2015 Tata Steel Masters: Round #11

2015 Tata Steel Chess

Round #11 – Friday 23 January 2015


Giri, A. – Van Wely, L., 1-0
So, W. – Saric, I., 1-0
Wojtaszek, R. – Ding, L., 0-1
Carlsen, M. – Vachier-Lagrave, ½-½
Aronian, L. – Ivanchuk, V., ½-½
Caruana, F. – Radjabov, T., ½-½
Hou, Y. – Jobava, B., 1-0

Today we saw a comedy of errors as several of the games ended abruptly after gross blunders. Hou Yifan was the recipient of a gift from Baadur Jobava who has donated a boatload of ELO points after losing his 9th game. Of course, Jobava is a strong player, but perhaps in not psychological prepared for this level of competition each round.

In this game, he was positionally worse, but had good chances to hold the position. For some inexplicable reason, he played 38…Qc2+ 39.Kf1 Kg8?? when 40.Qe6+ picks up the loose bishop. Unbelievable. In the post-mortem, Hou stated that she thought he was going for a perpetual check, but there was none. Thus, Hou Yifan earned her first victory and sits on 4/11 far below her goals, but close to her expected performance.

The woman’s world champion gave a very delightful interview where she discussed Judit Polgar, her profile in China, chess in China and her future goals.

Video by Tata Steel Chess.

In the games vying for top positions, Magnus Carlsen was held by MVL, but Wesley So notched yet another win. This time the victim was Ivan Saric who seems to have collapsed after a decent start. He has now lost four of his last five games. So remains undefeated and moved within a half-point of the lead.

A couple of weeks ago Wesley So was barely in the top 15… now he is #7 on the live rating list.

So-Saric turned into a miniature when Saric tossed a piece after 23…Bd5?? 24.g4! winning a piece after 24…Qf6 25.Bxd5 Nxd5 26.Qxd5. After 26…Nc6 27.Nf3 Rd8 28.Ne4 black resigned. Another win puts So at #7 in the live rating list vaulting over several top-ten luminaries such as Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik and Hikaru Nakamura.

In Wojtaszek-Ding, white spurned a draw twice and ended up losing! His exchange sacrifice was ambitious and offered chances even after the queens were traded. He had three connected passed pawns ready to march, but overlooked a nice break with 62…b5! giving black a sprinting passed pawn. White’s bishop was helpless and the white king was cut off. All of the white’s pawns would eventually fall.

Video by GM Daniel King.

Standings after Round #11 (Masters)

1st: M. Carlsen, 8; 2nd: W. So, 6½; 3rd-5th: M. Vachier-Lagrave, A. Giri, L. Ding, 7; 6th-7th: V. Ivanchuk, F. Caruana, 6½; 8th: T. Radjabov, 5½; 9th-10th: R. Wojtaszek, L. Aronian, 5; 11th: Y. Hou, 4; 12th: L. Van Wely, 3½; 13th: I. Saric, 3; 14th: B. Jobava, 1½.


Michiels, B. – Wei, Y., 0-1
Saleh, S. – Van Kampen, R., 1-0
Potkin, V. – Timman, J., 1-0
Gunina, V. – Navara, D., ½-½
Sevian, S. – Dale, A., ½-½
Klein, D. – Shankland, S., 0-1
l’ Ami, E. – Haast, A., ½-½

Wei Yi continues to demolish the field and is now at the door of 2700. That would make seven Chinese players of 2700 or better. He smashed Bart Michiels when the later accepted an exchange sacrifice only to watch the light squares around his king become indefensible. Wei has 4½ points in his last five games and opens up a lead over David Navara who drew against Valentina Guinina.

A win by Wei Yi over Anna Haast tomorrow would practically clinch the tournament. Robin Van Kampen is eliminated after losing to Saleh Salem. Samuel Shankland has had a good tournament and was glad to get an easy 18-move romp over a beleaguered David Klein.

Nice session with GM Saleh Abdul-Rahman Salem (UAE).
Video by Tata Steel Chess.

Standings after Round #11 (Challengers)

1st: Y. Wei, 9; 2nd: D. Navara, 8½; 3rd: S. Shankland, 7; 4th-5th: V. Potkin, R. Van Kampen, 6½; 6th-7th: S. Sevian, S. Salem, 6; 8th: E. L’Ami, 5½; 9th-12th: V. Guinina, D. Klein, B. Michiels, A. Haast, 4; 13th-14th: J. Timman, A. Dale, 3.

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/


  1. It was important for So to put on a good show after he made the gutsy announcement of becoming a full time chess pro. So much for the guessing of whether he did or did not make a good decision. Now, we know he is a serious contender. However, the next step will be for him to demonstrate that Tata was not a stroke of serendipity. He will have to be consistent to start making some of the established elite GMs begin to feel menaced or uncomfortable by his presence in the short list of the world’s best players. Congratulations So!

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