Ding Liren Catches Nepomniachtchi As Tata Steel Chess Visits Alkmaar
A group photo with the participants in Alkmaar. "Say cheese!" | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Ding Liren Catches Nepomniachtchi As Tata Steel Chess Visits Alkmaar

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jan 17, 2019, 1:56 AM |
43 | Chess Event Coverage

Ding Liren defeated Sam Shankland and joined Ian Nepomniachtchi in the lead in round five of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, which visited the city of Alkmaar for one day. Magnus Carlsen was among the winners and thus made an end to his drawing streak of 21 classical games.

Traditionally, the grandmasters in the masters group of the Tata Steel Chess tournament play two of their rounds at external location. Next Wednesday that will be Leiden, and yesterday the tournament visited the "cheese city" Alkmaar in the province of North-Holland. The venue was Theater De Vest, located alongside the Saint Lawrence church, where chess activities for children were organized.

In this different environment, Carlsen finally managed to finish his long drawing streak. He admitted that it annoyed him a bit: "It did bother me obviously. I am not used to going that long without winning a game, not having too many chances either. I am very happy now to have kicked that one."


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

The world champion played the Sveshnikov like he had done in his match with Fabiano Caruana in November, and faced the same 7.Nd5 variation. Jorden van Foreest has been showing good preparation, but against Carlsen his problems started soon after the opening.

"I expected it to be a lot of fun, but it was a tough game so that started out to be very quickly a little less fun," said Van Foreest, who wasn't afraid to meet his famous opponent in world championship opening territory.

"I checked this line a little bit, also before the tournament just in case I play him with White. The Black position is also kind of dangerous. I know it's also dangerous for White but I just wanted to play a game against him and why not this one, where both sides have chances." 


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

Magnus Carlsen Peter Heine Nielsen Tata Steel Chess 2019Magnus Carlsen and Peter Heine Nielsen arrive in Alkmaar in good spirits. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Tournament leader Nepomniachtchi faced Richard Rapport, who played the nowadays somewhat-risky Steinitz Defense Deferred (....d6 only after playing ...a6). The Hungarian GM had done so twice at the 2018 Reykjavik Open, so Nepo can't have been too surprised there.

The Russian player followed one of these Reykjavik games for 15 moves, which meant an endgame where Black gets a damaged structure but also the bishop pair. He felt that White is much better there, but wasn't happy with his own play.

"I managed to spoil this position, which is not so easy to do. It's probably some kind of achievement," Nepomniachtchi said.

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

Richard Rapport and his wife WGM Jovana Vojinović Tata Steel Chess 2019Richard Rapport and his wife WGM Jovana Vojinovic arriving in Alkmaar. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Of the four players who were trailing Nepo by half a point, only Ding Liren won his game. The Chinese player had a relatively easy day at the office against Sam Shankland, whose 8.h3 Anti-Marshall failed to give an advantage. After the logical novelty 17...d5 Black already had the more pleasant position.

Right there, Shankland made a mistake, after which the endgame was very difficult for him. After one more inaccuracy, the position became indefensible.

"After the ...a5 break I have a very clear plan. My b5-pawn is much better than his a3-pawn. Black is very comfortable here," said Ding.


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

The games Radjabov-Duda, Kramnik-Mamedyarov and Giri-Anand were fairly quick draws, but with six games finished, the unlucky organizers and technical crew had to wait two more hours for the last game to end, before they could start packing to bring all the equipment back to Wijk aan Zee!

That game was Vladimir Fedoseev vs Vidit Gujrathi, who were involved in an endgame QB-vs-QN, where the Indian player was trying to queen his a-pawn but had to look out for perpetual check all the time. Apparently it was winning at some point, but it was very difficult to find.

Alkmaar Tata Steel Chess 2019A backstage shot from Theater De Vest in Alkmaar. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Remarkably, after five rounds Black has won nine games against only two for White. Twenty four were drawn.

Tata Steel Chess Masters | Standings

# Fed Name Rtg TPR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 Pts SB
1 Nepomniachtchi 2763 2935 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 3.5/5 8.25
2 Ding Liren 2813 2865 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 3.5/5 7
3 Carlsen 2835 2803 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/5 6.75
4 Vidit 2695 2814 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/5 6.5
5 Giri 2783 2842 0 ½ ½ 1 1 3.0/5 6.25
6 Anand 2773 2790 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/5 5.75
7 Mamedyarov 2817 2761 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 6.25
8 Radjabov 2757 2767 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 5.75
9 Duda 2738 2703 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 2.5/5 5.75
10 Fedoseev 2724 2680 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 2.0/5 5.75
11 Rapport 2731 2680 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 5
12 Shankland 2725 2704 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 5
13 Kramnik 2777 2644 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1.5/5
14 Van Foreest 2612 2530 0 0 0 0 1 1.0/5

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

In the challengers group, Black is also doing OK, with seven wins versus six for White. That's a statistic after a fifth round where all decisive games were scored by the second player.

Anton Korobov and Vladislav Kovalev are sharing the lead with 3.5 points. They seem to be good friends and can be found in one of the local bars just about every night in Wijk aan Zee. It's good to see that there are still a few grandmasters holding up this tradition, which seemed to have disappeared from top tournament practice!

In a Sicilian, Korobov outplayed tail-ender IM Stefan Kuipers, who promoted from the highest amateur group last year. So far, the challengers group has been quite the challenge for the 28-year-old Dutchman. His opening was fine this time, but his calculation let him down in the early middlegame and then Black got the typical Sicilian positional advantage.

Kovalev defeated Benjamin Gledura, who wasn't rewarded for arguably the greatest move so far played in Wijk aan Zee this year in both groups. Pushing a pawn to a square where it's being attacked three times is always nice—especially when it works! However, the white player didn't find the correct follow-up, lost a pawn and then the game.

Evgeny Bareev is back to plus-one. He played a model game in the Benko (the name used in the continent where he now lives) or Volga (the name of his mother tongue) gambit:

Tata Steel Chess Challengers | Standings

# Fed Name Rating TPR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Score
1 Kovalev 2687 2718 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 3.5/5
2 Korobov 2699 2692 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 3.5/5
3 Esipenko 2584 2669 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/5
4 Chigaev 2604 2662 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/5
5 Bareev 2650 2618 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 3.0/5
6 L'Ami 2643 2612 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/5
7 Maghsoodloo 2679 2626 0 ½ ½ 1 1 3.0/5
8 Van Foreest 2502 2613 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5
9 Keymer 2500 2535 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 2.5/5
10 Praggnanandhaa 2539 2560 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5
11 Gledura 2615 2530 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5
12 Paehtz 2477 2514 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 2.0/5
13 Saduakassova 2472 2465 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1.5/5
14 Kuipers 2470 2234 0 0 0 0 ½ 0.5/5

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


Replay the live broadcast of the fifth 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.
  • 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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