Levon Aronian was on a blistering pace and clinched the 2014 Tata Steel tournament with one round remaining. Not even a last round loss could spoil his otherwise sterling result. In the last round, he fell prey to a nice tactical shot from Loek Van Wely. Nevertheless, Aronian edged closer to an idle Carlsen who has not played since becoming World Champion, but has been hanging out with billionaires lately.
Anish Giri had a strong showing edging out Sergey Karjakin who saved the day against Leinier Dominguez. Last time Aronian won the Tata Steel it was in 2012 when he closed to within 15 ELO points of Magnus Carlsen. Since then Carlsen has become World Champion and Aronian is still chasing him. Perhaps this will provide good momentum going into the Candidate’s tournament in March 2014.
In the Challengers Group, Ivan Saric won the right to graduate to the Masters group next year with a 10/13 performance. He had already clinched the title, but nearly lost his final game against Italy’s Silvio Brunello. He held his position and ended the tournament on an undefeated score. Perhaps the story of the tournament was native son Jan Timman who won silver by scoring a scintillating 8.5/13 losing on to Yu Yangyi and tallying a 2686 performance.
Final Standings (Masters)
1st: L. Aronian, 8; 2nd-3rd: A. Giri, S. Karjakin, 6½; 4th-6th: F. Caruana, L. Dominguez, W. So, 6; 7th: P. Harikrishna, 5½; 8th-9th: L. Van Wely, H. Nakamura, 5; 10th: B. Gelfand, 4½; 11th-12th: R. Rapport, A. Naiditsch, 3½.
Final Standings (Challengers)
1st: I. Saric, 10; 2nd-3rd: J. Timman, B. Jobova, 8½; 4th-5th: A. Muzychuk, D. Reinderman, 8; 6th-9th: B. Bok, Y. Yu, J. Duda, R. Wojtaszek, 7; 10th: S. Brunello, 6; 11th-12th: K. Troff, X. Zhao, 4½; 13th: M. Van Delft, 3; 14th: E. Goudriaan, 2.
Levon Aronian speaking after his clinching victory over Leinier Dominguez.
Interview by Bianca Muhren.
Leinier Dominguez vs. Levon Aronian, 0-1
Video by GM Daniel King.