Navara Beats Aronian In Tata Steel

Navara Beats Aronian In Tata Steel

| 22 | Chess Event Coverage

Official Website Round 11 Report

The 10,000-euro first prize in Grandmaster Group A at the 74th annual Tata Steel Chess Tournament was up for grabs again after an exciting eleventh round played havoc with the standings on Friday.

Tournament leader Levon Aronian, one point free of the pack at the outset of the round, went down with white against David Navara of the Czech Republic, with a tournament record of five draws and an equal number of losses last in the field of fourteen.

Runner-up Vassily Ivanchuk, also playing white, long kept the balance in a quiet Catalan against World Title Challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel but then wasted a pawn and was forced to resign a relatively simple ending.

Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, the world’s highest rated player, meanwhile, surprised friends and enemies alike by messing up his opening with white in a Sicilian against Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov to end up in a losing position. But Topalov failed to find his way to a win through the minefield of middle-game complications, allowing Carlsen to bounce back and clinch victory after 56 moves.

Tata 2012 Round 11 Magnus Carlsen - Veselin Topalov.jpg


“It was a crazy game,” agreed Carlsen when facing the press afterwards. “I thought I was better out of the opening but then I blundered. Nevertheless, I saw a great number of attacking possibilities and I felt I was going to create a brilliancy. I realized only too late that I was probably just lost, when he took my rook with 21…Nxd1. After 22.Bxf6 Nxc3 23.Qg4 Bxe4, however, I got some hope. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on precisely, but when he sacrificed his queen with 24.Nxh6 Kh7 25.Bxf7 Qxf7, I knew I had the initiative. At least, I didn’t see a forced win for him any longer. He had excellent drawing chances until late in the game, but somehow I managed to win it.”




“Today seems to be a very strange round,” said former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, who visited the tournament Friday, checking out the tournament arena and the press room. “It feels wonderfully relaxed to be here as a spectator. But I’m not here just to watch the games, exciting though they are. I hope to sign some contracts, too. I prefer to play, of course, and I hope to be here as a player again next year, when the tournament celebrates a jubilee, I think.”


Kramnik seemed most interested in Carlsen’s performance but the 500-euro ‘Piet Zwart Prize’ for the best game of the day in Group A – put up by the municipalities of Velsen and Beverwijk – was awarded to Navara. GM Ivan Sokolov, responsible for picking the prize winners, praised Navara for his technical novelty 11…Na6 and said he “soon had a better ending.” Although “he’s had a miserable tournament so far, Navara showed a nice execution and brought excitement back into the tournament,” Sokolov said.

Tata 2012 Round 11 Lev Aronian - David Navara.jpg


Navara himself told the press afterwards that “I had a great advantage out of the opening but it was very well defended and it was very difficult to convert the advantage into a win. I’m tired now but so far Levon had a 6-1 score against me. I’m glad I was able to something about that.” Aronian blamed his loss to his faulty preparation. “I hadn’t reckoned with 11…Na6 during my preparation and was not at all happy with what I got onto the board. Maybe, at one moment I was about to even out but I guess I missed it.”




Ivanchuk’s loss against Gelfand was due to carelessness, the Israeli GM explained after the game. “It was a simple win. I evened out quickly and the position was drawish. After 22…Ne4 I felt it was still equal but Vassily had to be careful. I thought it was clear he had to play very precisely.” Apparently, ‘Chucky’ didn’t, and Gelfand took the full point in a simple pawn ending after 42 moves.

Tata 2012 Round 11 Vassily Ivanchuk - Boris Gelfand.jpg




There were two regional derbies in Friday’s round. The first, between the two highest rated American players ended in a draw after 44 moves in a Sicilian Dragon, with U.S. champion Gata Kamsky playing white and Hikaru Nakamura defending with black. In the other, Azerbaijan’s strongest GM, Teimour Radjabov, defeated his countryman Vugar Gashimov with black in an exciting Sicilian that lasted 53 moves.

Tata 2012 Round 11 Gata Kamsky - Hikaru Nakamura.jpg



Tata 2012 Round 11 Vugar Gashimov - Teimour Radjabov.jpg



For the Dutch contingent in Wijk-aan-Zee the 11th round proved a disaster, with national champion Anish Giri going down in a semi-Slav against Italy’s Fabiano Caruana, and drawing master Loek van Wely suffering his first defeat of the tournament at the hands of Russia’s Sergei Karjakin in an English game.

Tata 2012 Round 11 Fabiano Caruana - Anish Giri.jpg




Tata 2012 Round 11 Loek van Wely - Sergey Karjakin.jpg




The standings after 11 rounds in Group A:

Aronian, Levon       ARM
Carlsen, Magnus       NOR
2835 7
Radjabov, Teimour       AZE
2773 7
Caruana, Fabiano       ITA
Ivanchuk, Vassily       UKR
Nakamura, Hikaru       USA
2759 6
Kamsky, Gata       USA
Karjakin, Sergey       RUS
Gelfand, Boris       ISR
2739 5
Van Wely, Loek       NED
2692 5
Giri, Anish       NED
2714 4
Topalov, Veselin       BUL
2770 4
Gashimov, Vugar       AZE
2761 4
Navara, David       CZE


The 250-euro ‘Piet Zwart Prize’ in Group B went to Holland’s Sipke Ernst for his win in 44 moves with white from a Queen’s Gambit against Group-B leader Pentala Harikrishna of India. With two more rounds to go, Harikrishna remained in first place but saw his lead on the runners-up reduced to just a half point.

Tata 2012 Round 11 Ernst - Harikrishna.jpg



The results for round 11 in Group B:

L'Ami, Erwin   ½-½  Motylev, Alexander   
Timman, Jan H  1-0  Cmilyte, Viktorija  
Potkin, Vladimir  1-0  Harika, Dronavalli   
Tiviakov, Sergei  1-0  Lahno, Kateryna   
Nyzhnyk, Illya  1-0  Bruzon Batista, Lazaro
Vocaturo, Daniele 0-1 Reinderman, Dimitri   
Ernst, Sipke   1-0  Harikrishna, Pentala   


The standings after 11 rounds in Group B:

Harikrishna, Pentala     IND 2665 8
Motylev, Alexander     RUS 2677
L'Ami, Erwin     NED 2596
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro     CUB 2691
Reinderman, Dimitri     NED 2581 6
Tiviakov, Sergei     NED 2677 6
Nyzhnyk, Illya     UKR 2568
Ernst, Sipke     NED 2606 5
Potkin, Vladimir     RUS 2684 5
Timman, Jan H     NED 2571 5
Lahno, Kateryna     UKR 2557 4
Vocaturo, Daniele     ITA 2545 4
Cmilyte, Viktorija     LTU 2503
Harika, Dronavalli     IND 2516


Sweden’s Hans Tikkanen was rewarded with the 100-euro daily prize in Group C for his fine win with white in 30 moves from a Slav Defense against India’s Sahaj Grover. The victory brought the Swede back alongside Russia’s Maxim Turov on top of the standings in this division of the tournament.

Tata 2012 Round 11 Tikkanen - Grover.jpg




The results of round 11 in Group C:

Goudriaan, Etienne  ½-½     Hopman, Pieter   
Danielian, Elina  ½-½     Adhiban, Baskaran  
Turov, Maxim  ½-½     Brandenburg, Daan   
Schut, Lisa  0-1   
Paehtz, Elisabeth   
Haast, Anne  0-1   
Tania, Sachdev   
Ootes, Lars  ½-½     Sadler, Matthew D   
Tikkanen, Hans   1-0   
Grover, Sahaj   


The standings after 11 round in Group C:

Turov, Maxim     RUS 2645
Tikkanen, Hans     SWE 2549
Adhiban, Baskaran     IND 2561
Brandenburg, Daan     NED 2527
Sadler, Matthew D     ENG 2660
Grover, Sahaj     IND 2532 6
Paehtz, Elisabeth     GER 2454
Tania, Sachdev     IND 2411
Goudriaan, Etienne     NED 2279 5
Schut, Lisa     NED 2290 4
Ootes, Lars     NED 2326
Danielian, Elina     ARM 2490
Hopman, Pieter     NED 2342
Haast, Anne     NED 2290 3



Report and photos from the official website coverage. Videos by Freshmen media.



Diamond and Platinum members can watch the final two rounds LIVE at Chess.comTV with commentary from IMs Danny Rensch and David Pruess.  See here for details.

The pairings look like this:

Round 12
Round 13
Topalov, Veselin v Giri, Anish
Kamsky, Gata v Topalov, Veselin
Navara, David  v Caruana, Fabiano
Van Wely, Loek v Carlsen, Magnus
Gelfand, Boris v Aronian, Levon
Gashimov, Vugar v Nakamura, Hikaru
Radjabov, Teimour v Ivanchuk, Vassily
Ivanchuk, Vassily v Karjakin, Sergey
Karjakin, Sergey v Gashimov, Vugar
Aronian, Levon v Radjabov, Teimour
Nakamura, Hikaru v Van Wely, Loek
Caruana, Fabiano v Gelfand, Boris 
Carlsen, Magnus v Kamsky, Gata
Giri, Anish v Navara, David
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