White Pieces Score On Tata Steel Chess Day 2
Young fans getting a glimpse of their favorite players. Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

White Pieces Score On Tata Steel Chess Day 2

16 | Chess Event Coverage

White was doing well on day two of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, as four players in the masters group won their games with that color. In both the masters and challengers groups, five players are tied for first place.

You can follow the live games here as part of our live portal. Live commentary is provided on Chess.com/TV every day at 13:20 CET (7:20 a.m. Eastern, 4:20 a.m. Pacific). Commentary is provided by GM Robert Hess and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni during the first week, and by GM Peter Leko and IM Sopiko Guramishvili during the second week.

2020 Tata Steel Chess Carlsen Robert Hess Fiona Steil-Antoni
Commentators Robert Hess and Fiona Steil-Antoni at work.

On the first of three Sundays during this tournament, when it always welcomes a lot of spectators, the players did not disappoint the crowd. The masters delivered four decisive games, and there were two more in the challengers group.

The first winner of the day was Wesley So, who faced a bishop sacrifice on f2 played by Vishy Anand that might actually have been OK for Black, objectively speaking. Engines don't approve of the sac initially. With another piece sacrifice it looked like the Indian GM was playing quite a brilliant game and he would have been—if he had taken on g2.

As it went, So could defend the attack and then just ended with an extra piece:

2020 Tata Steel Chess Wesley So Pavel Votruba
Wesley So with chief arbiter Pavel Votruba before the round. Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

"I think in general I played like an idiot," Daniil Dubov started as he explained his win against Vladislav Kovalev. Dubov said that Black should be much worse after 10...Qxd6, but he failed to demonstrate why because, without his knowing why, he decided to play as if Black had played 10...Bxd6.

"I am 23 years old and I understand that after 10...Qxd6 it's a different position, but due to some reason I just decided to play the same way."

The Russian GM said his opponent's time trouble was later an important factor. At one point he had about an hour compared to two minutes for Kovalev, who is the only player still on zero points after two rounds.

Dubov being interviewed after the game. Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Jorden van Foreest could enjoy the top of the leaderboard for just one day. The Dutchman perhaps confused his (still rather deep) preparation on move 19, then came back in the game but missed his chance.

Jeffery Xiong didn't want to celebrate the victory too much: "It's definitely not time to get too happy; I have Magnus tomorrow so let's see what I can do."

Xiong being interviewed after the game. Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Vladislav Artemiev played what is arguably the best game of the day. He got a surprisingly comfortably position out of the opening, he said, and basically capitalized on one positional mistake by Nikita Vitiugov: putting his pawn on a5. What followed was a showcase of excellent technique:

Artemiev being interviewed after the game. Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Among the other action, Magnus Carlsen played a not too exciting and rather quick draw for the second day in a row. The draw was mostly on account of his opponent Yu Yangyi, who played the ultra-solid but somewhat dull 7.Nf3 line against the world champion's Najdorf.

2020 Tata Steel Chess Carlsen autographs
Carlsen signing autographs after his game. He is now two games away from breaking Sergei Tiviakov's undefeated streak of 110 games. Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda again held the draw from a dangerous middlegame position, this time against Alireza Firouzja. The top encounter between Anish Giri and Fabiano Caruana was the longest game of the day and also ended in a draw with the Dutchman pressing for most of the game.

Masters, round 2 games

2020 Tata Steel Chess Masters round 2 standings

The odds are not that high for having the exact same situation in the challengers group: five players in a tie for first place. Among them are the two winners of this round—Rauf Mamedov and Jan Smeets.

Smeets scored an excellent victory with the black pieces against Uzbekistan's Nodirbek Abdusattorov, who is almost half his age. Black was comfortable out of the opening (a Petroff) and won remarkably easily after snatching a pawn while having the better bishop in the middlegame.

It's a good start for the Dutch GM, who is playing his first serious tournament since November 2013. "Accidents happen, right? Sometimes you beat a stronger opponent or a higher rated one," he said.

Smeets being interviewed after the game. Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Mamedov defeated Nils Grandelius, and the theme was also opposite-colored bishops. This one also had a nice, old romantic opening: Two Knights.

2020 Tata Steel Chess playing hall amateurs
A view from the balcony where amateurs are also playing. Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Challengers, round 2 games

2020 Tata Steel Chess Challengers round 2 standings

Like in previous years, the official video broadcast is produced by Chess.com, which you can watch on both tatasteelchess.com and Chess.com/TV. 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 round five.

  • On Jan. 16 (Eindhoven) the rounds start half an hour later at 2 p.m. local.
  • Rest days are scheduled for Jan. 15, 20 and 23.
  • The final round on Jan. 26 starts 90 minutes earlier at noon local time.

Commentary will be provided by GM Robert Hess and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni during the first week and by GM Peter Leko and IM Sopiko Guramishvili during the second week.

Replay the live broadcast of the second round.

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