Levon Aronian of Armenia continues his string of career successes by adding yet another accolade. The 2012 Tata Steel at Wijk aan Zee was a powerhouse tournament with the strongest assembly of players the tournament has seen to date. Certainly, the majority of chess fans had chosen Magnus Carlsen as the consensus favorite, but there were many candidates including the reigning champion, Hikaru Nakamura and a slew of contenders such as veterans Vassily Ivanchuk and Boris Gelfand and rising stars Fabiano Caruana and home favorite Anish Giri. Rising start Teimour Radjabov was also in the running until the last round. As it were, the two played a rather peaceful game in the last round to clinch the title for Aronian. All the build-up over the old Armenian-Azerbaijan controversy was anti-climatic.
Aronian-Radjabov would only take 12 minutes to decide.
Photo by Frits Agterdenbos (www.chessvista.com).
Typically in long tournaments, players try to pace themselves and plan wisely. It is not uncommon for a player to win this tournament with +3 or +4, but +5 would almost certainly fetch gold. Aronian paced the field with seven wins and played dynamically throughout the tournament with several nice wins including a spectacular finish against Giri. The Armenian was able to fend off Carlsen after both were deadlocked after eight rounds. In the end, Aronian showed more stability than his pursuers and his victory was well deserved.