Carlsen Rises With 3 Rounds Left
Carlsen wins again, continuing to rise up the scoreboard. Is he still in contention for first? Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Tournament 2023.

Carlsen Rises With 3 Rounds Left

| 113 | Chess Event Coverage

In round 10, GM Magnus Carlsen scored a fourth victory at the 2023 Tata Steel Chess Tournament, defeating GM Parham Maghsoodloo in a double-edged tussle. The world champion is now within striking distance of the top two.

GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov continues to sit at the top of the scoreboard, drawing against GM Ding Liren in their first-ever classical matchup. GM Anish Giri maintained his place in second, drawing with Black against GM Wesley So, who is tied for third with Carlsen.

The 16-year-old GM Gukesh D. earned his second win, out-calculating GM Praggnanandhaa R. in a lively attacking game. 

In the Challengers group, GM Alexander Donchenko won to fight for the lead, tied with GM Mustafa Yilmaz. GM Javokhir Sindarov is on their tails from half a point behind.

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Live broadcast of the tournament, hosted by GM Robert Hess and IM Jovanka Houska.

GM Richard Rapport and GM Levon Aronian seemed eager to reach Thursday's rest day. In a well-trodden Ruy Lopez Berlin, pieces seemed to race off the board, and the players agreed to a draw in a symmetrical king and pawn ending less than an hour into the round. Though an early draw can be a disappointment for spectators, especially in regards to the player with White, Rapport has played a number of creative, exciting games so far with four decisive ones, including his back-to-back victories in the previous two rounds.

Abdusattorov and Ding also played into the Berlin, but the tournament leader infused the middlegame with more life with two pawn thrusts in the center, 16.c4 and later 18.d5. In the face of Abdusattorov's energetic play, Ding responded with serene development. Each player gained centralized pieces and no weaknesses, drawing by repetition on move 27. After Abdusattorov's nearly seven-hour defensive task the day before, the appeal of a shorter game today is understandable. 

Abdusattorov continues to lead the tournament with three rounds to go. Will he take the trophy home? Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023.

Two of the most solid competitors, So and Giri, faced off in a Catalan transposition from the Reti. The transposition favored Giri who obtained more control of the center than usual with his light-squared bishop on the active e4-square instead of being stuck on c8. This gave Giri comfortable equality. After a couple of pawn trades, the game opened up, and many exchanges followed, leading to a level rook ending where the players drew. 

Giri keeps a spot near the top leading into the rest day. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Tournament 2023.

Carlsen seemed intent on playing for a win with the black pieces vs. Maghsoodloo. In a Queen’s Gambit Declined, he unleashed the provocative 7…Bg4. As the opening progressed, this ambitious bishop baited Maghsoodloo into pushing his g-pawn to loosen White’s kingside and try to win a pawn. Carlsen regained the pawn with a discovered attack, and the players traded into a level ending. 

Then, in the kind of position where many players might already be thinking about what they’re going to have for dinner after an impending draw, the game between these two fighters raged on. Maghsoodloo gained a pawn while Carlsen brought his remaining pieces to hyper-active squares. Maghsoodloo advanced his extra pawn up the board, but Carlsen’s pieces kept a watchful eye on it while he picked off pawns, eventually coming out one pawn and then two pawns ahead himself. 

Houska described the source of Maghsoodloo’s predicament: "It's very difficult for Parham to do anything because it's like a deadlock on the d-file with both sides defending and attacking the pawn on d6."

With this fourth victory, Carlsen's comeback is gaining momentum. Can he make a real run after the leaders in the last three rounds?

In the post-game interview, Carlsen answered about his ambitions for potentially still competing for the title: "I'm realizing that there're possibilities, but most of all, I'm taking a further step to playing a decent tournament. I've turned it around in a good way, and I'm happy with that."

After a rough start, Carlsen has picked up four victories and is tied for third. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023.

Gukesh gave the symmetrical English an aggressive supercharge with 11.g4!?, giving up a kingside pawn for one in the center. Praggnanandhaa was prepared for this adventurous turn and responded by pressing on White’s f2-pawn and then a pawn break on the kingside himself with 14…f5. With both sides playing in such a zestful style, a sharp skirmish for the initiative broke out. When Praggnanandhaa sacrificed a bishop to open up White's king, Gukesh out-calculated his opponent, accepting the material and fending off the attack. 

This electrifying clash is our Game of the Day, annotated by GM Rafael Leitao

GM Rafael Leitao GotD

Gukesh shared his thoughts on the critical moments of the game:  “He went for an interesting piece sac, but fortunately I could calculate it off. The main point was after 24…Rad8 I had to spot 25.gxf5 Qb3 26.Rxg7+ Kxg7 27.Qg3+, and what he missed was that after 27…Kh8 28.Qe5+ Kg8 I have 29.Bc4+ with a mating attack.”

As a newcomer to the event and the youngest competitor, Gukesh could have easily been disheartened by his losses earlier in the tournament. Instead, the Indian prodigy has bounced back with two powerful victories.

Following Carlsen's footsteps, Gukesh is also experiencing a resurgence after a challenging start. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Tournament 2023.

GM Fabiano Caruana employed the d3 Ruy Lopez against GM Arjun Erigaisi, gaining a more connected pawn structure and space on the queenside. Erigaisi maneuvered thoughtfully, building up some kingside pressure while neutralizing Caruana's play on the queenside. A trade of knights made the pawn structure symmetrical, and the players found themselves at a tense standstill with pieces from each side simultaneously bearing down on the enemy's weak points and guarding their own. With neither side able to make progress, the players repeated the position to a draw. 

A tense struggle. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023.

Once again GM Vincent Keymer was the last game to finish, pressing his advantage for almost seven hours. And, unfortunately for Keymer, once again his opponent escaped with a draw. In another d3 Ruy Lopez, Keymer sacrificed his d6-pawn for attacking chances vs. GM Jorden van Foreest. Then the German grandmaster discovered the tactical shot 33...Bxh3!, using the themes of deflection, fork, and pin all at once to emerge with an extra pawn in the ending.

In the arising rook ending with three pawns vs. two, both players made some inaccurate moves, and Keymer overlooked opportunities to capitalize on his edge. They agreed to a draw after 96 moves. IM Adrian Petrisor has annotated this extensive duel.

In the Challengers section, Donchenko defeated GM Max Warmerdam with the black pieces in an endgame arising from the Chekhover Sicilian. The German grandmaster shared his thoughts on the defining feature of the game: "Somehow, I managed to unknowingly create a position where his active play completely ran out. I only realized it when he had already invested 10 minutes, and I understood that I don't see a move for him either."

GM Luis Supi gained his first victory with a win against GM Velimir Ivic.  Down a pawn in a queen and minor piece ending, Supi drummed up tactical counterplay. Can you find the idea that began to turn the tide?

GM Amin Tabatabaei twisted a win out of an equal king and pawn ending vs. IM Thomas Beerdsen. Tabatabaei shares fourth with Ivic. 

Results - Masters Round 10

Current Standings 

Pairings - Masters Round 11

All Games - Masters Round 10

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