Official Round One Report
World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway defeated Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan in the opening round of the 74th edition of the annual chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee
Defending himself with a Hedgehog that arose from a Symmetrical English, the only player to make his debut in Grandmaster Group A was slowly disemboweled by the former child prodigy, now leading the world rankings by a significant margin.
Magnus Carlsen defeated Vugar Gashimov
Second seed Levon Aronian of Armenia quickly reached a comfortable position as Black in a Ruy Lopez against Russia's Sergey Karjakin. A tense struggle ensued until Karjakin cracked under pressure with
32.Nh5?, where White could have struck with and after for example 32.Bxh6!! White is certainly not worse as Black will soon have to give his knight to stave off bigger trouble. Aronian missed 32...gxh6 33.Rxd7 Nxd7 34.Ng5 Kh8 35.Nxf7 Kg8 36.Nxh6 Kg7 37.Qf7 Kxh6 38.Nf5 Kg5 39.Qxd7 when White would soon have collapsed under the combined pressure of the black pieces. Instead, the game entered an endgame where Karjakin nonetheless succumbed to the continuous strain on his position. 32...Nxe4! 33.Ng5 Nxg5 34.Rxd7 Qe6
Sergey Karjakin lost to Lev Aronian
The 500-euro “Piet Zwart Prize” for the best game of the day was awarded to Anish Giri for his victory over World Championship contender Boris Gelfand of Israel. The Dutch prodigy, fresh off his formidable tournament victory at Reggio Emilia in Italy a week ago, made a big impression with another fine example of his mature positional style. Giri aptly neutralized Gelfand's initiative after the latter sacrificed a pawn out of a Queen's Gambit Accepted. Commentator of the day, Grandmaster Ivan Sokolov, was especially impressed with the 17-year-old's ability to keep posing his opponent new problems every time a safe haven came in view.
Anish Giri beat Boris Gelfand
Barely a week ago Hikaru Nakamura of the United States and Vasily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine were facing each other in the last round of Reggio Emilia, a tournament they would both rather forget about. Today they continued their rough rollercoaster ride were they left off, much to the chagrin of both. A Queen's Gambit Declined quickly became volatile, when according to Sokolov, Nakamura missed a chance to reach a strategically winning position with
and White will soon follow up with Be3-c5 and a2-a3. 14.Nd6 Bxd6 15.Qxd6
Soon after, America's number one erred again, when taking a pass would have been preferable to
18.a4?. Now Ivanchuk could have pushed for a win with , for example 18...Be7 and White is in serious trouble. Surprisingly, Ivanchuk instead went into a threefold repetition allowing his opponent to claim a draw. 19.Qd7 c2! 20.Rd4 Qxd7 21.Rxd7 Rad8 22.Rxd8 Rxd8 23.Rc1 Rd1 24.Kg2 Rxc1 25.Bxh5 Kg7 26.Bxc1
Hikaru Nakamura and Vassily Ivanchuk drew their game
The remaining three games in Grandmaster Group A were drawn after balanced endgames appeared on the board.
In Grandmaster Group B four out of seven games ended in a decision, with Kateryna Lahno awarded the 250-euro Prize for a her victory over Holland's Sipke Ernst after a beautiful thematic knight sacrifice:
28.Nf5! and Black's king was soon stripped of all defenders.
Kateryna Lahno beat Sipke Ernst
Timman, Jan H
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro
The four top seeds in Grandmaster Group C started their tournament with convincing victories. The 100-euro prize was won by Hans Tikkanen who makes his debut in Wijk aan Zee. The Swedish Grandmaster played a game full of strategical and tactical witticisms on the Black side of a Classical French against Elisabeth Paehtz of Germany.
Sadler, Matthew D
Report and photos from the official website coverage. Videos by Freshmen media.