Abdusattorov Extends Lead In Round Of Decisive Games
Abdusattorov is playing the tournament of a lifetime. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023.

Abdusattorov Extends Lead In Round Of Decisive Games

| 63 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov was one of four winners in the seventh round of the 2023 Tata Steel Chess Tournament and moved to 5.5/7 after scoring his fourth win of the event over GM Arjun Erigaisi on Saturday.

The 18-year-old was joined in the winner's circle by GMs Magnus Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa R., and Wesley So, with the latter two among the chasing pack on 4.5/7 alongside GMs Anish Giri and Fabiano Caruana.

In the Challenger's section, all but one of the games finished decisively, a round which was advantageous for tournament leader GM Alexander Donchenko, who leads by a full point on 5.5/7. GM Javokhir Sindarov continued his impressive run with a win over IM Eline Roebers to move into clear second on 4.5/7.

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You can watch the Tata Steel Chess Tournament on You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on The games can also be followed from our Events Page.

The live broadcast was hosted by GM Daniel Naroditsky and  IM Jovanka Houska.

As fatigue sets in after seven rounds in Wijk aan Zee, spectators were delighted to see that the fighting spirits of the players have not dwindled. In the top two sections of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, there were 11 decisive results in 14 games, and many were marked by brilliant tactical shots, technical finishes, and several blunders.

Chess is alive and well in the Netherlands. It was no surprise to see a full analysis hall in round seven. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess 2023.

Abdusattorov's victory was one of the most convincing of round seven as he took down Erigaisi in a game that showed the more aggressive side of the Petroff's Defense with the black pieces. Having garnered a slight edge out of the opening, the Uzbek GM used a passed d-pawn to barge his way through the center before sealing the point with a game-ending rook sacrifice.

Abdusattorov checks the games on the live stream. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess 2023.

Now perched atop the field and at a career-high of 17th in the world (up from 30th before the event), Abdusattorov's win earned him yet another Game of the Day performance, which has been analyzed by GM Rafael Leitao

Praggnanandhaa found a way to win his second game of the event, this time defeating GM Jorden van Foreest in the "quiet version" of the Slav Defense: Modern, Schallopp Defense. The opening choice resulted in a blocked center that the Indian GM handled expertly, selecting the perfect moment for a pawn break on the queenside that gave him an outside passed pawn. Maneuvering was the name of the game in round seven for the Chennai-born superstar, and he eventually broke his "fatigued" Dutch opponent.

Following his win in round six over GM Vincent Keymer, So exploited a middlegame error by GM Gukesh D. Feeling the heat from the move 28 mistake, Gukesh's position collapsed within five moves, gifting So an important point with the black pieces.

Having suffered major setbacks in the early rounds, Carlsen's tournament seems to have snapped back on track with the world champion scoring his first win since round two. An embattled GM Richard Rapport was impatient in his attack on Saturday and lashed out with a knight sacrifice followed by a wayward queen check on move 19. Another piece sacrifice was soon on the menu for the Romanian representative, but he couldn't quite find the firepower to overcome staunch defense from the world number-one.

GM Hikaru Nakamura weighed in on the game in a Youtube recap titled "Magnus is Back!!" which was published swiftly after the end of the game.

The remainder of the games were drawn in round seven; however, several close shaves occurred, with Caruana and Keymer missing moments to strike in their respective games. Notably, the American's draw had some resemblance to the ending that transpired in Abdusattorov's victory over Carlsen in round five.

IM Adrian Petrisor has also provided his expert commentatory on the Keymer-Ding clash that ended peacefully.

The Challengers section continued to bring plenty of excitement as the combatants vie for a coveted spot in the 2024 Masters edition. Donchenko, who had curiously won every game with the black pieces and drawn every game with the white thus far broke the curse and scored his first full point with white. Donchenko mentioned that he had no coach or second with him in Wijk aan Zee but humorously admitted: "I only have my mother on site with me, and that is the best second you can have, which several top players seem to agree with."

I only have my mother on site, and that is the best second you can have.
—Alexander Donchenko

Donchenko gave a fresh perspective on the life of a professional chess player in his post-match interview. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess 2023.

Given their tumultuous, wild games so far in the event, it was no surprise that GM Amin Tabatabaei-GM Erwin l'Ami was a chaotic work of art. Though the game was not of the highest accuracy, the twists and turns were befitting of a Hollywood drama from which the Iranian GM benefitted when the day was done.

One of the tournament's most solid constituents, GM Luis Paulo Supi found himself in a difficult position against IM Vaishali R and blundered a tactical sequence after the fruitless 35.Bh4??.

Two wins for the Rameshbabu siblings on Saturday! (Vaishali on the left.) Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess 2023.

Local IM Thomas Beerdsen is another prospect to watch as he waltzed his way to 4.5/7. With a 2646 performance rating after seven rounds, he is well on his way to capturing a final GM norm. Though he "doesn't want to think about it much," he needs only 2.5 more points in the six remaining rounds to become the next Dutch GM.

The eighth round of the 2023 Tata Steel Chess Tournament will see the leader, Abdusattorov, take on GM Levon Aronian with the white pieces while his closest chasers will face the likes of Carlsen, Keymer, Ding, and Rapport as they attempt to close the gap.

Results - Masters Round 7

Leaderboard - Masters Round 7 

Pairings - Masters Round 8

All Masters Games - Round 7 

Previous coverage

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