Carlsen Wins 3rd Straight, Ivanchuk Still Leads: Tata Steel R6

Carlsen Wins 3rd Straight, Ivanchuk Still Leads: Tata Steel R6

| 58 | Chess Event Coverage

In round six of the Tata Steel masters, GM Magnus Carlsen beat GM Fabiano Caruana, Carlsen's third win in a row. GM Vassily Ivanchuk still leads.

Carlsen now ties for second place, half a point behind Ivanchuk, together with GM Radek Wojtaszek and GM Wesley So. The latter beat GM Baadur Jobava today.

GM Wei Yi and GM David Navara are sharing first place in the challengers group.

Kudos to the technical team in Wijk aan Zee, which had one evening and one morning to bring back all cameras and cables from Rotterdam to Wijk aan Zee for the live show.

It was all back to normal on Friday, and the playing hall was packed with amateur players and spectators again: it was the first day of the nine-round events.

It was also the day that saw the biggest matchup of this year: world number one and World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen playing black against world number two GM Fabiano Caruana!

It was the central board on stage, but that's also because Carlsen is playing on that board every day. The reason for that is that it has a special camera attached to it, which sends streaming video to Norway for a live chess program on TV2.

A permanent camera on Carlsen's board.

It promised to be a great fight when Caruana was looking for chances the queenside, while Carlsen clearly went for a kingside attack. At first it seemed that Caruana was better. When he committed one inaccuracy on the kingside, things started to look scary for White.

Caruana found a good defense that led to an ending, but Carlsen was still better. One more mistake from his opponent followed, and “better” turned into “winning.”

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov:

Interview with Magnus Carlsen courtesy of Tata Steel:

And so Carlsen moved from minus one to plus two in just three rounds. His way of celebrating? Well, leaving Wijk aan Zee immediately, and joining tournament director Jeroen van den Berg to see Ajax beat Groningen 2-0 in the Amsterdam Arena!

There's still one player who is on plus three: GM Vassily Ivanchuk. He drew with GM Ivan Saric while still having the better chances, thereby following an unwritten rule: as long as Chuky doesn't lose, he'll play well.

GM Ding Liren and GM Radek Wojtaszek were the ones who could catch Ivanchuk, but neither player won. Ding was beaten by GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in an extremely complicated game that started as a Caro-Kann Advance.

MVL didn't expect the novelty 11...f6, and called it “a very clever and gutsy try.” He was happy with how he reacted, and indeed White was controlling the board around move 20. Then the French GM made a mistake, but Ding didn't profit and erred himself.

Interview with MVL courtesy of Tata Steel:

The other player in second place, GM Radek Wojtaszek, remained half a point behind the leader thanks to a draw with GM Hou Yifan. The women's world champion surprised her opponent in the opening (not bad against such a theoretician!), but her initiative wasn't dangerous enough.

Wojtaszek was not only joined by Carlsen in second place, but also by GM Wesley So. He defeated GM Baadur Jobava rather easily from the black side of an Italian.

Yet again, Jobava did something remarkable in the opening: he played a novelty on move 7, where 12 other moves had been tried before!

So reacted solidly and was fine out of the opening. “Many world champions liked bishops,” he said to GM Yasser Seirawan in the commentary room. So does So, and his faith in them paid off. Jobava took a poisoned pawn and was punished.

Interview with Wesley So courtesy of Tata Steel:

The two local heroes both drew their games: GM Anish Giri with GM Teimour Radjabov, and GM Loek van Wely with GM Levon Aronian.

The first game mentioned, a Sicilian Taimanov, was rather interesting, especially because Giri lost in the same opening against Sergey Karjakin in October. What would be his improvement?

Well, he pushed his pawn to h4 this time, and then developed his queenside. That was rather risky too, and the game really caught fire when Radjabov sacrificed a rook on f7.

Unfortunately, by then the Azerbaijani GM had spent so much time that he treated the sacrifice as a way to draw the game. Instead, 17.Nf3!? would have been more in the spirit of Mikhail Tal!

GM Loek van Wely drew with GM Levon Aronian in a game where he had chances for more.

“Levon is not in great shape. It sounds a bit strange, but I considered him a target,” said Van Wely, who beat Aronian last year.

“I was quite happy with how things were going. Later I thought he was toast. He's still very tricky, even though he's in bad shape.”

Press conference with Van Wely courtesy of Tata Steel:

Tomorrow Ivanchuk defends his lead as Black against Giri, and the two world champions meet: Carlsen vs Hou Yifan.

2015 Tata Steel Masters | Round 6 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Ivanchuk,V 2715 2904 4.5/6
2 Wojtaszek,R 2744 2883 4.0/6 12.00
3 Carlsen,M 2862 2882 4.0/6 10.75
4 So,W 2762 2890 4.0/6 9.00
5 Vachier Lagrave,M 2757 2766 3.5/6 8.25
6 Ding Liren 2732 2796 3.5/6 7.75
7 Giri,A 2784 2827 3.5/6 7.50
8 Caruana,F 2820 2759 3.0/6 9.75
9 Radjabov,T 2734 2721 3.0/6 9.25
10 Saric,I 2666 2685 2.5/6
11 Hou Yifan 2673 2621 2.0/6 7.00
12 Van Wely,L 2667 2648 2.0/6 6.25
13 Aronian,L 2797 2628 2.0/6 6.00
14 Jobava,B 2727 2320 0.5/6

The challengers group continues to be a slugfest, with again many decisive games. The drawing percentage is now as low as 40.5 percent!
Two games ended very quickly today. First it was GM David Navara who defeated GM Jan Timman — in fewer than 20 moves! 

A very quick loss for the Dutch chess legend.

GM Robin van Kampen took revenge for his horrible blunder the other day, and crushed IM Ari Dale:

Dale vs. Van Kampen, close to the top group of the nine-round event.

Navara leads together with GM Wei Yi, who won the battle of youngest GMs in the world:

Wei Yi, the former youngest GM, beats Sam Sevian, the youngest GM.

GM Bart Michiels could be found on stage, right before his game, with a book with combinations. His last-minute tactic training didn't help:

Michiels doing some last-minute tactics.

2015 Tata Steel Challengers | Round 6 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Wei Yi 2675 2745 4.5/6 12.00
2 Navara,D 2729 2721 4.5/6 11.75
3 Shankland,S 2652 2698 4.0/6 13.00
4 L'Ami,E 2613 2738 4.0/6 11.50
5 Van Kampen,R 2615 2610 4.0/6 8.50
6 Potkin,V 2608 2577 3.0/6
7 Timman,J 2593 2468 2.5/6 6.50
8 Sevian,S 2511 2541 2.5/6 5.50
9 Michiels,B 2563 2473 2.5/6 4.75
10 Klein,D 2517 2525 2.0/5 5.75
11 Salem,S 2603 2487 2.0/5 4.75
12 Dale,A 2291 2411 1.5/6 5.00
13 Gunina,V 2538 2445 1.5/5 3.25
14 Haast,A 2352 2411 1.5/5 3.25

The Tata Steel tournament takes place January 9-25 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. The rounds start Saturday at 1:30pm local time, which is 4:30am Pacific, 7:30am New York and 11:30pm Sydney. The last round starts 1.5 hours earlier.

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