Nepomniachtchi beats Wang Hao in second round Tata

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Nepomniachtchi beats Wang Hao in second round TataIn the only decisive game of the Tata A group's second round, Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi defeated Wang Hao from China. In group B McShane beat Li Chao and is now the only player on 2/2.

General info

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament is held from Friday, January 14th till Sunday, January 30th, 2011 in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. Besides many amateur events there are three Grandmaster Groups (A, B and C), all 14-player round-robins. All rounds begin at 13.30 CET, except for the last which begins at 12.00 hours. There are three rest days: on January 19th, 24th, and 27th. The time control is 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.

Round 2

For the first time in years the author of this report experienced what hundreds of chess fans experience every year: he couldn't resist participating in Wijk aan Zee. Somewhere in October I decided to play in one of the weekend groups of four players, so that meant three games; one on Friday night, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

I played horribly, so that's "nothing to write home about" as we say in Dutch. ;-) More importantly, it was great spending some more time with friends, watching their games in the playing hall, having your own position to look at besides those TV screens with the big names on it, and queueing with many other players for the traditional pea soup. Somehow I felt I experienced 'Wijk' to the max.

The many amateurs playing in Wijk aan Zee

When I posted on Facebook I would be playing a few games this year, among others GM Alexei Shirov left a comment, saying he 'appreciated it'. :-) I hoped he meant something like 'it's good that a journalist sometimes plays himself, so that he knows how it's like out there', but I feel he meant something like 'at least you're not bothering me with your camera during those hours'. In any case when we met at the opening ceremony we had a good laugh about it.

In fact I won't be bothering many players with my camera this year, as I'm not working for the tournament anymore. I might as well address this issue here, as some visitors already asked about the videos, and why they're missing.

To start, it's important to note that the dozens of videos we did in previous years in Wijk aan Zee were the result of a cooperation between the tournament and ChessVibes. We're still grateful to the organizers, who supported us from the start, and helped us to become "that site famous for its chess videos" in a short time. This cooperation culminated in last year's extensive coverage which included the daily round reports with Bianca and short interviews for the official website (also embedded here), and the press conferences (just here).

Unfortunately for this year the organizers decided to discontinue this cooperation, and work with a different video crew. You can watch their videos here.

We're planning to bring similar coverage as at the Tal Memorial in Moscow last year: daily round reports with text, photos and audio clips, and on top of that the famous press conferences with the demo board.

The many amateurs playing in Wijk aan Zee

On to the tournament, where on the first of three Sundays it was a rather quiet day in Wijk aan Zee. Well, that's just the A group of course, and the great thing about this event is that it's actually three great tournaments held simultaneously.

In his game against World Champion Vishy Anand, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik showed excellent opening preparation. With Black he sacrificed a full exchange for excellent compensation (a big lead in development). Anand decided to play it safe and give back the material, which allowed him to finish his development. The resulting position was a dead draw.

The game between Dutchmen Giri and Smeets was argubly the most interesting of the day. Yet again Smeets showed impressive preparation, this time in a Botvinnik Semi-Slav. He used to have a theoretical discussion in this opening with Loek van Wely, that other Dutch GM who is dearly missed in Wijk aan Zee - KingLoek doesn't play in the top group for the first time since his debut in 1992. Luckily, Giri is the kind of guy who is happy to step in and continue discussing theory in sharp positions! The many complications were explained afterwards in the press room, which we will publish in full soon.


The only winner was Nepomniachtchi, who profited from a blunder by Wang Hao deep into the ending. Nakamura held Aronian to a draw remarkably easily using his Leningrad Dutch. After many years Shirov decided to pick up the Scotch opening again, following a trend set by his opponent Magnus Carlsen. An interesting game led to a relatively quick draw.


The only player in all groups on 2/2 is Luke McShane, who played so strongly in the last couple of months of 2010 as well. In the second round he beat Li Chao with Black in a King's Indian. The game of the day in the C group was Van der Werf-Siebrecht - an attractive victory for the GM from Germany.

Games Group A

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group A

Tata 2011 | Round 2 Standings Grandmaster Group A

Games Group B

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group B

Tata 2011 | Round 2 Standings Grandmaster Group B

Games Group C

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group C

Tata 2011 | Round 2 Standings Grandmaster Group C


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.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

Company Contact and News Accreditation: 

Phone: 1 (800) 318-2827
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