Carlsen Wins 2016 Tata Steel Masters; Adhiban 1st In Challengers

Carlsen Wins 2016 Tata Steel Masters; Adhiban 1st In Challengers

| 189 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen won the Tata Steel Masters today, for the fifth time. He drew his game with Ding Liren, whereas Fabiano Caruana finished his tournament with a loss to Evgeny Tomashevsky

Baskaran Adhiban edged out Alexey Dreev and Eltaj Safarli on tiebreak to win the challengers and promote to the 2017 masters.

Garry Kasparov played in Wijk aan Zee three times, and won all three editions. It was the 13th world champion who brought the analogy between Novak Djokovic and Magnus Carlsen: both are dominating in their sports, and both underlined it with a major victory on Sunday.

Carlsen won in Wijk aan Zee for the fifth time, and is now tied with Vishy Anand on that number. The Indian played 16 times; Carlsen nine so far. Djokovic will need many more years to break Federer's Grand Slam record; Carlsen can surpass Anand already next year in Wijk aan Zee.

A half-point lead ahead of Fabiano Caruana and getting a slightly better and risk-free endgame against Ding Liren was a dream scenario for Carlsen. In a highly theoretical Open Spanish, the first move was played as late as move 28.

“I was obviously keeping an eye on the other games as well. For me the opening was good for me, very safe. I managed to get some play but I always felt that RB-R was the best I could get,” said the world champion.

Carlsen keeping an eye on Tomashevsky-Caruana. | Photo: Alina l'Ami.

It was another luxury to reach that endgame, given the circumstances. Remarkably, it was the first time ever for Carlsen to get RB-R in a classical game. (He did defend it once successfully against Loek van Wely.)

The endgame is known to be theoretically drawn, but in practice it's not that easy if the defender doesn't know exactly what he's doing. Carlsen: “It's unprofessional not to try and win it.”

Here's Carlsen's quick reaction after he had one this game:

This meant that Caruana could still catch Carlsen, but any calculation for possible tiebreaks (which would most certainly favor Caruana) were futile as the American player was simply worse. His opening didn't work, he lost an exchange and in the end the game.

And so Tomashevsky, who didn't make any headlines this week, suddenly played an important role on the last day. Did his approach towards this game change?

Maybe, but at the same time I played quite a bad tournament before and it was an additional motivation and also of course an aditional pressure to decide the first place, from the underdog side. It was not so easy to play.”

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov

And so Carlsen did end clear first, with a score of 9.0/13 and a 2880 performance. He won 6.6 points and will be on Kasparov's old record rating per March 1: 2851.

At the traditional last-day press conference with the winner, Carlsen denied that he looks at his live rating every day: “I'm happy that I'm playing decently again, and (...) that it's not a mess in every game.”

Carlsen with the winner's trophy. | Photo: Alina l'Ami.

He seemed to have changed his style a bit, but not much. “It goes with both opening choices and choices that I make during the game. I guess I started taking more risks in the middle of the tournament and then again at the end I wasn't risking very much neither with White or Black.”

Pavel Eljanov finished his tournament on a high note, and so he can be satisfied: plus one in this field is just fine. 

In the final round the Ukrainian grandmaster defeated David Navara in a sideline of the Queen's Indian.

“It looked like an easy game but it was rather tense,” said the winner. “After move six or seven I was out of book. It was an interesting game because I was forced to think by myself from the beginning and there were a lot of interesting variations.”

Karjakin and Giri can't be too happy with their tournament. Both finished with a draw, and the latter escaped — once again. It was Hou Yifan who reached a winning position but failed to deliver the knockout — once again.

2016 Tata Steel Masters | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2844 2880 9.0/13
2 Caruana,Fabiano 2787 2826 8.0/13 51.75
3 Ding Liren 2766 2827 8.0/13 49.25
4 So,Wesley 2773 2773 7.0/13 45.50
5 Giri,Anish 2798 2771 7.0/13 44.25
6 Eljanov,Pavel 2760 2773 7.0/13 40.50
7 Wei Yi 2706 2750 6.5/13 41.00
8 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2747 2747 6.5/13 40.25
9 Karjakin,Sergey 2769 2720 6.0/13
10 Navara,David 2730 2695 5.5/13 37.50
11 Tomashevsky,Evgeny 2728 2696 5.5/13 35.25
12 Hou Yifan 2673 2672 5.0/13 32.00
13 Adams,Michael 2744 2667 5.0/13 30.25
14 Van Wely,Loek 2640 2674 5.0/13 30.00

The challengers group was won by a man who had been at the top of the leaderboard for most of the tournament: Baskaran Adhiban of India. He tied for first with Alexei Dreev and Eltaj Safarli.

This creates an interesting situtation. Very often the organizers invited the runner-up to the highest group as well, in case he/she finished on the same number of points as the winner. But now there are three...

Safarli caught Dreev and Adhiban with a win against Nino Batsiashvili. She should have known that 4.Bd3 is inaccurate in the Exchange French; 4.Nf3 is the best move there. (After 4...Nf6, 5.Bd3 is fine because then 5...c5 can be answered by 6.0-0! c4 7.Re1+ and 8.Bf1.)

We'll see Baskaran Adhiban facing the top guns next year. | Photo: Alina l'Ami.

2016 Tata Steel Challengers | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Adhiban,Baskaran 2653 2703 9.0/13 56.25
2 Safarli,Eltaj 2653 2703 9.0/13 53.50
3 Dreev,Alexei 2644 2704 9.0/13 53.25
4 Bok,Benjamin 2607 2594 7.0/13 39.25
5 Antipov,Mikhail 2567 2596 7.0/13 39.00
6 Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter 2679 2561 6.5/13 43.75
7 Van Foreest,Jorden 2541 2571 6.5/13 41.00
8 Abasov,Nijat 2556 2570 6.5/13 39.25
9 L'Ami,Erwin 2627 2565 6.5/13 38.50
10 Sevian,Samuel 2578 2569 6.5/13 37.75
11 Ju Wenjun 2548 2545 6.0/13
12 Batsiashvili,Nino 2485 2494 5.0/13
13 Admiraal,Miguoel 2441 2468 4.5/13
14 Haast,Anne 2391 2287 2.0/13

At the closing ceremony David Navara and Jorden van Foreest won the first Vugar Gashimov Prize for fair play. | Photo: Alina l'Ami.

It was wonderful that Professor Johan van Hulst, who turned 105 years old three days ago, could attend the closing ceremony. | Photo: Alina l'Ami.

The dates for next year's tournament have been announced: January 13-29.

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