Tata R1: wins for Anand, Nakamura and Smeets

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Tata R1: wins for Anand, Nakamura and SmeetsThe Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2011 in Wijk aan Zee has finally kicked off! The first thing any visitor will note when entering the playing hall is that all the red has changed to a sea of blue. Clearly, Tata wanted a different atmosphere for their tournament and they've succeeded marvellously. It's a pleasure to walk in it, but fortunately, it's even more pleasurable to watch today's games.

Jan Smeets & his second Jan Gustafsson outprepared Alexei Shirov in the first round of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament

The first game to finish was Smeets-Shirov, which lasted just 25 moves. Jan Smeets showed his fighting ambition straight from the start, entering a hyper-sharp theoretical line in the Ruy Lopez Arkhangesk against Alexei Shirov, who's considered one of the biggest experts of this variation. (He had it against Ivanchuk, last year at Wijk aan Zee.)

However, Smeets' second Jan Gustafsson said Shirov was up to a challenge after the new idea 22.Bd7! (Ivanchuk went 22.Qd5 instead) followed by 23.Na7!, which Gusti and Smeets obviously prepared at home. And indeed, it got Shirov thinking for more than half an hour before replying 23...Ra8? which definitely wasn't one of the main moves the Smeets team had looked at. Indeed it was dismissed instantly by the computer engines, who preferred either 23...Kh8 or h6. Soon after that, Shirov resigned. An absolute dream start for Smeets.

Both Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik faced the Scotch Game - always a recipe for exciting, old-fashioned chess, especially with opposite-castled kings.f It's refreshing that even the world's best players sometimes get a little bored with the Berlin Defence, the Breyer or the Marshall Attack.

Tata R1: Nepomniachtchi-Kramnik

Carlsen-Aronian especially turned into a razor-sharp attacking feast that looked dangerous for Black and White at the same time. The perpetual that sealed the draw was, with hindsight, a logical conclusion. Both players commented briefly afterwards.


Tata R1: Carlsen-Aronian

World Champion Vishy Anand, too, started the tournament in the most principled way, opening with the Najdorf Sicilian against Ruslan Ponomariov where he pressed for a long time until the Ukrainian collapsed and allowed his queen to be trapped in the middle of the board.

Tata R1: Ponomariov-Anand

Hikaru Nakamura and Alexander Grischuk took it slightly easier from a 4.Nf3 Nimzo-Indian hybrid, until things got complicated and Grischuk gave a piece for a slightly shaky-looking white king in the center. Still, Nakamura remained calm and won the resulting ending.

Tata R1: Nakamura

Here's a video by Macauley Peterson about this game:


The Dutchmen Erwin L'Ami and Anish Giri also had a quiet beginning, but Giri won a pawn in the endgame despite having to face two bishops. The resulting position was still extremely difficult, and nobody in the press room really knew what was going on. Giri was under pressure but probably never in real danger before a draw in the pawn endgame was agreed.

The game between Vachier-Lagrave and Wang Hao ended spectacularly with a queen sacrifice from black that got him a perpetual check with a single knight. It was a disappointing result for the Frenchman, who was totally winning before. His version of the game:


Tata R1: Vachier-Lagrave

In Group B, Le Quand Liem-So was destined to become one of the most interesting games,with two of the biggest young talents on the planet. In a positional Catalan, White seemed to have a slight edge, until a draw was agreed.

Tata R1: Le Quang Liem-So

Much sharper was the game between Sargissian and Ganguly. A theoretical QGA with 3.e4 resulted in an endgame where Black had some compensation for the exchange which White at some point returned to reach a favourable knight-ending, which he duly won. The top encounter between Wojtaszek and David Navara, an unusual sideline of the Gruenfeld Defence, was especially interesting because Wojtaszek was down on the clock almost an hour at some point. Navara admitted he felt tired during the game and hoped for a quick draw, but things turned out differently. A very interesting, elementary-looking rook-ending was instructively converted by the always sympathetic Czech, who gave a spontaneous press conference to show what turned out to be a immense fountain of ideas in the rook endgame. A video of this will be posted here later.

Tata R1: Wojtaszek-Navara

One of the B-group's favourites is Luke McShane. He started off quietly against Dutch talent Wouter Spoelman, got an edge, and increased it meticulously, using his two bishops which gained him a material advantage. Spoelman fought like a lion, but still lost.

Tata R1: McShane

In the C Group, all eyes were on the game Nyzhnyk-Kazhgaleyev, where the world's youngest GM was battling against a King's Indian. He started this tournament succesfully, winning a tough but seemingly convincing game. Another exciting KID was featured in the game between Homburg Apeldoorn team members Sebastian Siebrecht and Roeland Pruijssers, where Siebrecht was pressing for a long time but to no avail.

Tata R1: Nyzhnyk

The most romantic game of the day has got to be Ivanisevic-Sachdev, a King's Gambit/Vienna Game where White sacrificed his bishop knight on f7 in the style of the old masters. After the crazy complications were over and Sadchev survived severe time trouble, Sadchev came out victoriously.

Tata R1: Sachdev

Games Group A

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group A

Tata 2011 | Round 1 Standings Grandmaster Group A

Games Group B

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group B

Tata 2011 | Round 1 Standings Grandmaster Group B

Games Group C

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group C

Tata 2011 | Round 1 Standings Grandmaster Group C


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