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Monday, January 13, 2014

76th Tata Steel Chess 2014 R2: Caruana Loses to Aronian

Chess Blog for Daily Chess News and Trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hello everyone,

Once again we were treated to a couple of great battles, with half the games in the Masters group ending in a win for one of the players.

Levon Aronian dealt a blow by defeating Fabiano Caruana. As Aronian said, “Any win in such a strong tournament is an important one and I’m happy that I didn’t spoil too much because I felt I had a good position out of the opening.” Caruana had to invest a lot of time to keep trouble at bay, but in the end Aronian started to push his passed a-pawn with 41.a4 (see diagram)and the arising problems proved too big for the Italian.

In a Bogo-Indian, Anish Giri got a promising position versus Arkadij Naiditsch. Instead of 20.g4 (see diagram) he “should have played 20.Bxe7 Nxe7 21. g4 and it’s just winning” (Giri). “Now it became a position in which there were many complicated lines, but fortunately all of them are good for me”. Giri was pushing for a win when the game came to an abrupt end as Naiditsch allowed Giri a forced checkmate.

The third victor of the day was Richard Rapport, who took revenge for his first-round loss by beating Boris Gelfand, dealing him his second drumming of the tournament. In the Budapest gambit, Rapport had a great advantage but, as he stated, “just before and after the time control I tried everything not to win.” The advantage, however, still proved big enough for him to win the game, thereby “defeating my highest-rated opponent in classical chess” (Rapport)

Hikaru Nakamura played “a bit of a strange game” against Wesley So. It was the first time they confronted each other and “at some point during the middle game I was afraid I was possibly getting outplayed, but then in the analysis somehow it seemed I was completely fine,” according to Nakamura, who thought that the draw was “a pretty fair result over all”.

Leinier Dominguez and Loek van Wely went for what theorists nowadays seem to call a “hyper-accelerated Dragon.” They ended up in a c3-Sicilian, however, and their encounter had nothing even remotely like an accelerated start, with Van Wely taking a 45 minute think for his sixth move. He explained that he didn’t see a satisfying continuation and eventually had to make a move. There was a trade of queens, but Van Wely still wasn’t too sure about his position. In the end, he solved all his problems and a draw was agreed.

Sergey Karjakin and Pentala Harikrishna quickly reached a position in the Queen’s Gambit declined that looked highly drawish. Karjakin, who celebrated his 24th birthday today, had the slightly better bishop but Harikrishna defended adequately.

With only two rounds played, it’s still close with Aronian, Nakamura, Karjakin, Giri and So leading the pack with 1,5/2.

In the Challengers group, seven players are in shared first place with 1,5/2. Baadur Jobava quickly beat Etienne Goudriaan, while Jan-Krzysztof Duda triumphed over Merijn van Delft after a protracted struggle. Benjamin Bok won his game as well. Against Yangyi Yu he struck with the devastating (see diagram) 23.Rxe5! dxe5 24.Bxh6!, giving him a great position and eventually the win.

You can follow the games with Chess King.

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