Tata Steel Masters: Caruana bounces back, Harikrishna also wins
Fabiano Caruana came back with full force in the third round of the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. After his loss to Levon Aronian on Sunday, the Italian grandmaster played an excellent game against Sergey Karjakin, was in full control and converted the full point on move 71. In another long endgame, Pentala Harikrishna defeated Leinier Dominguez. Six players are tied for first place with 2.0/3. In the Challengers Group only one game ended in a draw, and after three rounds GM Baadur Jobava and IM Benjamin Bok are sharing the lead.
The third round in Wijk aan Zee might have been the first time ever that not one, but two Trompowsky Attacks were played in the same group on the same day. Richard Rapport tried it against Levon Aronian, while Loek van Wely repeated his choice of 2012 against Anish Giri. He said: “It was a good choice. He was probably not expecting that I would try it again.”
The Dutch derby always leads to a good fight, and just like two years ago it was Van Wely who got the upper hand. He lost the bishop pair, but got a strong attack and came very close to a win. The position on move 24 is a nice one for trainers who want to coach (already strong playing) pupils in choosing "which rook":
Van Wely: “I am just playing for attack... Normally you win this game in twenty moves with blood all over the place but somehow he managed to pose some problems and I missed one critical move when I got short of time. Later I realized this was the right move but OK, in the heat of the battle you sometimes don't keep your head cool.”
Rapport-Aronian saw less fireworks; Aronian found a good setup and then he went for an ending where he was a pawn down, but still better. Soon it became clear that neither player had anything to play for.
Hikaru Nakamura and Boris Gelfand played a Symmetrical English that transposed into a Sicilian. The Israeli GM spent some time in the opening and got the advantage, and around the time control it looked very dangerous for White but Nakamura got away with a draw. There was one moment were Gelfand could have won, but that was a typical computer tactic.
Confronted with the tactic, Nakamura said: “Ah, the other way. I saw this idea with e4 but I only looked at the queen going to e5. Well, then clearly Boris should have won the game.” Gelfand: “I didn't look at Qa3, I looked at Rh8. But who cares about [the] computer. It's a human game, I think it's completely irrelevant and takes what happened in the game out of picture. Conmputers have their life and humans have their life. If someone in the press room would find it, it would be great but computers, for me it's nothing. I don't compete with computers, I compete with humans.”
Arkadij Naiditsch and Wesley So played a Berlin Ending and interestingly, they followed a game Karjakin-Naiditsch (!) from 2012. The German player suffered a bit in that one, and so he thought he'd try it with the other color but So had no problems as Black.
“I felt it might be a little bit better with White. As Black I needed to defend quite long. I think he equalized quite easily, it was nothing,” said Naiditsch.
Fabiano Caruana played a wonderful game against Sergey Karjakin. In a Catalan, he played a logical novelty and reached a very pleasant ending where Black could hardly move. Building up his advantage slowly, Caruana won the game in great style.
Pentala Harikrishna won a good, technical ending with rooks and opposite-colored bishops against Leinier Dominguez: “I guess it was equal at some point. His b6 and a5 were too committal and after that only I could play for a win. In general I think he underestimated the danger in this position. After I had pawn breaks on the kingside it was very difficult already for Black to defend, because my rook is coming to h6 and so on.”
Tata Steel 2014 | Masters | Round 3 Standings
The Challengers Group saw six decisive games; the only draw was agreed between Radek Wojtaszek (on his 27th birthday) and Jan-Krysztof Duda. Yu Yangyi was on 0.0/2 but won an excellent game against Jan Timman, who was with his back against the wall from the start:
IM Benjamin Bok seems well on his way to score his final GM norm after beating Sabino Brunello as Black in a typical Grünfeld-like ending:
Tata Steel 2014 | Challengers | Round 3 Standings
The Tata Steel tournament runs 11-26 January and is held in Wijk aan Zee, Amsterdam and Eindhoven. You can find the official website here and the live games here. The live streaming commentary can also be found here on Chess.com!