Hikaru Nakamura wins 2011 Tata Steel Chess Tournament

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Hikaru Nakamura wins 2011 Tata Steel Chess TournamentHikaru Nakamura won the 2011 Tata Steel Chess Tournament. In the last round the American grandmaster drew with Black against Wang Hao from China. His main rival Vishy Anand from Indian also drew his game with Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi. In the B group Luke McShane and David Navara drew, and will both be invited for the A group next year. Daniele Vocaturo won the C group after drawing with Ilya Nyzhnyk in the last round. Full report with video.

General info

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament was held from Friday, January 14th till Sunday, January 30th, 2011 in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. Besides many amateur events there were three Grandmaster Groups (A, B and C), all 14-player round-robins. The time control was 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds increment for each move starting from the first move. More info here.

Sunday, January 30th, 2011: Round 13

The first big tournament of 2011, which was also the first tournament in Wijk aan Zee named after Indian steel company Tata, became the first super tournament won by Hikaru Nakamura. With a score of 9 points out of 13 games (six wins, six draws and one loss) the St. Louis resident achieved his career-best success, finishing on a 2879 performance and ahead of the world's top four: World Champion and five times winner Vishy Anand, and former winners Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik. Except for the undisclosed starting fee, Nakamura took home 10,000 Euros (13,593 U.S. dollars).

The last round of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament was a bit of an anticlimax, but luckily only as far as the A group was concerned. About two and a half hours into the round Nakamura offered his opponent Wang Hao a draw, and the Chinese GM accepted.

Wang Hao-Nakamura

Right after his game we spoke to Nakamura; at that point he expected Anand to draw as well (which indeed happened about an hour later). Here's the audio clip:


In a Najdorf Anand did his best to keep the game going with Black, and was suddenly helped a bit by Nepomniachtchi who sacrificed an exchange. However, the runner-up couldn't see a winning plan and at some point offered a draw. (Later in the day the Indian felt he should have played on a bit more.)


Suddenly the tournament was decided already. Witnessing the end of Anand's game from his hotel room, Nakamura could quickly tell the world about his success via Twitter:


Grischuk and Carlsen also drew quickly, despute the Norwegian's interesting opening choice of the Chigorin Defence. Giri and Ponomariov then also split the point, and at 16:00 hrs a press conference was organized with Nakamura, Giri and tournament director Jeroen van den Berg:

After the press conference Nakamura had a little chat with two of the Bilbao organizers, and indeed he was invited, after Magnus Carlsen, to participate in this year's Grand Slam Masters Final.

Hikaru Nakamura invited to Bilbao

Hikaru Nakamura was invited to Bilbao by Technical Director Juan Carlos Fernández

Tailender Alexei Shirov got into trouble against Erwin l'Ami, who was hoping to score his first victory in the tournament. But, despite having a bishop locked up on b1 for most of the game, Shirov saved the half point. He still finished last, half a point behind Grischuk, l'Ami and Smeets, who drew the last round with Aronian from a promising position.

For the crucial games of this round, don't miss GM Ian Rogers's live commentary at the official site.

The top game in the B group, beween co-leaders David Navara and Luke McShane, took quite a while, and afterwards the players analyzed it deeply. The result was a draw, which meant that McShane finished first on tiebreak (Sonneborn-Berger). Later Navara received the good news that he would also be invited for the A group next year.

David Navara

Here's an audio clip with Luke McShane:


Luke McShane

Long-term C group leader Daniele Vocaturo didn't falter in the last round, and drew his game against Ilya Nyzhnyk. He did it in a quite spectacular way:

Vocaturo-Nyzhnyk Wijk aan Zee 2011
27.Bxh5!? a5! (27...gxh5? 28.Rg3+ Bg7 29.Nxd6) 28.Rg3 Bxd5 29.exd5 axb4
30.Bxg6 fxg6 31.Rxg6+ Kf7 (31...Bg7!? 32.Qg4 Re7 33.Nxd6 Rxc2 34.Nf5 Qf8) 32.Nxd6+ Bxd6 (32...Kxg6!? 33. Qe4+ Kh6 34.Nf7+ Kg7 35.Nxd8 Nf6) 33.Qh5 Nf6
34.Rxf6+! Kxf6 35.Qh6+ Kf5 36.Qh7+ Kf6 37.Qh6+ Kf5 38.Qh7+ Kf6 39.Qh6+ draw agreed.


It was impressive to see how professionally 14-year-old Nyzhnyk dealt with this slightly disappointing result. After shaking hands and writing '1/2' on his score sheet, the Ukrainian boy immediately shook hands one more time, congratulating his opponent with the group victory, and then offered Vocaturo to analyze the game. Somehow all this felt like another sign that Nyzhnyk will become a very, very strong player.

Here's an audio clip with Vocaturo, and his manager Yuri Garrett translating:


Daniele Vocaturo

And so yet another 'Wijk aan Zee' has come to an end, where dozens of GMs and IMs played fighting chess, hundreds of amateurs played alongside them, and thousands and thousands of fans followed the event online.

At the closing ceremony there was a special moment for one of these participants, and chess fans: Professor Johan van Hulst. Mr Van Hulst, who turned a hundred years old on January 28th, was helped on stage, where he was told that the organizers had created a special prize for the "best youth achievement" in the tournament, called the Johan van Hulst Prize.

Johan van Hulst

Because of his excellent first A tournament, Anish Giri received the first Johan van Hulst Prize from Mr Van Hulst himself, who then enjoyed the audience with a speech himself. ("I'm unique in Dutch chess. Not because I'm a hundred years old, but because I learnt to play chess 88 years ago, and still cannot play well!" "The Dutch soldiers who go to Uruzgan should all bring a chess set and pieces with them. Now that's a peace mission!")

Tournament winner Nakamura also gave a speech:


Nakamura speech

Games Group A

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group A

Tata 2011 | Round 13 Standings Grandmaster Group A

Games Group B

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group B

Tata 2011 | Round 13 Standings Grandmaster Group B

Games Group C

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group C

Tata 2011 | Round 13 Standings Grandmaster Group C

Professor Van Hulst

Mr Van Hulst enjoys it immensely when everyone starts singing Happy Birthday

Professor Van Hulst

A special occasion for the tournament: a 100-year-old participant

Professor Van Hulst

A special pin was created for Mr Van Hulst

Professor Van Hulst

Nakamura, Anand, Carlsen and Navara sitting together and giving an applause...

Professor Van Hulst

...when Anish Giri receives the first Van Hulst Prize

Carlsen and Anand can hardly believe this man has seen all world champions except for Steinitz

Carlsen and Anand can hardly believe that Mr Van Hulst has seen all world champions except for Steinitz


C group, 3-1: Lahno, Nyzhnyk, Vocaturo

B group top 3

B group winner McShane, the other promovendus Navara and Efimenko, who came third


The top four in the A group: Anand, Carlsen, Aronian and winner Nakamura


Hikaru Nakamura wins the strongest tournament of his career


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