Tata Masters: Rapport & Van Wely Winners in Round 7
Loek van Wely won his first game in the 7th round of the Tata Steel tournament's Masters Group. On Sunday the Dutchman played an excellent game and defeated world #3 Hikaru Nakamura from the black side of a Sicilian. Rapport won an ending against Pentala Harikrishna after 68 moves. Baadur Jobava quickly won against Yu Yangyi with his pet move 1.b3 and is the sole leader again in the Challengers Group.
It took a while to get the engine running, and in the previous round he should have won his game against Rapport, but on Sunday Loek van Wely finally managed to score a full point. His victim was none other than Hikaru Nakamura, second seeded in this tournament behind Levon Aronian.
In a Sicilian, the American played 6.g4, like in the Keres Attack, even though Van Wely hadn't developed his knight to f6 yet. The move 11...h5 was very good; it allowed Black to play ...g6 later on. Nakamura decided to win the pawn on b4, but Black had excellent compensation and with an Exchange sacrifice the Dutchman gained the upper hand. Below is the game and a video with Van Wely explaining his win!
There was one more decisive game this round: Richard Rapport defeated Pentala Harikrishna. Again, the young Hungarian did something different in the opening and this time it was the move 5.Qf3!? in the Caro-Kann. This time the early creativity worked out well; after the queens were traded the Indian GM played some dubious moves and at move 20 Rapport had a clear advantage. He missed a quicker win, but the result was never really in doubt.
Tournament leader Levon Aronian drew with his good friend Boris Gelfand in a Ragozin (or was it a Vienna?) where Black sacrificed a pawn but got the bishop pair. Later White won two pieces for a rook, but the opposite-colored bishops helped Aronian to put up a defense on the dark squares.
Anish Giri is playing a strong and solid tournament so far; the youngest of the two Dutch players is still undefeated after seven rounds. In an ancient opening line he got a bit of a passive positing against Fabiano Caruana but held it comfortably.
Sergey Karjakin played the Queen's Indian against Wesley So and found an interesting Exchange sacrifice on move 24. A few moves later it was So who avoided a move repetition, but the ending was always about equal.
Arkadij Naiditsch is a big theoretician, but in his game against Leinier Dominguez he decided to avoid the main lines. The German GM played the London System, but his opponent knew about a good setup and played it quickly. Black ran his a-pawn all the way to a2, but couldn't make progress. White could give an Exchange for it and with a strong bishop and no pawns on the queenside, White had no trouble defending (even though Dominguez tried for long).
Tata Steel 2014 | Masters | Round 7 Standings
Baadur Jobava was sharing the lead with Ivan Saric in the Challengers Group. When the Georgian GM joined the live show, he didn't keep it secret that he had gone out in Amsterdam on Saturday night together with commentator Lawrence Trent. Still, with just two hours of sleep, Jobava was the first to win his game on Sunday! He beat Yu Yangyi with 1.b3:
Saric fell back half a point as he drew with Merijn van Delft. Benjamin Bok split the point with Jan-Krysztof Duda and now only needs a draw in round 9 to secure the GM title. Dimitri Reinderman was once again successful with the Dutch Defense:
Tata Steel 2014 | Challengers | Round 8 Standings
The Tata Steel tournament runs 11-26 January and is held in Wijk aan Zee, Amsterdam and Eindhoven. You can find the official website here and the live games here. The live streaming commentary can also be found here on Chess.com!