Aronian Nearly Home In Tata Steel

Aronian Nearly Home In Tata Steel

| 24 | Chess Event Coverage

Official Website Round 12 Report

Armenian GM Levon Aronian is certain of netting at least a fair share of the 10,000-euro first prize in Grandmaster Group A at the 74th annual Tata Chess Tournament.

A victory with black over World Title Challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel in 12th-round action put him one point ahead of his nearest rivals in the field of fourteen Saturday. Only a loss in Sunday’s final round would prevent him from taking all of the prize money all for himself.

Tata 2012 Round 12 Boris Gelfand - Lev Aronian.jpg


Aronian’s win came on the heels of a smarting defeat at the hands of Czech GM David Navara in the previous round and, he told reporters, “after a good night’s sleep, I decided I’d be happy with a draw by way of a recovery,” when he entered the tournament arena at the start of Saturday’s action. But “after having been under pressure for a while, I was able to take the initiative when Boris declined my double pawn sacrifice 19…b5? He should have gone 20.Qxc6 but played 20.Nc5 instead. From that moment on, I wasn’t in danger of losing any longer and began to enjoy the game.” He refused the peace offer his opponent came up with and increased the pressure in the time trouble stage of the encounter. Gelfand didn’t flinch and made it to the time control only to cave in a few moves later with 46.Kxg2?, where 46.Nxg2 might have saved the day.




Aronian’s main rivals, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen and Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov, got no further than a draw each, although they both had the advantage of playing with the white pieces. Radjabov picked up his half point the easy way, agreeing to a draw after only 20 moves in a Volga Gambit against Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine. “I tried to go for a win,” Radjabov excused himself afterwards, “but it was a very tricky position and I didn’t like it one bit for white.”

Tata 2012 Round 12 Teimour Radjabov - Vassily Ivanchuk.jpg




Carlsen, the world’s highest rated grandmaster with 2835 Elo points to his name, went about it in the true and tried Carlsen way, i.e. the most aggressive and most risky way. He declined the Marshall Gambit that his opponent, U.S. Champion Gata Kamsky, chose for an opening and then made a mistake playing 16.c4?, where 16.f4 would have been a better way to handle the position.

Tata 2012 Round 12 Magnus Carlsen.jpg


“No, it wasn’t a very good game,” admitted Carlsen afterwards. “But, fortunately, I defended well enough after I messed up the opening, or the middle game, whatever. True, my opponent had the advantage but it was never clear, nothing was ever clear.” Kamsky agreed, telling reporters that “black was better throughout most of the game but white found all the decisive moves. I couldn’t find a way to make my advantage count. In the end, I didn’t want to take any risks. So it was a draw.”




Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov took the 500-euro ‘Piet Zwart Prize’ for his victory with white against Dutch champion Anish Giri. Topalov deserved the prize - put up by the municipalities of Velsen and Beverwijk - said GM Ivan Sokolov in awarding it, “because he had pressure straight from the opening and gradually ground his young opponent down.” For ‘Toppy’, who performed below par, it was his first win this year and it came as a relieve. “May be I didn’t play the best moves, but at least I didn’t let my advantage slip away this time,” he said. Having produced a disappointing series of eight draws and three losses in the previous rounds, he complained that “finally winning a game” could not make up for the fact that “I failed to profit from the advantage I held in at least seven games.”

Tata 2012 Round 12 Veselin Topalov - Anish Giri.jpg




In the third win of Saturday’s last but final round, Hikaru Nakamura of the U.S. played white against Holland’s Loek van Wely’s Shveshnikov Defense to obtain a position “which optically looked better for me … but objectively was probably finely balanced,” as “Naka” put it. “Somehow, in the middle game, however, Loek tried to outwait me, instead of coming up with an active plan.

Tata 2012 Round 12 Loek van Wely.jpg


That enabled me to regroup my rooks on the d-file and position my knight optimally with 35.Ng5. After that it was very difficult for him, especially when he came under time pressure as well.” So difficult, in fact, that Van Wely made the decisive mistake with 35...Bxg5 36.hxg5 Qxg5 37.Bh3 Rc7 38.Rxd6 Kg7?. He fought back, made it to the time control but was forced to surrender 17 moves later. When asked after the game whether he had chosen the wrong plan, Van Wely replied: “Plan? Which plan? I misplaced a few pieces in time trouble and he got some kind of attack going. After that, it was clear I could only escape by a miracle. Well, I didn’t.”



The two remaining games of the round were both drawn. Navara had an advantage with white in a Ruy Lopez against Italy’s Fabiano Caruana but wasted it in time trouble and had to fight until his 64th to salvage a half point. Russia’s Sergey Karjakin and Azerbaijan’s Vugar Gashimov played a Queen’s Indian that was over before it had really begun, with the twosome splitting the point after only 27 moves.

Tata 2012 Round 12 David Navara - Fabiano Caruana.jpg




Tata 2012 Round 12 Sergey Karjakin - Vugar Gashimov.jpg




The standings after 12 rounds in Group A:

Aronian, Levon        ARM 2805
Carlsen, Magnus        NOR 2835
Radjabov, Teimour        AZE 2773
Caruana, Fabiano        ITA 2736 7
Ivanchuk, Vassily        UKR 2766 7
Nakamura, Hikaru        USA 2759 7
Kamsky, Gata        USA 2732 6
Karjakin, Sergey        RUS 2769 6
Gelfand, Boris        ISR 2739 5
Topalov, Veselin        BUL 2770 5
Van Wely, Loek        NED 2692 5
Gashimov, Vugar        AZE 2761
Giri, Anish        NED 2714 4
Navara, David        CZE 2712 4


In Group B, Sokolov awarded the 250-euro daily prize to 15-year-old Ilya Nyzhnyk for his victory in 31 moves with black from a King’s Indian Defense against fellow Ukrainian Kateryna Lahno. India’s Pentala Harikrishna remained in first place in this group after drawing his 12th-round encounter with runner-up Alexander Motylev of Russia. Harikishna has 8.5 points, half a point more than Motylev and Erwin L’Ami, who was lucky to escape with a draw in his game against fellow Dutchman Jan Timman.

Tata 2012 Round 12 Nyzhnyk - Lahno.jpg



Tata 2012 Round 12 Harikrishna.jpg




Tata 2012 Round 12 Lami - Timman.jpg




The results of round 12 in Group B:

Motylev, Alexander    ½-½   Harikrishna, Pentala   
Reinderman, Dimitri    1-0   Ernst, Sipke   
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro 1-0   Vocaturo, Daniele 
Lahno, Kateryna    0-1  Nyzhnyk, Illya  
Harika, Dronavalli    0-1  Tiviakov, Sergei  
Cmilyte, Viktorija   ½-½   Potkin, Vladimir  
L'Ami, Erwin    ½-½   Timman, Jan H  


The standings after round 12 in Group B:

Harikrishna, Pentala      IND  2665
L'Ami, Erwin      NED  2596 8
Motylev, Alexander      RUS  2677 8
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro      CUB  2691
Reinderman, Dimitri      NED  2581 7
Tiviakov, Sergei      NED  2677 7
Nyzhnyk, Illya      UKR  2568
Potkin, Vladimir      RUS  2684
Timman, Jan H      NED  2571
Ernst, Sipke      NED  2606 5
Cmilyte, Viktorija      LTU  2503 4
Lahno, Kateryna      UKR  2557 4
Vocaturo, Daniele      ITA  2545 4
Harika, Dronavalli      IND  2516


Russia’s Maxim Turov took the 100-euro day prize in group C for his win in 31 moves with black from a Reti against India’s Adhiban Baskaran. Turov shares the lead in this section of the tournament with Sweden’s Hans Tikkanen, who defeated Britain’s Matthew Sadler, also with black, in 42 moves from a French Defense.

Tata 2012 Round 12 Adhiban - Turov.jpg



Tata 2012 Round 12 Tikkanen - Sadler.jpg



The results of round 12 in Group C:

Hopman, Pieter    ½-½  Grover, Sahaj   
Sadler, Matthew D    0-1  Tikkanen, Hans   
Tania, Sachdev    0-1  Ootes, Lars  
Paehtz, Elisabeth    ½-½   Haast, Anne  
Brandenburg, Daan    1-0  Schut, Lisa  
Adhiban, Baskaran   0-1  Turov, Maxim  
Goudriaan, Etienne   0-1  Danielian, Elina  


The standings after 12 rounds in Group C:

Tikkanen, Hans      SWE  2549
Turov, Maxim      RUS  2645
Adhiban, Baskaran      IND  2561
Brandenburg, Daan      NED  2527
Sadler, Matthew D      ENG  2660
Grover, Sahaj      IND  2532
Paehtz, Elisabeth      GER  2454 6
Tania, Sachdev      IND  2411
Goudriaan, Etienne      NED  2279 5
Danielian, Elina      ARM  2490
Ootes, Lars      NED  2326
Schut, Lisa      NED  2290 4
Hopman, Pieter      NED  2342 4
Haast, Anne      NED  2290



Report and photos from the official website coverage. Videos by Freshmen media.



Diamond and Platinum members can watch the final rounds LIVE at Chess.comTV with commentary from IM David Pruess and Jason Stoneking.  See here for details.

The final round pairings look like this:

Kamsky, Gata  Topalov, Veselin
Van Wely, Loek  Carlsen, Magnus
Gashimov, Vugar  Nakamura, Hikaru
Ivanchuk, Vassily  Karjakin, Sergey
Aronian, Levon  Radjabov, Teimour
Caruana, Fabiano  Gelfand, Boris 
Giri, Anish  Navara, David
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