Tata Steel Chess 2021: Fighting Draws Before 1st Rest Day
Carlsen and Van Foreest were the first to draw. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess.

Tata Steel Chess 2021: Fighting Draws Before 1st Rest Day

| 24 | Chess Event Coverage

The five-way tie for first place did not change as all games in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament's fourth round ended in draws, although there was a lot of fighting chess. Wednesday is the first rest day.

How to watch?
The Tata Steel Chess Tournament runs January 16-31, 2021. All rounds start at 14:00 CET (5 a.m. Pacific) except for the final round that starts an hour earlier. You can follow the games at and watch the broadcast at

At one point during the round, commentator WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni thought she had "jinxed the day" because earlier she had said that chess players tend to give it all before a rest day. Well, the players did put in the energy, but all games were drawn.

Tata Steel Chess 2021 round 4 results

The first game to finish was Jorden van Foreest vs. Magnus Carlsen, where the world champion was pressing in an endgame and was planning to do so for much longer. However, a blunder obstructed that plan as it allowed the Dutchman to force the draw right away.

"If I don't blunder, I probably don't win the game, but I at least get to torture him for a long time which is at least something," said Carlsen, who also seemed to poke a bit at his opponent for playing for a draw: "Jorden played very solidly today. He didn't really leave any doubt as to what his intentions were and, fair game, that's his choice."

Magnus Carlsen Tata Steel Chess 2021
Magnus Carlsen. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess.

After a win in the first round, Carlsen has had only three draws. "It's a little bit frustrating," he said. "The annoying thing for me is that I feel I made some crucial, little mistakes in each three games, right at the end. I've not been able to put maximum pressure right at the end in any of the games. Having said that, I don't think I had any objective winning chances in any of these three games, so in a sense three draws are an absolutely normal result, but I feel like if I'd been a little bit more precise in those games that I might have broken through in one of them."

"An insane game, mental torture from the start," was how GM Aryan Tari described his clash with GM Alireza Firouzja. From an Advance Caro-Kann, the fireworks started when Tari chose the sharp push 11.g4 instead of taking on e5. In other words, it was the Norwegian's fault that Firouzja got in his comfort zone.

"It's the most stupid thing to do against Firouzja—to get a crazy, tactical position. That's what he eats for breakfast."

So why did he do it? "The problem was I couldn't refute 11.g4, and I couldn't fight my demons," Tari put it nicely.

After more adventures, the game abruptly ended in the middle of the time-trouble phase—as it turned out, Tari offered a draw that Firouzja somewhat reluctantly accepted.

"Maybe I should have played on, but I thought it could really go both ways," said Tari. "He had one minute and I had two minutes. I was not sure what was going on. The main reason was that I thought I was just lost three moves before, so I was just so happy to get half a point."

GM Nils Grandelius had a great chance to reclaim sole first place today. GM Andrey Esipenko's slightly odd treatment of the 6.Be2 Najdorf didn't work very well, and he was basically outplayed when the Swedish GM missed his chance during time trouble.

"In time trouble, I played very poorly," Grandelius said, before explaining what happened: he thought he could repeat moves and reach move 40 to give himself more time for his next decision, but Esipenko wisely avoided the repetition and steered the game to a draw. Instead, Grandelius could have picked up some pawns.

After drawing his game with GM Pentala Harikrishna, GM Fabiano Caruana was asked about his almost brilliancy of the other day. "I think it was close to being one of my best games I've ever played… but you also have to finish the game," he said.

Fabiano Caruana Tata Steel Chess 2021
Fabiano Caruana. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess.

GM Anish Giri, who drew with Jan-Krzysztof Duda, is not complaining that tomorrow is a rest day. "The rest day is very welcome," he said. "In my last few tournaments, I usually play around three days long. Already today is the fourth day; I am feeling the heat!"

Round 4 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 Pts SB
1 Harikrishna, Pentala 2732 2825 ½ 1 ½ ½ 2.5/4 5.75
2 Carlsen, Magnus 2862 2770 ½ 1 ½ ½ 2.5/4 4.5
3 Caruana, Fabiano 2823 2793 ½ ½ ½ 1 2.5/4 4
4 Giri, Anish 2764 2765 ½ ½ 1 ½ 2.5/4 3.75
5 Grandelius, Nils 2663 2793 0 ½ 1 1 2.5/4 3.5
6 Van Foreest, Jorden 2671 2788 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 4.75
7 Esipenko, Andrey 2677 2730 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 4.25
8 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2784 2710 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 4
9 Firouzja, Alireza 2749 2738 0 ½ 1 ½ 2.0/4 3.25
10 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2705 2661 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 3
11 Duda,Jan-Krzysztof 2743 2644 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1.5/4 3.5
12 Anton Guijarro,David 2679 2686 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1.5/4 3.25
13 Tari, Aryan 2625 2681 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1.5/4 3.25
14 Donchenko,Alexander 2668 2548 0 ½ 0 ½ 1.0/4

Games round 4

Tata Steel Chess 2021 round 5 pairings

See also:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

Company Contact and News Accreditation: 

More from PeterDoggers
Arjun Erigaisi Briefly World #5 As Menorca Open Winner

Arjun Erigaisi Briefly World #5 As Menorca Open Winner

Isa Kasimi (Igors Rausis) 1961-2024

Isa Kasimi (Igors Rausis) 1961-2024