Giri Grabs Sole Lead In Tata Steel Chess Round 9
Anish Giri was the only winner on Tuesday and leads in Wijk aan Zee. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Giri Grabs Sole Lead In Tata Steel Chess Round 9

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jan 23, 2018, 3:52 PM |
30 | Chess Event Coverage

Anish Giri was the only winner in round nine of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament's masters group in Wijk aan Zee. It was a big win, as the Dutchman is now the sole leader with four rounds to go.

In round nine of the 1985 Hoogovens Tournament in Wijk aan Zee 33 years ago, Jan Timman drew his black game with Viktor Kortchnoi to reach a score of 6.5/9. He was leading by a full point, ahead of John Nunn (the later two-time winner) and Kiril Georgiev.

Timman went on to score 2.5 points out of four to finish on 9/13 and win the 1985 tournament. It was the last time a Dutch player took the trophy in Wijk aan Zee. This might change on Sunday.

This reporter was having a hard time staying neutral, with Anish Giri taking the sole lead in the biggest tournament of his country and the longest of the chess circuit (only equaled by the FIDE Candidates' Tournament).

Anish Giri and Tarjei Svensen, Wijk aan Zee 2018

Giri checking variations with Norwegian reporter Tarjei Svensen. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Giri, who is not known for playing many decisive games in his tournaments, is now on a very impressive plus-four score—he started with two wins, and after five draws he won two more.

He was not very happy about this game. "I didn't take risk, I played badly but I was very fortunate that he made a mistake afterwards," Giri said. "I think I played the final phase of the game very well so that's something I can be quite happy with."

Dejan Bojkov's Game of the Day

He seemed slightly tenser than usual in the interview, but Giri didn't want to admit to added pressure. "The pressure is on Magnus Carlsen, because of my obsessions," he said.

That last bit was referring to another exchange on Twitter, during the rest day, with the world champ.

Magnus Carlsen himself was the first to finish his game today—he drew very quickly with the man he faced in two matches for the highest title, Vishy Anand. He chose the Breyer, which he had also used against Anand before those two matches, and just like back then he was slightly under pressure but always solid.

Carlsen vs Anand, Wijk aan Zee 2018

Carlsen playing 1...e5, and going for a Breyer instead of a Berlin this time. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

"Sort of consolidating today is all right," said Carlsen. Hopefully, the others will consolidate as well".

Except for Giri, that is also what happened, with six draws in total in the masters. 

Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand having a friendly chat after their quick draw.

Carlsen and Anand having a friendly chat after their quick draw. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The most interesting of all the draws was Fabiano Caruana vs Baskaran Adhiban, who fought until bare kings:

Fabiano Caruana vs Baskaran Adhiban, Wijk aan Zee 2018

Caruana vs Adhiban started as a h3-King's Indian. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

2018 Tata Steel Masters | Round 9 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 Pts SB
1 Giri 2752 2920 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 6.5/9
2 Carlsen 2834 2854 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 6.0/9 22.25
3 Mamedyarov 2804 2863 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 6.0/9 21
4 Kramnik 2787 2831 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 5.5/9 24.5
5 So 2792 2833 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 5.5/9 23.5
6 Anand 2767 2796 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 5.0/9 21.5
7 Karjakin 2753 2773 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 5.0/9 19.5
8 Svidler 2768 2739 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4.5/9
9 Jones 2640 2714 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 4.0/9 15.75
10 Matlakov 2718 2713 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4.0/9 14.5
11 Wei Yi 2743 2685 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.5/9 16.25
12 Caruana 2811 2660 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 3.5/9 12.5
13 Adhiban 2655 2600 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 2.5/9
14 Hou Yifan 2680 2484 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 1.5/9

Games via TWIC.

Anton Korobov and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi both drew their games, but they're still 1.5 points ahead of the pack in the challengers. Bassem Amin played a model "hypermodern" game vs Olga Girya, starting off with the Réti maneuver Ra2 and Qd1-a1, and eventually winning 4-vs-3 thanks to the bishop pair.

Bassem Amin vs Olga Girya, Wijk aan Zee 2018

Bassem Amin vs Olga Girya, a model Réti game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

After eight draws, Dutch GM Erwin l'Ami was inspired today and played a knight sacrifice on f7. Jeffery Xiong defended well and demonstrated that Mikhail Tal might not be as successful these days with sacrifices like this one:

Erwin l'Ami vs Jeffery Xiong, Wijk aan Zee 2018

An inspired Erwin l'Ami wasn't awarded for his bravery. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

2018 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 9 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 Pts SB
1 Vidit 2718 2770 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 6.5/9 27.5
2 Korobov 2652 2772 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 6.5/9 26.5
3 Amin 2693 2636 0 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 5.0/9 21.75
4 J. van Foreest 2629 2638 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 5.0/9 20
5 Bluebaum 2640 2621 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 4.5/9 20.25
6 Xiong 2634 2608 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 4.5/9 19.5
7 Bok 2607 2593 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 4.5/9 19
8 Gordievsky 2622 2602 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 4.5/9 16.75
9 l'Ami 2634 2580 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.0/9 18.25
10 L. van Foreest 2481 2591 ½ 1 0 0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 4.0/9 18
11 Tari 2599 2570 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 4.0/9 17
12 Krasenkow 2671 2573 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4.0/9 16.5
13 Harika 2497 2552 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.5/9
14 Girya 2489 2473 0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 0 0 2.5/9

Games via TWIC.

Live coverage of the 80th Tata Steel Chess Tournament is proudly powered by Chess.com.

Benjamin Bok vs Loek van Wely

Benjamin Bok playing blitz with Loek van Wely in the press room with Aryan Tari kibitzing. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.


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