2013 Tata Steel Chess (Wijk aan Zee)

2013 Tata Steel Chess

In a week’s time, Wijk aan Zee will host the its silver 75th edition of the Tatat Chess Chess Tournament. The average rating is 2732 is not quite as strong as last year’s 2754, but nevertheless a strong one indeed. The highest-rated player ever in Magnus Carlsen and world number three Levon Aronian will be on hand as well as a much-improved Fabiano Caruana (seeded tenth last year). Sergey Karjakin is again the only Russian national competing. Certainly the balance of chess power has been shifting away from Moscow.

GM Fabiano Caruana against GM Levon Aronian in the Sao Paulo/Bilbao Tournament.

A much-improved Fabiano Caruana hopes to make an impact. Here he faced GM Levon Aronian in the 2012 Sao Paulo/Bilbao Tournament where he placed 1st, but lost on tiebreaks to Magnus Carlsen. Photo by Albert Silver.

Viswanathan Anand will be playing this year and will try to make good on his resolution to play stronger this year. His compatriot Pentala Harikrishna will be playing by virtue of winning Group “B” last year. Hikaru Nakamura will make for excitement as Chinese duo Wang Hao and Hou Yifan will make for intrigue. Hou recently lost her world crown in the questionable knockout format, but a strong showing could provide her with a boost in confidence. Four Dutchman will defend home court led by star Anish Giri.

Tata Steel is an Indian multinational conglomerate consisting of a number of industries. Those following the tournament from the early days will remember it as the Hoorgovens, a Dutch steel company that would later merge with British steel to form the Corus Group. When Tata steel purchased Corus in 2007, the tournament took on the name of Indian conglomerate.

Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
Chessvibes (recommended for on site coverage): https://www.chessvibes.com/
Tata Steel (YouTube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/user/freshmenmedia/

2013 Tata Steel Tournament
January 12th-27th, 2013 (Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands)
Group A
1 Carlsen, Magnus GM Norway
2 Aronian, Levon GM Armenia
3 Caruana, Fabiano GM Italy
4 Karjakin, Sergey GM Russia
5 Anand, Viswanathan GM India
6 Nakamura, Hikaru GM USA
7 Wang, Hao GM China
8 Leko, Peter GM Hungary
9 Giri, Anish GM Netherlands
10 Harikrishna, Pentala GM India
11 Van Wely, Loek GM Netherlands
12 Sokolov, Ivan GM Netherlands
13 L’Ami, Erwin GM Netherlands
14 Hou, Yifan GM China
Group B
1 Naiditsch, Arkadij GM Germany
2 Movsesian, Sergei GM Armenia
3 Edouard, Romain GM France
4 Tiviakov, Sergei GM Netherlands
5 Turov, Maxim GM Russia
6 Rapport, Richard GM Hungary
7 Nikolic, Predrag GM Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 Smeets, Jan GM Netherlands
9 Dubov, Daniil GM Russia
10 Ipatov, Alexander GM Turkey
11 van Kampen, Robin GM Netherlands
12 Grandelius, Nils GM Sweden
13 Timman, Jan GM Netherlands
14 Ernst, Sipke GM Netherlands
Group C
1 Peralta, Fernando GM Argentina
2 Kovchan, Alexander GM Ukraine
3 Brunello, Sabino GM Italy
4 Mekhitarian, Krikor GM Brazil
5 Romanishin, Oleg GM Ukraine
6 Gretarsson, Hjörvar Steinn IM Iceland
7 Swinkels, Robin GM Netherlands
8 Burg, Twan IM Netherlands
9 van der Werf, Mark IM Netherlands
10 Klein, David IM Netherlands
11 Goryachkina, Alexandra WGM Russia
12 Bitensky, Igor IM Israel
13 Admiraal, Miguoël FM Netherlands
14 Schut, Lisa WIM Netherlands
Official Site


  1. Interesting comments by some of the headliners of the Tata Steel tournament. Carlsen, Aronian and Anand perhaps have very different motivations to do well in this tournament. Carlsen, to keep the momentum; Aronian, to defend his title; Anand, to break out of his slump.

  2. Round #1 – Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Levon Aronian – Loek van Wely, ½-½
    Magnus Carlsen – Fabiano Caruana, ½-½
    Pentala Harikrishna – Anish Giri, 1-0
    Vishy Anand – Hikaru Nakamura, ½-½
    Ivan Sokolov – Wang Hao, ½-½
    Peter Leko – Erwin L’Ami, ½-½
    Sergey Karjakin – Hou Yifan, 1-0

    GM Pentala Harikrishna got off to a winning start. Photo by Jeroen van den Belt.

    Round one of the Tata Steel chess tournament had little drama, but it did see two decisive results. Anand-Nakamura was a quick draw, but there was an interesting moment where a queen sacrifice was evaluated after black’s 20.Rc6!? Black would get two pieces for the queen with a better pawn structure while white’s king will struggle for a safe haven. Viswanathan Anand commented that he felt black could be better! Moves later they agreed to a draw.

    Anand’s compatriot Pentala Harikrishna got the win after grinding down Anish Giri in a rook ending. The game seem to be headed for a draw, but Giri begin making minor mistakes which accumulated into a losing position. Not an auspicious start for the young Dutch star who is trying to rebound from an atrocious showing last year.

    The other decisive game was Karjakin-Hou with the Russian squeezing a point against the Chinese phenom and former World Champion. Hou Yifan is the lowest-rated and will be the heavy underdog in just about every encounter. Many are watching to see how she fares in such a strong field. In this game, she seemed to be holding her position by a thread, but ended up tossing a piece. This can be a long tournament for her if she is not in top form.

    Carlsen-Caruana... perhaps a rivalry brewing. Photo by Jeron van den Belt.

    Carlsen-Caruana… perhaps a rivalry brewing
    Photo by Jeroen van den Belt.

    Perhaps the marquee matchup with Carlsen-Caruana. Caruana surprised Carlsen with his opening choice after 1. c4 g6 2. e4 e5 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 d6 5. Nge2 c5 6. d3 Nc6 7. Bg2 Nge7 with a Symmetrical English. White had a slight advantage, but not enough to convert the point. The other games were drawn, but were hard fought and exciting Aronian-Van Wely was certainly a hair-raiser.

    Richard Rapport – Robin van Kampen, ½-½
    Romain Edouard – Pedrag Nikolic, ½-½
    Sipke Ernst – Jan Timman, 0-1
    Sergei Movsesian – Arkadij Naiditsch, ½-½
    Sergey Tiviakov – Alexander Ipatov, 1-0
    Maxim Turov – Nils Grandelius, ½-½
    Daniil Dubov – Jan Smeets, ½-½

    Jan Timman may not be strong enough to play in the top sections anymore, but he still has zeal for chess and can play at a good level. The Dutch legend scored a black win against Sipke Ernst after played poorly in the opening and had to donate a pawn for king safety. The game was probably losing before move 20.

    GM Sipke Ernst-GM Jan Timman, 0-1

    GM Jan Timman (right) got off to a nice win over compatriot GM Sipke Ernst. Photo by Jeron van den Belt.

    Sergey Tiviakov beat the Turkish-Ukrainian (or Ukrainian Turk) Alexander Iptov in a masterful display of positional technique. White completely dominated throughout the game and ended the game with a nice combination which netted a piece. Last year’s Group-C winner Maxim Turov trotted out the Trompowsky Attack against Grandelius, but got nothing. Young Hungarian phenom Richard Rapport was equalized by Robin Van Kampen.

    Fernando Peralta – Alexandra Goryachkina, 1-0
    Robin Swinkels – Alexander Kovchan, ½-½
    Sabino Brunello – David Klein, 1-0
    Lisa Schut – Miguoel Admiraal, ½-½
    Igor Bitensky – Oleg Romanishin, ½-½
    Krikor Mekhitarian – Twan Burg, 1-0
    Hjorvar Gretarsson – Mark van der Werf, ½-½

    Peralta-Goryachkina featured one of two Latin American participants and the under-18 girl’s champion. The Russian had replace GM Saleh Saleh of the UAE and was hoping to make a favorable debut. That didn’t happen as she made a tactical oversight and ended up a pawn down. The Argentinian GM did not let up and converted the advantage.

    Since the Armenian emigre “Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian” is officially Brazilian, he will have to go by one name… let’s call him “Krikor“. 🙂 The Brazilian must have been reading Tigran Petrosian’s books because this was a slow and excruciating squeeze of Twan Burg before launching an all-out assault on the black king. Krikor actually delivered checkmate on the board on move 38.

    The last win was the Italian Silvio Brunello’s victory over David Klein. In the end, black could not deal with whites a- and h-pawns in the rook ending. We are often taught to keep pawns connected, but this is certainly an exceptional case when it is better to have pawns on opposite sides.

    Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
    Tata Steel (YouTube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/user/freshmenmedia/

  3. “En Passant” feature interview with GM Pentala Harikrishna

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Levon Aronian

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Magnus Carlsen

    Interviews by Bianca Muhren.

  4. Round #2 – Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Loek van Wely – Hou Yifan, ½-½
    Erwin L’Ami – Sergey Karjakin, ½-½
    Wang Hao – Peter Leko, ½-½
    Hikaru Nakamura – Ivan Sokolov, ½-½
    Anish Giri – Viswanathan Anand, ½-½
    Fabiano Caruana – Pentala Harikrishna, ½-½
    Levon Aronian – Magnus Carlsen, ½-½

    Hou Yifan's expression after learning that 57...a2 was a +9 in the computer evaluation. Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Hou Yifan’s expression after learning that 57…a2! was completely winning.
    Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Standings after Round #2 (Group A)

    1st-2nd: S. Karjakin, P. Harikrishna; 3rd-12th: F. Caruana, E. L’Ami, H. Nakamura, H. Wang, P. Leko, I. Sokolov, M. Carlsen, L. Aronian, L, van Wely, 1; 13th-14th: A. Giri, Y. Hou, ½.

    Robin van Kampen – Jan Smeets, ½-½
    Nils Grandelius – Daniil Dubov, ½-½
    Alexander Ipatov – Maxim Turov, ½-½
    Arkadij Naiditsch – Sergey Tiviakov, 0-1
    Jan Timman – Sergei Movsesian, ½-½
    Pedrag Nikolic – Sipke Ernst, 1-0
    Richard Rapport – Romain Edouard, 1-0

    Standings after Round #2 (Group B)

    1st: S. Tiviakov, 2; 2nd-4th: R. Rapport, J. Timman, P. Nikolic, 1½; 5th-10th: R. van Kampen, N. Grandelius, J. Smeets, D. Dubov, S. Movesesian, M. Turov, 1; 11th-13th: R. Edouard, A. Naiditsch, A. Ipatov, ½; 14th: S. Ernst, 0.

    Alexandra Goryachkina – Mark van der Werf, ½-½
    Twan Burg – Hjorvar Gretarsson, 0-1
    Oleg Romanishin – Krikor Mekhitarian, ½-½
    Miguoel Admiraal – Igor Bitensky, ½-½
    David Klein – Lisa Schut, 1-0
    Alexander Kovchan – Sabino Brunello, 0-1
    Fernando Peralta – Robin Swinkels, 1-0

    Standings after Round #2 (Group C)

    1st-2nd: S. Brunello, F. Peralta, 2; 3rd-4th: H. Gretarsson, K. Mekhitarian, 1½; 5th-9th: O. Romanishin, M. van der Werf, I. Bitensky, M. Admiraal, D. Klein, 1; 10th-13th: A. Goryachkina, L. Schut, A. Kovchan, R. Swinkels, ½; 14th: T.Burg, 0.

  5. “En Passant” feature interview with GM Hou Yifan

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Peter Leko

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Viswanathan Anand

    Interviews by Bianca Muhren.

  6. Round #3 – Monday, 14 January 2013

    Magnus Carlsen – Loek van Wely , 1-0
    Pentala Harikrishna – Levon Aronian, ½-½
    Viswanathan Anand – Fabiano Caruana, 1-0
    Ivan Sokolov – Anish Giri, ½-½
    Peter Leko – Hikaru Nakamura, ½-½
    Sergey Karjakin – Wang Hao, 1-0
    Hou Yifan – Erwin L’Ami, ½-½

    Viswanathan Anand working his magic. Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Viswanathan Anand (pictured) working his magic!
    Screen shot from tatasteelchess.com.

    There were lots of points given and taken in today’s tournaments with three decisive results in the “A” group… five in the “B” group and six in the “C” group. Viswanathan Anand got into the win column with a win over Fabiano Caruana after the Italian allowed an invasion on the 8th rank and a subsequent attack on the king. Anand seemed very relieved to win as he has made a pledge to play more actively this year.

    Magnus Carlsen also got on the scoreboard with a win over Loek van Wely in the Averbakh variation against the King’s Indian. The question was asked why van Wely resigned. He was certainly worse with the pending g4, but after donating the f5-pawn perhaps there were some lines showing black resistance. Also in Karjakin-Wang, perhaps black could have played on a bit longer after 42… Kf8 43.Rxh7 Rxd6 44.Rxb7 Re6 with a possible fortress.

    The other games were drawn, but there is a fighting spirit present in the games.

    Standings after Round #3 (Group A)

    1st: S. Karjakin, 2½; 2nd-4th: M. Carlsen, V. Anand, P. Harikrishna, 2; 5th-9th: L. Aronian, Nakamura, E. L’Ami, P. Leko, I. Sokolov, 1½; 10th-14th: F. Caruana, A. Giri, H. Wang, L. van Wely, Y. Hou, 1.

    Romain Edouard – Robin van Kampen, 1-0
    Sipke Ernst – Richard Rapport, 0-1
    Sergei Movsesian – Pedrag Nikolic, 1-0
    Sergey Tiviakov – Jan Timman, ½-½
    Maxim Turov – Arkadij Naiditsch, 0-1
    Daniil Dubov – Alexander Ipatov, ½-½
    Jan Smeets – Nils Grandelius, 1-0

    Viswanathan Anand was focused for battle! His efforts were rewarded. Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    The world traveler is back and defending home court nicely.
    Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Boards ran read in the “B” group today as there were four decisive results including a second straight win from Hungarian Richard Rapport. He crushed the winless Sipke Ernst in a Modern Benoni after white tried to force a rather crude attack. Movsesian-Nikolic saw black pieces get tied up and by the time he unraveled was facing an avalanche of passed pawns.

    Nils Grandelius attempted a piece sacrifice on the king of Jan Smeets, but it did not bear fruit and he had to give up the full point. Frenchman Romain Edouard also won putting him even. The legendary Jan Timman stays a +1 drawing the frontrunner Tiviakov in a rather placid encounter.

    Standings after Round #3 (Group B)

    1st-2nd: S. Tiviakov, R. Rapport, 2½; 3rd-5th:S. Movesesian, J. Smeets, J. Timman, 2; 6th-9th: A. Naiditsch, D. Dubov, R. Edouard, P. Nikolic, 1½; 10th-13th: R. van Kampen, A. Ipatov, N. Grandelius, M. Turov, 1; 14th: S. Ernst, 0.

    Robin Swinkels – Alexandra Goryachkina, 1-0
    Sabino Brunello – Fernando Peralta, ½-½
    Lisa Schut – Alexander Kovchan, 0-1
    Igor Bitensky – David Klein, 1-0
    Krikor Mekhitarian – Miguoel Admiraal, 1-0
    Hjorvar Gretarsson – Oleg Romanishin, 1-0
    Mark van der Werf – Twan Burg, 0-1

    A four-way tie has formed as four non-Dutch players are positioned into first. The round saw six decisive games. The 14-year old Alexandra Goryachkina dropped her game as she collapsed right around the time control. The knight versus bishop ending was very instructive.

    Standings after Round #3 (Group C)

    1st-4th: S. Brunello, F. Peralta, K. Mekhitarian, H. Gretarsson, 2½; 5th: I. Bitensky, 2; 6th-7th: A. Kovchan, R. Swinkels, 1½; 8th-12th: O. Romanishin, M. van der Werf, M. Admiraal, T.Burg, D. Klein, 1; 13th-14th: A. Goryachkina, L. Schut, ½.

    Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
    Tata Steel (YouTube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/user/freshmenmedia/

  7. “En Passant” feature interview with GM Sergey Karjakin

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Hikaru Nakamura

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Magnus Carlsen

    Interviews by Bianca Muhren.

  8. Round #4 – Tuesday, 15 January 2013

    Loek van Wely – Erwin L’Ami, 1-0
    Wang Hao – Hou Yifan, 1-0
    Hikaru Nakamura – Sergey Karjakin, ½-½
    Anish Giri – Peter Leko, ½-½
    Fabiano Caruana – Ivan Sokolov, 1-0
    Levon Aronian – Viswanathan Anand, 0-1
    Magnus Carlsen – Pentala Harikrishna, 1-0

    Shades of old against nemesis… Anand uncorks brilliancy!

    Video by tatasteelchess.com.

    Standings after Round #4 (Group A)

    1st-3rd: M. Carlsen, V. Anand, S. Karjakin, 3; 4th-9th: H. Nakamura, F. Caruana, P. Leko, P. Harikrishna, H. Wang, L. van Wely, 2; 10th-13th: L. Aronian, A. Giri, E. L’Ami, I. Sokolov, 1½; 14th: Y. Hou, 1.

    Robin van Kampen – Nils Grandelius, 0-1
    Alexander Ipatov – Jan Smeets, ½-½
    Arkadij Naiditsch – Daniil Dubov, ½-½
    Jan Timman – Maxim Turov, ½-½
    Pedrag Nikolic – Sergey Tiviakov, 0-1
    Richard Rapport – Sergei Movsesian, 1-0
    Romain Edouard – Sipke Ernst, 0-1

    Tiviakov wins again… Rapport keeps pace!

    Standings after Round #4 (Group B)

    1st-2nd: S. Tiviakov, R. Rapport, 3½; 3rd-4th: J. Timman, J. Smeets, 2½; 5th-8th: D. Dubov, S. Movesesian, A. Naiditsch, N. Grandelius, 2; 9th-12th: A. Ipatov, M. Turov, P. Nikolic, R. Edouard, 1½; 13th-14th: R. van Kampen, S. Ernst, 1.

    Alexandra Goryachkina – Twan Burg, ½-½
    Oleg Romanishin – Mark van der Werf, 1-0
    Miguoel Admiraal – Hjorvar Gretarsson, ½-½
    David Klein – Krikor Mekhitarian, 1-0
    Alexander Kovchan – Igor Bitensky, 1-0
    Fernando Peralta – Lisa Schut, 1-0
    Robin Swinkels – Sabino Brunello, ½-½

    Standings after Round #4 (Group C)

    1st: F. Peralta, 3½; 2nd-3rd: S. Brunello, H. Gretarsson, 3; 4th-5th: K. Mekhitarian, A. Kovchan, 2½; 6th-9th: I. Bitensky, R. Swinkels, O. Romanishin, D. Klein, 2; 10th-11th: M. Admiraal, T.Burg, 1; 12th-13th: M. van der Werf, A. Goryachkina, 1; 14th: L. Schut, ½.

    Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
    Tata Steel (YouTube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/user/freshmenmedia/

  9. “En Passant” feature interview with GM Viswanthan Anand

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Levon Aronian

    “En Passant” feature interview with Jeroen van den Berg, Arbiter

    Interviews by Bianca Muhren.

  10. Round #5 – Thursday, 17 January 2013

    Pentala Harikrishna – Loek van Wely, 1-0
    Viswanathan Anand – Magnus Carlsen, ½-½
    Ivan Sokolov – Levon Aronian, 0-1
    Peter Leko – Fabiano Caruana, 1-0
    Sergey Karjakin – Anish Giri, ½-½
    Hou Yifan – Hikaru Nakamura, 0-1
    Erwin L’Ami – Wang Hao, 0-1

    There were two draws in the “A” group, one in the “B” group and two in the “C” group… quite an ode to “Fire on Board”. The sparkling play of the day came from an Indian player, but this time it was not Viswanathan Anand, but his compatriot Pentala Harikrishna. With the mating sprees they are meting out, one wonders if they are eating some Indian home-cooking.

    Harikrishna perhaps surprised Loek van Wely with 1.e4, not a usual opening for him. He went into the sharp Scheveningen and employed a standard setup up, but van Wely played a dubious variation and soon white was mounting a serious attack on the kingside. As black seem to have a solid defense with well-positioned knights, Harikrishna made a contribution to puzzle books with a spectacular mating attack. The game ended with a queen sacrifice that he was pleased to play. Well done!

    Harikrishna built up a strong attacking position and after 35.Bd5 threatening demolition. After 37…Kh7 it appears as if black is wiggling away (diagram #1), but white squashed hopes of survivial with 38.Rf7+! Nxf7 39.Qxg6+! (diagram #2) It’s mate after 39…Kxg6 40.Be4#. Very nice!

    India must be riding high on these victories by Anand and Harikrishna. Anand drew a rather uneventful game today in a showdown that left many begging for more. While today’s game didn’t leave fans on the edge of their seats there will certainly be more battles to come.

    While Sergey Karjakin remained in joint first with a draw against Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura scored a point against the hapless, but cheerful Hou Yifan. The American trotted out the Dragon variation, but Hou Yifan got confused on Nakamura’s move order and played an ill-fated retreat of the queen which allowed black the initiative.

    GM Hou Yifan is having quite a tough learning experience, but she has kept good spirits. Photo by tatasteelchess.com (Facebook).

    As white thrust pawns forward, they ultimately became weak and black begin to pick them off. The win was Nakamura’s first and puts him only half-point out of contention along with Harikrishna and fellow-winner Wang Hao. Hao defeated Erwin L’Ami pushing an avalanche of pawns down the board to crush white’s position. It was Hao’s second win in a row.

    Both Levon Aronian and Peter Leko scored their first wins beating Ivan Sokolov and Fabiano Caruana respectively. Aronian scored a quick knockout as the Dutchman sacrificed pieces and the Armenian merely took them. Meanwhile Leko ground down Caruana into a pulp giving the Italian another loss in what appears to be a slow start. The tournament is turning out to be wide open and while it is not yet half over, tension is already building. Magnus Carlsen faces Ivan Sokolov and has a chance to move ahead. An Indian derby will feature Anand-Harikrishna and Karjakin will face Caruana in a battle of world’s #4 and #5.

    Standings after Round #5 (Group A)

    1st-3rd: M. Carlsen, V. Anand, S. Karjakin, 3½; 4th-7th: H. Nakamura, P. Leko, P. Harikrishna, H. Wang, 3; 8th: L. Aronian, 2½; 9th-11th: A. Giri, F. Caruana, L. van Wely, 2; 12th-13th: I. Sokolov, E. L’Ami, 1½; 14th: Y. Hou, 1.

    Sipke Ernst – Robin van Kampen, 0-1
    Sergei Movsesian – Romain Edouard, 1-0
    Sergey Tiviakov – Richard Rapport, 0-1
    Maxim Turov – Pedrag Nikolic, ½-½
    Daniil Dubov – Jan Timman, 1-0
    Jan Smeets – Arkadij Naiditsch, 0-1
    Nils Grandelius – Alexander Ipatov, 1-0

    Richard Rapport took sole possession of first place by beating co-leader Sergey Tiviakov in a Tarrasch French. Tiviakov and Rapport were matching win for win but the Hungarian seems to be in top form. Tiviakov is still in clear second.

    Beside the Turov-Nikolic draw, all other games were decisive. While Jan Timman got squeezed in an endgame by Daniil Dubov, there were some nice finishes. How about Naditisch’s 35…Qg5! or Nils Grandelius mating attack after 30.Ke7 (diagram #1) and 35.Kf6! Yes… that is right. White’s king marched all the way up the board as an attacking piece with heavy pieces still on the board and helped to deliver and memorable mating attack. Reminds one of the famous Nigel Short king march.

    Standings after Round #5 (Group B)

    1st: R. Rapport, 4½; 2nd: S. Tiviakov, 3½; 3rd-6th: A. Naiditsch, D. Dubov, S. Movesesian, Grandelius, 3; 7th-8th: J. Smeets, J. Timman, 2½;9th-11th: R. van Kampen, M. Turov, P. Nikolic, 2; 12th-13th: A. Ipatov, R. Edouard, 1½; 14th: S. Ernst, 1.

    Sabino Brunello – Alexandra Goryachkina, 1-0
    Lisa Schut – Robin Swinkels, 0-1
    Igor Bitensky – Fernando Peralta, 0-1
    Krikor Mekhitarian – Alexander Kovchan, ½-½
    Hjorvar Gretarsson – David Klein, 0-1
    Mark van der Werf – Miguoel Admiraal, ½-½
    Twan Burg – Oleg Romanishin, 1-0

    GM Fernando Peralta on top!
    Photo by tatasteelchess.com (Facebook).

    In the “C” group, more blood spilled as 5/7 games were decisive. Argentinian Fernando Peralta continues his winning march with a win over Igor Bitnsky. White wasted a tempo in the opening and black and allowed quick equalization. Black’s active piece play caused the white king to flee into the middle of the board. White had to donate material to survive and it was enough to seal the point for black.

    Sabino Brunello made efficient work of Alexandra Goryachkina who is still winless. Brunello made a nice exchange sacrifice that eliminated all resistance. He remains in clear second on +3. A full two points out of the lead are five players. It will be a very contentious finish as everyone is looking to score the full point against Goryachkina and Lisa Schut.

    Standings after Round #5 (Group C)

    1st: F. Peralta, 4½; 2nd: S. Brunello, 4; 3rd-7th: K. Mekhitarian, D. Klein, H. Gretarsson, A. Kovchan, R. Swinkels, 3; 8th: T.Burg, 2½; 9th-11th: I. Bitensky, O. Romanishin, M. Admiraal, 2; 12th: M. van der Werf, 1½; 13th: A. Goryachkina, 1; 14th: L. Schut, ½.

    Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
    Tata Steel (YouTube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/user/freshmenmedia/

  11. “En Passant” feature interview with GM Pentala Harikrishna

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Wang Hao

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Hikaru Nakamura

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Viswanathan Anand

    Interviews by Bianca Muhren.

  12. Round #6 – Friday, 18 January 2013

    Loek van Wely – Wang Hao, 1-0
    Hikaru Nakamura – Erwin L’Ami, ½-½
    Anish Giri – Hou Yifan, 0-1
    Fabiano Caruana – Sergey Karjakin, ½-½
    Levon Aronian – Peter Leko, 1-0
    Magnus Carlsen – Ivan Sokolov, 1-0
    Pentala Harikrishna – Viswanathan Anand, ½-½

    Good Loek and Queen of Dragons!

    The story of the round has to be the breathrough for Hou Yifan with a nice win over fellow teen Anish Giri on the black side of a Dragon. The lesson to learn from this is to maintain a positive attitude and good things will happen. Hou Yifan seems very relaxed and is looking at this as a learning experience, but of course her learning was at Giri’s expense. Below was her reaction…

    Video by tatasteelchess.com.

    In the game, Hou Yifan unleashed the Dragon variation which Nakamura used to defeat her a round earlier. Apparently, the Chinese star learned her lesson well and played actively against the tame 6.g3 system. Hou sacrificed the exchange for a pawn and gained a strong initiative accented by her dangerous outside passed pawn. She won another pawn to boot.

    This is one for the problem books. Here in Giri-Hou black has just played 81…Kd4-d3! (diagram). White played 82. Be6 e2 (82…Rxh7 83.Bf5+) 83. Bg4 Ke3! Now white is in complete zugzwang. After 84. Bxe2 Rxh7 (threatening 85…Rh1+ 86.Bf1 Rg1) 85. Kf1 Rf7+ and white must lose the bishop after 86.Ke1 Ra7!

    In order to eliminate the outside pawn, Giri had to return the exchange, but he had to contend with yet another passed pawn. As the pawn started to roll up the board, Giri had to sacrifice another exchange for the passed pawn. Hou then converted the famous rook vs. bishop ending and in the final position, white was in zugzwang and would lose the bishop. While Hou was relieved to win, she wasn’t pleased with her execution. Sounds like someone still improving.

    Levon Aronian’s persistence was rewarded for his second win in a row. He would nurse his extra pawn when Peter Leko was trying to stifle play with his bishop pair. However, a pawn is a pawn and even the opposite-colored bishops couldn’t help save the game and the white king was dominant in the endgame. All of a sudden, Aronian is only a point out of contention. There are yet seven more rounds and some key matchups are coming up.

    Loek van Wely was on the bad side of a brilliancy in the last round, but came out with an energetic performance against Wang Hao. The win puts him at an even score and salvages some honor for the beleaguered Dutch players. Magnus Carlsen pushed Ivan Sokolov into the bottom of the field with a nice win in which he slowly but surely took control. In the final position, material losses are unavoidable. Carlsen is now in sole first. All the other games were drawn including the Indian derby. Anand and Karjakin now trail by half-point.

    Standings after Round #6 (Group A)

    1st: M. Carlsen, 4½; 2nd-3rd: V. Anand, S. Karjakin, 4; 4th-6th: L. Aronian, P. Harikrishna, H. Nakamura, 3½; 7th-9th: P. Leko, L. van Wely, H. Wang, 3; 10th: F. Caruana, 2½; 11th-13th: A. Giri, E. L’Ami, Y. Hou, 2; 14th: I. Sokolov, 1½.


    Robin van Kampen – Alexander Ipatov, ½-½
    Arkadij Naiditsch – Nils Grandelius, 1-0
    Jan Timman – Jan Smeets, 1-0
    Pedrag Nikolic – Daniil Dubov, 0-1
    Richard Rapport – Maxim Turov, ½-½
    Romain Edouard – Sergey Tiviakov, 1-0
    Sipke Ernst – Sergei Movsesian, 0-1

    While Richard Rapport has held onto his lead, Sergey Tiviakov has faded with two consecutive losses. Daniil Dubov, Arkadij Naiditsch and Sergei Movsesian won their battles moving into a point of the lead. Jan Timman also won again as the veteran gave a spanking to his namesake. In a masterfully played rook ending featuring a couple of pawn sacrifices, Timman was able to get his second win and is even on 3½/6… a credible score against opponents, some who are one-third his age.

    Standings after Round #6 (Group B)

    1st: R. Rapport, 5; 2nd-4th: D. Dubov, S. Movesesian, A. Naiditsch, 4; 5th-6th: S. Tiviakov, J. Timman, 3½; 7th: Grandelius, 3; 8th-11th: M. Turov, J. Smeets, R. Edouard, R. van Kampen, 2½; 12th-13th: A. Ipatov, P. Nikolic, 2; 14th: S. Ernst, 1.

    Alexandra Goryachkina – Oleg Romanishin, ½-½
    Miguoel Admiraal – Twan Burg, ½-½
    David Klein – Mark van der Werf, 1-0
    Alexander Kovchan – Hjorvar Gretarsson, ½-½
    Fernando Peralta – Krikor Mekhitarian, ½-½
    Robin Swinkels – Igor Bitensky, ½-½
    Sabino Brunello – Lisa Schut, 1-0

    Sabino Brunello has caught Fernando Peralta once again after beating Lisa Schut who was completely worse before move twenty. Schut tried sacrificing a pawn, but miscalculated and the tactical sequence favored white. The Latin American rivalry between Peralta of Argentina and Krikor Mekhitarian of Brazil ended in a draw as neither could claim any regional bragging rights this time. David Klein has closed the gap by beating compatriot Mark van der Werf. This round was rather peaceful compared to the bloodletting seen previously.

    Standings after Round #6 (Group C)

    1st-2nd: S. Brunello, F. Peralta, 5; 3rd: D. Klein, 4; 4th-7th: K. Mekhitarian, H. Gretarsson, A. Kovchan, R. Swinkels, 3½; 8th: T.Burg, 3; 9th-11th: I. Bitensky, M. Admiraal, O. Romanishin, 2½; 12th-13th: M. van der Werf, A. Goryachkina, 1½; 14th: L. Schut, ½.

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  13. Round #7 -Saturday, 19 January 2013

    Viswanathan Anand – Loek van Wely, 1-0
    Ivan Sokolov – Pentala Harikrishna, ½-½
    Peter Leko – Magnus Carlsen, ½-½
    Sergey Karjakin – Levon Aronian, ½-½
    Hou Yifan – Fabiano Caruana, ½-½
    Erwin L’Ami – Anish Giri, ½-½
    Wang Hao – Hikaru Nakamura, 0-1

    Round #7… The Champ, the Prodigies and the Rebel

    World Champion surged into joint first with another win over Loek van Wely in a Center Counter after the Dutchman had overlooked 23.Qb1! losing a pawn. Anand was critical of 11…Nxb3 relieving the tension early. Van Wely made a final blunder with 35…Rf8? 36.g5! when Bxd4 and 37.Re6+ sealed the victory for Anand. He will try to go for the full point against tailender Ivan Sokolov in the next round.

    Video by tatasteelchess.com.

    Meanwhile Magnus Carlsen will play fellow former prodigy Sergey Karjakin. Carlsen drew an 83-move enounter with Peter Leko, while Karjakin barely survived an onslaught from Levon Aronian. The Armenian had an evaluation as high as +4 after sacrificing a pawn for activity.

    Later on Aronian uncorked a zinger in 30…Bxh3! and five moves later had an evaluation of +4.43 but the advantage frittered away and Sergey Karjakin escaped with a draw. Karjakin had stated that he was close to resigning. Nevertheless he held on and is still in the hunt for his first Tata title.

    Hikaru Nakamura got a win over Wang Hao and was no doubt relieved after suffering a number of consecutive losses against the Chinese #1. There were a number of small mistakes that built up into a sizable advantage and Nakamura converted his exchange advantage.

    Standings after Round #7 (Group A)

    1st-2nd: V. Anand, M. Carlsen, 5; 3rd-4th: H. Nakamura, S. Karjakin, 4½; 5th-6th: L. Aronian, P. Harikrishna, 4; 7th: P. Leko, 3½; 8th-10th: F. Caruana, L. van Wely, H. Wang, 3; 11th-13th: A. Giri, E. L’Ami, Y. Hou, 2½; 14th: I. Sokolov, 2.


    Sergei Movsesian – Robin van Kampen, 1-0
    Sergey Tiviakov – Sipke Ernst, 0-1
    Maxim Turov – Romain Edouard, ½-½
    Daniil Dubov – Richard Rapport, ½-½
    Jan Smeets – Pedrag Nikolic, 1-0
    Nils Grandelius – Jan Timman, 0-1
    Alexander Ipatov – Arkadij Naiditsch, 0-1

    Jan Timman won again beating the dreadlocked Swede Nils Grandelius. Timman stated that he was pleased with his result. Grandelius trotted out the sharp 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4 h6 5. g4 Bd7 but Timman didn’t back down. He showed that he can still enter sharper variations and capitalized on the Swede’s overambition after 34.Nd5 and won the tactical skirmish.

    Video by tatasteelchess.com.

    One-time leader Sergei Tiviakov has totally collapsed losing to Sipke Ernest and thus, his third game in a row. Arkadij Naiditsch and Sergei Movsesian inched closer with wins after leader Richard Rapport was held by Daniil Dubov.

    Standings after Round #7 (Group B)

    1st: R. Rapport, 5½; 2nd-3rd: A. Naiditsch, S. Movesesian, 5; 4th-5th: D. Dubov, J. Timman, 4½; 6th-7th: S. Tiviakov, J. Smeets, 3½; 8th-10th: M. Turov, R. Edouard, N. Grandelius, 3; 11th: R. van Kampen, 2½; 12th-14th: A. Ipatov, S. Ernst, P. Nikolic, 2.

    Lisa Schut – Alexandra Goryachkina, ½-½
    Igor Bitensky – Sabino Brunello, ½-½
    Krikor Mekhitarian – Robin Swinkels, ½-½
    Hjorvar Gretarsson – Fernando Peralta, 0-1
    Mark van der Werf – Alexander Kovchan, ½-½
    Twan Burg – David Klein, ½-½
    Oleg Romanishin – Miguoel Admiraal, 1-0

    Another tame round of chess in the “C” group with only two decisive games. Fernando Peralta got another win to move back into the clear lead after Sabino Brunello took a quick draw. In other news, Oleg Romanishin got another win and the two women in the group drew a rather calm game in 42 moves.

    Standings after Round #7 (Group C)

    1st: F. Peralta, 6; 2nd: S. Brunello, 5½; 3rd: D. Klein, 4½; 4th-6th: K. Mekhitarian, R. Swinkels, A. Kovchan, 4; 7th-9th: H. Gretarsson, T.Burg, O. Romanishin, 3½; 10th: I. Bitensky, 3; 11th: M. Admiraal, 1½; 12th-13th: M. van der Werf, A. Goryachkina, 2; 14th: L. Schut, 1.

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  14. Round #8 -Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Loek van Wely – Hikaru Nakamura, ½-½
    Anish Giri – Wang Hao, ½-½
    Fabiano Caruana – Erwin L’Ami, 1-0
    Levon Aronian – Hou Yifan, 1-0
    Magnus Carlsen – Sergey Karjakin, 1-0
    Pentala Harikrishna – Peter Leko, ½-½
    Viswanathan Anand – Ivan Sokolov, ½-½

    Carlsen bolts ahead… beats Karjakin; Aronian wins again!

    Carlsen’s resilience paid off in the round eight battle. Karjakin could have earned an honest half-point. Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    The story of the round should be Magnus Carlsen win over Sergey Karjakin, but it could very well be that Levon Aronian resurgence gets the nod. Aronian won again against Hou Yifan when the latter miscalculated and ended up a clear piece down. The Armenian has won three out of his last four games and could have been four if he had converted his +4 advantage yesterday. He now stands a mere point out of the lead with five rounds remaining.

    Viswanathan Anand drew his game after he failed to get anything versus Ivan Sokolov’s surprise Schliemann Defense. This may have been his chance to keep pace against a rather over-matched Sokolov who is at the bottom of the charts. However, the World Champion is on form and will make a push after the second rest day.

    Aronian seems to be making a charge.
    Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Caruana-L’Emi saw an aggressive Advanced Caro Kann. L’Ami offered an early trade of queens, but white had much more space and began a kingside expansion. Black tried to counter, but when more pieces came off, black had a retarded bishop and knight. Caruana found a nice shot with 47.Rxc3! The black bishop was blocked by its own pawns and couldn’t stop the march of the white pawns. Nice lesson by Caruana!

    Standings after Round #8 (Group A)

    1st: M. Carlsen, 6; 2nd: V. Anand, 5½; 3rd-4th: L. Aronian, H. Nakamura, 5; 5th-6th: P. Harikrishna, S. Karjakin, 4½; 7th-8th: P. Leko, F. Caruana, 4; 9th-10th: L. van Wely, H. Wang, 3½; 11th: A. Giri, 3; 12th-14th: I. Sokolov, E. L’Ami, Y. Hou, 2½.


    Robin van Kampen – Arkadij Naiditsch, 1-0
    Jan Timman – Alexander Ipatov, 1-0
    Pedrag Nikolic – Nils Grandelius, 1-0
    Richard Rapport – Jan Smeets, 0-1
    Romain Edouard – Daniil Dubov, 1-0
    Sipke Ernst – Maxim Turov, 0-1
    Sergei Movsesian – Sergey Tiviakov, ½-½

    Fatigue has officially become a factor. The last two rounds has featured some incredible blunders including two this round. In Nikolic-Grandelius, black tossed at piece with 13…Ne4?? and after 14.Qxe5 white nets a piece. The game lasted until move 19. Yikes. In another blunder, Arkadij Naiditsch saw a ghost against Robin van Kampen on 21…Bxh5??? Van Kampen stated that he was shocked and it took awhile for him to overcome Naiditsch’s poker face and simply snap the piece off. The German immediately resigned. Sheesh.

    Video by tatasteelchess.com.

    Jan Timman continues to impress with another victory. Now the possibility of him winning the tournament has to be taken seriously as he is joint first with Richard Rapport (who lost to Jan Smeets) and Sergei Movesesian (who drew with Sergei Tiviakov). Timman beat the World Junior Champion Alexander Iptov who has played below expectations this tournament. The game went to an interesting ending of one bishop and two pawns versus four pawns. Black was a bit too rash is trying to trade off pawns and allowed the white bishop to blockade.

    Standings after Round #8 (Group B)

    1st-3rd: R. Rapport, S. Movesesian, J. Timman, 5½; 4th: A. Naiditsch, 5; 5th-6th: D. Dubov, J. Smeets, 4½; 7th-9th: R. Edouard, S. Tiviakov, M. Turov, 4; 10th: R. van Kampen, 3½; 11th-12th: N. Grandelius, P. Nikolic, 2½; 13th-14th: A. Ipatov, S. Ernst, 2.

    Alexandra Goryachkina – Miguoel Admiraal, 1-0
    David Klein – Oleg Romanishin, 1-0
    Alexander Kovchan – Twan Burg, ½-½
    Fernando Peralta – Mark van der Werf, ½-½
    Robin Swinkels – Hjorvar Gretarsson, ½-½
    Sabino Brunello – Krikor Mekhitarian, 1-0
    Lisa Schut – Igor Bitensky, 1-0

    From the mastery of Fred Lucas’, Alexandra Goryachkina unfurls Russian pride. Photo by Fred Lucas.

    Group “C” has been a see-saw affair throughout with Fernando Peralta and Sabino Brunello leading the way. They are again tied after Brunello neatly dispatched of Krikor Mekhitarian of Brazil. Peralta was drawing with Mark van der Werf. Both of the ladies were victorious today a day after drawing with each other. Igor Bitensky played the Hungarian Defense without much energy and was brutally crushed. Schut’s first win gives her some consolation after a string of losses. Alexandra Goryachkina beat back the Grunfeld Defense and capitalized on Miguoel Admiraal’s poor handling of the endgame.

    Standings after Round #8 (Group C)

    1st-2nd: S. Brunello, F. Peralta, 6½; 3rd: D. Klein, 5½; 4th-5th: R. Swinkels, A. Kovchan, 4½; 6th-8th: K. Mekhitarian, H. Gretarsson, T.Burg, 4; 9th: O. Romanishin, 3½; 10th-11th: I. Bitensky, A. Goryachkina, 3; 12th-13th: M. van der Werf, M. Admiraal, 2½; 14th: L. Schut, 2.

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  15. Round #9 -Tuesday, 22 January 2013

    Video by Vijay Kumar.

    Ivan Sokolov – Loek van Wely, 0-1
    Peter Leko – Vishy Anand, ½-½
    Sergey Karjakin – Pentala Harikrishna, ½-½
    Hou Yifan – Magnus Carlsen, 0-1
    Erwin L’Ami – Levon Aronian, ½-½
    Wang Hao – Fabiano Caruana, ½-½
    Hikaru Nakamura – Anish Giri, ½-½

    Standings after Round #9 (Group A)

    1st: M. Carlsen, 7; 2nd: V. Anand, 6; 3rd-4th: L. Aronian, H. Nakamura, 5½; 5th-6th: P. Harikrishna, S. Karjakin, 5; 7th-9th: P. Leko, F. Caruana, L. van Wely, 4½; 10th: H. Wang, 4; 11th: A. Giri, 3½; 12th: E. L’Ami, 3; 13th-14th: I. Sokolov, Y. Hou, 2½.


    Sergey Tiviakov – Robin van Kampen, 1-0
    Maxim Turov – Sergei Movsesian, 0-1
    Daniil Dubov – Sipke Ernst, 1-0
    Jan Smeets – Romain Edouard, 1-0
    Nils Grandelius – Richard Rapport, ½-½
    Alexander Ipatov – Predrag Nikolic, 1-0
    Arkadij Naiditsch – Jan Timman, 1-0

    Standings after Round #9 (Group B)

    1st: S. Movesesian, 6½; 2nd-3rd: A. Naiditsch, R. Rapport, 6; 4th-6th: J. Smeets, D. Dubov, J. Timman, 5½; 7th: S. Tiviakov, 5; 8th-9th: R. Edouard, M. Turov, 4; 10th-11th: R. van Kampen, N. Grandelius, 3½; 12th-13th: A. Ipatov, P. Nikolic, 3; 14th: S. Ernst, 2.

    Igor Bitensky – Alexandra Goryachkina, 1-0
    Krikor Mekhitarian – Lisa Schut, 1.0
    Hjorvar Gretarsson – Sabino Brunello, 0-1
    Mark van der Werf – Robin Swinkels, 0-1
    Twan Burg – Fernando Peralta, ½-½
    Oleg Romanishin – Alexander Kovchan, ½-½
    Miguoel Admiraal – David Klein, 1-0

    Standings after Round #9 (Group C)

    1st: S. Brunello, 7½; 2nd: F. Peralta, 7; 3rd-4th: R. Swinkels, D. Klein, 5½; 5th-6th: K. Mekhitarian, A. Kovchan, 5; 7th: T.Burg, 4½; 8th-10th: I. Bitensky, H. Gretarsson, O. Romanishin, 4; 11th: M. Admiraal, 3½; 12th: A. Goryachkina, 3; 13th: M. van der Werf, 2½; 14th: L. Schut, 2.

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  16. Round #10 -Wednesday, 23 January 2013

    Loek van Wely – Anish Giri, ½-½
    Fabiano Caruana – Hikaru Nakamura, 0-1
    Levon Aronian – Wang Hao, 1-0
    Magnus Carlsen – Erwin L’Ami, 1-0
    Pentala Harikrishna – Hou Yifan, 0-1
    Viswanathan Anand – Sergey Karjakin, ½-½
    Ivan Sokolov – Peter Leko, 0-1

    Anand on Carlsen… “He’s winning every type of position.”
    Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Hikaru Nakamura won his game against Wang Hao, but summed up the tenor of the tournament by saying, “+3… At least I have a chance for second place.” Well… after Magnus Carlsen squeezed another point out of an ending, he has virtually clinched the Tata Steel Chess Tournament with three rounds remaining. World Champion Viswanathan Anand also resigned himself despite his own solid tournament, “He’s converting almost every game. It’s a huge disadvantage if you’re trying to keep up with him.” Well stated.

    In the battle for second place, Anand was held by Sergey Karjakin in a rather lifeless Queen’s Indian. So it goes… Anand, Nakamura and Levon Aronian are tied for joint second with three rounds. Aronian beat a slumping Wang Hao (one point in last five games) and Nakamura got in a nice shot against Fabiano Caruana.

    In the position above, White has just played 54.Kc2 (diagram #1) and the position looks normal, but a deeper look uncovers a nice tactical motif involving several pins. Black plays 54…g4!! 55. hxg4 h3! 56. Rd1 (On 56.gxh3 Rf8 57.Kd3 Rf4! wins a piece) 57. Kd3 h2 (57…Rf4! still) 58.Rh1 Bg1 choking the rook out (diagram #2). White resigns a few moves later.

    Hou Yifan won her second game and has finally pulled herself out of the cellar. Her win was from the black side of a Keres Attack in which white had some trouble mounting an attack. Pentala Harikrishna brutally mated Loek van Wely a couple of rounds earlier, but was rebuffed and lost an interesting ending. Hou Yifan went over her game and had some very interesting insights in the ending… very alert. This experience will help build her confidence a bit.

    Hou Yifan discusses her win over Pentala Harikrishna. Interesting insights!
    Video by tatasteelchess.com.

    Standings after Round #10 (Group A)

    1st: M. Carlsen, 8; 2nd-4th: V. Anand, L. Aronian, H. Nakamura, 6½; 5th-6th: P. Leko, S. Karjakin, 5½; 7th-8th: P. Harikrishna, L. van Wely, 5; 9th: F. Caruana, 4½; 10th-11th: A. Giri, H. Wang, 4; 12th: Y. Hou, 3½; 13th: E. L’Ami, 3; 14th: I. Sokolov, 2½.


    Robin van Kampen – Jan Timman, 1-0
    Predrag Nikolic – Arkadij Naiditsch, ½-½
    Richard Rapport – Alexander Ipatov, 1-0
    Romain Edouard – Nils Grandelius, 1-0
    Sipke Ernst – Jan Smeets, 0-1
    Sergei Movsesian – Daniil Dubov, ½-½
    Sergey Tiviakov – Maxim Turov, ½-½

    Richard Rapport jumped back into a share for the lead with Sergei Movsesian with a technical win over the hapless Alexander Ipatov. The group race is tightening with both Arkadij Naiditsch and Jan Smeets only a half-point out. Smeets got a gift from Sipke Ernst who tossed his queen in a difficult position. Absolutely awful. All good things come to an end and such is the case with Jan Timman’s string of wins. Unfortunately, he has his second loss in a row and perhaps the rest day has come just in time.

    Standings after Round #10 (Group B)

    1st-2nd: R. Rapport, S. Movsesian, 7; 3rd-4th: A. Naiditsch, Smeets, 6½; 5th: D. Dubov, 6; 6th-7th: S. Tiviakov, J. Timman, 5½; 8th: R. Edouard, 5; 9th-11th: R. van Kampen, M. Turov, 4½; 11th-12th: N. Grandelius, P. Nikolic, 3; 13th: A. Ipatov, 2½; 14th: S. Ernst, 2.


    Alexandra Goryachkina – David Klein, 0-1
    Alexander Kovchan – Miguoel Admiraal, ½-½
    Fernando Peralta – Oleg Romanishin, 1-0
    Robin Swinkels – Twan Burg, 1-0
    Sabino Brunello – Mark van der Werf, 1-0
    Lisa Schut – Hjorvar Gretarsson, 0-1
    Igor Bitensky – Krikor Mekhitarian, 1-0

    Sabino Brunello won again and stands on a stellar 8½/10. With a +7 score one would think that he would be a runaway winner, but Fernando Peralta is only half-point back. There were six decisive games. Players in the middle of the pack are beating each other which does not help close the gap. At this point, the first two positions are virtually clinched barring a total collapse, but the race for 3rd place is on between Robin Swinkels and David Klein on 6½/10.

    Standings after Round #10 (Group C)

    1st: S. Brunello, 8½; 2nd: F. Peralta, 8; 3rd-4th: R. Swinkels, D. Klein, 6½; 5th: A. Kovchan, 5½; 6th-8th: I. Bitensky, K. Mekhitarian, H. Gretarsson, 5; 9th: T.Burg, 4½; 10th-11th: M. Admiraal, O. Romanishin, 4; 12th: A. Goryachkina, 3; 13th: M. van der Werf, 2½; 14th: L. Schut, 2.

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  17. Round #11 – Friday, 25 January 2013

    Peter Leko – Loek van Wely, 1-0
    Sergey Karjakin – Ivan Sokolov, 1-0
    Hou Yifan – Vishy Anand, ½-½
    Erwin L’Ami – Pentala Harikrishna, ½-½
    Wang Hao – Magnus Carlsen, ½-½
    Hikaru Nakamura – Levon Aronian, 0-1
    Anish Giri – Fabiano Caruana, 1-0

    Hou Yifan fought from the brink of defeat to earn a draw. Photo by ChessBase.

    Hou Yifan fought from the brink of defeat to earn a draw.
    Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Not so fast! A train is coming down the tracks of Wijk aan Zee… and it’s Levon Aronian! The three-time Olympiad and world #2 (1/10 point over Kramnik on live list) is now hot on the heels of front-runner Magnus Carlsen after beating Hikaru Nakamura in a very exciting battle. The win moved Aronian into second place and pushed the American into joint 3rd with Sergey Karjakin and Peter Leko, both winners in round 11.

    While there was lost of movement on the top of the chart, an impressive game was played by Anish Giri who got his first win against Fabiano Caruana

    Caruana is having a lackluster tournament and is on -2 and his poor performance against Giri may show that fatigue may be a factor. Meanwhile China’s Hou Yifan gained another boast after holding World Champion Viswanathan Anand to a draw. Anand mistakenly traded knights into what he thought would be a trivial win. An interesting conclusion was seen.

    After 42…Nf5? (diagram #1) Hou Yifan snapped the knight with 43.Nxf5 Kxf5 44.a4 Ke6 45.g4! Kd5 46.Kc3 Ke4 47.Kc2! Kd4 48.Kb3 e4 49.b5 axb5 50.axb5 e3 51.Kc2 Ke4 52.Kd1! with a draw. (diagram #2)

    This draw is a certain confidence builder for Hou Yifan as she has played well in the second half of the tournament scoring three from her last six games. She will most likely escape the last position on the chart despite having the lowest rating.

    Standings after Round #11 (Group A)

    1st: M. Carlsen, 8½; 2nd: L. Aronian, 7½; 3th: V. Anand, 7; 4th-6th: P. Leko, H. Nakamura, S. Karjakin, 6½; 7th: P. Harikrishna, 5½; 8th-9th: A. Giri, L. van Wely, 5; 10th-11th: H. Wang, F. Caruana, 4½; 12th: Y. Hou, 4; 13th: E. L’Ami, 3½; 14th: I. Sokolov, 2½.


    Maxim Turov – Robin van Kampen, ½-½
    Daniil Dubov – Sergey Tiviakov, 1-0
    Jan Smeets – Sergei Movsesian, ½-½
    Nils Grandelius – Sipke Ernst, 0-1
    Alexander Ipatov – Romain Edouard, 0-1
    Arkadij Naiditsch – Richard Rapport, 1-0
    Jan Timman – Predrag Nikolic, 1-0

    Richard Rapport on the move against Arkadij Naiditsch. Rapport would lose the game and a share of the lead. Naiditsch would replace him. Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Arkadij Naiditsch has finally caught up. After an inexplicable oversight against Robin van Kampen in round eight, he has gotten back on track by beating Rapport and is now in joint first with Sergei Movsesian on +4. However, the field is completely wide open with Daniil Dubov, Richard Rapport and Jan Smeets only 1/2-point out with Jan Timman only 1-point out. Check out Naiditsch’s 57. Nxa6! against Rapport! Nice!

    Standings after Round #11 (Group B)

    1st-2nd: A. Naiditsch, S. Movsesian, 7½; 3rd-5th: D. Dubov, R. Rapport, J. Smeets, 7; 6th: J. Timman, 6½; 7th: S. Tiviakov, 5½; 8th: R. Edouard, 6; 9th-10th: R. van Kampen, M. Turov, 5; 11th-12th: N. Grandelius, P. Nikolic, 3½; 13th: A. Ipatov, S. Ernst, 3.


    Krikor Mekhitarian – Alexandra Goryachkina, 1-0
    Hjorvar Gretarsson – Igor Bitensky, 1-0
    Mark van der Werf – Lisa Schut, 0-1
    Twan Burg – Sabino Brunello, ½-½
    Oleg Romanishin – Robin Swinkels, ½-½
    Miguoel Admiraal – Fernando Peralta, 0-1
    David Klein – Alexander Kovchan, ½-½

    When asked about his lead last round, Sabino Brunello gave perhaps the wisest answer. He stated that Fernando Peralta was only 1/2-point out. As if on cue, Peralta promptly won another game to reclaim joint first with Brunello who drew. Both are on a blistering 9/11. The only question now is who will win 3rd place as 1st and 2nd will go to either Brunello or Peralta. Robin Swinkels and David Klein are battling for 3rd with 7/11. Incidentally Klein will play Peralta tomorrow and can play “spoiler” why helping his own cause.

    Standings after Round #11 (Group C)

    1st-2nd: S. Brunello, F. Peralta, 9; 3rd-4th: R. Swinkels, D. Klein, 7; 5th-7th: A. Kovchan, K. Mekhitarian, H. Gretarsson, 6; 8th-9th: I. Bitensky, T.Burg, 5; 10th: O. Romanishin, 4½; 11th: M. Admiraal, 12th-13th: A. Goryachkina, L. Schut, 3; 14th: M. van der Werf, 2½.

    Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
    Tata Steel (YouTube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/user/freshmenmedia/

  18. “En Passant” feature analysis with GM Anish Giri

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Hou Yifan

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Peter Leko

    Interviews by Bianca Muhren.

  19. Round #12 – Saturday, 26 January 2013

    Loek van Wely – Fabiano Caruana, 1-0
    Levon Aronian – Anish Giri, ½-½
    Magnus Carlsen – Hikaru Nakamura, 1-0
    Pentala Harikrishna – Wang Hao, ½-½
    Vishy Anand – Erwin L’Ami, 1-0
    Ivan Sokolov – Hou Yifan, 0-1
    Peter Leko – Sergey Karjakin, ½-½

    Last round romp over Nakamura clinches 2013 Tata Steel for Carlsen!
    Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Magnus Carlsen wins the 2013 Tata Steel tournament with one remaining after a brutal crush of nemesis Hikaru Nakamura. Carlsen remarked being pleased with his +7 score and people are already speaking of him hitting the 2900 ELO. He is 2874 on the live rating list.

    Levon Aronian will not catch Carlsen as he was held by Anish Giri in a rather strange game. Meanwhile, Viswanathan Anand won his game and has had a stellar tournament, but he will also fall short. Both he and Aronian are on 8/12 and playing for 2nd-3rd place. Sergey Karjakin and Peter Leko drew with each other putting them on 7/12.

    Another story is Hou Yifan’s win over tailender Ivan Sokolov who will try to beat Erwin L’Ami tomorrow to get out of last place. Hou’s second half has been inspirational as she has scored 4/7 including a draw with Anand. She is now 2615 on the live list and is closing ground on Judit Polgar’s rating of 2696. For Sokolov, he has had poor form and summed up his feelings in this interview…

    Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Standings after Round #12 (Group A)

    1st: M. Carlsen, 9½; 2nd-3rd: V. Anand, L. Aronian, 8; 4th-5th: P. Leko, S. Karjakin, 7; 6th: H. Nakamura, 6½; 7th-8th: P. Harikrishna, L. van Wely, 6; 9th: A. Giri, 5½; 10th-11th: H. Wang, Y. Hou, 5; 12th: F. Caruana, 4½; 13th: E. L’Ami, 3½; 14th: I. Sokolov, 2½.


    Robin van Kampen – Predrag Nikolic, 0-1
    Richard Rapport – Jan Timman, 1-0
    Romain Edouard – Arkadij Naiditsch, ½-½
    Sipke Ernst – Alexander Ipatov, ½-½
    Sergei Movsesian – Nils Grandelius, ½-½
    Sergey Tiviakov – Jan Smeets, ½-½
    Maxim Turov – Daniil Dubov, 1-0

    Who will win Group “B”???

    A three-way tie has developed and a number of scenarios are possible with one round remaining in the Tata Steel “B” tournament. Arkadij Naiditsch drew with Frenchman Eduoard Romain while Sergei Movsesian split the point with Nils Grandelius of Sweden. Richard Rapport bounced back yet again with a win over Jan Timman to get to 8/12. Jan Smeets is still in the running for first after drawing with Sergei Tiviakov. Each of the frontrunners will face “spoilers” who are every bit as motivated to win to stay out of the bottom as they are to stopping foreign players from dominating on their soil. 🙂

    Standings after Round #12 (Group B)

    1st-3rd: A. Naiditsch, S. Movsesian, R. Rapport, 8; 4th: J. Smeets, 7½; 5th: D. Dubov, 7; 6th-7th: R. Edouard, J. Timman, 6½; 8th-9th: S. Tiviakov, M. Turov, 6; 10th: R. van Kampen, 5; 11th: P. Nikolic, 4½; 12th: N. Grandelius, 4; 13th-14th: A. Ipatov, S. Ernst, 3½.


    Alexandra Goryachkina – Alexander Kovchan, 0-1
    Fernando Peralta – David Klein, 1-0
    Robin Swinkels – Miguoel Admiraal, ½-½
    Sabino Brunello – Oleg Romanishin, 1-0
    Lisa Schut – Twan Burg, 0-1
    Igor Bitensky – Mark van der Werf, ½-½
    Krikor Mekhitarian – Hjorvar Gretarsson, 1-0

    While the “A” group has been decided and the “B” group is complicated, an absolute battle has erupted between two players in the “C” group… Sabino Brunello and Fernando Peralta. Each has been matching the other’s wins throughout. Peralta picked off David Klein’s pawns one-by-one in the middlegame and coasted to victory. Brunello-Romanishin was equal after 40 moves, but the Ukrainian legend began a kingside expansion (e5, f5, g5, h5) weakening his position. The white pieces flooded into black’s camp resulting in a complete demolition.

    So… tomorrow will be the showdown and both players will be taking note of the other’s game.

    GM Fernando Peralta of Argentina gives an account of his chances.

    Standings after Round #12 (Group C)

    1st-2nd: S. Brunello, F. Peralta, 10; 3rd: R. Swinkels, 7½; 4th-6th: K. Mekhitarian, A. Kovchan, D. Klein, 7; 7th-8th: T.Burg, H. Gretarsson, 6; 9th: I. Bitensky, 5½; 11th-12th: M. Admiraal, O. Romanishin, 4½;12th-14th: M. van der Werf, A. Goryachkina, L. Schut, 3.

    Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
    Tata Steel (YouTube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/user/freshmenmedia/

  20. Round #13 – Sunday, 27 January 2013

    Sergey Karjakin – Loek van Wely, 1-0
    Hou Yifan – Peter Leko, ½-½
    Erwin L’Ami – Ivan Sokolov, ½-½
    Wang Hao – Vishy Anand, 1-0
    Hikaru Nakamura – Pentala Harikrishna, ½-½
    Anish Giri – Magnus Carlsen, ½-½
    Fabiano Caruana – Levon Aronian, ½-½

    The 75th anniversary of Wijk aan Zee chess events was celebrated with the closing of the 2013 Tata Steel tournament. The world’s #1 player Magnus Carlsen hoisted the championship trip in a fine performance of 10/13 tying the Garry Kasparov’s mark at the 1999 Wijk aan Zee tournament. This victory put Carlsen’s ELO at 2874 on the live list.

    Levon Aronian closed out with a draw against Fabiano Caruana and secured second place. The Armenian tried to end with a full point in a R+B vs. R ending but Caruana held the draw. The tournament was disappointing for Caruana, but losing the last round would have been devastating along with the 24-point ELO drop.

    Levon Aronian would only score a draw with Fabiano Caruana, but the Armenian would get 2nd. Photo by tatasteelchess.com.

    Viswanathan Anand closed the book on the tournament with his only loss. This was not indicative of his stellar play, but may have indicated fatigue. More or less, Anand was satisfied with his play and will pocket eight ELO points. The Candidate’s tournament will begin in March and Anand will be anxious to know who his challenge will be for 2014.

    The tournament had a lot of high point including several stellar games with Aronian-Anand, Harikrishna-Van Wely along with Carlsen-Nakamura as top candidates. Hou Yifan also cast sunshine on the tournament as her bright smile and spirited play will certainly be a welcome sight in next year’s tournament.

    Final Standings after Round #13 (Group A)

    1st: M. Carlsen, 10; 2nd: L. Aronian, 8½; 3rd-4th: V. Anand, S. Karjakin, 8; 5th: P. Leko, 7½; 6th: H. Nakamura, 7; 7th: P. Harikrishna, 6½; 8th-10th: A. Giri, H. Wang, L. van Wely, 6; 11th: Y. Hou, 5½; 12th: F. Caruana, 5; 13th: E. L’Ami, 4; 14th: I. Sokolov, 3.


    Daniil Dubov – Robin van Kampen, ½-½
    Jan Smeets – Maxim Turov, 1-0
    Nils Grandelius – Sergey Tiviakov, ½-½
    Alexander Ipatov – Sergei Movsesian, ½-½
    Arkadij Naiditsch – Sipke Ernst, 1-0
    Jan Timman – Romain Edouard, ½-½
    Predrag Nikolic – Richard Rapport, 0-1

    Arkadij Naidistsch knew that Richard Rapport had won his game, so he needed to score a win against the off-form Sipke Ernst. It took 82 moves in a technical queen ending, but he finally won and secured an invitation to the “A” group in the 2014 Tata Steel tournament. Naiditsch won with 9/13 on tiebreaks over Rapport since he won their head-to-head encounter and against 3rd place winner Jan Smeets. Sergei Movsesian fell off pace and ended on joint third with Smeets on 8½/13.

    Final Standings after Round #13 (Group B)

    1st-2nd: A. Naiditsch, R. Rapport, 9; 3rd-4th: J. Smeets, S. Movsesian, 8½; 5th: D. Dubov, 7½; 6th-7th: R. Edouard, J. Timman, 7; 8th: S. Tiviakov, 6½; 9th: M. Turov, 6; 10th: R. van Kampen, 5½; 11th-12th: N. Grandelius, P. Nikolic, 4½; 12th: A. Ipatov, 4; 14th: S. Ernst, 3½.


    Hjorvar Gretarsson – Alexandra Goryachkina, ½-½
    Mark van der Werf – Krikor Mekhitarian, 0-1
    Twan Burg – Igor Bitensky, 1-0
    Oleg Romanishin – Lisa Schut, 1-0
    Miguoel Admiraal – Sabino Brunello, 0-1
    David Klein – Robin Swinkels, 0-1
    Alexander Kovchan – Fernando Peralta, ½-½

    Just about everyone was surprised when Fernando Peralta had agreed to a 13-move book draw against Alexander Kovchan. Sabino Brunello was poised to win the group if he beat Miguoel Admiraal with the black pieces. The game was a sharp encounter and the position became unbalanced. Brunello then launched a decisive attack along the h-file. The attack broke throw and would put the Italian on a sizzling 11/13. Brunello reflects on his tournament performance:

    Sabino Brunello will join the “B” group next year.
    Interview by Bianca Muhren.

    Final Standings after Round #13 (Group C)

    1st: S. Brunello, 11; 2nd: F. Peralta, 10½; 3rd: R. Swinkels, 8½; 4th: K. Mekhitarian, 8; 5th: A. Kovchan, 7½;6th-7th: T.Burg, D. Klein, 7; 8th: H. Gretarsson, 6½; 9th-10th: I. Bitensky, O. Romanishin, 5½; 11th: M. Admiraal, 4½; 12th: A. Goryachkina, 3½; 13th-14th: M. van der Werf, L. Schut, 3.

    Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
    Tata Steel (YouTube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/user/freshmenmedia/

  21. “En Passant” feature interview with GM Magnus Carlsen

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Hou Yifan

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Sergey Karjakin

    “En Passant” feature interview with GM Wang Hao

    Interviews by Bianca Muhren.

  22. Winners of 2013 Tata Steel

    Group A: GM Magnus Carlsen (Norway), 10/13
    Group B: GM Arkadij Naiditsch (Germany), 9/13
    Group C: GM Sabino Brunello (Italy), 11/13

    Levon Aronian (2nd), Sergey Karjakin (=3rd), Viswanathan Anand (=3rd),
    Magnus Carlsen (1st)

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