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Monday, January 27, 2014

76th Tata Steel Chess R11: Winner's Press Conference Video with Aronian; Giri second, Karjakin third

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

Hello everyone,

Levon Aronian has won the 76th edition of Tata Steel Chess despite a last round blunder-loss to Loek van Wely. Anish Giri is second and Sergey Karjakin is third. Here is the final tournament report via the official website:

The participants showed no signs of fatigue and interesting battles were fought out in the last round of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2014.

Loek van Wely went for an aggressive approach in his encounter with tournament victor Levon Aronian, opting for the Dutch Defense. The Dutchman thought he “had nothing to lose anyway” and was happy about the way the game developed. But then Van Wely “completely misplayed it and after that I was just positionally lost.” 

Replay all the Round 11 games with Chess King.

Both combatants invested a lot of time evaluating the complications and matters became unclear in time trouble. Aronian felt the pressure and blundered on move 38 when he played the horrible 38.exf4??. Van Wely capitalized immediately with the devastating 38. …Bd4+!ending the game.

Anish Giri finished in second place after a draw against Hikaru Nakamura. In an interesting line, Nakamura commented he “had no idea what was going on.” Giri sacrificed a pawn and decided to give up another one to keep his opponent from developing his pieces. 

The two competitors had a lot of lines to choose from but in the end the Dutchman’s compensation sufficed. Nakamura still had an extra pawn in the endgame but the American said “objectively it was probably always going to be a draw.”

Sergey Karjakin came in third as he escaped with a draw against Leinier Dominguez. The Cuban grabbed a pawn with 13. …Nxe4 and it seemed a matter of time before he would convert his advantage into a win but Karjakin confirmed his reputation as an excellent defender, restoring the balance. 

The Russian blundered on move 40, though, giving Dominguez a winning position. Karjakin rose to the occasion once more when his opponent played 43. …Rxa2 (see diagram), missing 43. …f3! with the idea of 44.Qb1 Re1+! and mate to follow. He managed to get a rook-ending that proved too difficult to win for Dominguez. Two lone kings remained after 71 moves, ending the duel peacefully.

The Boris Gelfand – Pentala Harikrishna game was won by the white player. The position appeared to be balanced after the opening but Gelfand gradually increased the pressure on Harikrishna’s position. The Indian had to defend carefully but he could not prevent Gelfand from getting a favourable pawn-ending. 

The Israeli commented he “probably shouldn’t go into it. I can play a rook-ending that is totally won and a pawn-ending requires a lot of calculation.” However, Gelfand calculated correctly and brought home the win several moves later.

Arkadij Naiditsch ended his tournament with a second consecutive victory, punishing Richard Rapport’s provocative opening play. When the Hungarian wasted several tempos, Naiditsch was quick to launch his attack. The German had a nice finisher with 20.Rxh7! Bf5 21.Qc4, winning decisive material. Several moves later, Rapport realized further resistance was futile and resigned.

A long theoretical line in the Grünfeld was played in the encounter between Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana, creating an equal position. The battle reached a climax when Caruana went for  22. …Nxd4. After 23.Bxd7 Ne2+ 24.Kf1 Bxa1 25.Kxe2 a4 So had to be careful not to let the passed a-pawn become dangerous. A repetition of moves occurred and as neither competitor saw a way to make progress, a draw was agreed.

Ivan Saric drew his last game in the Challengers group against Sabino Brunello, bringing his total to an amazing 10.0/13. Saric now has the right to participate in next year’s Masters Group. Jan Timman and Baadur Jobava drew their respective games and tied for second place with 8.5/13.

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