Mamedyarov Makes It 2; Korobov Not 'Too Fat' To Lead
Yesterday's first rest day in Wijk aan Zee saw the storm Friederike barrel through with 140km winds. While the gusts have dissipated, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov seems to just be getting going.
He won again in round six of Tata Steel, breaking a logjam at the top. It seemed for much of his seven hours of work today that his best hope would be to salvage a draw to equal the three others on 4.0/6, but after 86 moves he finally blew over bottom-ender GM Baskaran Adhiban, who missed some chances.
Combined with his win over GM Fabiano Caruana before the storm day, Mamedyarov now sits at 4.5/6, with a half-point lead over pre-round co-leaders GM Anish Giri and GM Viswanathan Anand, and also the only other winner today, GM Wesley So. That trio all sits at 4.0/6.
The top left of the photo suggests it is the "Eel Tournament" and fittingly GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov slithered out of GM Baskaran Adhiban's grasp. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
"Shak" is not doing bad for a man currently in second-to-last place in Chess.com's member voting for March's upcoming Candidates' Tournament (although he has gone from 4 percent to 5 percent since yesterday!).
With the first four games ending drawn today, it seemed the players were just happy the wind didn't blow them over. Anand said the blustery conditions didn't prevent him from taking a walk yesterday morning; commentator GM Robin van Kampen said the first few kilometers of his jog went along spiritedly until he realized he was trotting downwind. The return was a bit more of a challenge.
GM Magnus Carlsen alternates between his love of football and basketball, but amidst the gales he chose the indoor sport on the rest day (strong winds plus American football sometimes can be tricky too!). In fact he almost played too long -- he had to begin his PRO Chess League quest on his mobile phone before getting to a more stable playing location (it didn't hurt his performance in the least).
Has anyone done a study if GM Magnus Carlsen's performance rating goes up or down when he is clean-shaven and with neatly combed hair? | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Today, GM Peter Svidler's bout with Carlsen had all the makings of a tempest, until the multitude of sacrifices fizzled out. A cyclonic queen ruined the fun by toggling back and forth for a repetition.
Why no analysis of the second half of the game? Well, we trust you'd instead prefer to take the word of the world champion and the eight-time Russian champion. Plus, they seem to be downright enjoying each other:
It turns out this was the second world champion Svidler had fraternized with in as many days. The Hearthstone World Championship in Amsterdam also stole Svidler's heart.
@polborta) January 18, 2018
Finally So broke through against GM Wei Yi after the Chinese player didn't save enough time to sift through the complications.
"Once again, time management, it's one of the few weaknesses I see in his play," van Kampen said on the commentary.
After the game, the two discussed the key moments.
"We analyzed the game afterward and maybe he wasn't lost," So said. "Maybe his 24. Ba3 was a mistake; bxa6 looks pretty good for White" (the computer agrees).
GM Wesley So joked afterward about trying to catch GM Anish Giri. Unbeknownst at the time, Mamedyarov was turning his position around to become the man in the crosshairs. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
So said he got in hot water much earlier. "It was very complicated then he played this g4 stuff which I totally forgot. I didn't think it was that dangerous since my king isn't castled but it's surprisingly strong...The Lord blessed me with this win. I'd like to thank him for that.
"I was a little worried because one mistake and I'm dead...I play better when I'm in a difficult position, sadly enough."
Some of the other draws didn't lack for imbalance, especially GM Vladmir Kramnik vs. GM Gawain Jones. Their final position resembled some sort of mini-chess game where there's one of everything on the board, however they didn't feel like playing out K+R+B+N (Kramnik) against K+Q+P+P (Jones).
With only one game remaining, Giri, Anand, and So were likely queuing for dinner and wondering if there would be a three- or four-way tie going into the tournament's mid-point. But not only did Mamedyarov hold his worse position, he scored the full point to vault into sole possession of first.
Adhiban couldn't play the spoiler today. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
2018 Tata Steel Chess Masters | Round 6 Standings
In the challengers section, the most quotable of the players also netted the only win of the day. GM Anton Korobov, who could charm the white off rice, took out world junior champion GM Aryan Tari.
After the win, he didn't buy into the interviewer's questioning about what overarching technique or method landed him on 5.5/6. He just wanted to discuss the game he'd just played.
"Today I had a novelty 10. Nh3 just to scare my opponent, he said. "That was prepared a long time ago. The problem is that Black has to enter some very sharp stuff without preparation." Tari didn't, instead ceding the two bishops and getting ground down without much of a fight.
Then Korobov eventually became Korobov: "To tell you the truth, I am too fat and too old to be in great shape here...I am very cold-blooded here. I can wait, no bad decisions."
"Most of us could lose a couple of pounds," GM Robin van Kampen joked after Korobov's self-effacing interview. Van Kampen was alluding to Donald Trump's recent goal. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Sadly, Korobov was then asked if smoking during the tournament is a bad decision, but microphone issues caused the rest of the interview to fall on deaf ears. He deserves a drag—less than half way into the event, only one player is within two points of him (only three players out of the 14 in the challengers are on positive scores).
Alina L'Ami is an IM and a WGM in chess, but clearly a grandmaster at photographic parkour. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
2018 Tata Steel Chess Challengers | Round 6 Standings
|3||L. van Foreest||2481||2677||½||0||1||½||½||1||3½|
|7||J. van Foreest||2629||2529||0||1||½||½||0||½||2½|
Games via TWIC.
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