Saturday First Round 76th Tata Steel Chess Tournament
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On Friday the tournament will be officially opened at the Tata Steel headquarters in IJmuiden, and on Saturday it will start with the first round: the 76th Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Levon Aronian of Armenia is top seed in the Masters Group and Polish GM Radek Wojtaszek, in great shape at the moment, tops the Challengers.
This year Tata Steel was forced to decrease its budget for the annual chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee. The 76th edition will have two GM groups instead of three, and the top one has 12 players instead of 14.
Please note that the live streaming commentary for this event can be followed on Chess.com/TV! See more info below.
For the first time since 2004, when he played in the Grandmaster Group C, Magnus Carlsen is not playing in Wijk aan Zee. Levon Aronian, the (shared) winner in 2007, 2008 and 2012 and the only 2800 player of the field is the favorite for the 2014 edition. Hikaru Nakamura of the USA, now the world's number three player, will try to repeat his success of 2011 while Fabiano Caruana is still looking for his first victory in Wijk aan Zee.
Boris Gelfand, the oldest participant (45), has an excellent year behind him finishing shared first at the Alekhine Memorial and clear first at the Tal Memorial. Can he do it here too? Or will Sergey Karjakin win again, just like five years ago?
It will also be interesting to see which of the young, upcoming stars will do best: Anish Giri, Wesley So or Richard Rapport. Will they start their breakthrough to the elite this year in Wijk aan Zee? And what about dark horses Arkadij Naiditsch, Pentala Hari Krishna or Loek van Wely?
Tata Steel 2014 | Masters
|10||GM||Hari Krishna, Pentala||IND||2706|
|12||GM||Van Wely, Loek||NED||2672|
After winning two seven rounders back to back, Radek Wojtaszek of Poland is in great shape and the favorite to win the Challengers Group. However, the ever-creative Baadur Jobava of Georgia is just one rating point behind in the list and World Junior Champion U20 Yu Yangyi of China might still be underrated.
Again the organizers have opted for a mixed group with young, experienced, male and female players. The two women playing this year are Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia and Zhao Xue of China. Both Zhao Xue and Yu Yangyi will play in Wijk aan Zee for the first time.
The youngest players are Jan Krzysztof Duda of Poland and Kayden Troff of USA. Both were born in 1998 and can boast of some early successes: Duda became a GM recently and is already rated 2557 while Troff is the reigning World Youth Champion U14.
Dutch chess legend Jan Timman is back to being a 2600 player and back to being a regular guest in Wijk aan Zee - he plays for the third time in a row. As the oldest participant (62) he is the highest rated Dutch participant, ahead of Dutch Champion Dimitri Reinderman. 18-year-old IM Benjamin Bok is hoping to score his third GM norm - because of his good result in Groningen last month he can now score one over nine games. IMs Merijn van Delft and Etienne Goudriaan qualified from last year's nine-round event.
Tata Steel 2014 | Challengers
|14||IM||Van Delft, Merijn||NED||2430|
An interesting change is that two rounds will be played elsewhere: round 4 will be held at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam while the 9th round will be at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.
“We look forward to be, for one day, not only the museum with the largest collection of old masters, but also the highest number of grandmasters,”
said Wim Pijbes, General Director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, at a press conference in October.
“With its fascinating cultural history chess fits well with the Rijksmuseum.”
The "move" to the Rijksmuseum follows a trend of recent chess events taking place at museums. The 2012 world title match was held in the Tretyakov Museum in Moscow, the 2013 Alekhine Memorial took place at the Louvre in Paris and in the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg while the 2013 Russian Championship Superfinal was held at Rukavishnikov's Mansion in Nizhny Novgorod.
“The campus is a place where exceptional spirits feel at home,”
said Bert-Jan Woertman, Marketing & Communications Director at High Tech Campus Eindhoven.
“Top chess players and people from the campus staff speak the same language. They share a passion for solving complex problems through the logical use of knowledge and creativity. A perfect match for me.”
This year the tournament will have live streaming commentary for the first time, which can be followed on Chess.com/TV:
Saturday 11 January - Yasser Seirawan
Sunday 12 January - Yasser Seirawan
Monday 13 January - Erwin l’Ami
Wednesday 15 January (Amsterdam) - Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam
Friday 17 January - Lawrence Trent
Saturday 18 January - Lawrence Trent
Sunday 19 January - Lawrence Trent
Tuesday 21 January - Erwin l’Ami
Thursday 23 January (Eindhoven) - Erwin l’Ami
Saturday 25 January - Ian Rogers
Sunday 26 January - Tex de Wit
The 76th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament will take place from 10 to 26 January 2014. The tournament website is tatasteelchess.com.