Tata Steel Chess R2: Carlsen Gets 1st Win, Rapport Beats Van Foreest
Carlsen scored his fifth classical win vs. Giri. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Tata Steel Chess R2: Carlsen Gets 1st Win, Rapport Beats Van Foreest

| 33 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen got his first win in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament's second round as the world champion scored a fairly quick full-point vs. Dutch GM Anish Giri. GM Richard Rapport was the only other winner in the Masters as the Hungarian player beat last year's winner GM Jorden van Foreest.

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Back in 2011, in their first-ever encounter, Giri sensationally beat Carlsen in just 22 moves in Wijk aan Zee. Meanwhile, Carlsen had improved their mutual score to 4-1 in classical chess (not counting draws), but it took him 11 years to beat his opponent on Dutch soil in a classical game (and make it 5-1).

Carlsen played the opening a bit in the style of GM Daniil Dubov, who described it the other day as: "Put the bishop on g2, sacrifice a pawn for nothing, start playing for tricks."

As his first big think only came on move 14, it is safe to say that Carlsen was using left-over preparation for his 2021 world championship match, where Dubov was one of his seconds. 

Asked about this, Carlsen countered: "It was maybe backup world championship prep!"

Carlsen Giri Tata 2022
Carlsen-Giri: a Catalan Dubov could have played. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

On move 16, the world champion sacrificed an exchange, which was interesting but not necessarily better for White. Giri, however, miscalculated with his response, and just two moves later he started shaking his head, revealing on camera that he was in serious trouble. 

Carlsen: "It was very tense. I think the opening was pretty successful in that it was a fresh position where he had to navigate some really difficult variations. Fortunately for me, he kind of went wrong at some point and I had a clear initiative."

The Norwegian GM then missed a subtle intermediate move (19.Be4) but so did Giri (20...Qxd5 or even 20...Nc3!?), whose disappointment might have blurred his calculation even more. After he missed that last chance it was all over after all. It was a good and quick win for Carlsen and a game quick to forget for Giri.

Carlsen Giri 2022 discussing
Carlsen and Giri discussing some variations afterward. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

It was a bad day for the local players as Van Foreest, who had started with a win in the first round, lost as well. Both Giri and Van Foreest didn't lose a single game last year.

The 2021 winner misplayed a knight endgame vs. GM Richard Rapport and lost rather unnecessarily. The Hungarian player felt he had been "extremely lucky" because he was the one fighting to equalize in the opening.

About his opponent's mistake, Rapport said: "We were both kind of short on time so he just sort of panicked I think."

Richard Rapport
Richard Rapport bounced back straight away from his loss in round one. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Early in the round, all the attention went to the game between GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and GM Andrey Esipenko. The reason was simple: Mamedyarov's daring third move 3.g4!?. Dubbed "the extended Catalan," this coffee-house move was just lovely to see at this level.

Carlsen would later say: "I would have snapped it off I think, as Black! I think he must have seen some of my father's blitz games 'cause he always does this on move two, 1.d4 Nf6 2.g4; that's his pet opening, which is probably considerably worse version than what Mamedyarov did."

I think he must have seen some of my father's blitz games.
—Magnus Carlsen

While commentator GM Robert Hess praised Mamedyarov for it (joined by basically the whole chess community on social media), Esipenko couldn't avoid a few smiles himself while pondering on the best reaction. Do you take the pawn, which surely cannot be bad but enters tricky home preparation from the opponent, or do you decline with some healthy moves instead, hoping that White's pawn aggression can be countered in the center?

After eight minutes of thinking, Esipenko chose the latter plan with 3...d5. As the game progressed, the position remained somewhat unclear, but Mamedyarov won the opening battle anyway because of the clock situation: after 11 moves he still had more than an hour on the clock, with 24 minutes left for Esipenko.

The young Russian player was helped by the fact that he could soon trade queens and, by move 26, the players suddenly agreed to a draw rather early, which was something our commentators were less ecstatic about.

As Hess put it, plainly: "BAN THE DRAW OFFER!"

Mamedyarov Esipenko Tata 2022
A coffee-house opening that led to a quick draw: Mamedyarov vs. Esipenko. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

The clash between GM Sergey Karjakin and Dubov was potentially a spicy one as Karjakin had openly criticized his compatriot for helping Carlsen in a match against a co-Russian player. The game was, however, one of the quickest draws of the round as Dubov quickly managed to equalize with the Tarrasch Defense:

A bigger fight, but with the same result, was GM Sam Shankland vs. GM Nils Grandelius. In the end, it was Shankland who had a fortress with a rook and knight against a queen, but the American GM had more reason to be unhappy with the result as he was very close to winning in the middlegame:

Sam Shankland Grand Chess Tour
Shankland missed a chance or two. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Round 2 Standings Masters

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
1 Duda,Jan-Krzysztof 2760 2878 1 ½ 1.5/2 1.5
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2865 2933 ½ 1 1.5/2 1
3 Vidit,Santosh Gujrathi 2727 2940 ½ 1 1.5/2 1
4 Caruana,Fabiano 2792 2735 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.25
5 Esipenko,Andrey 2714 2816 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.25
6 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2767 2717 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1
7 Rapport,Richard 2763 2731 0 1 1.0/2 1
8 Karjakin,Sergey 2743 2756 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1
9 Dubov,Daniil 2720 2755 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1
10 Praggnanandhaa,R 2612 2766 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1
11 Van Foreest,Jorden 2702 2717 0 1 1.0/2 0.5
12 Giri,Anish 2772 2548 0 ½ 0.5/2 0.5
13 Shankland,Sam 2708 2509 0 ½ 0.5/2 0.25
14 Grandelius,Nils 2672 2515 0 ½ 0.5/2 0.25

The Dutch torture extended partly to the Challengers group, where the reigning Dutch champion GM Max Warmerdam—last year in Wijk aan Zee as the second for Van Foreest—erred in a slightly better position despite a 38-minute think. Sometimes, the more you think, the less you see...

Max Warmerdam Tata 2022
Max Warmerdam's brain had an off-day. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

It wasn't all misery for the Dutch as GM Erwin l'Ami, who started off with a loss the previous day, won his game vs. China's WGM Zhu Jiner.

In this group, we find the only player still on a perfect score after two days, and it's not one of the grandmasters. 15-year-old IM Volodar Murzin, originally from Nizhny Tagil, a town 125 km north of Yekaterinburg, Russia, beat the Belgian GM Daniel Dardha the other day and IM Polina Shuvalova, also from Russia, today:

Volodar Murzin Tata 2022
Volodar Murzin is the only player on 2/2. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Round 2 Standings Challengers

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
1 Murzin,Volodar 2519 3324 1 1 2.0/2
2 Nguyen,Thai Dai Van 2613 2799 ½ 1 1.5/2 1.5
3 Erigaisi,Arjun 2632 2763 ½ 1 1.5/2 1
4 Ganguly,Surya Shekhar 2627 2711 ½ 1 1.5/2 1
5 Van Foreest,Lucas 2539 2629 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.5
6 Jumabayev,Rinat 2631 2558 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1
7 Bjerre,Jonas Buhl 2586 2617 0 1 1.0/2 1
8 Vogel,Roven 2452 2569 ½ ½ 1.0/2 0.5
9 L'Ami,Erwin 2622 2532 0 1 1.0/2 0
10 Shuvalova,Polina 2516 2499 0 1 1.0/2 0
11 Warmerdam,Max 2607 2352 0 ½ 0.5/2 0.5
12 Dardha,Daniel 2532 2295 0 ½ 0.5/2 0.5
13 Maurizzi,Marc`Andria 2502 2439 0 ½ 0.5/2 0.5
14 Zhu,Jiner 2478 1769 0 0 0.0/2

All games round 2 

Previous report:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

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