Tata Steel: opening and pairings

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

The 74th Tata Steel Chess Tournament was officially opened on Friday, January 13th in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. The opening ceremony included the drawing of lots for Grandmaster Groups A and B, as this was already done for the C group on Thursday night.

Vassily Ivanchuk had his own way of pushing the button that generated his pairing number on the computer.

EventTata Steel Chess Tournament | PGN Group A, Group B, Group C via TWIC
DatesJanuary 13th-29th, 2012
LocationWijk aan Zee, The Netherlands
System3 GM groups with 14 players-player double round robin
A group
Carlsen, Aronian, Radjabov, Topalov, Karjakin, Ivanchuk, Gashimov, Nakamura, Gelfand, Caruana, Kamsky, Giri, Navara, Van Wely
B group
Bruzon, Potkin, Motylev, Tiviakov, Harikrishna, Ernst, L'Ami, Reinderman, Timman, Nyzhnik, Lahno, Vocaturo, Harika, Cmilyte
C group
Sadler, Turov, Adhiban, Tikkanen, Grover, Brandenburg, Danielian, Paehtz, Sachdev, Hopman, Ootes, Haast, Schut, Goudriaan
Rate of play100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move.

The 74th edition of the Tata Steel, formerly Corus, formerly Hoogovens Tournament, was opened on Friday afternoon by Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler, CEO and Managing Director of Tata Steel Europe. Like last year (and the year before), the sponsor's delegate obviously couldn't to speak of a positive economic situation.

Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler, CEO and Managing Director of Tata Steel Europe

Köhler literally used phrases like "there's also some bad news", "less demand of steel worldwide" and "global crisis", and the big, white tent, placed yet again in the middle of the small village of Wijk aan Zee, packed with hundreds of people, became very quiet for a few minutes.

When suddenly Mr Köhler stopped speaking about Tata Steel and declared the tournament to be opened, there was a mixture of disappointment and relief in the audience. He hadn't said that things would come to an end after the 75th jubilee edition (which was been secured), but apparently he wasn't in the position either to make promises about the year 2014 and further.

Grandmaster Group A participants in one of the front rows

After this speech, the players of the B group were asked to come on stage. The procedure for the drawing of lots wasn't changed: one by one, the players had to press a button placed on a stand in the middle. Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg would then announce the pairing number, which was randomly generated (well, at least that's what everybody assumes!) by a computer and shown on a big TV screen. After that the same thing was done for the A group.

All participants of the A group on stage

World's number one Magnus Carlsen pushes and gets pairing number 6.

As always, Vassily Ivanchuk got the crowd laughing - but this time deliberately! He pushed the button with his elbow, but kept a straight face. Gotta love the guy!

Below you'll find the full pairings for the three groups, followed by some more photos. The author of these lines wasn't supposed to be sitting behind his laptop already, but behind a chess board. I'm actually playing myself as well, in the Weekender event. The schedule is one game on Friday night, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

The Weekender already started on Friday night

However, after I won my first game with Black yesterday (in fact against Loek van Wely's girlfriend - we'll have to wait and see if an interview with KingLoek is still an option now!), on Saturday an arbiter told me that my opponent didn't feel well, and decided to stay home.  "But you probably won't be bored here, right?" Guess not!

And so just moments after the start of the round - the amateurs start simultaneously with the grandmasters - I was leading overall in the whole event, as the only player with 2 out of 2!

Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group A | Pairings

Round 114.01.1213.30 CET Round 215.01.1213.30 CET
Navara-Topalov Topalov-Van Wely
Gelfand-Giri Gashimov-Kamsky
Radjabov-Caruana Ivanchuk-Carlsen
Karjakin-Aronian Aronian-Nakamura
Nakamura-Ivanchuk Caruana-Karjakin
Carlsen-Gashimov Giri-Radjabov
Kamsky-Van Wely Navara-Gelfand
Round 316.01.1213.30 CET Round 417.01.1213.30 CET
Gelfand-Topalov Topalov-Gashimov
Radjabov-Navara Ivanchuk-Van Wely
Karjakin-Giri Aronian-Kamsky
Nakamura-Caruana Caruana-Carlsen
Carlsen-Aronian Giri-Nakamura
Kamsky-Ivanchuk Navara-Karjakin
Van Wely-Gashimov Gelfand-Radjabov
Round 519.01.1213.30 CET Round 620.01.1213.30 CET
Radjabov-Topalov Topalov-Ivanchuk
Karjakin-Gelfand Aronian-Gashimov
Nakamura-Navara Caruana-Van Wely
Carlsen-Giri Giri-Kamsky
Kamsky-Caruana Navara-Carlsen
Van Wely-Aronian Gelfand-Nakamura
Gashimov-Ivanchuk Radjabov-Karjakin
Round 721.01.1213.30 CET Round 822.01.1213.30 CET
Karjakin-Topalov Topalov-Aronian
Nakamura-Radjabov Caruana-Ivanchuk
Carlsen-Gelfand Giri-Gashimov
Kamsky-Navara Navara-Van Wely
Van Wely-Giri Gelfand-Kamsky
Gashimov-Caruana Radjabov-Carlsen
Ivanchuk-Aronian Karjakin-Nakamura
Round 924.01.1213.30 CET Round 1025.01.1213.30 CET
Nakamura-Topalov Topalov-Caruana
Carlsen-Karjakin Giri-Aronian
Kamsky-Radjabov Navara-Ivanchuk
Van Wely-Gelfand Gelfand-Gashimov
Gashimov-Navara Radjabov-Van Wely
Ivanchuk-Giri Karjakin-Kamsky
Aronian-Caruana Nakamura-Carlsen
Round 1127.01.1213.30 CET Round 1228.01.1213.30 CET
Carlsen-Topalov Topalov-Giri
Kamsky-Nakamura Navara-Caruana
Van Wely-Karjakin Gelfand-Aronian
Gashimov-Radjabov Radjabov-Ivanchuk
Ivanchuk-Gelfand Karjakin-Gashimov
Aronian-Navara Nakamura-Van Wely
Caruana-Giri Carlsen-Kamsky
Round 1329.01.1212.00 CET    
Van Wely-Carlsen    

Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group B | Pairings

Round 114.01.1213.30 CET Round 215.01.1213.30 CET
Reinderman-Motylev Motylev-Potkin
Bruzon-Harikrishna Tiviakov-Timman
Lahno-Ernst Nyzhnyk-l'Ami
Harika-Vocaturo Vocaturo-Cmilyte
Cmilyte-Nyzhnyk Ernst-Harika
l'Ami-Tiviakov Harikrishna-Lahno
Timman-Potkin Reinderman-Bruzon
Round 316.01.1213.30 CET Round 417.01.1213.30 CET
Bruzon-Motylev Motylev-Tiviakov
Lahno-Reinderman Nyzhnyk-Potkin
Harika-Harikrishna Vocaturo-Timman
Cmilyte-Ernst Ernst-l'Ami
l'Ami-Vocaturo Harikrishna-Cmilyte
Timman-Nyzhnyk Reinderman-Harika
Potkin-Tiviakov Bruzon-Lahno
Round 519.01.1213.30 CET Round 620.01.1213.30 CET
Lahno-Motylev Motylev-Nyzhnyk
Harika-Bruzon Vocaturo-Tiviakov
Cmilyte-Reinderman Ernst-Potkin
l'Ami-Harikrishna Harikrishna-Timman
Timman-Ernst Reinderman-l'Ami
Potkin-Vocaturo Bruzon-Cmilyte
Tiviakov-Nyzhnyk Lahno-Harika
Round 721.01.1213.30 CET Round 822.01.1213.30 CET
Harika-Motylev Motylev-Vocaturo
Cmilyte-Lahno Ernst-Nyzhnyk
l'Ami-Bruzon Harikrishna-Tiviakov
Timman-Reinderman Reinderman-Potkin
Potkin-Harikrishna Bruzon-Timman
Tiviakov-Ernst Lahno-l'Ami
Nyzhnyk-Vocaturo Harika-Cmilyte
Round 924.01.1213.30 CET Round 1025.01.1213.30 CET
Cmilyte-Motylev Motylev-Ernst
l'Ami-Harika Harikrishna-Vocaturo
Timman-Lahno Reinderman-Nyzhnyk
Potkin-Bruzon Bruzon-Tiviakov
Tiviakov-Reinderman Lahno-Potkin
Nyzhnyk-Harikrishna Harika-Timman
Vocaturo-Ernst Cmilyte-l'Ami
Round 1127.01.1213.30 CET Round 1228.01.1213.30 CET
l'Ami-Motylev Motylev-Harikrishna
Timman-Cmilyte Reinderman-Ernst
Potkin-Harika Bruzon-Vocaturo
Tiviakov-Lahno Lahno-Nyzhnyk
Nyzhnyk-Bruzon Harika-Tiviakov
Vocaturo-Reinderman Cmilyte-Potkin
Ernst-Harikrishna l'Ami-Timman
Round 1329.01.1212.00 CET    

Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group C | Pairings

Round 114.01.1213.30 CET Round 215.01.1213.30 CET
Sadler-Hopman Hopman-Turov
Tania-Grover Schut-Danielian
Paehtz-Tikkanen Haast-Goudriaan
Brandenburg-Ootes Ootes-Adhiban
Adhiban-Haast Tikkanen-Brandenburg
Goudriaan-Schut Grover-Paehtz
Danielian-Turov Sadler-Tania
Round 316.01.1213.30 CET Round 417.01.1213.30 CET
Tania-Hopman Hopman-Schut
Paehtz-Sadler Haast-Turov
Brandenburg-Grover Ootes-Danielian
Adhiban-Tikkanen Tikkanen-Goudriaan
Goudriaan-Ootes Grover-Adhiban
Danielian-Haast Sadler-Brandenburg
Turov-Schut Tania-Paehtz
Round 519.01.1213.30 CET Round 620.01.1213.30 CET
Paehtz-Hopman Hopman-Haast
Brandenburg-Tania Ootes-Schut
Adhiban-Sadler Tikkanen-Turov
Goudriaan-Grover Grover-Danielian
Danielian-Tikkanen Sadler-Goudriaan
Turov-Ootes Tania-Adhiban
Schut-Haast Paehtz-Brandenburg
Round 721.01.1213.30 CET Round 822.01.1213.30 CET
Brandenburg-Hopman Hopman-Ootes
Adhiban-Paehtz Tikkanen-Haast
Goudriaan-Tania Grover-Schut
Danielian-Sadler Sadler-Turov
Turov-Grover Tania-Danielian
Schut-Tikkanen Paehtz-Goudriaan
Haast-Ootes Brandenburg-Adhiban
Round 924.01.1213.30 CET Round 1025.01.1213.30 CET
Adhiban-Hopman Hopman-Tikkanen
Goudriaan-Brandenburg Grover-Ootes
Danielian-Paehtz Sadler-Haast
Turov-Tania Tania-Schut
Schut-Sadler Paehtz-Turov
Haast-Grover Brandenburg-Danielian
Ootes-Tikkanen Adhiban-Goudriaan
Round 1127.01.1213.30 CET Round 1228.01.1213.30 CET
Goudriaan-Hopman Hopman-Grover
Danielian-Adhiban Sadler-Tikkanen
Turov-Brandenburg Tania-Ootes
Schut-Paehtz Paehtz-Haast
Haast-Tania Brandenburg-Schut
Ootes-Sadler Adhiban-Turov
Tikkanen-Grover Goudriaan-Danielian
Round 1329.01.1212.00 CET    

The crowd in the tent - here we see some B group participants, with in the middle Jan Timman, and on the right arbiters Cor Roet and Anil Surender

Dolf Vos, as always the host for the opening ceremony

Two of the absolute favorites in Wijk aan Zee sitting next to each other: Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian

Last week in Reggio Emilia, now in Wijk: Anish Giri and Hikaru Nakamura

Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg, getting ready to do the drawing of lots...

...and here just after the job has been done, announcing the round 1 pairings

Vugar Gashimov, the only player in the A group to make his debut in Wijk aan Zee

Veselin Topalov, whom we recently interviewed

After a sabattical year, Loek van Wely is back!

Last year's 'C' winner Daniele Vocaturo, now in 'B'

Also in B: Jan Timman, writing down the pairing numbers, and next to him Erwin l'Ami

Ukrainian super talent Ilya Nyzhnyk


Chess ladies: Alina l'Ami (not playing), Tania Sachdev and Elisabeth Paehtz

Anish Giri being interviewed for Dutch national radio

Loek van Wely being interviewed by the organizers - you can see the result in this video by them:


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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