Giri Grabs Sole Lead In Tata Steel Chess Round 9
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).
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."
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.
@anishgiri) January 22, 2018
Banter or obsession? That's the real question https://t.co/bFUuToXfBH— Magnus Carlsen ( @MagnusCarlsen) January 22, 2018
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 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.
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:
Caruana vs Adhiban started as a h3-King's Indian. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
2018 Tata Steel Masters | Round 9 Standings
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, 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:
An inspired Erwin l'Ami wasn't awarded for his bravery. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
2018 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 9 Standings
|4||J. van Foreest||2629||2638||0||0||½||½||½||1||1||1||½||5.0/9||20|
|10||L. van Foreest||2481||2591||½||1||0||0||0||½||1||½||½||4.0/9||18|
Games via TWIC.
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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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