Chess in Black and White: Issue 7 "Tata Steel so far"
Today I am going to go through give a little summary of the players, how they have done, and who they face next round. Enjoy!
1. L. Aronian. He sits at #2 in rating in the world at 2812, and is the highest rated player in the tournament. After three rounds he shares the lead with 2/3. In round 1 Aronian played black, he achieved equality and agreed to a pretty early draw with Harikrinshna at move 30. In round 2 he had the white pieces against Fabiano Caruana. He never let the game become equal, and by move 30 he had about a .82 advantage, and it grew from there. This was a great win for him because Fabiano is expected to be near the top of the standing when the smoke clears. In round 3 Aronian once again had the black pieces, this time against Rapport, achived equality, and agreed to a draw on move 41. Aronian has to be satisfied so far, but he probably is hoping to do a little more as black in his coming rounds.
2. Wesley So was not one of the favorites coming in, but was expected to have a solid performance. However, he is playing very well so far and shared the lead with 2/3. In round one he was black against Rapport. He did not hesitate when he had the chance for a small advantage around move 40. Soon he had a winning advantage and won as black. In round 2 he continued his top play. This time he was white against Nakamura and after 27 moves a draw was agreed upon. This was a little surprising since white had maintained a slight advantage throughout, but the way to proceed was not clear. In round 3 So was once again playing as black, and soon after achiving equality agreed to a drw. He has to be very happy with his performance so far.This could be a breakout tournament for him.
3. Harikrishna also shares the lead with 2/3. In round one, as mentioned above, he achieved a draw as white against Aronian. In round 2 he was black against Karjakin. After 40 moves he once again earned the draw against a higher rated opponent. In round 3 he had white against Dominiguez. He maintaned a small advantage but was unable to make it worth a lot. I thought it may end up a draw, but Harikrishna kept pushing and broke through around move 60! By move 75 his opponent resigned. He has to also be very happy with his play in the first three rounds.
4. Caruana is the only one with a loss to also share in the lead after three rounds. He is also the only one without a draw. In round one he had white against Gelfand. By move 20 he was in the drivers seat and Gelfand resigned on move 30. In round 2 Caruana had black against Aronian and was in trouble my move 30 and he resigned on move 58. In round 3 Caruana had white again, this time against Karjakin. He had a small advantage for most of the game and around move 40 Caruana expanded it and had the game in hand, even though it took until move 78 for Karjakin to resign. Caruana should be pretty happy with his games as white, but he has to turn around his play as black.
5. Nakamura is the top US grandmaster and #3 in the world in rating, so he was expected to do well and it is no surprise that he shares the lead, unless of course if you watched his last game. In round 1 Naka had white against Naiditsch. The game remained even until around move 40, and once Naka had a bishop for 3 pawns the advantage grew. He very Skillfully converted that advantage into a voctory. In round 2 he had black against So, and even though he never achived equality, he still got the early draw. In round three he faced an underperforming Gelfand. Gelfand achived an advantage as black by move 20. And by move 40 Naka looked like he was going to lose, but then onmove 43 Gelfand missed a winning move and instead the game became relatively equal and a draw was agreed upon on move 59. Naka can be satisfied where he stands, but not with his play. If he can shake off his lucky draw he can still be a favorite to win it all.
6. Anish Giri is the last one to share in the 2/3 lead after 3 rounds. In round 1 he earned a relatively early draw as black against Dominguez. In round 2 he had white against Naiditsch. By move 30 he had a forced mate in the middle of the board, perhaps my favorite game thus far of the tournament. In round 3 he had black against Van Wely, and achived another draw relatively early. This time he needed some luck as he should have lost, Van Wely missed the desicive moves and then had to find a perpetual check to get the draw. Another fun game, and even with that close call he has to be happy thus far considering he is not even in the top hald of the section in rating.
Sitting just behind the leaders with 1.5/3 are Karjakin and Rapport, each going 1-1-1. After them Van Wely and Dominguez have 1/3, each with two draws and a loss. Bringing up the rear are a severly underperforming Gelfand and a struggling Naiditsch. Each of them has .5/3
Tomorrow is round 4 tomorrow, and these are the match ups and my predictions.
Giri vs So - This has potential to be a great game, both are playing well and share the lead. In the end though I cannot see either one overextending this early in the tournament. I expect a draw
Gelfand vs Naiditsch - I think Gelfand is clearly the favorite, even more so with the white pieces. I expect Gelfand to get back on track with a win.
Aronian vs Nakamura - I wish this match up happened later in the tournament, but this early I expect these co leaders and favorites to draw without fireworks. But i am hoping I am wrong!
Karjakin vs Rapport - both are sitting just outside the lead and need a win to get back into it, I think this game will be desicive. This is a tough one to pick, and I am going out on a limb and saying Rapport wins with the black pieces
Dominiguez vs Carauna - Dominiguez needs a win to get back into it, but Carauna is poised to jump on any advantage. I think Dominiguez goes for a little too much and Carauna exploits it for the win with the black pieces.
Van Wely vs Harikrishna- i expect Harikrishna to equalize fairly early and them to draw
I hope you enjoyed the summary, and I apoligize I do not have time to give the same attantion to section b. Here are the standings after the first 4 rounds of section B.
1 Jobava, B.3.5 / 4 in the 1700+ club, he is showing that perhaps this field is below his playing stregnth
2 Saric, I.3.0 / 4 Solid, and I expect it to coninue
3 Muzychuk, A.3.0 / 4 the top female in the group, she is more than holding her own
4 Reinderman, D.2.5 / 4 Started out strong, but can it continue?
5 Bok, B.2.5 / 4 Started out very strong until his loss to Zhao, we will see if he can continue poreforming above his IM status
6 Zhao, X.2.5 / 4 The other women in the field, also playing very strongly
7 Timman, J.2.0 / 4 He has been up and down so far
8 Duda, J.2.0 / 4 Started well but is faltering, I would like to see him pull an upset against at least one of the top players, I know he is capable of it
9 Wojtaszek, R.2.0 /4 After a slower start he is getting back on track, there are still high expectations for him in this tournament.
10 Brunello, S.1.5 / 4 Slow start and I expect him to remain in the middle of the pack
11 Troff, K.1.5 / 4 - he started off strong, lets hope the young american can get back on track
12 Yu, Y.1.0 / 4 -underpreforming so far, may just not be his tournament
13 Van Delft, M.1.0 / 4 Needs to pick it up, the Dutch overall are preforming ok at best. I want them to do well at home, but they are simply lower rated then most of the field
14 Goudriaan, E.0.0 / 4 - Not what he was hoping for so far
Thanks for reading,