Tata Steel 2012: Round 8

Tata Steel 2012: Round 8

| 20 | Chess Event Coverage

Official Website Round 8 Report

A flurry of draws and just one decision in eighth-round action brought little change to the standings in Grandmaster Group A at the 74th annual Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk-aan-Zee on Sunday.

Levon Aronian of Armenia settled for a relatively quick draw, while the other tournament leader, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, rejected an early peace offer only to reach the same result by a repetition of moves after trying in vain for most of the afternoon.

“I think it was a drawish line, more or less,” said Aronian about his Queen’s Gambit with black against Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov. “I don’t know too much about it but it felt very natural the way I played it.”

Tata 2012 Round 8 Veselin Topalov - Lev Aronian.jpg


When asked about his preparation, Aronian indicated he hadn’t studied all that hard, as he’d spent the night before Sunday’s round at the BIM-House, a jazz music hall in nearby Amsterdam. Even so, at one point he felt that black was better “but then, I committed a couple of inaccuracies, because I thought the game was already finished. Fortunately, I collected myself and played correctly and it was a draw.”



Carlsen, meanwhile, played black in a Gruenfeld against Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov, an inventive player with a reputation as a tough defender, who sprung an early proposal to split the point on his formidable opponent. The top-rated Norwegian refused, of course. “You should expect to have to fight to the end for every half point,” he told reporters afterwards. “But, okay, I think the position never strayed beyond the bounds of a draw, although I believe I was better to begin with and then, he might have tried for a win, because I over-pressed.” The game ended when a repetition of moves became unavoidable, which deprived Carlsen of the privilege to play on until just two kings were left on the board – as he did twice in earlier rounds.

Tata 2012 Round 8 Teimour Radjabov - Magnus Carlsen.jpg





Karjakin-Nakamura and Caruana-Ivanchuk were what experts call ‘correct draws’. In the first game, from a Dutch Defense, Karjakin held a slight edge throughout. It was far from enough, however, which was hardly a surprise for Nakamura, who had only a few days before told reporters that “white often seems to be better in the Dutch … when in fact he is not.”



In the other encounter, a French Defense, Caruana saw the offer of an exchange refused, went on to sacrifice a full rook and threw in a knight for good measure only to force a draw by perpetual, after he realized that trying for a win would have been too risky.

Tata 2012 Round 8 Fabiano Caruana - Vassily Ivanchuk.jpg




Less ‘correct’ was the draw between David Navara of the Czech Republic and Holland’s Loek van Wely, who held a clear edge with black in one of his pet lines of the Sicilian Defense. “I had a comfortable position but somewhere he bluffed me,” Van Wely said, referring to the point where he missed 19…Nxe3, which would have given him a clear if not winning advantage. “Why, I should have calculated better,” complained Van Wely. “Later, Navara insisted on playing on – he’s had a bad tournament so far and probably thought he might beat me. Wrong decision! He ended up in a position where the only one who could win was me. Sadly, it wasn’t enough.”

Tata 2012 Round 8 David Navara - Loek van Wely.jpg




Entirely ‘incorrect’ was the outcome of the encounter between Israel’s Boris Gelfand and U.S. champion Gata Kamsky, a Gruenfeld Defense which black handled perfectly until he produced the dismal 34…Re4, where 34…Qc7+ would have led to a straightforward win: 35.Kf2 Qh2, with the idea Re4-f4. After he also missed 40…Qh6 - which might still have saved the day - the only explanation one expert could think of was: “Poor Kamsky has lost his head completely.” Instead, the American champion came up with 40…R8e6? and, ignominiously, had to sign the peace four moves later.

Tata 2012 Round 8 Boris Gelfand - Gata Kamsky.jpg




The 500-euro ‘Piet Zwart Prize,’ put up by the municipalities of Velsen and Beverwijk, Sunday went to Azerbaijan’s Vugar Gashimov for his resounding win with black against Dutch champion Anish Giri. “Something must have gone wrong with Giri’s preparation,” supposed GM Ivan Sokolov in awarding the prize to Gashimov. “The Azeri was playing a well-known line from the 1950s, when Giri opted for the very unusual 10.Bd5?!, a move played only in some Opens,” Sokolov said. “Many top games have seen the more logical 10.Bb3.”

It turned out that what went wrong was that Giri had not really prepared 10.Bd5 at all. “I had looked at it for two minutes in a correspondence game this morning,” he admitted shamefacedly. “I thought it was interesting and, without discussing it with my second, I decided to try it.” The idea backfired seriously and Gashimov coasted to victory in 38 moves.

Tata 2012 Round 8 Anish Giri - Vugar Gashimov.jpg




The standings after round 8 in Group A:

Aronian, Levon    ARM    2805
Carlsen, Magnus    NOR    2835
Radjabov, Teimour    AZE    2773 5
Caruana, Fabiano    ITA    2736
Ivanchuk, Vassily    UKR    2766
Nakamura, Hikaru    USA    2759
Giri, Anish    NED    2714 4
Van Wely, Loek    NED    2692 4
Kamsky, Gata    USA    2732
Karjakin, Sergey    RUS    2769
Topalov, Veselin    BUL    2770
Gelfand, Boris    ISR    2739 3
Gashimov, Vugar    AZE    2761 3
Navara, David    CZE    2712 2


In Group B, where the day prize is set at 250 euros, Sokolov picked Vladimir Potkin as the award-winner for his fine victory with black over Holland’s Dimitri Reinderman. “Potkin, the European Individual Champion, got the better play delaying 6…Nc6 (the main theoretical move) and opting for the novel 6…Be7,” Sokolov said. “Reinderman went for complications for which his position was not ready and soon landed in trouble. He got one last possibility to stay in the game with the exchange sac 32.Raxb4! but missed it, played 32.Ra6 instead” and went down 14 moves later.

Tata 2012 Round 8 Reinderman - Potkin.jpg



India’s Pentala Harikrishna kept the lead in Grandmaster Group B with a 6.5/8-score after a draw with white against Holland’s Sergei Tiviakov in 63 moves from a Benko opening. He was followed at half a point by Russia’s Alexander Motylev.

Tata 2012 Round 8 Harikrisha - Tiviakov.jpg



The results of round 8 in Group B:

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


Tata 2012 Round 8 LAmi - Lahno.jpg




Tata 2012 Round 8 Bruzon - Timman.jpg




The standings in Group B after round 8:

Harikrishna, Pentala  IND  2665 6
Motylev, Alexander  RUS  2677
L'Ami, Erwin  NED  2596 5
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro  CUB  2691 5
Nyzhnyk, Illya  UKR  2568
Ernst, Sipke  NED  2606 4
Reinderman, Dimitri  NED  2581 4
Potkin, Vladimir  RUS  2684
Tiviakov, Sergei  NED  2677
Cmilyte, Viktorija  LTU  2503 3
Timman, Jan H  NED  2571 3
Lahno, Kateryna  UKR  2557 3
Harika, Dronavalli  IND  2516 3
Vocaturo, Daniele  ITA  2545 3


Lars Ootes took the 100-euro daily prize in Grandmaster Group C for a 68-move win in a King’s Indian with black against fellow Dutchman Pieter Hopman.


Russia’s Maxim Turov, the sole leader in this group at the outset of Sunday’s round, dropped half a point to Britain’s Matthew Sadler, allowing Sweden’s Hans Tikkanen to come alongside in the first spot on the strength of a win in 68 moves with white from a Reti against Holland’s Anne Haast.

Tata 2012 Round 8 Tikkanen - Haast.jpg



The results of round 8 in Group C:

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


The standings after 8 rounds in Group C:

Tikkanen, Hans  SWE  2549
Turov, Maxim  RUS  2645
Adhiban, Baskaran  IND  2561
Grover, Sahaj  IND  2532 5
Brandenburg, Daan  NED  2527
Sadler, Matthew D  ENG  2660
Tania, Sachdev  IND  2411
Paehtz, Elisabeth  GER  2454
Goudriaan, Etienne  NED  2279
Schut, Lisa  NED  2290
Ootes, Lars  NED  2326 3
Danielian, Elina  ARM  2490
Haast, Anne  NED  2290 2
Hopman, Pieter  NED  2342 2


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

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