pentala Harikrisna still leads with 6.0/8, albeit by the slimmest of margins. He played one of the top seeds, Sergey Tiviakov, with whom he drew, while Alexander Motylev came closer after defeating Daniele Vocaturo, and is now in second with 5.5/8. GM Erwin L’Ami and Lazaro Bruzon also won their games and are in 3rd-4th with 5.0/8.

Sergey Tiviakov drew the leader Pentala Harikrishna (photo: Frits Agterdenbos / www.chessvista.com)

Group B standings after eight rounds

Group C: Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 22nd
Pieter Hopman - Lars Ootes
Hans Tikkanen - Anne Haast
Sahaj Grover - Lisa Schut
Matthew Sadler - Maxim Turov
Tania Sachdev - Elina Danielian
Elizabeth Paehtz - Etienne Goudriaan
Daan Brandenburg - Baskaran Adhiban

The big game between top Elos Maxim Turov (2645) and Matthew Sadler (2660) was relatively calm, and while Turov remains at 6.5/8 he is no longer alone, as Hans Tikkanen has now caught up with him after his own destructive streak against the lower-rated players.

Elizabeth Paetz and Tania Sachdev (photo: Frits Agterdenbos / www.chessvista.com)

Group C standings after eight rounds

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

Photos by Joachim Schulze, Axel Eger, and Frits Agterdenbos (www.chessvista.com)


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
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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