17-year-old Wei Yi was the only player to win in Round 11 of the Tata Steel Masters. His 31-move victory over Sergey Karjakin took the Chinese prodigy into clear second place, only half a point behind Wesley So, who he now plays in Round 12. Elsewhere we witnessed an amazing collection of missed wins, with Adhiban in particular a move away from shocking Magnus Carlsen. In the Challengers, 16-year-old Jeffery Xiong beat his co-leader Ilia Smirin to become the favourite to qualify for the 2018 Tata Steel Masters.
A crazy day eventually produced only a single win:
Wei Yi hot on the heels of So… and Carlsen
No-one doubts Wei Yi’s talent, but that also means the Chinese youngster will be compared only with the very best. He crossed 2600 and 2700 at an earlier age than Magnus, but to keep up that pace will require an incredible next few months and years. Carlsen briefly hit world no. 1 on the live rating list as a 17-year-old, in the same year he won the Tata Steel Masters for the first time after tying with Levon Aronian.
Although Wei Yi is up 21.5 points in Wijk aan Zee to 2727.5 and 26th place on the live rating list, it’s asking too much to expect him to jump another 100 points in a year. What is possible, though, is to win in Wijk aan Zee, since his victory over Sergey Karjakin put him only half a point behind Wesley So with two rounds to go.
Lawrence Trent takes us through a remarkably easy win over the famously difficult to beat Sergey Karjakin:
Karjakin could only lament his performance:
Anatoly Karpov claimed the arrival of Sergey's wife towards the end of the World Championship match was a mistake, arguing any change was likely to upset a player's rhythm. Perhaps he'll repeat that argument when he arrives in Wijk aan Zee for the final round on Sunday, though Sergey can afford to take things easier in the aftermath of the World Championship:
There were plenty of players with regrets on a day when it seemed the long tournament was beginning to take its toll on the Tata Steel Masters participants.
Adhiban had a typically refreshing explanation for his choice of the Scandinavian (1.e4 d5!?) against Magnus Carlsen:
For the past two rounds I played some normal lines so I thought ok, it was time to play something stupid again!
Once again it worked, since a pawn grab by Magnus on moves 14-15 enabled Black to gain excellent compensation. The World Champion was again caught in the dilemma of whether to acquiesce to a draw or push for a win, and the result was a goal-mouth opportunity for his opponent after 34.Bd2? left the white rook unprotected.