Ivanchuk Maintains Lead As Tata Steel Visits Rotterdam

Ivanchuk Maintains Lead As Tata Steel Visits Rotterdam

| 31 | Chess Event Coverage

The fifth round of the Tata Steel masters was held in Rotterdam, where GM Vassily Ivanchuk managed to maintain his lead.

The Ukrainian grandmaster drew quickly with one of the two players trailing by half a point: GM Ding Liren. The other, GM Fabiano Caruana, lost to GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek

World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen played his best game so far and defeated GM Levon Aronian to reach plus one. There were two more winners today: GM Anish Giri beat GM Baadur Jobava and GM Teimour Radjabov won against GM Ivan Saric.

The challengers group, which played its games in an almost empty playing hall in Wijk aan Zee, again saw no fewer than six decisive games. GM Erwin l'Ami, GM David Navara and GM Wei Yi are tied for first place with 3.5/5.

GM Vassily Ivanchuk's online analysis with GM Yasser Seirawan on Tuesday ended quite funnily. The tournament leader asked, "what time the bus would leave Wijk aan Zee on Thursday," and for several minutes he was discussing practical matters — on air.

Ivanchuk did make the bus in time, in which the players (except Magnus Carlsen, who went separately) traveled from Wijk aan Zee to Rotterdam, the first of two “satellite” cities this year.

Next week, one round will be played in The Hague.

In Rotterdam, the playing hall-for-one-day was located on the sixth floor of De Rotterdam, an eye-catching building at the waterfront of the river Meuse, designed by renowned architect Rem Koolhaas in 1998 and opened in November 2013.

De Rotterdam. | Photo Wikipedia.

The players and officials were welcomed by Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor of Rotterdam, who made an impressive speech last week at a demonstration for the freedom of speech after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris.

He had prepared a good speech for the players as well, in which he told them about the history of the city and the strong historic ties with New York.

Mayor Aboutaleb welcoming the players...
...and joining the players for a nice picture.

But where's Waldo, GM Vassily Ivanchuk? Well, at the moment the photo was taken, he was sitting somewhere quietly. Not a fan of these “spontaneous” photo moments!

About half past one the players went upstairs, where they spent half an hour before the round would start.

The playing hall had a brilliant view of the Erasmus Bridge.

During that half-hour it was GM Ding Liren's turn to sit in a corner quietly for a while, trying to get some rest. The young Chinese GM was very tired, and that was surely the reason for his early draw offer, in a better position, against...Ivanchuk.

A quick draw between Ding Liren and Ivanchuk.

Luckily for the spectators (and there were hundreds!) the other six games provided enough entertainment for many hours to come. The move of the day came from...who else, GM Baadur Jobava:

It's not difficult to notice that the game started as a King's Indian. GM Anish Giri played the Bayonet Attack, and Jobava put his knight on f4 and started pushing his pawns. The position reminded of a famous Kramnik win vs Kasparov — the one that got The Boss to stop playing the KID!

On move 22, Giri had to make an important decision: crash through on d6, or move back the knight. He chose the latter, because he had seen 22...Nf4, but ”forgot about it”!

As Malcolm Pein pointed out, that move reminded of the classic Petrosian-Gligoric Rovinj game in Zagreb 1970.

What followed was a phase where both players made no mistakes, and it was about equal. But suddenly Jobava blundered away the game in one move.

Jobava going for the King's Indian vs Giri.

GM Fabiano Caruana had a chance to catch Ivanchuk, but he didn't even come close. After beating the world number one as White in a Dutch Defense, GM Radek Wojtaszek also beat the world number two, in the same opening!

And there was one more similarity: White won Black's a-pawn. Another excellent game by the Polish GM!

Wojtaszek does it again!

And what about the world champion? Well, the world champion is back. Back in the tournament, and back to playing great chess.

GM Magnus Carlsen's fifth game was clearly his best so far: he outplayed GM Levon Aronian in a Ragozin.

“At several points he couldn't find the right places for his pieces. It's not easy to play. It always seems White has easier ways to improve,” Carlsen said.

Here's the game with annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov:

Carlsen vs. Aronian, playing without glasses.

Anish Giri called it a “typical Magnus attack.” Carlsen's reaction to that: “It's typical that when you have a positional advantage the tactics will work in your favor.”

When host FM Tex de Wit noted that Magnus makes it sounds easy, Carlsen said: “When the position is good, it's easy to play well.”

And there was another winner. GM Teimour Radjabov was initially happy with a draw but eventually defeated GM Ivan Saric, who didn't find the right plan and ended up with a vulnerable queenside.

Saric goes down vs Radjabov, who played the first Berlin of the tournament!

Despite a tough punishment by Ivanchuk, GM Loek van Wely sticked to his Sicilian. Against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, he went for the Kan/Paulsen but was happy to transpose to the Scheveningen, which he's played dozens of times.

Nonetheless, the Dutch GM started thinking early on (15 minutes on 10...Qc7, 9 minutes on 12...Bf8), double checking the move-order issues. He solved all his opening problems in a variation that he also played 15 years ago in Rotterdam, against GM John van der Wiel

KingLoek even ended up with an extra pawn, but couldn't convert it with three vs two on one wing.

Which Sicilian will it be today?

The game between GM Wesley So and GM Hou Yifan was rather interesting as well. Right after the opening things became very tactical, and Hou seemed to be developing a strong attack against the white king. 

The complications let to an equal position, then an edge for Hou in the ending, then an advantage for So, but eventually the game was drawn.

2015 Tata Steel Masters | Round 5 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Ivanchuk,Vassily 2715 2964 4.0/5
2 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2744 2928 3.5/5 9.00
3 Ding,Liren 2732 2880 3.5/5 6.50
4 Caruana,Fabiano 2820 2809 3.0/5 8.50
5 So,Wesley 2762 2849 3.0/5 7.00
6 Carlsen,Magnus 2862 2822 3.0/5 6.00
7 Giri,Anish 2784 2846 3.0/5 5.00
8 Radjabov,Teimour 2734 2708 2.5/5 6.00
9 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2757 2704 2.5/5 3.75
10 Saric,Ivan 2666 2679 2.0/5
11 Aronian,Levon 2797 2617 1.5/5 4.25
12 Van Wely,Loek 2667 2616 1.5/5 4.25
13 Hou,Yifan 2673 2594 1.5/5 4.00
14 Jobava,Baadur 2727 2350 0.5/5

Vassily Ivanchuk maintains his lead for another day.

The challengers played their games in Wijk aan Zee, on the only day of the tournament without amateur players. The playing hall wasn't completely empty though; the traditional tournament for journalists (well, the ones who are not following top chess) took place there as well.

But even without spectators, the players produced an amazing round. Six games ended decisively, including Sam Sevian's second win. A mistake on move 24 got him into serious trouble, but GM Valentina Gunina didn't deliver the final blow twice, and then even lost.

Something similar happened in Salem-l'Ami. The UAE player managed to trick the Dutchman with a nice combination, but then started to drift and lost his advantage, and around the time control (time trouble must have played a role there), he blundered.

Speaking of blunders, the worst was committed by another Dutch participant. GM Robin van Kampen was doing well, but he didn't see the best continuation and then missed something simple:

Shankand was objective on Facebook:

2015 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 5 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 L'Ami,Erwin 2613 2767 3.5/5 9.00
2 Navara,David 2729 2664 3.5/5 8.00
3 Wei,Yi 2675 2710 3.5/5 8.00
4 Shankland,Samuel L 2652 2652 3.0/5 8.50
5 Van Kampen,Robin 2615 2600 3.0/5 6.75
6 Timman,Jan H 2593 2485 2.5/5 5.75
7 Sevian,Samuel 2511 2585 2.5/5 5.00
8 Michiels,Bart 2563 2507 2.5/5 4.75
9 Potkin,Vladimir 2608 2569 2.5/5 4.50
10 Klein,David 2517 2525 2.0/5 5.25
11 Salem,A.R. Saleh 2603 2487 2.0/5 4.50
12 Dale,Ari 2291 2453 1.5/5 4.00
13 Gunina,Valentina 2538 2445 1.5/5 3.25
14 Haast,Anne 2352 2411 1.5/5 3.25

The Tata Steel tournament takes place January 9-25 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. The rounds start Saturday at 1:30pm local time, which is 4:30am Pacific, 7:30am New York and 11:30pm Sydney. The last round starts 1.5 hours earlier.

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.

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