Endgame Virtuoso Navara Makes Carlsen Sole Leader In Wijk Aan Zee

Endgame Virtuoso Navara Makes Carlsen Sole Leader In Wijk Aan Zee

| 28 | Chess Event Coverage

David Navara stole the show on Sunday at the Tata Steel Masters with a study-like win over Fabiano Caruana. As a result, Magnus Carlsen's draw with Sergey Karjakin was enough to grab sole lead before the second rest day.

He had shown some fireworks in the opening before (against Anish Giri). Today David Navara came up with some magic in the endgame, and defeated a co-leader.

Fabiano Caruana went for the Nimzo-Indian and Navara said that in December he had played some blitz games with a friend in this 4.Qc2 line.

It was theory up until the endgame and White wasn't doing that great actually, until Caruana made an error on move 27.

The game should still have ended in a draw, but somehow Navara completely outplayed his opponent and finished with the very nice 50.a5!.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov


As Dejan Bojkov noted, the game was quite similar to a classic from 1921: the 4th game between Alexander Alekhine and Richard Teichmann, who played a match in Berlin in that year (and tied 3.5-3.5). Like Navara's game it is a textbook example for king activity in the endgame:


Navara won the endgame à la Alekhine. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Magnus Carlsen is now the sole leader and all he had to do for that is draw his black game with Sergey Karjakin. He did it with 3...g6, his occasional surprise weapon in the Ruy Lopez. Before the game, with that move he had drawn with Adams, Giri and Nakamura and a won against Anand.

The middlegame looked like a King's Indian but without the dark-squared bishops. Playing without ...f5 and with a knight on b6 Black was quite alright.


Carlsen tops the standings on the second rest day. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Hou Yifan was playing such a great tournament, but now she lost two games in a row. Today she was beaten by Loek van Wely, who quickly reached a “dream Sicilian” with a knight on e5 that couldn't get dislodged, and Ra8-c8xc3 looming.

The opening definitely didn't go well but Hou defended reasonably for a while. However, Black's dark-squared was just a monster and the attack played itself. Here's the game based on Van Wely's analysis with commentator Robin van Kampen (below):

Anish Giri tried his best but couldn't get through Evgeny Tomashevsky's stubborn defense. Wesley So also had an edge against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov but it wasn't much.

A very spectacular draw was played between Ding Liren and Wei Yi. It lasted less than an hour actually, and taken into account Wei's clock use (or rather, lack of) it seems the youngest of the two Chinese GMs was best prepared.


Short but spectacular! | Photo Alina l'Ami.

A very long game was Michael Adams vs Pavel Eljanov. The latter has a full rest day to curse himself for not winning this one.

In what was the first Berlin Endgame in the tournament the position was about equal for a while, but at some point Adams misplayed it. But in the end Eljanov missed at least three clear wins. Incredible.


A very narrow escape for Mickey Adams. | Photo Alina l'Ami. 

2016 Tata Steel Masters | Round 8 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2844 2870 5.5/8  
2 Caruana,Fabiano 2787 2849 5.0/8  
3 So,Wesley 2773 2790 4.5/8 19.00
4 Giri,Anish 2798 2779 4.5/8 17.25
5 Ding Liren 2766 2791 4.5/8 16.75
6 Navara,David 2730 2769 4.0/8 17.75
7 Wei Yi 2706 2760 4.0/8 16.00
8 Karjakin,Sergey 2769 2740 4.0/8 15.25
9 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2747 2745 4.0/8 14.00
10 Eljanov,Pavel 2760 2746 4.0/8 13.75
11 Hou Yifan 2673 2696 3.5/8  
12 Tomashevsky,Evgeny 2728 2663 3.0/8 11.00
13 Van Wely,Loek 2640 2669 3.0/8 10.25
14 Adams,Michael 2744 2597 2.5/8  


In the Challengers, Anne Haast clearly found her form. Yesterday she won her first game after six losses, and she duly added another win to her score today. And how! Nino Batsiashvili took a poisoned pawn on b2 and was killed in just twenty moves.

It was a bad day for the ladies since Ju Wenjun also lost, to Sam Sevian. Adhiban Baskaran continues to lead, with five rounds to go.

2016 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 8 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Adhiban,Baskaran 2653 2802 6.5/8  
2 Safarli,Eltaj 2653 2732 6.0/8  
3 Dreev,Alexey 2644 2710 5.5/8  
4 Antipov,Mikhail 2567 2592 4.0/8 14.75
5 Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter 2679 2522 4.0/8 14.25
6 Sevian,Samuel 2578 2564 4.0/8 13.75
7 Van Foreest,Jorden 2541 2537 4.0/8 13.75
8 Batsiashvili,Nino 2485 2542 4.0/8 13.25
9 Bok,Benjamin 2607 2566 3.5/8 14.25
10 L'Ami,Erwin 2627 2506 3.5/8 12.50
11 Ju Wenjun 2548 2523 3.0/8 12.75
12 Admiraal,Miguoel 2441 2507 3.0/8 12.50
13 Abasov,Nijat 2556 2491 3.0/8 12.25
14 Haast,Anne 2391 2415 2.0/8  


Last but not least, Judit Polgar joined Yasser Seirawan in the studio for about half an hour. For the many fans out there, here's the clip:

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.

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.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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