Aronian & Saric Win at Tata With a Round to Spare
Levon Aronian clinched his fourth victory in Wijk aan Zee on Saturday, with a round to spare. The world's #2 grandmaster really dominated this year's Masters Group as he also won his black game against Leinier Dominguez today. In the Challengers Group, Ivan Saric won against Yu Yangiy and also secured victory.
Levon Aronian joined the world's elite not long after Garry Kasparov quit chess, and therefore they never played a game. It would have been very interesting to see these two players fighting each other! On Saturday both of them did fight for the headlines: Kasparov visited Wijk aan Zee, gave a press conference and joined the live commentary, while Aronian duly won another game. The Armenian's domination at a top level event is Carlsenesque, or Kasparovian!
First, here's the press conference given by Kasparov, who comments on the situation of the leaked contract after 20 minutes and 42 seconds.
Back to the games. In a Ruy Lopez, Dominguez's 17.Re1 was inaccurate according to Aronian. It was a mistake engines don't immediately notice, but it made Black's position “slightly more preferable.” White's problem was the bishop on a2, which soon got locked away and after a few more inaccuracies Black even got a protected passer on b3, when it was basically over.
With Aronian playing so impressively, this tournament is more about the question who will finish second. Anish Giri and Sergey Karjakin are the ones fighting for that prize, and in the penultimate round they drew their mutual game in an Open Catalan. After Giri was unable to prevent the push ....b7-b5 he needed to be a bit careful, but it was not so difficult to maintain the balance.
For Hikaru Nakamura the tournament has been disappointing, but at the end of round 10 he had reasons to smile, and tweet:
Of course, I start winning the moment @Kasparov63 shows up in Wijk aan Zee!— Hikaru Nakamura ( @GMHikaru) January 25, 2014
Nakamura was one of several GMs in this tournament who profited from Richard Rapport's over-creative play. The young Hungarian is playing amazing chess, but unfortunately it's just a bit too much at this level. In a sharp opening position, White should have taken the knight on c2 and it would have been a game. “Had he calmed down he should have been a bit better but he continued to play very creatively,” said Nakamura, who took the rook and defended his position to a win.
In round 7 and 8 Loek van Wely won two games in a row, but his success was short-lived. He continued with two losses, and on Saturday it went wrong against Boris Gelfand, who won his first game of the tournament. The Dutchman “was overoptimistic and played a bit too ambitiously”, said the Israeli GM. Van Wely probably underestimated 32...Rd1!.
Like Gelfand, Arkadij Naiditsch won his first game; he beat Fabiano Caruana as Black in a Réti Opening. Black was comfortable from the start and got a strong initiative on the queenside. After 31...Rd8 it was hard to do anything about the move 32...Nxf4 (the engine suggests 32.Qg1) but Caruana's 32.Re1 was definitely not the right way.
Wesley So got to show his hard preparation on the Berlin Ending for the second time in this tournament. He drew comfortably with Naiditsch earlier, and he did so with Pentala Harikrishna as well.
Tata Steel 2014 | Masters | Round 10 Standings
In the Challengers Group Ivan Saric has also secured victory with a round to spare. His game with Yangyi Yu seemed to be heading towards a draw, but in the time trouble phase he outplayed his opponent.
Saric has a 1.5 point lead because Baadur Jobava lost to Dimitri Reinderman and Jan Timman drew with Merijn van Delft.
Tata Steel 2014 | Challengers | Round 12 Standings
The Tata Steel tournament runs 11-26 January and is held in Wijk aan Zee, Amsterdam and Eindhoven. You can find the official website here and the live games here. The live streaming commentary can also be found here on Chess.com!