Tata Steel Chess R1: Duda, Van Foreest, Vidit Start With Win
The Tata Steel Chess playing hall in 2022. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Tata Steel Chess R1: Duda, Van Foreest, Vidit Start With Win

| 51 | Chess Event Coverage

The first round of the 2022 Tata Steel Chess Tournament saw three leaders emerge, including the 2021 winner GM Jorden van Foreest. World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen started with a quick draw vs. GM Andrey Esipenko. The Challengers group saw four decisive games.

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Unfortunately still without the hundreds of amateurs but at least with double the amount of chess players in the playing hall as last year, the 84th Tata Steel Chess Tournament got underway on Saturday.

The tournament began a day after the Dutch government had eased some of the lockdown restrictions, with e.g. chess fans now being able to play their club games again, but not yet team matches vs. other clubs. For the top players in Wijk aan Zee, the tournament was always more or less safe as they fall under the exemption of top sports.

Tata Steel Chess 2022
The Tata Steel Chess Tournament is back with two rows of seven tables instead of just one in 2021. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

The game that seemed the most promising from the outset was in fact a damp squib. GM Andrey Esipenko maintained his plus score vs. the world champion after drawing with GM Magnus Carlsen in 21 moves and just two hours and 40 minutes of play.

"I didn't like the way I played," said Esipenko. "After the opening, I thought it should be slightly better for me but then I realized it's not that clear. Maybe I'm just worse somewhere."

It seems the Russian GM's feeling was right there, as engines give a slight preference to Black after the move 16...d4, not played by the world champion but in fact known from a correspondence game.

"I think we were both trying to play, trying to win, but it became clear that although it looks like White had some interesting possibilities and good activity," Carlsen explained afterward. "Black can sort of side-step it and he runs serious danger of being worse if he's not careful. He found this idea with 18.Ba5 and 19.Bc3 back and I couldn't find a good way to avoid the repetition. I think overall it's just what happens."

Asked whether he wanted to take revenge for his loss against the same opponent last year or if it was just another game, Carlsen said: "I wouldn't say it's just another game but he's a very strong player and not someone I expect to beat every time as Black."

Esipenko-Carlsen 2022
No big sensation this time in Esipenko-Carlsen. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Just short of four hours into the round, the second draw came unexpectedly. Playing in trademark style, GM Daniil Dubov seemed to have gone too far and headed for a loss vs. GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, but the latter spoiled his advantage.

Dubov was in good spirits, saying: "Sometimes your results can be really good but you can feel uncomfortable and sometimes it's exactly the opposite. Last year I was constantly tired, I was playing like a chicken a little, I was playing some solid games. The results were fine; I even increased my rating and stuff. But in general, I didn't feel like it's me. This time, it's me. I'm probably far from my best shape, but at least with this game, you can actually tell who played it as White. Put the bishop on g2, sacrifice a pawn for nothing, start playing for tricks…. It feels nice to be back!"

Put the bishop on g2, sacrifice a pawn for nothing, start playing for tricks…. It feels nice to be back!
—Daniil Dubov

After a third, quiet draw between GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Sergey Karjakin, the first decisive game finished soon. GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda managed to outplay GM Richard Rapport from what was initially a London System. White controlled the open d-file for most of the game, and because the Hungarian GM didn't play actively enough (with ...f5 at some point), he got squeezed in the endgame.

As the 2021 World Cup winner, Duda is one of the candidates for the world championship and he admitted seeing this tournament as "good practice" and a place where he wants to show "some decent chess," which definitely was the case today. Winning five Elo points, the Polish GM also entered the world's top 10 in the live ratings.

GM Jorden van Foreest started the tournament where he left it last year: in winning style. Like last year, he beat GM Nils Grandelius with the white pieces.

Van Foreest called the game "rather shaky" as he felt that he "missed a lot of things," adding: "It helped that I got a good position out of the opening. I was never worse, I think."

Asked if he could repeat his huge success of last year, he called that scenario "not realistic," but he was of course happy with the start. "We cannot draw any conclusions from this game."

Van Foreest Grandelius Wijk aan Zee 2022
Van Foreest (right) again beat Grandelius. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

16-year-old GM Praggnanandhaa R. started well by scoring a solid draw with the black pieces vs. GM Anish Giri in this first round. The other Indian player in the Masters, GM Vidit Gujrathi, did even better as he became the final winner of the day, beating the American GM Sam Shankland after almost six and a half hours of play.

Vidit felt that the problems for Black started after 25...c5, although the engine still thinks it's OK for Black there but not a few moves later. The Indian player also thought he could have won quicker but that his technique let him down a bit: "I really had to get down and start thinking." He maintained his advantage nonetheless:

Vidit Gujrathi chess
A good start for Vidit. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

In the Challengers group, the youngest participant, GM Marc'Andria Maurizzi (14), couldn't hold his game vs. the experienced GM Surya Ganguly, but another young player, the 15-year-old IM Volodar Murzin, did start with a win. The Russian player defeated GM Daniel Dardha of Belgium (with Albanian roots), who made an inexplicable mistake on move 30.

Volodar Murzin chess
15-year-old Volodar Murzin. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Round 1 Results

Masters Challengers
Vidit 1-0 Shankland Dardha 0-1 Murzin
Caruana ½-½ Karjakin Vogel ½-½ Warmerdam
Dubov ½-½ Mamedyarov Erigaisi ½-½ Van Foreest
Esipenko ½-½ Carlsen Ganguly 1-0 Maurizzi
Giri ½-½ Praggnanandhaa Jumabayev ½-½ Nguyen
Duda 1-0 Rapport Bjerre 1-0 L'Ami
Van Foreest 1-0 Grandelius Zhu 0-1 Shuvalova

All games round 1

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