Rapport Beats Carlsen; Aronian Bounces Back

Rapport Beats Carlsen; Aronian Bounces Back

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jan 22, 2017, 1:03 PM |
65 | Chess Event Coverage

Richard Rapport was the sensation of the day as he defeated Magnus Carlsen beautifully in round eight. Wesley So still leads the Tata Steel Chess Tournament's masters group going into the second rest day.

Photo: Alina l'Ami.

New York wasn't too convincing. Doha was disappointing, and now in Wijk aan Zee, it's not going great for Magnus Carlsen either. Today he suffered his first loss, to Richard Rapport. The Hungarian player found a beautiful finish to a game where Carlsen's play was not of his high standards.

Rapport went for the classical Réti setup with a double fianchetto, an opening system typical for the Hypermodern era of chess when the masters of their time discovered that attacking the center can be just as powerful as occupying it. 

Rapport just before the game. | Photo: Alina l'Ami.

After some trades on the queenside, White got an active rook on b7, but Black did occupy that center nicely. Whether he was getting over-ambitious or not calculating well after the long game in the previous round (or both), Carlsen erred with 22...d3. 

Rapport allowed the pawn to become a passer, but ironically he become the one with the strong center himself. There followed a piece sacrifice by Carlsen that was almost forced, but it wasn't working. The final few moves were very nice by the white player.

White won with 29.Rb6! Qe7 30.Rb8+ Ne8 31.Bc6! — see Dejan Bojkov's analysis below for the whole game.



There were two more winners today, and both can be very satisfied. Levon Aronian, for starters, bounced back wonderfully after "one of his worst games ever," as he put it himself.

The Armenian grandmaster played the amazing 8.Na3!? in the Closed Catalan and then, after it was chopped it off, he continued with a positional exchange sacrifice that worked out perfectly. 

This day was not fun at all for Anish Giri, whose light-squared bishop was just terrible throughout the game. 

And then, the revelation of this year's masters group: Baskaran Adhiban. His start wasn't great (two draws and two losses), but now he's on fire, having scored 3.5/4.

Today, the Indian player defeated Dmitry Andreikin from a g3-Vienna that Chessbase classifies as a Closed Sicilian since Black went ...c5 later on. More importantly, Adhiban just keeps on surprising his opponents with off-beat lines.

Also in this game, we saw a pretty double-exchange sacrifice, and a third could have appeared as well. And don't miss that 40th move either. All very nice.

With draws in Harikrishna-Wei, Karjakin-So (a rather quick one), Eljanov-Wojtaszek and Van Wely-Nepomniachtchi, Wesley So still has that half-point lead. In second place, we now find Eljanov and Wei, followed by a group of four players on 4.5 points, including Carlsen.

The pairings for round nine, on Tuesday, are So-Aronian, Wojtaszek-Karjakin, Andreikin-Eljanov, Wei-Adhiban, Nepomniachtchi-Harikrishna, Carlsen-Van Wely, and Giri-Rapport.

Tata Steel Masters | Round 8 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 Pts SB
1 So 2808 2883 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 5.5/8
2 Eljanov 2755 2831 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 5.0/8 17.75
3 Wei Yi 2706 2846 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 5.0/8 15.50
4 Aronian 2780 2799 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 4.5/8 19.50
5 Carlsen 2840 2797 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 4.5/8 18.75
6 Adhiban 2653 2803 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ 4.5/8 17.25
7 Karjakin 2785 2785 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 4.5/8 16.75
8 Harikrishna 2766 2747 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 4.0/8 17.50
9 Giri 2773 2772 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4.0/8 16.25
10 Andreikin 2736 2695 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.5/8 12.50
11 Wojtaszek 2750 2701 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.5/8 11.00
12 Rapport 2702 2680 0 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/8 11.75
13 Nepomniachtchi 2767 2660 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/8 10.25
14 Van Wely 2695 2491 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 1.5/8

Games from TWIC.

The challengers group almost always has more decisive games than the masters, but not today. In fact, there was only one winner: Vladimir Dobrov defeated Lei Tingjie. The following game, however, was perhaps more interesting. Enjoy it, and also the comments from both players:

The pairings for the challengers on Tuesday are Bok-Grandelius, Ragger-Tari, Van Foreest-Smirin, l'Ami-Guramishvili, Xiong-Jones, Tingjie-Lu, and Hansen-Dobrov.

Tata Steel Challengers | Round 8 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 Pts SB
1 Ragger 2697 2759 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 6.0/8 20.75
2 Jones 2665 2788 1 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 6.0/8 20.75
3 Smirin 2667 2721 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 5.5/8
4 Lu Shanglei 2612 2689 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 5.0/8 17.50
5 Xiong 2667 2680 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 1 1 5.0/8 16.50
6 Hansen 2603 2653 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 4.5/8 16.00
7 Grandelius 2642 2623 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.5/8 14.50
8 L'Ami 2605 2596 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 4.0/8 15.75
9 Tari 2584 2584 0 1 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4.0/8 14.25
10 Dobrov 2499 2569 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 0 1 3.5/8
11 Bok 2608 2470 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 1 3.0/8
12 Van Foreest 2612 2425 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 ½ 2.5/8
13 Lei Tingjie 2467 2362 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 1 1.5/8
14 Guramishvili 2370 2298 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 1.0/8

Games from TWIC.


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