Mamedyarov Surges As Tata Steel Goes Sesame Street
In the fifth round of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov joined Anish Giri and Viswanathan Anand in the lead. On Wednesday the masters played their games in the Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum where they met with characters of the Dutch version of Sesame Street.
After expressing his disappointment about an uneventful draw with the white pieces, Magnus Carlsen again split the point rather quickly the next day. His game with Anish Giri had more "content" though.
Carlsen played the Winawer French, and after Giri's principled 7.Qg4 the Norwegian steered away from the absolute main lines by playing 7...cxd4. The funny thing in this variation is that it's White who castles queenside and the black king stays in the center instead of the other way around.
Giri trying to remember the 7.Qg4 cxd4 lines. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Giri: "Yesterday night, just when I was about to fall asleep, I suddenly thought of one line that he could play that would make some sense against me, and that would be the Winawer. So I sort of figured him out, but not this particular branch."
"I tried to make him uncomfortable for sure," said Carlsen, who thought that what happened in the game was "sort of logical."
Carlsen also said: "For all the banter, for all the nonsense...he is still very strong and a draw today is fine." And then the banter and nonsense continued, with Giri tweeting and Carlsen replying, deciding the battle in his favor after all.
@anishgiri) January 16, 2018
Wanted to use the line in the world blitz, but thought it was too unsound https://t.co/ikcPGGy9u4— Magnus Carlsen ( @MagnusCarlsen) January 16, 2018
There's something about Vladimir Kramnik playing with White versus Peter Svidler. His score before Wijk aan Zee this year was 8-1 (without counting draws), and that increased to a staggering 9-1.
"Rxa7 [and] I had seen and I came to the conclusion that it's fine, but it's not fine," Svidler said about the crucial moment. For any level below these giants it's perfectly reasonable to miss Kramnik's hidden idea, but Svidler was fairly critical of himself to have missed it.
The players leaving the playing hall. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Gawain Jones suffered a typical King's Indian (k)nightmare vs. Wei Yi, who played a pretty rook move that won material—quite an unusual tactic.
Not a fun day at the office for Jones. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
In the challengers, Anton Korobov and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi again both won, but so did IM Lucas van Foreest. If the 16-year-old sibling of Jorden van Foreest continues this way, he will surely make a grandmaster norm in this group.
At breakfast he had told this reporter that he "would have a chance if he prepared well" and he kept his promise:
Wednesday's fifth round was a special one, as the Tata Steel Chess On Tour program moved all the spectacle to Hilversum, south of Amsterdam and about a 45-minute drive from Wijk aan Zee. That meant that on Tuesday evening the cameras, computers and other technical equipment for the live broadcast had to be moved to there, and set up before the next round. (Now you also know the reason for this belated news report.)
While the last bits and pieces were set up in the Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid (Institute for Sound and Vision), the "photo moment" for the press involved the players together with characters of Sesame Street.
In case you've wondered how quickly Big Bird aged: in the Netherlands, he's called "Pino" and he's always been blue instead of yellow. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
The playing hall was one of the building's theater rooms. While rather pretty, and full of spectators all day, it was also too small. The tables, chairs, lamps, and cameras took all the real estate on stage so that photographers couldn't get close to the players.
A colorful playing hall for the fifth round. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
The commentary was done by GM Robin van Kampen and Dutch TV personality FM Tex de Wit. Unlike in Wijk aan Zee, the spectators on site could see them and enjoy the show, which was a great success. ("Few people know that it's actually Garry Kasparov inside Big Bird. I can reveal that now." - De Wit.)
The commentary hall inside the Institute for Sound and Vision. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Except for round three, which had two decisive games, each round saw three victories. In Hilversum, the winners were Peter Svidler, Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov—the latter thus joined the tournament leaders in first place, and strengthened his position as world number-two.
Mamedyarov is now 12 points ahead of Fabiano Caruana, whom he beat in the mutual encounter. "My opponent will play in the Candidates'," the Azerbaijani pointed out. "Before the Candidates', it is very nice to win."
The secret for his recent successes is not only getting married and drinking less (as he said during the opening ceremony!). Mamedyarov has also changed his style to "old men's chess," as he said after this game: less tactical, and more strategical and positional.
Mamedyarov had enough reasons for some smiles. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik drew a long game that started from a Giuoco Pianissimo, where Carlsen eventually had to defend a rook ending a pawn down. It was a doubled g-pawn (where it didn't matter too much how many g-pawns Black had!) but White needed to be careful.
Kramnik finally gives up his winning attempts. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
"My white games have been fairly disastrous to be fair," said Carlsen. "My black games have been very good but so far with White it's been nothing and today I was even suffering. So far the score is better than the play."
Anand was surprised about Carlsen and Kramnik's attire at the start of the round as he didn't find it particularly chilly. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Another small issue with having the tournament at this venue: Each time Kramnik went for a cigarette, he had to walk all the way down and outside the building, thereby passing the commentary. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Also after his win vs Hou Yifan, Peter Svidler also complained about his lack of tactical vision in this tournament. Luckily for him, Yifan, who will soon cut down on her chess as she has been accepted to Oxford University, is doing badly in this tournament.
Peter Svidler: happy with his win, but not with his play. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
While the commentators had called it a day, most players were already back in Wijk aan Zee and the crew started packing, Wesley So was quietly giving an endgame master class to Baskaran Adhiban (and the ones still following this game). After four draws, it was the first win for last year's winner.
The challengers played their games in Wijk aan Zee, where Korobov grabbed the sole lead with a third straight win. The Ukrainian GM beat Jorden van Foreest who blundered terribly (despite thinking for nine minutes) just out of the opening.
2018 Tata Steel Masters | Round 5 Standings
2018 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 5 Standings
|3||L. van Foreest||2481||2688||1||0||½||1||½||3.0/5|
|8||J. van Foreest||2629||2536||0||1||½||½||0||2.0/5||5.25|
Games via TWIC.
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