Tata Steel R12: Giri Beats So, Now Second Behind Carlsen

Tata Steel R12: Giri Beats So, Now Second Behind Carlsen

| 42 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Wesley So suffered his first loss at the 2015 Tata Steel masters today. He was beaten by GM Anish Giri, who is now second behind GM Magnus Carlsen.

The difference between Carlsen and Giri is only half a point, so the tournament is far from decided yet. 

GM Wei Yi won again and is almost certain of winning the challengers group and promoting to the 2016 masters. 

Tomorrow the final round starts 1.5 hours earlier, at 12:00 local time.

In 2014 GM Wesley So lost two games: against Levon Aronian and Leinier Dominguez at the Tata Steel tournament of last year. According to the online database he managed to stay undefeated for 73 games (was it really that long?), but today he finally found his Waterloo in GM Anish Giri.

Finally a loss for So after an amazing streak.

As a result, the two switched places in the standings: Giri is now clear second, half a point behind GM Magnus Carlsen, who drew with GM Ding Liren. On top of that, Giri also reached #5 in the live ratings for the first time!

In a reversed Benoni, the Dutch player got a clear plus out of the opening. So had to sacrifice his b-pawn to finish his development, but he never saw the pawn back. Giri eventually decided matters after 111 (!) moves in a queen ending. That's what you call a payment for hard work.

Giri's win, which took seven and a half hours, is annotated by GM Dejan Bojkov:

Pleasing the crowd who stayed until the very end: Giri moves to second place. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Carlsen's draw didn't last very long, but the game was rather interesting. He surprised GM Ding Liren in the Queen's Gambit Declined with his 8th move, where he swapped bishops on a6 instead of a fianchetto — virtually a new idea.

With natural moves Ding, who faced Carlsen for the first time in his life, got a good position. The Chinese GM in fact missed a good chance on move 18. He had overlooked a tactical detail which Carlsen mentioned to him after the game.

Carlsen: “The result was good. My position was a little bit suspicious, so yeah. I don't think he was playing for a win or a draw. He was just playing good moves, so it was not so easy.”

A good draw on the “top board.” | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Speaking with GM Yasser Seirawan after the game, Ding mentioned that he is very good friends with Wei Yi. The two and analyze often together, and live with other players in the same building in Beijing.

Ding explained his good tournament as follows: “The first day [in Wijk aan Zee] I lived alone, because I had a single room. Wei Yi shared his room with our coach Xu Jun. But I lost the game. I moved to the room with Wei Yi, and Xu Jun has the single room!”

GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is still tied for third place together with Ding and So. However, today the French GM seemed on the verge of losing to GM Levon Aronian. He escaped with a draw in a position that looked hopeless.

Not as familiar with the Catalan line as his opponent, MVL lost a pawn on the queenside. The engine on the live page had decided that it was completely over, but it wasn't that bad: Black's weakened kingside and bad knight on a4 were clear signs that White had to have some resources.

An escape for MVL that shouldn't be called narrow this time. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

The first draw of the day lasted less that an hour. GM Loek van Wely didn't feel obliged to press the already suffering GM Baadur Jobava. The two started repeating before move 20.

GM Vassily Ivanchuk and GM Fabiano Caruana drew a hyper-correct Grünfeld that saw three phases: 1. theory, 2. great tactics, 3. equal ending. But trying to follow and understand that tactical phase provides plenty of excitement!

Speaking of theory, GM Ivan Saric and GM Radek Wojtaszek know their share as well! “28.Kb1 was the novelty” says enough, right?

The two played one of the absolute main lines of the Sicilian Najdorf (English Attack), and Saric managed to prove a slight edge for White. He got a very nice knight on a blockading square, and we all know that queen & knight is a strong duo!

Finally a pretty good game against by Saric, who was lamenting his many mistakes just yesterday.

A good win for Saric.

GM Teimour Radjabov vs GM Hou Yifan was a rather dull game, to be honest. In a Closed Catalan the queens left the board quickly, and White had a slight edge with more active pieces. Black was extremely solid and made no mistake.

Radjabov vs Hou Yifan. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

The pairings for the last round:

So - Van Wely
Wojtaszek - Giri
Carlsen - Saric
Aronian - Ding
Caruana - Vachier-Lagrave
Hou - Ivanchuk
Jobava - Radjabov

2015 Tata Steel Masters | Round 12 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Carlsen,M 2862 2896 8.5/12
2 Giri,A 2784 2863 8.0/12
3 Vachier Lagrave,M 2757 2827 7.5/12 43.25
4 So,W 2762 2839 7.5/12 41.50
5 Ding Liren 2732 2831 7.5/12 37.00
6 Ivanchuk,V 2715 2812 7.0/12 39.25
7 Caruana,F 2820 2798 7.0/12 36.75
8 Radjabov,T 2734 2748 6.0/12
9 Aronian,L 2797 2714 5.5/12
10 Wojtaszek,R 2744 2685 5.0/12
11 Hou Yifan 2673 2666 4.5/12
12 Van Wely,L 2667 2631 4.0/12 19.50
13 Saric,I 2666 2623 4.0/12 17.50
14 Jobava,B 2727 2469 2.0/12

The challengers group saw another entertaining round, with only two games ending in draws. GM Wei Yi looks fully ready to play the masters group even this year. He completely demolished WIM Anna Haast:

Wei Yi, rocking the challengers. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

The young Chinese GM has virtually promoted as he increased his lead to a full point. GM David Navara was held to a draw by GM Sam Sevian. With 6.5/12 the youngest GM in the world is playing a fine tournament.

The drama for GM Jan Timman continued with another horrible episode. Today he was completely winning against GM Valentina Gunina for many moves, and eventually... resigned in a position where he was better! Seirawan's “When it rains, it pours” was never so to the point.

Gunina couldn't believe her eyes when she returned to her board and Timman had resigned and left. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Another Dutch grandmaster had all reasons to smile. GM Robin van Kampen nicely outplayed GM Vladimir Potkin:

A powerful game by Van Kampen. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

The pairings for the last round include Sam Sevian vs Jan Timman, with an age difference of half a century!

Saleh - Wei Yi
Potkin - Michiels
Gunina - Van Kampen
Sevian - Timman
Klein - Navara
l'Ami - Dale
Haast - Shankland

2015 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 12 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Wei Yi 2675 2828 10.0/12
2 Navara,D 2729 2742 9.0/12
3 Shankland,S 2652 2691 8.0/12
4 Van Kampen,R 2615 2647 7.5/12
5 Salem,S 2603 2606 7.0/12
6 Sevian,S 2511 2592 6.5/12 36.50
7 Potkin,V 2608 2587 6.5/12 33.00
8 L'Ami,E 2613 2551 5.5/12
9 Gunina,V 2538 2501 5.0/12
10 Klein,D 2517 2463 4.5/12
11 Haast,A 2352 2450 4.0/12 18.25
12 Michiels,B 2563 2438 4.0/12 18.00
13 Dale,A 2291 2425 3.5/12
14 Timman,J 2593 2373 3.0/12

The Tata Steel tournament takes place January 9-25 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. The last round starts 12:00 local time, which is 3am Pacific, 6am New York and 10pm Sydney.

Previous reports

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!

Company Contact and News Accreditation: 

Phone: 1 (800) 318-2827
Address: 877 E 1200 S #970397, Orem, UT 84097

More from PeterDoggers
Yakubboev Wins UzChess Cup On Tiebreaks Ahead Of Abdusattorov

Yakubboev Wins UzChess Cup On Tiebreaks Ahead Of Abdusattorov

Niemann Secures Funds For $1 Million Buy-In Tournament

Niemann Secures Funds For $1 Million Buy-In Tournament