80th Tata Steel Starts Saturday With Broadcast
All participants of this year's masters. | Photo: Tata Steel Chess.

80th Tata Steel Starts Saturday With Broadcast

| 44 | Chess Event Coverage

The 80th Tata Steel Chess Tournament was officially opened on Friday. Tomorrow's top games in the first round are Carlsen-Caruana and So-Mamedyarov. Once again the live broadcast is proudly powered by

The new year has just started and this means that it's time for one of the biggest chess events of the year: the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Its first edition was in 1938, a modest four-player all-play-all that has grown into a huge festival that is now held for the 80th time.

The field of the masters group is a little bit stronger than in previous years, with six players from the current top 10 and nine players from the top 20. The top three all play: Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The group also has three former world champions: Vishy Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, and Hou Yifan.

2018 Tata Steel Tournament | Masters

# Fed Name Rating Rank B-Year
1 Carlsen, Magnus 2834 1 1990
2 Caruana, Fabiano 2811 2 1992
3 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2804 3 1985
4 So, Wesley 2792 6 1993
5 Kramnik, Vladimir 2787 7 1975
6 Svidler, Peter 2768 10 1976
7 Anand, Viswanathan 2767 11 1969
8 Karjakin, Sergey 2753 14 1990
9 Giri, Anish 2752 15 1994
10 Wei, Yi 2743 22 1999
11 Matlakov, Maxim 2718 32 1991
12 Hou, Yifan 2680 64 1994
13 Adhiban, Baskaran 2655 96 1992
14 Jones, Gawain 2640 127 1987

Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand at the 80th Tata Steel Chess Tournament

Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand, the only two participants in history who've won the tournament five times. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The drawing of lots, on Friday afternoon, resulted in these pairings for the first round: Giri-Hou Yifan, Kramnik-Wei Yi, Svidler-Adhiban, Carlsen-Caruana, Jones-Karjakin, Anand-Matlakov, and So-Mamedyarov.

Alongside this flagship event, there's once again the challengers group, where the winner will qualify for a spot in next year's masters. With an average rating of 2612, the top seed is Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of India.

2018 Tata Steel Tournament | Challengers

# Fed Title Name Rating Rank B-Year
1 GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2718 34 1994
2 GM Amin, Bassem 2693 49 1988
3 GM Krasenkow, Michal 2671 74 1963
4 GM Korobov, Anton 2652 102 1985
5 GM Bluebaum, Matthias 2640 128 1997
6 GM Xiong, Jeffery 2634 142 2000
7 GM L'Ami, Erwin 2634 141 1985
8 GM Van Foreest, Jorden 2629 151 1999
9 GM Gordievsky, Dmitry 2622 166 1996
10 GM Bok, Benjamin 2607 211 1995
11 GM Tari, Aryan 2599 234 1999
12 GM Harika, Dronavalli 2497 13* 1991
13 WGM Girya, Olga 2489 16* 1991
14 IM Van Foreest, Lucas 2481 973 2001

The drawing of lots for this group took place during the traditional meet and greet on Thursday evening. The first pairings are Xiong-Bok, Korobov-Bluebaum, Girya-Gordievsky, J.Van Foreest- L.Van Foreest, Tari-Vidit, Krasenkow-L'Ami, and Bassem-Harika.

That the two brothers Jorden and Lucas van Foreest are playing in the first round was done on purpose. Similarly, the participants of the same country (Russia) in the Candidates' Tournament will be paired against each other in the early rounds.

Both tournaments are 14-player round robins. The time control is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one.

Jeroen van den Berg and Tex de Wit

Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg and host Tex de Wit. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Broadcast by

Just like in previous years, the official video broadcast will be "proudly powered" by, which you can watch on both and All rounds start at 1:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. New York, 4:30 Pacific) in Wijk aan Zee, except for three rounds:

  • On January 17, the masters group will play in Hilversum where the rounds starts half an hour later, at 2 p.m.
  • On January 24, the masters group will play in Groningen where the rounds starts half an hour later, at 2 p.m.
  • The final round, on Sunday January 28, starts 1.5 hours earlier, at noon local time.

Commentary will be provided by Yasser Seirawan, Robin van Kampen Eric Hansen, Jan Smeets, Ivan Sokolov, Sipke Ernst, Stefan Kuipers, Fiona Steil-Antoni and Tex de Wit. You can find the commentary schedule here.

Players Tata Steel in the front row

Strong grandmasters in the first rows, among them Matlakov, Hou, Adhiban and Jones, together with chief arbiter Pavel Votruba (second left). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Anish Giri number one Tata Steel

Anish Giri picking lot number one, guaranteeing himself of two white games in the first two rounds. Giri can become the first Dutch winner since Jan Timman in 1985. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Tex de Wit and Vladimir Kramnik, Wijk aan Zee

Host Tex de Wit asked Kramnik: "If you were to tie for first here, with whom would you like to share the victory with?" Kramnik: "With the lady of course!" | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Vishy Anand lot number 6 Wijk aan Zee

Anand picking lot number six, an omen for winning the tournament for the sixth time? | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Baskaran Adhiban at the drawing of lots in Wijk aan Zee

Will Adhiban be able to do as well as he did last year when he came shared third with 7.5/13? | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

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