Giri Wins In Tata Steel

Giri Wins In Tata Steel

After 14 consecutive drawn games, Anish Giri emerged with a win in round six at Tata Steel. As commentator Yasser Seirawan noted, if Giri had won all of his winning positions, he would be leading in Tata Steel.

Also winning was Wei Yi, who beautifully refuted an over-eager sacrifice from Richard Rapport whose innovative play continues to inspire spectators. Meanwhile, Bhaskiran Adhiban attempted the King's Gambit against the tournament leader, Wesley So!

Photo Alina l'Ami.

Against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Giri achieved a good position out of the opening when Nepomniachtchi responded to 16.Bh3 with the odd-looking 16...Rc6?. The fact that the rook blocked the bishop on b7 proved irrelevant, but it did fall prey to a different geometry. Giri found the nice tactic 17.Bxh6! arranging a fork and picking up a pawn.

The position was much better for Giri, but Nepomniachtchi might not have been entirely lost when he played 31...Kf8? which lost instantly to another attractive bishop sacrifice, 32.Bxa6!

Winning or losing, Nepomniachtchi's expressions are always entertaining. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Wei Yi's win against Rapport was less correct but more spectacular. These two players are the only juniors (U21) consistently over 2700, and they are each some of the most exciting players to watch in chess. The future of chess appears enterprising!

Unfortunately, enterprise doomed Rapport today. His creative (as always) opening play had secured an advantage in a complex position when he went astray and pursued a bishop sacrifice that proved to lead nowhere.

It's true that Wei Yi's king was wandering about in the middle of the board, but it was able to take care of itself. In fact, with 29...Qc6! Wei Yi sacrificed a rook with check and prepared to deliver a discovered check and mate with the king! Rapport could only resist for a few more moves before he was forced to concede.

Rapport, stylish on and off the board. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Adhiban's outing with the King's Gambit rewarded him again for his opening innovations. Though the objective theoretical look suggests the line is bad, So seemed to want to avoid the most testing lines which included ...g5 early on. Not only did the opening gain the spectators' attention, it gained Giri's, who was not amused.

Consequently, Adhiban got a good opening position and some advantage. If one skips the first 12 or so moves, the game seemed a relatively normally equalize-with-precise-play-as-Black sort of game from So. He used some nice precise tactics to achieve that with e.g. 21...Be4! which was well met with 25.Bxa7! when liquidation soon produced a draw.

Adhiban, presumably imitating the "Oh, snap!" expressions of the spectators after he played 2.f4?!?! | Photo Alina l'Ami.

The other games were drawn after some reasonably normal twists and turns. The notable exception was Pentala Harikrishna's draw with Radoslaw Wojtaszek. Harikrishna was likely winning against Wojtaszek, but stubborn resistance was rewarded.

Tata Steel Masters | Round 6 Standings

Place Fed Player Rtng Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1 So, Wesley 2808 4.5 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1
2 Carlsen, Magnus 2840 4 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½
3 Eljanov, Pavel 2755 4 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1
4 Aronian, Levon 2780 3.5 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½
5 Giri, Anish 2773 3.5 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
6 Wei Yi 2706 3.5 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1
7 Harikrishna, Pentala 2766 3 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
8 Andreikin, Dmitry 2736 3 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½
9 Karjakin, Sergey 2785 3 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1
10 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2750 3 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
11 Adhiban, Baskaran 2653 2.5 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 ½
12 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2767 2 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½
13 Rapport, Richard 2702 1.5 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½
14 Van Wely, Loek 2695 1 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½

Games from TWIC.

The most important game in the challengers section was clearly Gawain Jones vs Markus Ragger. Ragger has lead the tournament the whole way, ceding only one draw, but today Jones clearly got the better of him.

Jones outplayed Ragger almost the whole way, but just as Ragger seemed to be getting back into the game, he was definitively put away with the nice 37.c6+!. Jones victory allowed him to catch Ragger, and the two share first place on 4.5/6.

Photo Alina l'Ami.

Lu Shanglei also won a nice game against the struggling Dutch champion Jorden van Foreest. Van Foreest has lost four games so far, but he has won his other two, which means his games are always entertaining to watch.

His sense of danger seemed to desert him as he retreated with 17...Nd7? when 18.Bxg7! and the following play clinched a nice win for Lu Shanglei who shares third with Ilia Smirin, who lost convincingly today to Aryan Tari.

Benjamin Bok completely overwhelmed Sopiko Guramishvili (sadly only possessing half a point) in 22 moves while Nils Grandelius defeated Lei Tingjie. The most exciting remaining game was Eric Hansen's victory over the up-and-down, Jeffery Xiong in which he dominated with both strong positional play and ensuing tactics.

Tata Steel Challengers | Round 6 Standings

Place Fed Player Rtng Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1 Ragger, Markus 2697 4.5 0 ½ 1 1 1 1
2 Jones, Gawain C B 2665 4.5 1 0 ½ 1 1 1
3 Smirin, Ilia 2667 4 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 1
4 Lu Shanglei 2612 4 ½ 0 1 1 1 ½
5 Hansen, Eric 2603 3.5 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1
6 Xiong, Jeffery 2667 3.5 0 0 1 ½ 1 1
7 Grandelius, Nils 2642 3.5 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 1
8 Tari, Aryan 2584 3 0 1 0 ½ ½ 1
9 L'Ami, Erwin 2605 3 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1
10 Dobrov, Vladimir 2499 2.5 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 0
11 Bok, Benjamin 2608 2.5 0 0 ½ 0 1 1
12 Van Foreest, Jorden 2612 2 0 0 0 1 1 0
13 Lei Tingjie 2467 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
14 Guramishvili, Sopiko 2370 0.5 0 0 ½ 0 0 0

Games from TWIC.


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