Carlsen's Lead Back To Half Point Before Final Round In Wijk Aan Zee

Carlsen's Lead Back To Half Point Before Final Round In Wijk Aan Zee

| 19 | Chess Event Coverage

The Tata Steel Masters tournament is not decided yet. Fabiano Caruana defeated Loek van Wely in the penultimate round and now just half a point behind Magnus Carlsen again.

It is a long tradition in Wijk aan Zee: Loek van Wely playing a sharp Sicilian against one of the top guns, and going down in flames. But it's against his whole attitude towards chess to stop trying.

Before this year “KingLoek” had played the Sicilian 77 times in Wijk aan Zee. He won 8, drew 31 and lost 38. Admittedly, he did beat some big names as well: Timman, Topalov, Shirov and Nakamura.

Today was another tough day at office for Van Wely, who went for a sideline in a sharp variation that was very topical 15 years ago.

Van Wely back to playing an old love of his. |  | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Somehow it completely backfired after Caruana found the very interesting 14.Rh3!. Just a few moves later White was clearly better, and the position more or less played by itself.

This meant that Caruana came half a point closer to Carlsen, who played a quick and uneventful draw with Wesley So. The Norwegian surely had in mind that he plays white in the last round (vs Ding Liren), whereas Caruana has Black against Evgeny Tomashevsky.

“He came up with a move I didn't expect, 14.Rb1, but I think I have a couple of decent alternatives then,” said Carlsen. “The way it happened my knight is a bit of a nuisance for him, although I had to take a bit care that it didn't get trapped.”

“Not sure if I could have played more ambitiously. I didn't see anything so I forced the draw.” 

Carlsen on playing so often in Wijk aan Zee: “I've played so many
times that I feel kind of committed!” | Photo Alina l'Ami.

One of the visitors this Saturday was Sarkhan Gashimov, the brother of Vugar, who passed away at the age of 27 in 2014. It was announced that as of this year a new prize will be awarded, to honor the memory of Sarkhan’s late brother: the Vugar Gashimov Award.

It’s a fair play prize, which will be awarded during tomorrow's closing ceremony to a player in both the Tata Steel Masters and the Tata Steel Challengers groups. Why this tournament? Because it was the last Vugar played, now four years ago.

Sarkhan Gashinov, holding the prize that has a photo of Vugar. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Ding Liren was briefly a top 10 player, dropped out but is now back, holding the 9th place in the live ratings. Behind Carlsen and Caruana he is in third place in Wijk aan Zee, a full point ahead of Wesley So and Anish Giri.

Today the Chinese GM delivered a fine technical game: he held pressure from the opening, took the pawn sac'ed by his opponent, neutralized Black's activity, took over the initiative and decided the game quickly after.

Ding Liren on a fine third place. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Let's include one more draw of this round from the Masters, because of the opening. Sergey Karjakin didn't hide the fact that he (and his colleagues) is keeping his mean weapons for the Candidates’ in March — a tournament Giri talks about in the interview.


2016 Tata Steel Masters | Round 12 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2844 2892 8.5/12
2 Caruana,Fabiano 2787 2866 8.0/12
3 Ding,Liren 2766 2826 7.5/12
4 So,Wesley 2773 2774 6.5/12 39.75
5 Giri,Anish 2798 2779 6.5/12 38.50
6 Wei,Yi 2706 2759 6.0/12 35.50
7 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2747 2746 6.0/12 34.50
8 Eljanov,Pavel 2760 2748 6.0/12 31.75
9 Navara,David 2730 2719 5.5/12 35.00
10 Karjakin,Sergey 2769 2717 5.5/12 32.50
11 Hou,Yifan 2673 2661 4.5/12 26.75
12 Tomashevsky,Evgeny 2728 2658 4.5/12 25.00
13 Van Wely,Loek 2640 2671 4.5/12 24.50
14 Adams,Michael 2744 2657 4.5/12 24.25

In the Challengers group the situation is back to where it was in the first week. Alexey Dreev and Baskaran Adhiban are tied for first place, half a point ahead of Eltaj Safarli. In the last round both have black; Dreev against Miguoel Admiraal and Adhiban against Sam Sevian.

Erwin l'Ami is not having a great tournament, but at least today he won a nice game. Missing the Rxf7 idea was perhaps a sign of his lack of form, but he didn't allow his opponent to escape either.


2016 Tata Steel Challengers

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Adhiban,Baskaran 2653 2715 8.5/12 48.50
2 Dreev,Aleksey 2644 2727 8.5/12 47.00
3 Safarli,Eltaj 2653 2689 8.0/12
4 Antipov,Mikhail Al 2567 2595 6.5/12 33.25
5 Bok,Benjamin 2607 2596 6.5/12 32.75
6 Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter 2679 2563 6.0/12 37.50
7 Van Foreest,Jorden 2541 2562 6.0/12 35.25
8 Abasov,Nijat 2556 2565 6.0/12 32.75
9 L'Ami,Erwin 2627 2566 6.0/12 32.50
10 Sevian,Samuel 2578 2562 6.0/12 30.75
11 Ju,Wenjun 2548 2528 5.0/12 29.00
12 Batsiashvili,Nino 2485 2510 5.0/12 29.00
13 Admiraal,Miguoel 2441 2453 4.0/12
14 Haast,Anne 2391 2307 2.0/12


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

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