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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

75th Tata Steel Chess 2013 R9: Carlsen in Sole Lead

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,
In round 9 of the 75th Tata Steel Chess Tournament the world number one Magnus Carlsen increased his lead to a full point. Although the top seed quickly gained the upper hand with black against the bottom seed, Hou Yifan, the former Women's World Champion put up a fierce fight and only threw in the towel deep in a queen endgame. Viswanathan Anand, in second place at 6 out of 9, surprised Peter Leko with a Najdorf Sicilian, and a novelty. It did not give him more than equality and the game was drawn in 25 moves.
Round 9 - Tuesday the 22nd
Sokolov, I. - van Wely, L. 0-1
Leko, P. - Anand, V. ½-½
Karjakin, S. - Harikrishna, P. ½-½
Hou, Y. - Carlsen, M. 0-1
L'Ami, E. - Aronian, L. ½-½
Wang, H. - Caruana, F. ½-½
Nakamura, H. - Giri, A. ½-½

On paper, Hikaru Nakamura seemed to have good chances to join Anand in 2nd place, playing White against Anish Giri  2012 Tata, the American had played the Dutchman six (!) times, winning two games and losing none. 

However, as in Nakamura's previous encounters with the Dutch in this tournament, he again needed his Houdini-like qualities to escape from a lost position. In time trouble Giri lost control over a strategically dominating position with a pair of bishops and strong pawn center, and eventually had to force a repetition of moves when the time scramble was over. Levon Aronian was as fortunate as Nakamura and still shares 3rd place with the American. 

The Armenian Grandmaster had barely started the game when he overplayed his hand, pushing his h-pawn for an attack on Erwin l'Ami's king that never materialized. In the counter attack on the other side of the board the Dutchman was careless for one moment. Also drawn were the games Karjakin-Harikrishna and Wang Hao-Caruana, although the latter game contained a highly entertaining tactical sequence. The only other decisive result of the round was produced by the all-Dutch encounter between Ivan Sokolov and Loek van Wely. The latter surprised his opponent by playing the Nimzo-Indian, as Sokolov is known as a leading expert of this opening, being the author of The Strategic Nimzo-Indianpublished last year. The game proved to be a rollercoaster ride that was decided in time trouble. 

In Grandmaster Group B Sergei Movsesian, one of the pre-tournament favorites, is in a clear lead for the first time. The Aremenian surprised his opponent Maxim Turov with a devastating attack along the h-file immediately following the first time control. The Dutch fans had high hopes that Jan Timman would win his fourth game in a row, this time with Black against top seed Arkadij Naiditsch. To their disappointment, the Dutchman first squandered his endgame advantage, and then blundered, handing the point to the Germany's number one who now shares 2nd place with Hungary's Richard Rapport at 6 out of 9.

As in Group B, Group C witnessed a blood bath today with decisive results in 5 of the 7 games. Among the winners was Sabino Brunello who now leads at 7,5 out of 9, half a point ahead of Fernando Peralta. 3rd Placed David Klein needed to beat 13rd seed Miguoel Admiraal for a GM norm, but was checkmated brutally after a very nice display by Admiraal worthy of a brilliancy prize.

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