Tata Steel Chess R3: Nepomniachtchi Wins Again, Grabs Lead
Kramnik's glasses were fixed again, but that didn't help him much. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Tata Steel Chess R3: Nepomniachtchi Wins Again, Grabs Lead

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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16 | Chess Event Coverage

Ian Nepomniachtchi took sole lead in round three of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. The Russian grandmaster reached 2.5/3 after beating a so far struggling Vladimir Kramnik.

There were two more winners: Ding Liren defeated Jorden van Foreest, who was very close to drawing the Chinese GM in a bishop ending. Jan-Krzysztof Duda recovered from his loss on Sunday as he won a good game vs Vladimir Fedoseev

Nepomniachtchi played the solid 5.Re1 against Kramnik's Berlin, which has a very drawish reputation. This time, it was used to play for a win and Nepo was helped by Kramnik's omnipresent desire nowadays to turn his chess games into sharp battles. This optimism, which we also saw at the Candidates, leads to lots of interesting games but Kramnik fails to score well with his new approach, partly because he keeps in getting into timetrouble.

"Vlad decided to go for a fight in every game. Everybody can suffer on a bad day but yesterday he pressed too hard and unfortunately this happens to Vlad more often these days," said the winner.

Nepomniachtchi interviewed after the game. | Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Ding played what Peter Leko called the "Ding Liren variation" of the Giuoco Pianissimo, meaning an early g7-g5 in front of a castled king. It's the kind of thing nobody will recommend to kids learning to play chess, but analysis with engines changes everything. It is definitely playable.

Peter Leko Tata Steel Chess 2019Peter Leko hitting the gong to start the round. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

The game became super sharp, and Van Foreest can only be applauded for keeping up tactically with his 2800 opponent. Sadly, the young Dutchman missed a nice draw in the bishop ending which he kind of deserved, although there's no justice in sport, is there?

Van Foreest-Ding Liren Tata Steel Chess 2019Van Foreest-Ding Liren, watched by Jorden's brother Lucas. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

The third winner of the day was Duda. The Polish GM had suffered an unexpected loss against Van Foreest, but he was fully back in shape the very next day and ruthlessly exploited two inaccurate moves in a row from Fedoseev.

That happened after a rather interesting Catalan where White couldn't castle. Harry the h-pawn (to throw in a term that hasn't been around for a while!) played a big role in Duda's win.

Jan-Krzysztof Tata Steel Chess 2019Jan-Krzysztof Duda. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Magnus Carlsen was involved in the longest game of the round, and in fact it was the longest he ever played in Wijk aan Zee—he beat the 123-move draw he played with Anish Giri in 2017. On the other side of the board was Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, who defended well in the rook endgame for about a 100 moves.

Carlsen has now played 20 draws in a row in classical games, and again found a subtle way to pretend he played with Giri:


Carlsen interviewed after the game. | Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Carlsen-Vidit  Tata Steel Chess 2019Carlsen-Vidit observed by singer-songwriter and chess fan Nick Schilder. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Giri himself was the first to finish in fact. He walked right into Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's preparation in the Moscow variation of the Gruenfeld. The Azerbaijani bashed out all his moves except for a 15-minute think on move 26.

"It's always hard to look at the position strictly, without judging, just the position, when your opponent is making all the moves without thinking," said Giri. "If we had this position after he spent one hour, maybe I would think I'm better." 


Giri interviewed after the game. | Video: Tata Steel Chess.

Anish Giri Tata Steel Chess 2019Anish Giri trying to remember his Gruenfeld lines. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Carlsen watching Giri-Mamedyarov Tata Steel Chess 2019Carlsen watching Giri-Mamedyarov. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Sam Shankland kept a slight edge in a 5.Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined vs Viswanathan Anand, but the five-time world champion found some accurate moves to hold the draw. Teimour Radjabov and Richard Rapport drew a Taimanov Sicilian where the queens were traded early.

Tata Steel Chess Masters | Round 3 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Pts
1 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2763 3071 ½ 1 1 2.5 / 3
2 Ding, Liren 2813 2839 ½ ½ 1 2.0 / 3
3 Anand, Viswanathan 2773 2812 ½ ½ 1 2.0 / 3
4 Carlsen, Magnus 2835 2757 ½ ½ ½ 1.5 / 3
5 Shankland, Samuel 2725 2774 ½ ½ ½ 1.5 / 3
6 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2695 2795 ½ ½ ½ 1.5 / 3
7 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2817 2755 ½ ½ ½ 1.5 / 3
8 Rapport, Richard 2731 2735 ½ ½ ½ 1.5 / 3
9 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2738 2677 ½ 1 0 1.5 / 3
10 Radjabov, Teimour 2757 2775 ½ ½ ½ 1.5 / 3
11 Giri, Anish 2783 2786 0 ½ 1 1.5 / 3
12 Fedoseev, Vladimir 2724 2622 ½ ½ 0 1.0 / 3
13 Van Foreest, Jorden 2612 2650 0 0 1 1.0 / 3
14 Kramnik, Vladimir 2777 2495 0 ½ 0 0.5 / 3

Pairings round 4: Carlsen-Kramnik, Mamedyarov-Nepomniachtchi, Rapport-Giri, Anand-Radjabov, Duda-Shankland, Ding Liren-Fedoseev, Vidit-Van Foreest.

There's a six-way tie for first in the challengers group after three rounds. The most interesting game on Monday was played by Jorden's younger brother Lucas van Foreest, who attacked brilliantly against Evgeny Bareev, the 2002 Wijk aan Zee winner. 

Lucas van Foreest Tata Steel Chess 2019Lucas van Foreest. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Andrey Esipenko found a nice tactic to decide his game with Vincent Keymer:

Andrey Esipenko Tata Steel Chess 2019Andrey Esipenko. | Photo: Alina l'Ami/Tata Steel Chess.

Tata Steel Chess Challengers | Round 3 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Pts SB
1 Korobov, Anton 2699 2715 1 ½ ½ 2.0 / 3 3.25
2 Esipenko, Andrey 2584 2735 ½ ½ 1 2.0 / 3 3.25
3 Van Foreest, Lucas 2502 2704 ½ 1 ½ 2.0 / 3 2.75
4 Chigaev, Maksim 2604 2728 ½ ½ 1 2.0 / 3 2.5
5 L'Ami, Erwin 2643 2656 ½ ½ 1 2.0 / 3 1.5
6 Maghsoodloo, Parham 2679 2674 0 1 1 2.0 / 3 1
7 Kovalev, Vladislav 2687 2576 ½ ½ ½ 1.5 / 3 2.5
8 Gledura, Benjamin 2615 2558 ½ ½ ½ 1.5 / 3 2.5
9 Bareev, Evgeny 2650 2548 0 ½ 1 1.5 / 3 2
10 Keymer, Vincent 2500 2510 0 ½ 1 1.5 / 3 0.5
11 Saduakassova, Dinara 2472 2449 ½ 0 ½ 1.0 / 3 1.75
12 Praggnanandhaa R 2539 2535 ½ ½ 0 1.0 / 3 1.75
13 Paehtz, Elisabeth 2477 2501 ½ 0 ½ 1.0 / 3 1.75
14 Kuipers, Stefan 2470 1807 0 0 0 0.0 / 3 0

Pairings round 4: Korobov-Saduakassova, Bareev-Gledura, Kovalev-Van Foreest, L'Ami-Chigaev, Keymer-Praggnanandhaa, Maghsoodloo-Esipenko, Paehtz-Kuipers.


Replay the live broadcast of the third round.

The official video broadcast is "proudly powered" by Chess.com, which you can watch on both tatasteelchess.com and Chess.com/TV. All rounds start at 1:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. New York, 4:30 Pacific) in Wijk aan Zee, except for three rounds:

  • On January 16 (Alkmaar) the rounds starts half an hour later, at 2 p.m.
  • On January 23 (Leiden) the rounds starts half an hour later, at 2 p.m.
  • The final round, on Sunday January 27, starts 1.5 hours earlier, at noon local time.

Commentary will be provided by IMs Anna Rudolf and Lawrence Trent during the first week, and GM Robert Hess and IM Sopiko Guramishvili during the second week.


Previous reports:

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