Tata Steel Chess: Carlsen Or Giri?
Giri grabbed the lead today but then saw Carlsen winning as well. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Tata Steel Chess: Carlsen Or Giri?

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jan 27, 2018, 1:30 PM |
52 | Chess Event Coverage

As both Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri won their games in the penultimate round of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, one of them will likely be crowned as the winner tomorrow. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who drew very quickly today, has a chance too and even Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik are still in contention.

The 12th round started with a huge surprise. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, one of the three leaders of the tournament, played the Petroff and allowed a threefold repetition as early as move 12 against Gawain Jones.

Jones vs Mamedyarov, Wijk aan Zee 2018

Jones-Mamedyarov was over in no time, and nobody understood why. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Like everyone, Mamedyarov's co-leaders were surprised. Carlsen: "I thought he'd play more ambitiously, seeing that Gawain has been kind of drifting the last few rounds."

Anish Giri: "It makes absolutely no sense what he did. His main strength is that he dares to go all out when it's needed. (...) It's completely insane, it doesn't fit into my worldview. I would bet my small apartment on that he would play for a win today."

Giri himself continued his wonderful tournament with yet another win, against Baskaran Adhiban. The Indian's opening play also baffled the Dutchman, but afterward, Giri wasn't so sure about his own play either. But after the opening, he started to find some deep tactical ideas and went on to outplay his opponent nicely.

Dejan Bojkov's Game of the Day

Giri and Adhiban, Wijk aan Zee 2018

Giri and Adhiban after the game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Early in the round, it seemed like Maxim Matlakov might be able to hold Magnus Carlsen to a draw, which would be very good news for the Dutch fans. Or, as guest commentator Judit Polgar put it: "Magnus will definitely need help to win this!"

But, Carlsen is Carlsen and at the end of the day, few people will be surprised that he ended up winning yet another opposite-colored bishop ending.

"The thing is, it's always kind of drawish but as long as you don't find a forced draw then it's not so easy," said Carlsen. "But I wasn't thrilled that we ended up in this line since although White is better it should be a draw."

Carlsen beats Matlakov, Wijk aan Zee 2018

Carlsen kept the pace with Giri as he ground down Matlakov. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

"After the time control it was really unpleasant for him since once again he cannot force a draw and I can play forever."

Remarkably, around that time control, Carlsen was a full two(!) hours up on the clock. "There wasn't much to think about. Obviously, if you're going to play for a win when you don't have much you need the clock as an ally."

Magnus Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee 2018

Magnus Carlsen might start 2018 well, but he hasn't gotten rid of Giri yet. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.


Update: The endgame had more to it. After reading this news report, Carlsen messaged the author on Facebook about this position:

where it was suggested that he had missed 52.Be7+ Kh3 53.Rg3+ Kxh2 54.Bd6 "and Black can resign."

Carlsen: "During the game I spent a while calculating the lines starting with 54...Re4!? which saves the rook, at least momentarily. My main line then ran 55.c6 Rd4 56.c7 (56.Rd3+ Rxd6 57.Rxd6 Bxc6+! is a draw) Rxd6 57.Rh3+! (57.c8=Q Rd5!) 57...Kxh3 68.c8=Q+, but I could not find a way to pick up the rook by force, only the bishop, which leaves a lot of technical difficulties. I also considered the correct move 55.Ra3+! (c3 or b3 also work) followed by c6. I suspected it might win (as it does) but it is not very intuitive, and I did not want to risk miscalculating as I thought I had an easy win in the game. I just thought the readers might find the lines fascinating, I certainly did 🙂"

All these lines have been added to the game viewer above.


"It seems that I played a good game, that's what I feel at least now," said Vladimir Kramnik after beating Fabiano Caruana. The Russian GM was better out of the opening, and it looked like Caruana was lacking a tempo throughout the game, Kramnik thought.

Kramnik beats Caruana, Wijk aan Zee 2018

A good game by Kramnik today vs Caruana. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Kramnik had some nice words about Giri for the fans. "That he can play well and that he can fight for the first place, [this] was always obvious to me but of course plus five, what he has now, is really impressive. It will be a really exciting round tomorrow but I'm really happy for him, that he's really playing very, very top level chess now."

Many different scenarios possible, and since last year the tournament regulations (here in PDF) state that a playoff will decide in case of a tie for first. 

In case two or more players share first place, there will be a play-off after the last round, during the closing ceremony (on Sunday 28. January 2018). The time control depends on the number of shared winners and will be determined by the chief arbiter (Blitz or rapid, in both cases with increment). The money prizes will be shared, just like all other prizes (...).

2018 Tata Steel Masters | Round 12 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Score
1 Giri 2752 2909 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 8.5 / 12
2 Carlsen 2834 2901 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 8.5 / 12
3 Mamedyarov 2804 2869 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 8.0 / 12
4 Kramnik 2787 2850 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 7.5 / 12
5 Anand 2767 2839 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 7.5 / 12
6 Karjakin 2753 2800 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 7.0 / 12
7 So 2792 2810 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 7.0 / 12
8 Svidler 2768 2715 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5.5 / 12
9 Wei Yi 2743 2694 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 5.0 / 12
10 Jones 2640 2675 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 4.5 / 12
11 Caruana 2811 2657 ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4.5 / 12
12 Matlakov 2718 2675 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4.5 / 12
13 Adhiban 2655 2597 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 3.5 / 12
14 Hou Yifan 2680 2523 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 2.5 / 12

Games via TWIC.

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi broke away from Anton Korobov today, and leads by half a point going in to the final round. Whereas the Ukrainian was held to a draw by Dutch IM Lucas van Foreest, Vidit easily defeated Olga Girya as Black:

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, Wijk aan Zee 2018

If nothing goes wrong for him tomorrow, we'll see Vidit Santosh Gujrathi in the Masters next year. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

2018 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 12 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Score
1 Vidit 2718 2760 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 8.5 / 12
2 Korobov 2652 2733 ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 8.0 / 12
3 Amin, 2693 2663 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 7.0 / 12
4 J. van Foreest 2629 2659 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 7.0 / 12
5 Bluebaum 2640 2637 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 0 6.5 / 12
6 Xiong 2634 2637 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 6.5 / 12
7 Gordievsky 2622 2637 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 6.5 / 12
8 l'Ami 2634 2582 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 5.5 / 12
9 Tari 2599 2582 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 5.5 / 12
10 Bok, 2607 2577 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 5.5 / 12
11 Krasenkow 2671 2560 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5.0 / 12
12 L. van Foreest 2481 2546 ½ ½ 1 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 4.5 / 12
13 Harika, 2497 2530 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.5 / 12
14 Girya 2489 2475 0 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 3.5 / 12

Games via TWIC.

Live coverage of the 80th Tata Steel Chess Tournament is proudly powered by Chess.com.

Giri, Adhiban, Vidit in Wijk aan Zee 2018

Was Vidit getting some last-minute tips from two of the 'masters'... | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Giri, Adhiban, Vidit in Wijk aan Zee 2018

...or was Giri getting some in return? | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Giri, Adhiban, Vidit in Wijk aan Zee 2018

In any case, being in a good mood can never be bad... | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Judit Polgar with Eric Hansen, Wijk aan Zee 2018

...as commentators Judit Polgar and Eric Hansen were as well. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.


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