Ding Liren Catches Caruana As Tata Steel Masters Visit Nemo

Ding Liren Catches Caruana As Tata Steel Masters Visit Nemo

| 23 | Chess Event Coverage

In round five of the Tata Steel MastersDing Liren joined Fabiano Caruana in first place. The Chinese GM won an excellent technical game against Sergey Karjakin, whereas Caruana was held to a draw by Hou Yifan.

Like the last two years, the Tata Steel Chess Tournament leaves Wijk aan Zee twice. The first trip was on Thursday to Amsterdam: the masters played their games in the Nemo Science Center. (Next Wednesday they'll play in Utrecht.)

For yours truly the “move” started on Wednesday, because all computers, cameras and other equipment had to be set up in Nemo for the live broadcast (produced by

This report might be a bit shorter than usual; it was written after everything was packed up and brought back to Wijk aan Zee again, where the tournament resumes on Friday. 

The players of the Tata Steel Masters in front of the Nemo building. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

The day saw lots of activities in Nemo, a true science center and museum — kids can have a great time learning about nature and science, while having fun. And this time there was chess too!

Early in the morning a simul for kids was held, and opened by a member of the Dutch royal family. And a chess documentary was premiered in the museum, about a successful chess school elsewhere in Amsterdam. Of course the grandmasters had a look in the museum, before the round.

Magnus Carlsen and Loek van Wely before the round touching the Tesla Coil in Nemo. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

After four draws, World Champion Magnus Carlsen scored his first win at the expense of Loek van Wely. The Dutch GM can be called “Mister Wijk aan Zee” by now: he is playing in Wijk aan Zee for the 24th time.

The two players had faced each other the day before as well, as both had joined the football match that was organized on the rest day. The match even made it to the site of a national newspaper.

In the stadium of football club Telstar (Velsen) the team of Van Wely (also with Evgeny Tomashevsky, Sergey Karjakin and others) beat the team of Carlsen (with e.g. Peter Heine Nielsen) 14-9.

Carlsen chasing Van Wely on the Telstar pitch. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

On the chessboard Van Wely was doing well too, but eventually he was much less successful. 

The Dutchman didn't castle in a Grünfeld but got a solid position; Carlsen evaluated the position on move 19 about equal. A few moves later the Norwegian found a Tal-like piece sacrifice: 23...Qg5!?

"First of all I thought it was quite good, and then I realized I might have missed something,” Carlsen said. "But I thought that even if I missed something then I will have a at least a couple of pawns and the initiative in his time trouble."

Here's what he missed.

In this position Van Wely played 29.Rc3 where on 29.Qh4+! Carlsen was planning to go 29...Qg5. Host FM Tex de Wit noticed 30.e5+! there, but didn't mention it to Carlsen. That wins for White.

Van Wely was in serious time trouble there, and played “on the increment” for about 10 moves when he finally started to make mistakes. The pressure was too big.

The video interview with Carlsen from our live broadcast includes a short video about the football on the rest day, with Carlsen commenting on his own play.

When he said he scored three goals, he didn't want to hear the applause from the audience. "No, no, no! Other people scored more and played better than me."

When asked what feels better, a beautiful checkmate or a nice goal, Carlsen answered "a beautiful checkmate" so we know that he picked the right sport.

Lovers of endgames couldn't complain either today. Ding Liren showed fantastic technique in his game with Sergey Karjakin, after bringing a very interesting novelty on move 12: castling queenside in a Queen's Indian. In the endgame Black's pawns were just too weak.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov


A good game brought Ding next to Caruana.

Michael Adams is having a tough tournament so far. The Englishman is on 1.0/5 after a loss to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who has recovered very well from his blunder two rounds ago.


Shak is fully back. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

The rest of the games ended in draws. Wei Yi-Giri, Navara-So and Tomashevsky-Eljanov were all fairly balanced from start to finish.

The longest game was the one between tournament leader Fabiano Caruana and Hou Yifan, one of the players who was trailing him by half a point.

"You're playing for first place!" Yasser Seirawan said to Hou before the round, but after just two moves that remark was already questionable. The Chinese player went for a Petroff.

Caruana seemed to have a slight edge in the endgame with a more active rook and king, but Black was actually doing fine. On move 35 she even missed a great chance, pointed out by Rustam Kasimdzhanov. The former FIDE world champion, who is Caruana's second, came up with the following line:


Another good game by Hou. | Photo Alina l'Ami. 


2016 Tata Steel Masters | Round 5 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2787 2910 3.5/5 8.00
2 Ding,Liren 2766 2898 3.5/5 7.50
3 Hou,Yifan 2673 2835 3.0/5 8.25
4 So,Wesley 2773 2817 3.0/5 7.50
5 Carlsen,Magnus 2844 2793 3.0/5 6.75
6 Eljanov,Pavel 2760 2792 3.0/5 6.25
7 Karjakin,Sergey 2769 2716 2.5/5 5.75
8 Wei,Yi 2706 2774 2.5/5 5.50
9 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2747 2744 2.5/5 4.25
10 Giri,Anish 2798 2682 2.0/5 5.75
11 Tomashevsky,Evgeny 2728 2654 2.0/5 4.75
12 Navara,David 2730 2696 2.0/5 4.50
13 Van Wely,Loek 2640 2623 1.5/5  
14 Adams,Michael 2744 2507 1.0/5  


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

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