Caruana Moves To Clear First In Tata Steel's Round 3

Caruana Moves To Clear First In Tata Steel's Round 3

| 26 | Chess Event Coverage

He was worse, but the game turned around completely. Fabiano Caruana beat Michael Adams in round 3 of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament and is now in sole first place.

The third round in Wijk aan Zee started with a bang — literally. A few minutes after the start, loud screaming could be heard in the playing hall, normally a haven of quietness for a sport like chess. 

Even the super grandmasters looked up, for what turned out to be a highly frustrated amateur player who had neglected to register in the morning, and arrived ten minutes before the week day amateur round robins would start.

With an even number of players for all groups, he couldn't play, and while leaving he even damaged one of the doors. He must have been really looking forward to his three games.

Of the games played on stage, one got the most attention at the start: the very first encounter between Chinese rising star Wei Yi and World Champion Magnus Carlsen. One chess fan found a connection with the game where Carlsen played Garry Kasparov for the first time.

For this game Carlsen adopted the Marshall Gambit of the Ruy Lopez, an opening he had played only once before in his career as Black, against Viswanathan Anand at the Gashimov Memorial last year.

Wei Yi was prepared for it and the players followed Vachier Lagrave-Adams, Biel 2015. Carlsen deviated first, equalized and then got a slight edge in a rook ending. 

Carlsen went for another Marshall. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

On the Norwegian live broadcast by TV, commentator GM Jon Ludvig Hammer criticized Wei Yi's technique and gave his compatriot a 30-50% chance to win. In Wijk aan Zee, Yasser Seirawan correctly predicted an easy draw for White.

In the first two hours many players could be found watching one of the other boards: that of David Navara and Anish Giri. The Czech grandmaster had played a brilliant rook sacrifice, and achieved a strong attack, almost right out of the opening.

Fantastic play by David Navara. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Navara had prepared well, but still found f5 & Rxf5 behind the board. "I thought White didn't risk too much and I liked my position. It was probably better than I expected."

"I did have a feeling before the game that something bad was going to happen!" said Giri, who chose for a pragmatic defense: "Generally it's good to be a queen down when you're lost. It's harder usually to convert. With two rooks there are always some chances."

The game was too interesting not to analyze. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Navara was very close to reaching a winning position right on move 40, but overestimated Black's counterplay. "It wasn't easily winning," he said.

A truly dramatic affair was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Pavel Eljanov. The kind of horror you can hardly watch, and ask your kids to close their eyes for.

After playing an excellent game, Mamedyarov was two pawns up. Right when he was about to cash in, he dropped a rook. A full rook. Just unbelievable.

A horrific blunder by Mamedyarov... | Photo Alina l'Ami.

"I think he played brilliantly before that horrific blunder," said Eljanov. "I didn't believe that I could just take a rook. I thought, did this position really happen? For me it wasn't really pleasant either."

The longest game of the round was Fabiano Caruana vs Michael Adams. White won, but it wasn't a one-way affair.

Before this one, Adams & Caruana had played 13 classical games. The score was six wins for Adams (!), and two for Caruana. At some point the English GM, the oldest in this group, seemed to be going for his seventh.

"I don't know how much worse I was, but I was definitely worse," said Caruana. At some point he just lost the plot."

Chief arbiter Pavel Votruba watching the last game
in the Masters still running. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

The game saw a remarkable course of developments on different sides of the board. On move 31 you can coint 27 points (plus the white king) in the fourth quadrant, but at the end the white rooks have moved to the queenside!

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov

Loek van Wely and Evgeny Tomashevsky drew a Queen's Indian where Black decided to sacrifice a pawn right after the game had left the theoretical waters.  He got more than enough compensation, similar to the Budapest Gambit. 

"I think I misplayed it," said Van Wely. The Dutchman was relieved that he could trade queens. "With the queen he can attack my weak pawns."

"In the endgame I realized that the advantage was missing," said Tomashevsky. "Chess is a game of moves. You need to play move by move."

2016 Tata Steel Masters | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2787 3062 2.5/3
2 So,Wesley 2773 2867 2.0/3 2.50
3 Ding,Liren 2766 2858 2.0/3 1.75
4 Carlsen,Magnus 2844 2741 1.5/3 2.75
5 Hou,Yifan 2673 2769 1.5/3 2.75
6 Karjakin,Sergey 2769 2696 1.5/3 2.50
7 Wei,Yi 2706 2777 1.5/3 2.25
8 Tomashevsky,Evgeny 2728 2698 1.5/3 2.00
9 Van Wely,Loek 2640 2748 1.5/3 2.00
10 Eljanov,Pavel 2760 2747 1.5/3 1.75
11 Navara,David 2730 2795 1.5/3 1.50
12 Giri,Anish 2798 2636 1.0/3 1.75
13 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2747 2589 1.0/3 1.50
14 Adams,Michael 2744 2482 0.5/3

In the Challengers group it's the nestor of the group, 46-year-old Alexei Dreev, who leads with a perfect score.

Today he defeated Anne Haast, who again fell for a tactic early on. Yesterday it was hard to see; today it was a well-known trick.

Mikhail Antipov has been playing some very entertaining chess so far. Today he defeated Dutch talent Jorden van Foreest in a highly tactical game:

2016 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Dreev,Aleksey 2644 3315 3.0/3
2 Adhiban,Baskaran 2653 2814 2.5/3
3 Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter 2679 2661 2.0/3 2.25
4 Safarli,Eltaj 2653 2646 2.0/3 2.25
5 Antipov,Mikhail 2567 2613 2.0/3 1.00
6 Bok,Benjamin 2607 2641 1.5/3 2.75
7 Ju,Wenjun 2548 2612 1.5/3 2.75
8 Sevian,Samuel 2578 2605 1.5/3 2.00
9 L'Ami,Erwin 2627 2532 1.5/3 1.25
10 Abasov,Nijat 2556 2542 1.0/3 2.00
11 Batsiashvili,Nino 2485 2479 1.0/3 1.00
12 Van Foreest,Jorden 2541 2361 1.0/3 0.00
13 Admiraal,Miguoel 2441 2365 0.5/3
14 Haast,Anne 2391 1784 0.0/3

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament takes place in Wijk aan Zee, Amsterdam and Utrecht the 16th through the 31st of January. You can watch live streaming commentary daily at with GM Yasser Seirawan and guests.

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