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Thursday, January 24, 2013

75th Tata Steel Chess R10: Anand, Aronian, Nakamura 1.5 Points Away

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

Hi everyone,

The 7th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament is nearing its end. Ten rounds have been played and three more are to go. Thursday being a rest day, here's the official report and updates on the events of Round 10. In round 10 of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament Magnus Carlsen increased his lead to 1,5 points by defeating Erwin l'Ami in a hard-fought Caro Kann. l'Ami threw up a barricade early on and toughly defended for many hours, only to falter in the final hour of play, as has happened to so many others facing the world number one. 

Meanwhile, after drawing several promising positions in the first couple of rounds, and suffering a devastating blow against Anand in round 4, Armenia's Levon Aronian has quietly been working on his comeback. Today he achieved his fourth victory, this time courtesy of Wang Hao, who played so passively that he was virtually lost the moment White crossed the middle of the board for the first time! Now sharing second place, Viswanathan Anand had Sergey Karjakin in a stranglehold early on, but whereas many would have succumbed, the Russian Grandmaster withstood the pressure. Once the Indian Tiger had circled his prey a few times to no avail, Karjakin collected half a point. Hikaru Nakamura joined Anand and Aronian in second place by beating Fabiano Caruana after a long struggle. Playing Black the American of Japanese descent rapidly achieved a comfortable position out of an irregular King's Indian, an opening the Italian of American descent has little experience with, being mainly an e4-player. Utilizing his bishop pair, Nakamura kept leaning on White's position until finally Caruana slipped up, allowing a venomous tactic!

Group A: Round 10 - Wednesday January 23
Loek van Wely - Anish Giri ½-½
Vishy Anand - Sergey Karjakin ½-½
Ivan Sokolov - Peter Leko 0-1

The battle for best Dutchman of the tournament came to a head when Loek van Wely completely mishandled the White side of a Grunfeld Indian against Anish Giri. The young Dutch Champion ignored various promising continuations and chose a safe line, winning a pawn but handing over the pair of bishops. The six-time Dutch Champion confidently steered the game into safety, maintaining his standing as Best Dutchman. 

The remaining Netherlander, Ivan Sokolov, was less fortunate, meeting a well-prepared Peter Leko. Like Van Wely yesterday, Hungary's number one chess player opted for the Nimzo Indian against Nimzo expert Sokolov. At the 2012 Olympiad Leko had suffered a painful defeat at the hands of Arkadij Naiditsch in the same line that appeared on the board today, and founthe day before, the novelty 15...Nh5!in his preparation of the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent in November of last year. Instead of defending a slightly worse position, Sokolov tried to punish Black's weakening of the b1-h7 diagonal but was struck by killer moves. Once White attack had run out of steam, Leko took over the initiative and won quickly. 

Finally, former Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan won her second game of the tournament, again with Black, this time versus Pentala Harikrishna. The Chinese Grandmaster obtained a pleasant endgame from a Siclian Defence and managed to parlay it into victory deep in a rook endgame.

Whereas tournament victory in Group A seems all but decided, the fight for first in Group B is reaching its climax. While leader Sergey Movsesian quickly drew against Daniil Dubov, Richard Rapport went the whole ten yards to bring down Alexander Ipatov. Close behind Movsesian and Rapport, Arkadij Naiditsch and Jan Smeets are in third place at 6,5 out of 10. In Group C the epic battle between Sabino Brunello and Fernando Peralta continued in full force. Both players gave everything they had to beat Oleg Romanishin and Mark van der Werf respectively. Brunello is still in the lead with 8,5 out of 10, with Peralta still half a point behind.

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