Carlsen vs So Kicks Off Tata Steel Chess

Carlsen vs So Kicks Off Tata Steel Chess

| 47 | Chess Event Coverage

The 79th Tata Steel Chess Tournament will have a dream start and finish. Magnus Carlsen's first opponent will be Wesley So, who had such a great second half of 2016. In the last round the world champion will play the opponent of his last world title match, Sergey Karjakin.

These pairings were the result of the drawing of lots, which were part of the opening ceremony today at the headquarters of Tata Steel in Velsen-Noord—about a 10-minute drive from Wijk aan Zee. The location was traditional, and so was the first speech by Theo Henrar, Tata Steel's chairman of directors.

The mayor of Wijk aan Zee spoke as well, Carlsen distributed prizes to the winners of a school tournament, a choir sang two songs from the musical "Chess," and there was a street football artist before the actual drawing of lots started—the most important part for the players.

For this year the setup was changed. Normally the players would be asked on stage by order of rating, starting with the lowest-rated player. However, the organizers felt that this was a bit unfair to Carlsen, who was always the last to "choose" his lot number.

This time the players were randomly asked on stage by means of a preliminary drawing of lots. It would have been funny if Carlsen would have ended up last anyway, and it was close. He chose a high number and therefore he's playing one extra game with the black pieces.

The players all received a Feijenoord shirt with their lot number.

Special attention was given to Loek van Wely, who will be playing the top group in Wijk aan Zee for the 25th time. He was given flowers, and commented: "Every year I think it's gonna be my year, but usually after two rounds I am on minus-two and busted!" Van Wely then picked shirt number 13, on Friday the 13th. Garry Kasparov would have been very satisfied.

Baskaran Adhiban, who promoted from the challengers last year, was asked how he will cope with "the monsters" of the masters. He duly replied: "I'll have to be a monster too."

To the question what are his ambitions, Richard Rapport replied: "I want to end up in the top 14."

Wesley So is always good for charming the organizers of an event. Asked about the secret behind his recent successes, he said: "My secret is to play at the Tata Steel chess tournament every January."

Levon Aronian, who was first on stage, had set the tone: "Wijk aan Zee is the chess city where the soul of our game lives."

The final, and perhaps wisest quote came from Pavel Eljanov. He said he had prepared seriously, because "the most dangerous opponent is myself."

The pairings for the first round are Harikrishna-Aronian, Adhiban-Van Wely, Eljanov-Rapport, Karjakin-Giri, So- Carlsen, Wojtaszek-Nepomniachtchi, and Andreikin-Wei Y.

Interestingly, the tournament has added a very welcome novelty this year. In case of a tie after 13 rounds, there will be a playoff to decide upon the winner.

The 79th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament takes place in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands January 13-29. On Thursday, January, 19 the masters will play their games at the Feijenoord football stadium in Rotterdam, and on Wednesday, January 25 their venue is The Philharmonie in Haarlem.

Note that will be producing the live broadcast with GM Yasser Seirawan, which will be available on the tournament website and on And look for daily reports here of each round, including photos, games, and quotes from the day's action.

Schedule & Pairings Masters

Round 1 14.01.17 13.30 CET   Round 2 15.01.17 13.30 CET
Harikrishna - Aronian   Aronian - Wei Yi
Adhiban - Van Wely   Nepomniachtchi - Andreikin
Eljanov - Rapport   Carlsen - Wojtaszek
Karjakin - Giri   Giri - So
So - Carlsen   Rapport - Karjakin
Wojtaszek - Nepomniachtchi   Van Wely - Eljanov
Andreikin - Wei Yi   Harikrishna - Adhiban
Round 3 15.01.17 13.30 CET   Round 4 17.01.17 13.30 CET
Adhiban - Aronian   Aronian - Nepomniachtchi
Eljanov - Harikrishna   Carlsen - Wei Yi
Karjakin - Van Wely   Giri - Andreikin
So - Rapport   Rapport - Wojtaszek
Wojtaszek - Giri   Van Wely - So
Andreikin - Carlsen   Harikrishna - Karjakin
Wei Yi - Nepomniachtchi   Adhiban - Eljanov
Round 5 19.01.17 13.30 CET   Round 6 20.01.17 13.30 CET
Eljanov - Aronian   Aronian - Carlsen
Karjakin - Adhiban   Giri - Nepomniachtchi
So - Harikrishna   Rapport - Wei Yi
Wojtaszek - Van Wely   Van Wely - Andreikin
Andreikin - Rapport   Harikrishna - Wojtaszek
Wei Yi - Giri   Adhiban - So
Nepomniachtchi - Carlsen   Eljanov - Karjakin
Round 7 21.01.17 13.30 CET   Round 8 22.01.17 13.30 CET
Karjakin - Aronian   Aronian - Giri
So - Eljanov   Rapport - Carlsen
Wojtaszek - Adhiban   Van Wely - Nepomniachtchi
Andreikin - Harikrishna   Harikrishna - Wei Yi
Wei Yi - Van Wely   Adhiban - Andreikin
Nepomniachtchi - Rapport   Eljanov - Wojtaszek
Carlsen - Giri   Karjakin - So
Round 9 24.01.17 13.30 CET   Round 10 25.01.17 13.30 CET
So - Aronian   Aronian - Rapport
Wojtaszek - Karjakin   Van Wely - Giri
Andreikin - Eljanov   Harikrishna - Carlsen
Wei Yi - Adhiban   Adhiban - Nepomniachtchi
Nepomniachtchi - Harikrishna   Eljanov - Wei Yi
Carlsen - Van Wely   Karjakin - Andreikin
Giri - Rapport   So - Wojtaszek
Round 11 27.01.17 13.30 CET   Round 12 28.01.17 13.30 CET
Wojtaszek - Aronian   Aronian - Van Wely
Andreikin - So   Harikrishna - Rapport
Wei Yi - Karjakin   Adhiban - Giri
Nepomniachtchi - Eljanov   Eljanov - Carlsen
Carlsen - Adhiban   Karjakin - Nepomniachtchi
Giri - Harikrishna   So - Wei Yi
Rapport - Van Wely   Wojtaszek - Andreikin
Round 13 29.01.17 12.00 CET        
Andreikin - Aronian        
Wei Yi - Wojtaszek        
Nepomniachtchi - So        
Carlsen - Karjakin        
Giri - Eljanov        
Rapport - Adhiban        
Van Wely - Harikrishna        
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.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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