2015 Tata Steel Masters: Round #8

2015 Tata Steel Chess

Round #8 – Sunday 18 January 2015

Masters

Hou Yifan – Levon Aronian, ½-½
Ding Liren – Ivan Saric, 1-0
Vassily Ivanchuk – Wesley So, 0-1
Baadur Jobova – Magnus Carlsen, 0-1
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Anish Giri, 1-0
Loek van Wely – Fabiano Caruana, 0-1
Teimour Radjabov – Radaslaw Wojtaszek, 1-0

So had preparation waiting for an unsuspecting Ivanchuk. Photo by Nadja Wittmann.

So had preparation waiting for an unsuspecting Ivanchuk.
Photo by Nadja Wittmann (ChessBase).

Fire on board today as 7/8 of the games in round eight were decisive. Magnus Carlsen won his fifth game in a row by grinding out another win from a drawn position. Baadur Jobava’s state of preparedness for this tournament has been woeful. For a man of his stature to lose games with a whimper is quite unusual. His 1.b3 did not win him plaudits as the world champion was able to equalize easily and use his determination to slowly win an ending.

Vasil Ivanchuk was crushed by Wesley So after being unaware of preparation in a Marshall Gambit line. This has been covered in a previous game featuring Viswanthan Anand and Levon Aronian and covered by Jan Gustafsson (Gulyiev-Gustafsson, 2014) and Anish Giri in New in Chess article. Apparently Ivanchuk was not aware of these resources and paid dearly.

Video by Daniel King.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave crushed local hopeful Giri today which makes even more apparent that the young generation has made its presence felt. With Anand’s loss in the world championship, may signal the end of that generation of Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Boris Gelfand and Ivanchuk. Although Ivanchuk still has chances in this tournament, his loss to So is clearly an indication that the younger generation are better prepared than their veteran counterparts.

Standings after Round #8 (Masters)

1st: M. Carlsen, 6; 2nd-4th: W. So, M. Vachier-Lagrave, L. Ding, 5½; 5th: V. Ivanchuk, 5; 6th-7th: T. Radjabov, F. Caruana, 4½; 8th-9th: R. Wojtaszek, A. Giri, 4; 10th: L. Aronian, 3; 11th-12th: Y. Hou, I. Saric, 2; 13th: L. Van Wely, 2; 14th: B. Jobava, 1½.

Challengers

Anna Haast – Valentina Guinina, 1-0
Ari Dale – Salem Saleh, 0-1
David Navara – Bart-Michiels, 1-0
Wei Yi – David Klein, 1-0
Jan Timman – Robin Van Kampen, 0-1
Samuel Shankland – Vladimir Potkin, ½-½
Erwin L’Ami – Samuel Sevian, ½-½

So had preparation waiting for an unsuspecting Ivanchuk. Photo by Nadja Wittmann.

Anna Haast got encouragement from her teammates and was able to get her second win today over Russian powerhouse, Valentina Guinina who is off-form. Photo by Nadja Wittmann. (ChessBase).

The kill-rate in the Challengers section is 35/56 or 63% decisive games. The tournament standings has gone as predicted with the top four holding the top four positions. David Navara (6½), Wei Yi (6½), Samuel Shankland (5) and Robin Van Kampen (5) have dominated the field, but Wei Yi has shined with a 2809 performance. There have been quite a number of upsets including Anna Haast’s wins over Dutch legend Jan Timman and this round’s win over Russian Champion Valentina Guinina. With five rounds remaining, the field seems to be playing for bronze as Navara and Wei have outclassed the opposition thus far.

Standings after Round #8 (Challengers)

1st-2nd: D. Navara, Y. Wei, 6½; 3rd-4th: S. Shankland, R. Van Kampen, 5; 5th: V. Potkin, 4½; 6th-7th: E. L’Ami, S. Salem, 4; 8th-9th: S. Sevian, B. Michiels, 3½; 10th-11th: D. Klein, A. Haast, 3; 12th-13th: V. Guinina, J. Timman, 2½; 14th: A. Dale, 1½.

Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
Tata Steel (YouTube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/
Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2015/01/04/2015-tata-steel-chess-wijk-aan-zee/

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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