Wins For Caruana, Ivanchuk, Vachier-Lagrave In 1st Round Tata Steel

Wins For Caruana, Ivanchuk, Vachier-Lagrave In 1st Round Tata Steel

| 55 | Chess Event Coverage

In the first round of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, GM Fabiano Caruana won against GM Ding Liren, GM Vassily Ivanchuk beat GM Baadur Jobava and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave defeated GM Hou Yifan.

The day before the start, tournament director Jeroen van den Berg said that he was “very happy to have Magnus Carlsen as the world champion back in Wijk aan Zee.”

And the presence of the Norwegian does add a lot, as it does in any tournament.

The press room is now more crowded from the very start. A number of Norwegian journalists have come to Wijk aan Zee, and the ones working for the commercial TV channel TV2 will stay the whole time. 

New journalists means new perspectives, or a fresh look at a familiar image. TV2's Kaja Marie Snare, who was also in Sochi, tweeted this morning:

In the first round, GM Magnus Carlsen faced an opponent with Black he had never beaten: GM Anish Giri.

“I'll play against a coward who plays for a draw when he gets an equal position with White,” was Carlsen attempt on Friday to stir up things a little.

“After the game I reminded him he was right yesterday,” said Giri at a press conference. “If I don't seen an advantage I just make a draw. The draw is always O.K., but it's how the game goes that counts.”

The opening, a Modern Defense, quickly left the theoretical waters. With an early c4-c5 Giri made an attempt to achieve something tangible, and when Carlsen thought for 20 minutes he “got optimistic.”

But the next moves from the world champ were strong, and Black was O.K. in the ending.

A special TV2 camera for “Magnus's board”.

The young Dutchman made clear that he actually liked Carlsen's remark. “I very much like when a top chess player says something interesting. (...) It's always a lot of fun. It's not like I started to cry when I read it but I'm very happy and I hope he'll say more. I also hope at some point he will tell Norwegian television what I should do to improve, what I should do to become a better player, that would be really great.”

When press officer Tom Bottema asked Giri about his (rating) progress in 2014, Giri made one more reference: “I am still a coward but I just play a little better.”

Here's the full press conference with Giri courtesy of the organizers:

GM Fabiano Caruana defeated GM Ding Liren convincingly.

“It's a good start, especially with Black against such a strong player so I'm quite happy about it,” said the Italian GM. In a Fianchetto Grünfeld he followed a recent game of GM Boris Gelfand against the same opponent, and deviated first, on move 13.

The young Chinese grandmaster didn't find a good plan, put some of his pieces on odd squares, and then Black got the advantage by opening the position with ...f6. Both his bishops became very strong, and White kept on struggling with a funny rook on the queenside.

An excellent start for Caruana.

The game GM Vassily Ivanchuk vs GM Baadur Jobava caused some confusion on the Internet, because the computer evaluation on the live page shows 0.00 in the final position. “Had Jobava resigned in a drawn pawn ending?” people wondered.

But no, the position was really lost, as Ivanchuk explained while joining the live commentary with GM Yasser Seirawan. He admitted that he had been worse, and that the rook ending was also absolutely fine for his opponent: “Black cannot lose if he doesn't want to win.”

But a few moves after the time control Jobava suddenly “collapsed,” as Ivanchuk put it, and completely miscalculated a pawn endgame. The win was “not so difficult for a good grandmaster,” said the Ukrainian with a smile.

So what about that engine showing 0.00? Well, that's simply because during online transmission of games, an engine often doesn't get enough time to look at a position. At depth 22, it couldn't calculate Chuky's winning line.

A bit of a lucky win for Ivanchuk.

The third winner of the day was GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who defeated the women's world champion, GM Hou Yifan. The Frenchman chose an interesting line that you're more likely to come across at your local chess club: the Alekhine-Chatard Attack.

Despite his early push of the h-pawn, White castled kingside (like Black) and then traded queens. In a complicated ending MVL somehow kept his initiative going until he won a pawn on move 40. An excellent technical performance!

Vachier-Lagrave about to play the Alekhine-Chatard.

GM Wesley So vs GM Radek Wojtaszek was the longest of the four draws today. In a Sicilian Najdorf it was So who had the best chances, and around move 40 Wojtaszek had to be really careful. At the end of the game, both players missed a good winning chances, and so a draw wasn't a bad result.

A long game with a few mistakes at the end.

GM Ivan Saric, who promoted from the challengers group last year, started with a solid draw against GM Levon Aronian in a Giuoco Pianissimo:

Solid play from both players.

GM Loek van Wely chose the Pirc Defense against GM Teimour Rajdabov. With 6.d5 the Azerbaijani GM avoided the theoretical lines, but Van Wely wasn't bothered by that. Black's position was always comfortable.

“I was quite happy with my game. In time trouble I missed something but I was lucky that I could still make a draw,” said the Dutch GM.

Here's a video interview with Van Wely courtesy of the organizers:

2015 Tata Steel Masters | Pairings & Results

Round 1 10.01.15 13.30 CET Round 2 11.01.15 13.30 CET
Radjabov ½-½ Van Wely Van Wely - Wojtaszek
Ivanchuk 1-0 Jobava Carlsen - So
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Hou Yifan Aronian - Giri
Ding Liren 0-1 Caruana Caruana - Saric
Saric ½-½ Aronian Hou Yifan - Ding Liren
Giri ½-½ Carlsen Jobava - Vachier-Lagrave
So ½-½ Wojtaszek Radjabov - Ivanchuk
Round 3 12.01.15 13.30 CET Round 4 13.01.15 13.30 CET
Ivanchuk - Van Wely Van Wely - Carlsen
Vachier-Lagrave - Radjabov Aronian - Wojtaszek
Ding Liren - Jobava Caruana - So
Saric - Hou Yifan Hou Yifan - Giri
Giri - Caruana Jobava - Saric
So - Aronian Radjabov - Ding Liren
Wojtaszek - Carlsen Ivanchuk - Vachier-Lagrave
Round 5 15.01.15 13.30 CET Round 6 16.01.15 13.30 CET
Vachier-Lagrave - Van Wely Van Wely - Aronian
Ding Liren - Ivanchuk Caruana - Carlsen
Saric - Radjabov Hou Yifan - Wojtaszek
Giri - Jobava Jobava - So
So - Hou Yifan Radjabov - Giri
Wojtaszek - Caruana Ivanchuk - Saric
Carlsen - Aronian Vachier-Lagrave - Ding Liren
Round 7 17.01.15 13.30 CET Round 8 18.01.15 13.30 CET
Ding Liren - Van Wely Van Wely - Caruana
Saric - Vachier-Lagrave Hou Yifan - Aronian
Giri - Ivanchuk Jobava - Carlsen
So - Radjabov Radjabov - Wojtaszek
Wojtaszek - Jobava Ivanchuk - So
Carlsen - Hou Yifan Vachier-Lagrave - Giri
Aronian - Caruana Ding Liren - Saric
Round 9 20.01.15 13.30 CET Round 10 21.01.15 13.30 CET
Saric - Van Wely Van Wely - Hou Yifan
Giri - Ding Liren Jobava - Caruana
So - Vachier-Lagrave Radjabov - Aronian
Wojtaszek - Ivanchuk Ivanchuk - Carlsen
Carlsen - Radjabov Vachier-Lagrave - Wojtaszek
Aronian - Jobava Ding Liren - So
Caruana - Hou Yifan Saric - Giri
Round 11 23.01.15 13.30 CET Round 12 24.01.15 13.30 CET
Giri - Van Wely Van Wely - Jobava
So - Saric Radjabov - Hou Yifan
Wojtaszek - Ding Liren Ivanchuk - Caruana
Carlsen - Vachier-Lagrave Vachier-Lagrave - Aronian
Aronian - Ivanchuk Ding Liren - Carlsen
Caruana - Radjabov Saric - Wojtaszek
Hou Yifan - Jobava Giri - So
Round 13 25.01.15 12.00 CET
So - Van Wely
Wojtaszek - Giri
Carlsen - Saric
Aronian - Ding Liren
Caruana - Vachier-Lagrave
Hou Yifan - Ivanchuk
Jobava - Radjabov

Whereas the lower group tends to see more decisive games, the first day of the challengers in fact saw no fewer than six draws. Only GM Robin van Kampen managed to win, against GM Sam Sevian:

Van Kampen grabs an early lead in the challengers.

2015 Tata Steel Challengers | Pairings & Results

Round 1 10.01.15 13.30 CET Round 2 11.01.15 13.30 CET
Shankland ½-½ Wei Yi Wei Yi - Potkin
Dale ½-½ Haast Gunina - Saleh
Navara ½-½ l'Ami Sevian - Michiels
Timman ½-½ Klein Klein - Van Kampen
Van Kampen 1-0 Sevian l'Ami - Timman
Michiels ½-½ Gunina Haast - Navara
Saleh ½-½ Potkin Shankland - Dale
Round 3 12.01.15 13.30 CET Round 4 13.01.15 13.30 CET
Dale - Wei Yi Wei Yi - Gunina
Navara - Shankland Sevian - Potkin
Timman - Haast Klein - Saleh
Van Kampen - l'Ami l'Ami - Michiels
Michiels - Klein Haast - Van Kampen
Saleh - Sevian Shankland - Timman
Potkin - Gunina Dale - Navara
Round 5 15.01.15 13.30 CET Round 6 16.01.15 13.30 CET
Navara - Wei Yi Wei Yi - Sevian
Timman - Dale Klein - Gunina
Van Kampen - Shankland l'Ami - Potkin
Michiels - Haast Haast - Saleh
Saleh - l'Ami Shankland - Michiels
Potkin - Klein Dale - Van Kampen
Gunina - Sevian Navara - Timman
Round 7 17.01.15 13.30 CET Round 8 18.01.15 13.30 CET
Timman - Wei Yi Wei Yi - Klein
Van Kampen - Navara l'Ami - Sevian
Michiels - Dale Haast - Gunina
Saleh - Shankland Shankland - Potkin
Potkin - Haast Dale - Saleh
Gunina - l'Ami Navara - Michiels
Sevian - Klein Timman - Van Kampen
Round 9 20.01.15 13.30 CET Round 10 21.01.15 13.30 CET
Van Kampen - Wei Yi Wei Yi - l'Ami
Michiels - Timman Haast - Klein
Saleh - Navara Shankland - Sevian
Potkin - Dale Dale - Gunina
Gunina - Shankland Navara - Potkin
Sevian - Haast Timman - Saleh
Klein - l'Ami Van Kampen - Michiels
Round 11 23.01.15 13.30 CET Round 12 24.01.15 13.30 CET
Michiels - Wei Yi Wei Yi - Haast
Saleh - Van Kampen Shankland - l'Ami
Potkin - Timman Dale - Klein
Gunina - Navara Navara - Sevian
Sevian - Dale Timman - Gunina
Klein - Shankland Van Kampen - Potkin
l'Ami - Haast Michiels - Saleh
Round 13 25.01.15 12.00 CET
Saleh - Wei Yi
Potkin - Michiels
Gunina - Van Kampen
Sevian - Timman
Klein - Navara
l'Ami - Dale
Haast - Shankland

The Tata Steel tournament takes place January 9-25 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. The rounds start 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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