Carlsen Grinds Down Anand In Leiden, Leads Tata Steel Chess
Carlsen surged to the top—a group photo from spiritual surroundings in Leiden. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Carlsen Grinds Down Anand In Leiden, Leads Tata Steel Chess

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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46 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen managed to beat Vishy Anand deep down in a knight endgame to grab the sole lead at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament with three rounds to go. A spectacular 10th round, held in a church in Leiden, saw four more decisive games.

It was the second Tata Steel Chess on tour day, and this time the location was the St. Peter's Church in central Leiden, the Netherlands. With a university since 1575 that counts Albert Einstein among its former lecturers, Leiden is also the birthplace of Rembrandt.

The players were definitely inspired and created a wonderful round that enthralled both the local fans and those of the world champion. First we saw a "triple-double Dutch," with wins for both Anish Giri and Jorden van Foreest for the third time in one round, and at the end of the day Carlsen managed to beat Anand in a knight endgame that many feel Anand wouldn't have lost to any other opponent. The Norwegian player showed some of the magic that he used to display much more often.

But first Van Foreest—the author can't deny a tiny bit of Dutch pride here. As the lowest seed of the tournament, the 19-year-old won his third game of the tournament, and together with two draws that means he's winning Elo. More important, his victim on Wednesday was one of the tournament leaders.

Ian Nepomniachtchi played his usual Najdorf, but against 6.h3 he oddly played a certain line with a tempo down. His opponent castled queenside, developed normally and then sacrificed to get a strong attack. With a series of beautiful tactical punches, Van Foreest eventually won a queen for rook and bishop, and although it wasn't easy, he managed to convert that endgame.

"I don't think it was a good game by any means, but I am very happy to have won. I think he just had an off-day," said Van Foreest.


Van Foreest was interviewed after the game. | Video: Tata Steel Chess.

It wasn't easy to pick the game of the day this time, because Richard Rapport played a small masterpiece as well in this round, against Jan-Krzysztof Duda. The first three quarters of the game wasn't too special, but the tactic found by Rapport at the end was truly stunning.

As one grandmaster in Gibraltar suggested to this author, the tactic could be included in Puzzle Rush, but then perhaps as one above 40!

Because Nepomniachtchi lost, Carlsen could have become the sole leader if he beat Anand. He was slightly better in an endgame with a rook and a knight for both, but Anand managed to limit the damage.

When all pawns on the kingside were traded and three vs two on the queenside were all that were left, the five-time world champion seemed very close to holding the draw. However, after 6.5 hours of play Anand collapsed, miscalculated and lost. Nonetheless, credit goes to Carlsen for time and again putting his opponents under constant pressure until they crack.

"Obviously it was a huge win today," said Carlsen. "I never thought at any moment it was very likely."


Carlsen was interviewed after the game. | Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Carlsen vs Anand Tata Steel Chess 2019Carlsen and Anand chatting before the game. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Anish Giri is now the only player trailing Carlsen by half a point (they play each other in the final round!) after another good win for the Dutchman against Vladimir Fedoseev, who played the Closed Sicilian. Top grandmasters don't often play that anymore these days, and Giri basically showed why, playing an excellent game.

"It's great to be be on tour; we're getting closer and closer to my home!" said Giri about playing in Leiden, which is not too far away from The Hague indeed. "Maybe one day I'll play in my small apartment!"

He added: "I am happy to see that there are chess fans in Holland; it seems that chess is doing well here and I am hoping it will only continue. I am also very happy that today Jorden is winning his game as well."


Giri was interviewed after the game. | Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Ding-Mamedyarov and Shankland-Radjabov were both drawn, but there was even another decisive game. The whole chess world is suffering along with Vladimir Kramnik by now, as what's happening to him is not worthy of the great champion he is.

In Leiden, Kramnik was the first to lose in fact against Vidit Gujrathi, who got a dream position from a Saemisch Nimzo-Indian followed by a free attack on the kingside in what was his first game ever against this opponent.

Press chief Tom Bottama started his interview with "Vladimir, the tournament is not going very well at all!" to which Kramnik duly replied: "Yes, I noticed also!"

The Russian explained: "Today I got to play a sharp line and I totally confused all my analysis. I got lost just after the opening, just messed up everything."


Kramnik was interviewed after the game. | Video: Tata Steel Chess.


Vidit was interviewed after the game. | Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Tata Steel Chess Masters | Standings

# Fed Name Rating SB 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Score TPR
1 Carlsen 2835 32.75 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 7.0 / 10 2892
2 Giri 2783 28.5 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 6.5 / 10 2854
3 Nepomniachtchi 2763 30 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 6.0 / 10 2829
4 Ding Liren 2813 28.75 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 6.0 / 10 2821
5 Anand 2773 26 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 6.0 / 10 2824
6 Radjabov 2757 23 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 5.0 / 10 2741
7 Vidit 2695 23 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 5.0 / 10 2753
8 Fedoseev 2724 23.75 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 0 0 4.5 / 10 2710
9 Shankland 2725 22 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 4.5 / 10 2714
10 Rapport 2731 20.75 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 4.5 / 10 2733
11 Duda 2738 19.25 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 4.5 / 10 2702
12 Van Foreest 2612 20.75 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 1 4.0 / 10 2689
13 Mamedyarov 2817 19.75 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.0 / 10 2698
14 Kramnik 2777 13.25 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 2.5 / 10 2578

Pairings for round 11 (Friday): Radjabov-Carlsen, Giri-Shankland, Nepomniachtchi-Fedoseev, Kramnik-Van Foreest, Mamedyarov-Vidit, Rapport-Ding Liren, Anand-Duda.

In Wijk aan Zee there was a bit of drama as well, as Maksim Chigaev survived a completely lost position vs Praggnanandhaa and even won, to defend his lead in the masters group. The Russian GM found a very nasty trick that shouldn't have won, but the 13-year-old was so shocked that he soon blundered.

Parham Maghsoodloo successfully tried the old, sharp line with Nc3 and g4 against Evgeny Bareev. The last time we saw it in a big game was when Kasparov played it against Navara in St. Louis last year (and dramatically lost from a winning position).

The game was extremely theoretical and rather spectacular:

Tata Steel Chess Challengers | Standings

# Fed Name Rating TPR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Score SB
1 Chigaev 2604 2763 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 7.5 / 10 32.25
2 Kovalev 2687 2730 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 7.0 / 10 34.5
3 Esipenko 2584 2729 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ ½ 7.0 / 10 34.25
4 Gledura 2615 2650 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 6.0 / 10 25.75
5 Maghsoodloo 2679 2633 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 6.0 / 10 23.25
6 L'Ami 2643 2618 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 5.5 / 10 26
7 Korobov 2699 2618 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 5.5 / 10 24.75
8 Bareev 2650 2558 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 4.5 / 10 21.75
9 Van Foreest 2502 2542 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 4.5 / 10 19.75
10 Keymer 2500 2524 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.5 / 10 16.75
11 Praggnanandhaa 2539 2527 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 4.0 / 10 18.25
12 Paehtz 2477 2417 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0 / 10 13
13 Kuipers 2470 2391 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 1 0 0 ½ 2.5 / 10 12.5
14 Saduakassova 2472 2413 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 2.5 / 10 12.25

Pairings for round 11 (Friday): Chigaev-Korobov, Van Foreest-Praggnanandhaa, Gledura-Esipenko, Saduakassova-Kuipers, Bareev-Paehtz, Kovalev-Maghsoodloo, L'Ami-Keymer.


Replay the live broadcast of the 10th round.

The official video broadcast is "proudly powered" by Chess.com, which you can watch on both tatasteelchess.com and Chess.com/TV. 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 the following two rounds:

  • On January 23 (Leiden) the rounds starts half an hour later, at 2 p.m. local time.
  • The final round, on Sunday January 27, starts 1.5 hours earlier, at noon local time.

Commentary will be provided by IMs Anna Rudolf and Lawrence Trent during the first week, and GM Robert Hess and IM Sopiko Guramishvili during the second week.


Previous reports:

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