Tata Masters: Karjakin Second Behind Aronian, Three Rounds to Go
Sergey Karjakin moved up to clear second place in round 8 of the Tata Steel tournament's Masters Group. The Russian GM, who won the tournament five years ago, beat Boris Gelfand on Tuesday while the leader, Levon Aronian, drew with Anish Giri. In a bloody round, Caruana, Dominguez, Harikrishna and Van Wely won their games against Rapport, So, Nakamura and Naiditsch respectively. In the Challengers Group Ivan Saric beat Radek Wojtaszek and took over the lead from Baadur Jobava, who lost to Sabino Brunello. Benjamin Bok secured his GM title today by drawing his game.
In the 8th round Levon Aronian faced one of his closest pursuers, Anish Giri. The young Dutchman is supported by many local fans each day, but on Tuesday someone special dropped by. Nick Schilder is one of the two singer-songwriters of the famous Dutch duo Nick & Simon, and a friend of Anish.
Nick officially opened the round and then hang around for several hours, playing blitz and even joining the live commentary. As it turned out, he is quite a strong player himself (non-rated but roughly 1900 Elo by estimation) and a big fan of Chess.com! He said he often watches videos here while on tour, and he really liked the latest Chess Mentor!
Nick, and the other Dutch fans, saw Giri playing another good game. The Dutchman, who was still looking for his first win ever over Aronian, got the advantage when his opponent played a careless move. “But after that he played very accurately,” said Giri. “I was slightly worse, but not the kind of worse I was going to lose,” said Aronian.
Amazingly, this was the only draw of the round! A few regular victories and some big mistakes led to five decisive games.
For example, Hikaru Nakamura went terribly wrong againt Pentala Harikrishna in a Sicilian where he had compensation for a pawn. He missed White's idea and could resign a few moves later.
Wesley So tried the Petroff against Dominguez, but quickly got into trouble and with a beautiful ‘silent’ rook move the Cuban finished the game before it had really started. “It was a matter of calcualting all the lines, but it was very natural to play like this,” said Dominguez.
Richard Rapport yet again played an off-beat opening (he alone is providing Jeroen Bosch enough ammunition for several new S.O.S. books!) but it seems that he played too risky against Fabiano Caruana.
Sergey Karjakin profited from several inaccuracies by Boris Gelfand, but then spoilt some of his (winning) advantage in the rook ending. White could have promoted the b-pawn at some point, but Karjakin decided to cut off the enemy king, which eventually won as well.
Tata Steel 2014 | Masters | Round 8 Standings
In the Challengers Group the top of the standings shifted as Baadur Jobava lost his first game in the tournament. In an Old-Indian (an old opening previously which Jobava had tried before) the Georgian GM built up a slight advantage as Black, but then lost track. After the time control White had the better chances and then Jobava made a big mistake on move 43.
Tata Steel 2014 | Challengers | Round 9 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!