Karjakin Beats Carlsen In Tata Steel
Official Website Round 9 Report
Levon Aronian took an important leap ahead in his neck-and-neck race with Norway’s Magnus Carlsen for the 10,000-euro first prize in Grandmaster Group A at the 74th annual Tata Steel Tournament.
In what may turn out to be the decisive encounter of the 13-round chess spectacular, the Armenian defeated Italy’s Fabiano Caruana, while Carlsen went down against Sergey Karjakin of the Ukraine in ninth-round play on Tuesday.
“I managed to get my opponent into my preparation,” Aronian explained, “and I obtained a very good position. It looked like it was going to be a comfortable win. But then, for some reason or other, I started to complicate things with each and every move I made. I’m not sure where my opponent made his final mistake but I certainly know where I made my mistakes.”
Even so, Aronian –the second highest ranked player in the world - did not have too much trouble winning after finding himself a rook up halfway through the encounter. “I might have finished it in a simpler manner,” he complained, “but you’re bound to make mistakes in such a long tournament.”
The victory, in 47 moves from a rare line of the English opening, not only put Aronian one point ahead of Carlsen and two other competitors but also earned him a 500-euro bonus, as GM Ivan Sokolov decided to pick this game for the daily ‘Piet Zwart Prize,’ put up by the municipalities of Velsen and Beverwijk. Aronian, Sokolov said, came up with “an interesting plan in the opening, gaining huge compensation for the pawn sacrifice 9.0-0, and followed it up with entertaining play. Caruana missed his final chance to salvage a draw as late as his 39th move, where he should have tried 39…Nxg4, but the unusual material balance made it a hard for over-the-board play.”
“It is a pity,” Sokolov added, that Aronian continues to “complain about his bad play” after every round. “It is not true to begin with and, moreover, it’s not good for himself, for the tournament and for his opponents.”
Karjakin’s victory over Carlsen, in 60 moves with black from a Queen’s Indian Defense, did not qualify for the prize, Sokolov said, criticizing the Ukranian for “allowing white an extra tempo in the opening” and Carlsen – the world’s highest ranked grandmaster – for blundering in an equal position. Karjakin admitted Carlsen had lent a helping hand but was far from dissatisfied with his own performance.
“18.Ne4 was not the best,” he told reporters after discussing the game with Carlsen. “Magnus could have kept the balance with 18.Nb5 and 23.Qd2? wasn’t good either. 23.Qg4 would have been the lesser evil, just as 25.b3, where he played 25.Rb1? I might have decided it faster with 26…g6 27.Bxd3 Ne4 28.Bxe4 Qxd2 29.Rxd2 Rxd2 but thought that wasn’t clear enough and went 26…Rd5.” The bare fact that that proved to be winning too, was an indication of how good his position was, he said.
Dutch champion Anish Giri disappointed his fans sorely, following up his dismal failure in the previous round with another loss in Tuesday’s action. Playing black in a Queen’s Gambit against Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine, the 17-year-old grandmaster came under heavy pressure but fought back valiantly until he caved in at his 47th, where he failed to include white’s strong 52.f4! in his calculations. He was forced to resign ten moves later.
The other games of the round were all drawn, with Holland’s Loek van Wely and World Championship Challenger Boris Gelfand the first to leave the tournament arena after a mere 19 moves from a Nimzo Indian Defense. It was ‘Lucky’ Loek’s ninth draw in as many rounds, making him the uncrowned ‘drawing king’ of the tournament; no other players in groups A, B and C managed an uninterrupted series of draws.
Hikaru Nakamura of the U.S. and Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov put up more of a fight, going at one another in an English game in good-old coffee-house style. Despite no end of wild play and difficult complications, however, the balance was never really disturbed and a draw was agreed after 37 moves.
“What an incredible mess,” Topalov said afterwards, discussing the game with Van Wely, a former second. “I thought I was better, or was I? Somehow, I played 20…b5 and then, it wasn’t so clear, or was it? And I went 22…Nd7, incredible, isn’t it? I guess I almost blundered.”
As Nakamura left for his hotel room immediately after signing his score sheet, the Bulgarian did not get a chance to analyze the encounter, as was clear from his comments.
U.S. champion Gata Kamsky and Teymour Radjabov played a quiet Ruy Lopez that ended in a ‘correct’ draw after 55 moves, but the same could not be said of the outcome of the encounter between Radjabov’s fellow Azeri Vugar Gashimov and David Navara of the Czech Republic. On the contrary: Gashimov profited from a blunder by Navara at the 23rd to gain the upper hand, only to miss 25…Rxc7! which would have won after 25...Qxc7 26.Qg5 Rg6 27.Qxg6. Gashimov’s 25.g4? more or less restored the balance and although the game continued to the time control, the result was never in doubt.
The standings after 9 rounds in Group A:
|Van Wely, Loek||NED||2692||4½|
The 250-euro daily prize in Group B went to Cuba’s Lazaro Bruzon for his win with black in 31 moves from a Bogo-Indian Defense against Russia’s Vladimir Potkin, who fell victim to the weakness of the white squares on his kingside.
India’s Pentala Harikrishna kept the lead in this section of the tournament after a quick win in 28 moves with black in a Queen’s Gambit against Ilya Nyzhnyk of the Ukraine. The Indian GM is one point ahead of his nearest rivals in Group B.
The results in round 9 in Group B:
|Cmilyte, Viktorija||½-½||Motylev, Alexander|
|L'Ami, Erwin||1-0||Harika, Dronavalli|
|Timman, Jan H||½-½||Lahno, Kateryna|
|Potkin, Vladimir||0-1||Bruzon Batista, Lazaro|
|Tiviakov, Sergei||1-0||Reinderman, Dimitri|
|Nyzhnyk, Illya||0-1||Harikrishna, Pentala|
|Vocaturo, Daniele||1-0||Ernst, Sipke|
The standings in Group B after 9 rounds:
|Bruzon Batista, Lazaro||CUB||2691||6|
|Timman, Jan H||NED||2571||3½|
Holland’s Anne Haast collected the 100 euros set aside for the day prize in Group C. The 18-year-old WIM (Women’s International Master) defeated the much higher rated Sahaj Grover of India in 39 moves with white in a Winawer French.
Sweden’s Hans Tikkanen and Russia’s Maxim Turov both won their games to remain tied for first place in this group. In the same group, Holland's Lisa Schut achieved her first WGM norm after drawing her game against England's Matthew Sadler.
The results in round 9 in Group C:
|Adhiban, Baskaran||1-0||Hopman, Pieter|
|Goudriaan, Etienne||½-½||Brandenburg, Daan|
|Danielian, Elina||½-½||Paehtz, Elisabeth|
|Turov, Maxim||1-0||Tania, Sachdev|
|Schut, Lisa||½-½||Sadler, Matthew D|
|Haast, Anne||1-0||Grover, Sahaj|
|Ootes, Lars||0-1||Tikkanen, Hans|
The standings in Group C after 9 rounds:
|Sadler, Matthew D||ENG||2660||5|