Tata Steel Chess 2022 R5: Mamedyarov, Rapport Catch Vidit

Tata Steel Chess 2022 R5: Mamedyarov, Rapport Catch Vidit

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GMs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Richard Rapport both won their games in round five of the 2022 Tata Steel Chess Tournament to catch GM Vidit Gujrathi in first place. GM Magnus Carlsen drew an exciting game with GM Nils Grandelius.

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"There's not a single dull game today," said our co-commentator WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni about half an hour into the fifth round in Wijk aan Zee. "I think the most surprising thing of today is that we have only two decisive results," said GM Robert Hess, our other commentator, six hours later.

The positions on all seven boards of the Masters looked really interesting from the get-go. The first rest day seemed to have given the players a creative boost on top of the extra energy, but chess is chess, and a draw is still the most likely result.

Grandelius Carlsen Tata 2022
Carlsen had no reason to be bored and probably put his head down for a while to remember his preparation vs. Grandelius. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Arguably the sharpest opening battle was played between Grandelius and Carlsen, where neither king was ever going to feel very safe due to the pawn structure and open files. Furthermore, with his 18th move, played after a six-minute think, Carlsen opened up the center while allowing a pawn to be taken with check.

Now that's cojones on the chessboard. Or was it simply a mix-up of preparation?

After 22 minutes of thought, Grandelius took the pawn, forcing the black king to step aside. "We have mayhem!" was how Hess summarized it.

After another 17-minute think, the Swedish grandmaster then moved his bishop to a4 on the next move to overprotect the c2-square, where the maneuver Qd2-b4(+)-b3 could have netted White the d5-pawn without much risk, and engines gave him an advantage of at least two pawns.

"It might be that he mixed up, but I think this plus two could quickly turn around if I make some inaccurate moves. It has to be analyzed, of course, but I don't think it's as clearcut as that," said Grandelius.

Nils Grandelius Tata 2022
Nils Grandelius has not been having a great tournament, but drawing the world champion could be the start of something better. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Carlsen remained a pawn down, but his structure was better, and he had some pressure towards the white king. Grandelius' defense was helped because he could easily afford more move repetitions while Carlsen kept trying to play for a win.

When the queens were traded, Grandelius might have felt somewhat relieved, but that's when he played an inaccuracy on the infamous 40th move. Carlsen got a slight initiative in an endgame with double rooks and opposite-colored bishops, but Grandelius managed to hold anyway. With a fist bump and some smiles, they agreed to a draw with the world champion offering shortly after his opponent's last move.

"Mainly I am quite lucky to have survived that game," said a relieved Grandelius afterward.

After their draw from three years ago, GM Jorden van Foreest and Mamedyarov finally met again at the board, and it didn't go well for the Dutchman. His creative opening preparation (9.a4 against the Open Spanish this time) didn't give him much.

Mamedyarov said that he saw this move for the first time and that he was satisfied with how he reacted. His next comment could serve as advice for players who always get into time trouble (but do with it what you want!): "I tried to play quickly because when you start to think, you can make big mistakes."

In the early middle game, Van Foreest then started to take risks and basically overpressed. Eventually, the 2021 winner ended up a "small exchange" (a rook for two minor pieces) down. In the long run, that meant a technical win for Mamedyarov.

Lesson of the Day: My Best Games By GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

How does one of the best attackers in history take on the titans of modern chess? GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov gives a unique look at five of his greatest games.

The first-ever game between Rapport and GM Praggnanandhaa R. did not disappoint either. A 4.Qc2 Nimzo-Indian quickly became quite sharp as the players went for a line played in an online Carlsen-Aronian game last year, although putting the queen on g3 had been played just once by a top grandmaster: Mamedyarov, in a Titled Tuesday tournament also last year.

Like Caruana, Rapport got to keep his extra pawn on the queenside but Pragg's counterplay was clear, as he could push two pawns in the center down the board. Interestingly, only 14…Kf8 was the first new move, though!

Black was doing OK in a complex position when a natural knight maneuver on move 19 allowed Rapport to win a key tempo and gain control over the a-file. That helped White, especially when more trades followed so that the white king could walk toward the lovely d4-square risk-free.

Like in earlier games, Rapport wasn't happy with his opening as he was kind of out-prepared. However, he compared the untangling of his kingside with "pulling a rabbit out of the hat" and then he was "already pretty happy."

"Once you sit at the board, you have no friends," said GM Ian Nepomniachtchi at the opening press conference before his match with Carlsen last November. This old adage was relevant for the game between GMs Anish Giri and Vidit Gujrathi, who are known to be friends and who had played two draws before.

On the evening before the rest day, they were still enjoying a nice dinner together, but today there was a battle to be fought. Vidit's tweet below reveals that Giri is working with GM Aryan Tari in Wijk aan Zee, and Vidit with GM Alon Greenfield.

Vidit played the Petroff, and for 10 moves the players were following one of the games between Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi, before Giri deviated from a game that had been played just before that match: Aronian-Erigaisi, Tata Steel Chess India 2021.

In what was one of the quieter middlegames of the round, Vidit suddenly unleashed his pawns in front of his king. As the queens were later quickly traded, Vidit equalized and even looked a bit more comfortable at the end.

Giri Vidit Tata 2022
A friendly fist bump between Giri and Vidit. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

GM Andrey Esipenko and GM Fabiano Caruana played just their second game against each other, after drawing an interesting, tactical game a year ago in the same venue with reversed colors. The start was promising again as the young Russian brought back nice memories by playing the Shirov-Shabalov Gambit (7.g4) vs. Caruana's Semi-Slav. The two Riga-born grandmasters were the strongest proponents of this move in the 1990s.

Caruana seemed reasonably well-prepared as he kept playing relatively quickly, choosing what is considered to be the mainline these days. That changed when Esipenko chose the extremely rare 9.Rg1!? that allowed Black to protect his pawn with 9…b5 as in the Botvinnik variation. Caruana said he was impressed with this idea.

White became slightly more active and a few moves later also "won" the bishop pair as compensation, but it still seemed Black had the better chances. This game always tough to win for Black, but if there was one moment Caruana should perhaps have tried something different, it was on move 33.

Caruana: "I felt like I was close to winning in the endgame. Somewhere he got a huge amount of counterplay."

Fabiano Caruana
Fabiano Caruana. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

GMs Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Sergey Karjakin met for their first classical game since playing the final of the 2021 FIDE World Cup. The Russian GM was quite successful with a sideline in the Queen's Gambit Accepted and was better for most of the game. Duda did manage to create enough counterplay on the kingside and in slight time trouble, the players repeated moves, completely missing that White was winning in that sequence.

Sergey Karjakin Tata 2022
Sergey Karjakin drew a losing position. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Round 5 Standings Masters

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
1 Mamedyarov 2767 2880 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 3.5/5 8.5
2 Vidit 2727 2888 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 3.5/5 7.75
3 Rapport 2763 2837 0 1 ½ 1 1 3.5/5 6.5
4 Esipenko 2714 2849 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/5 8.25
5 Carlsen 2865 2795 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/5 6.5
6 Duda 2760 2750 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 7
7 Caruana 2792 2723 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 6.25
8 Van Foreest 2702 2735 0 0 ½ 1 1 2.5/5 4.5
9 Giri 2772 2673 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 2.0/5 5.5
10 Dubov 2720 2677 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 5
11 Karjakin 2743 2682 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 4.5
12 Shankland 2708 2665 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 4.5
13 Praggnanandhaa 2612 2663 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 2.0/5 3.25
14 Grandelius 2672 2490 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1.0/5

In the Challengers group, GM Arjun Erigaisi extended his lead to a full point as he scored his fourth game in a row. He was too strong for IM Volodar Murzin, who didn't react well to White's Exchange Slav but managed to fight back and equalize later. However, when he allowed a queen trade in an endgame with heavy pieces, he got in trouble again.

Round 4 Standings Challengers

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
1 Erigaisi 2632 2911 1 ½ 1 1 1 4.5/5
2 Nguyen 2613 2713 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 3.5/5 9
3 Jumabayev 2631 2705 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 3.5/5 6
4 Ganguly 2627 2673 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 3.5/5 4.5
5 L'Ami 2622 2613 ½ ½ 0 1 1 3.0/5 7.25
6 Murzin 2519 2621 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 3.0/5 5.75
7 Bjerre 2586 2647 0 1 ½ ½ 1 3.0/5 5.5
8 Shuvalova 2516 2546 ½ 0 0 1 1 2.5/5
9 Van Foreest 2539 2521 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 6.25
10 Warmerdam 2607 2516 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 5.75
11 Vogel 2452 2437 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/5 3
12 Zhu 2478 2412 0 0 0 ½ 1 1.5/5 1.5
13 Dardha 2532 2332 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1.0/5
14 Maurizzi 2502 2186 ½ 0 0 0 0 0.5/5

All games round 5

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