Tata Steel Chess: Caruana Keeps Lead, Carlsen Close Behind
Caruana vs. Firouzja. Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Tata Steel Chess: Caruana Keeps Lead, Carlsen Close Behind

| 91 | Chess Event Coverage

Fabiano Caruana is still the sole leader of the masters group at the Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee after beating Alireza Firouzja on Wednesday. In second place is Magnus Carlsen, who scored his third win in a row.

David Anton leads the challengers group thanks to a win against co-leader Pavel Eljanov. Thursday is the third and final rest day.

How to follow Tata Steel Chess
You can follow the live games here as part of our live portal. Live commentary is provided on every day at 13:20 CET (7:20 a.m. Eastern, 4:20 a.m. Pacific). Commentary in the second week is provided by GM Peter Leko and IM Sopiko Guramishvili.

With three rounds to go, Caruana has the best chances to win the 82nd edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. It would be the first time for the American player to win in Wijk aan Zee. Winning seven in a row at the Sinquefield Cup: done. Winning the candidates: done. Wijk yet.

It would be slightly ironic if he pulled it off, in a year when the tournament serves mostly as a warm-up for the candidates. But that doesn't mean that Caruana isn't playing serious openings here.

His regular helper, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, joined him at this event and can be seen at the same table with Caruana every day having breakfast. Two months from now in Yekaterinburg, Russia, the two will try to repeat their success of 2018 and qualify for another world title match.

Caruana 2020 Tata Steel Chess
Fabiano Caruana. Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Caruana didn't get to use much preparation in his game with Firouzja, who not only played the King's Indian, but also a rather provocative version of it. Besides that, he played quickly.

"He knew the position better than I did," admitted Caruana.

White got to push six of his eight pawns up the board and grabbed a lot of space, but that didn't make him feel comfortable just yet. Soon after, Firouzja was forced to sacrifice a knight, but maybe sacrifice wasn't the best word as he got four pawns for it. Some were weak pawns, though.

Caruana could consolidate a little, and in the resulting complicated middlegame he outplayed his young opponent. For example, Caruana didn't take Black's weak d-pawn, instead blocking it nicely with his knight.

"I'm very happy with the game, how it all turned out today," said Caruana. 

Caruana was interviewed after the game. Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Carlsen's second Peter Heine Nielsen also joined his boss in Wijk aan Zee. He usually enjoys his first meal of the day at the same time as Caruana and Kasimdzhanov, but alone. The world champion stays with his parents in a small apartment alongside the hotel.

For the game with Vladislav Kovalev, Carlsen and Heine Nielsen had come up with a remarkable little concept: lose a tempo with Bg5-f4 in the Queen's Gambit, meaning White plays the 5.Bf4 line with Black having weakened his kingside with the extra move ...h6.

In some lines that helps White, and in others it helps Black, but Carlsen said he had something else in mind with playing this way: "It forces him to think on his own, and I think it served its purpose quite nicely."

Magnus Carlsen 2020 Tata Steel Chess
Magnus Carlsen. Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Because Kovalev made a couple of mistakes early on, Carlsen had a pretty easy day.  He got an overwhelming advantage in development, which made the remainder for him easy to play.

Carlsen was interviewed after the game. Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Jeffery Xiong started his tournament well, but then had a tough phase. On Wednesday he recovered with a good win against Vladislav Artemiev, which was the longest battle on stage of all 14 games.

It's not clear actually where Black made the decisive mistake:

Xiong Artemiev 2020 Tata Steel Chess
Xiong vs. Artemiev. Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Jorden van Foreest was under some slight pressure against Jan-Krzysztof Duda, but held his own and finished the game with a nice drawing combination:

The program for Caruana in the last three rounds: Kovalev with Black, Duda with White and then Artemiev with Black. Carlsen will play Duda with Black, Artemiev with White and then So with Black.

Masters games, round 10

In the clash between two of the three leaders, the Spanish GM Anton won a big game against Eljanov in a Benoni with reversed colors. The central break by the Ukrainian was probably not correct, as his opponent demonstrated in the game:

David Anton 2020 Tata Steel Chess
David Anton, here in his round-seven game, leads the challengers. Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Challengers games, round 10

Like in previous years, the official video broadcast is produced by, which you can watch on both and All rounds start at 1:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. Eastern, 4:30 a.m. Pacific) in Wijk aan Zee, except for the last round which starts 1.5 hours earlier. Commentary is provided by GM Peter Leko and IM Sopiko Guramishvili during the second week.

Replay the live broadcast of the 10th round from Wijk aan Zee.

Previous reports:

More from PeterDoggers
Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak