And...Carlsen Wins 4th Straight, Catches Ivanchuk

And...Carlsen Wins 4th Straight, Catches Ivanchuk

| 31 | Chess Event Coverage

In the battle between world champions, GM Magnus Carlsen beat GM Hou Yifan to catch GM Vassily Ivanchuk in the lead at the Tata Steel masters.

GM Wei Yi and GM David Navara continue the lead the challengers group.

Photos Alina l'Ami.

Saturday was probably the most crowded day in the playing hall. It was also “bijltjesdag” for the Dutch participants in Wijk aan Zee. Except GM Anish Giri, all of them lost! If anyone knows the proper translation (“bijltjes” means little axes, so you can imagine what happened!), post it in the comments.

As a Dutch author I can tell you that wasn't a great experience. Especially GM Loek van Wely's loss was dramatic. The Dutchman was outplaying GM Ding Liren as Black, got a winning position, then missed a decisive combination, saw his advantage shrink to a minimum and then blundered a piece. Absolutely horrible.

Here's the game, annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov:

Tough times for KingLoek. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

It was a much more positive story for GM Anish Giri, who played tournament leader GM Vassily Ivanchuk. After a long battle, where the young Dutch grandmaster had been worse, he ended up in a queen ending where he was a pawn up.

That seemed a draw from the start, and that's how it ended, but at some point White was in fact winning. It was a incredibly difficult line that computers see, and humans don't. 

“Frankly I never really believed in it -- had I known that it was winning would have probably found it,” said Giri.

Giri-Ivanchuk watched by Dutch singer (and official chess ambassador!) Nick Schilder. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

It was Ivanchuk's third straight draw, and so it was about time someone caught him in first place! That someone was GM Magnus Carlsen, who won the battle among world champions. In most sports it never happens but also in chess it's quite a rare thing, that two reigning world champions meet.

Two World Champions meet! | Photo Alina l'Ami.

During the game GM Yasser Seirawan praised Carlsen's efforts, calling it a “masterclass” of maneuvering from the Norwegian several times. However, according to the computer it contained a number of inaccuracies.

At the end of the day Carlsen was too tired to join Seirawan in the commentary box, but in his short post-game interview he agreed with the computer:

Today wasn't the best of days. I thought my first three wins were better than this one, but a point is a point so that's good. Both before the first and second time control I spent way too much time. Just indecisiveness. She played too passively, but at some point she dug in and started to defend. It might have been enough if she found her chances in the end.”

And there were more examples of blunders and missed possibilities. The most horrific moment was for GM Ivan Saric, who blundered a mate in two against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

“It's very typical, but always easy to forget,” said the Frenchman about his queen sac:

Either you see it or you don't...| Photo Alina l'Ami.

And what about GM Radek Wojtaszek vs GM Baadur Jobava? A roller coaster of a game, and this time it was (finally) the crowd-puller from Georgia who emerged victoriously.

His way of turning a Bogo-Indian into a Hedgehog was one to remember. He continued creating complications early on, and initially they favored White, but at some point Wojtaszek completely lost track.

Wojtaszek missed a thing or two.| Photo Alina l'Ami.

He remained unbeaten so GM Wesley So won't be too unhappy with his draw against GM Teimour Radjabov, but he had chances for more as well. He managed to prove a slight edge in an ending, and at least at one moment he could have won a pawn.

GM Levon Aronian vs GM Fabiano Caruana was a game between two players who are not in the best shape. Especially the Armenian is struggling in Wijk aan Zee. He miscalculated and lost a healthy pawn after the opening, but later Caruana returned the favor.

Especially Aronian has been struggling so far. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

2015 Tata Steel Masters | Round 7 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Ivanchuk,Vassily 2715 2883 5.0/7 15.25
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2862 2908 5.0/7 14.25
3 So,Wesley 2762 2867 4.5/7 13.00
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2757 2804 4.5/7 12.50
5 Ding,Liren 2732 2829 4.5/7 11.50
6 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2744 2808 4.0/7 14.00
7 Giri,Anish 2784 2811 4.0/7 12.25
8 Caruana,Fabiano 2820 2764 3.5/7 12.50
9 Radjabov,Teimour 2734 2727 3.5/7 12.50
10 Aronian,Levon 2797 2656 2.5/7 8.00
11 Saric,Ivan 2666 2645 2.5/7 6.25
12 Hou,Yifan 2673 2599 2.0/7 7.50
13 Van Wely,Loek 2667 2604 2.0/7 7.25
14 Jobava,Baadur 2727 2512 1.5/7

Especially in the challengers group it was bijltjesdag as all Dutchies went down! Right out of the opening 63-year-old GM Jan Timman missed something, dropped a pawn and lost without a fight to 15-year-old GM Wei Yi:

A huge crowd on the second Saturday in Wijk aan Zee. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Top seed GM David Navara continues winning as well. He defeated GM Robin van Kampen from a Caro-Kann:

Van Kampen and Navara analysing. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

2015 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 7 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Wei,Yi 2675 2785 5.5/7 18.25
2 Navara,David 2729 2767 5.5/7 17.00
3 Shankland,Samuel L 2652 2683 4.5/7
4 L'Ami,Erwin 2613 2656 4.0/7 14.50
5 Potkin,Vladimir 2608 2595 4.0/7 11.00
6 Van Kampen,Robin 2615 2574 4.0/7 10.50
7 Sevian,Samuel 2511 2588 3.5/7 11.00
8 Michiels,Bart 2563 2497 3.5/7 8.25
9 Salem,A.R. Saleh 2603 2492 3.0/7 10.00
10 Klein,David 2517 2525 3.0/7 9.25
11 Gunina,Valentina 2538 2483 2.5/7 8.75
12 Timman,Jan H 2593 2445 2.5/7 7.25
13 Haast,Anne 2352 2412 2.0/7
14 Dale,Ari 2291 2371 1.5/7

The Tata Steel tournament takes place January 9-25 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. The rounds start Saturday at 1:30pm local time, which is 4:30am Pacific, 7:30am New York and 11:30pm Sydney. The last round starts 1.5 hours earlier.

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