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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

76th Tata steel Chess Round 3: Caruana, Harikrishna Score

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

Hello everyone,

Fabiano Caruana is back in the tournament! In a Catalan he got Sergey Karjakin on the defensive and started pushing his kingside pawns. Karjakin saw no other option but to give up his knight in order to stop the pawns from marching down the board. Caruana’s task became a technical one which he carried out perfectly. The other game that was decided was the game between Pentala Harikrishna and Leinier Dominguez. In a Sicilian Najdorf, neither player managed to obtain a clear advantage out of the opening. An endgame with both sides having rooks and opposite-coloured bishops was reached. Harikrishna: “his moves 27. …b6 and 32. …a5 were too committal and after that only I could play for a win.” 

Dominguez was left with a difficult defensive task and when Harikrishna pushed his passed d-pawn things got dangerous for Dominguez. When Harikrishna obtained a passed c-pawn as well it was only a matter of time before the Indian Grandmaster got his first win of the tournament.

All other games ended in a draw. The home crowd’s attention was mostly on the encounter between Loek van Wely and Anish Giri. Van Wely tried the Trompowsky once before against Giri at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2012 and back then it gave him a promising position. Van Wely: “He was probably expecting that I didn’t have the courage to try it again.” 

The experienced Dutchman got a position that “looked too good to be true” and stated that “normally you win such a position within 20 moves with blood all over the place but somehow he still managed to pose some problems.” Van Wely missed an excellent chance and the game ended with a perpetual check.

Richard Rapport and Levon Aronian deployed a Trompowsky as well. When asked whether he expected Rapport’s choice, Aronian replied “not really, but my opponent is a creative player” so he figured he would leave the theoretical paths soon. After 41 moves, a draw was agreed upon.

A more hard-fought draw was reached in the battle between Hikaru Nakamura and Boris Gelfand. Nakamura felt he was fine out of the opening but then he “lost complete control and couldn’t come up with a good idea.” 

Things got critical for the American although he thought he “probably was never losing.” However, at one moment Gelfand could have capitalized. Both players missed and the game was a draw.

Wesley So chose to play the Berlin Wall against Arkadij Naiditsch. Naiditsch stated that the variation he played was “a little better for white. I held it as well with black but I needed to defend quite long, so I decided to give it a try today with white”. So said it was “his first Berlin endgame”, putting it to the test after watching the Anand-Carlsen match. A draw was inevitable when they reached an opposite-coloured bishop ending.

When the storm abated, half of the playing field shared first place. Aronian, Nakamura, Caruana, So, Giri and Harikrishna lead with 2/3 each.

A lot of blood was shed in the Challengers group on Monday, with only one game finishing undecided. Baadur Jobava, Anna Muzychuk, Ivan Saric, Yangyi Yu and Merijn van Delft all won with the white pieces, whilst Benjamin Bok was the only competitor to win with black. The game between Radek Wojtaszek and Jan-Krzysztof Duda ended in a draw. In this group Jobava and Bok are in the lead with 2,5/3, followed by Saric, Muzychuk and Duda with 2/3.

Replay Round 3 games with Chess King.

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