2015 Tata Steel Masters: Round #12

2015 Tata Steel Chess

Round #12 – Saturday 24 January 2015


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

Anish Giri beat contender Wesley So in 111 moves to pull within a half-point of the lead. From move 36, the players went into a queen ending and So was trying to exploit the weakness of the white king for drawing chances. After and array of check the white king was marching all about the board but was able to create cross-checking opportunities and then advance the pawn. Ultimately, Giri figured out how to promote the pawn and shield his king and So resigned. This was So’s first loss since April of 2014.

Magnus Carlsen dodged a Chinese bullet today.
Photo by Alina l’Ami.

Magnus Carlsen held on from a potentially bad position to hold. Ding Liren could have played 16.f3 with interesting possibilities. In the post-mortem, he went through some calculations that were dizzying and perhaps beyond the scope of human powers. After 16.a3, pieces quickly melted and a draw was agreed. Thus, the last day will come down to whether Carlsen can clinch a victory with a win, or he his draws and Giri can pull even.

Standings after Round #12 (Masters)

1st: M. Carlsen, 8½; 2nd: A. Giri, 8; 3rd-5th: M. Vachier-Lagrave, W. So, L. Ding, 7½; 6th-7th: V. Ivanchuk, F. Caruana, 7; 8th: T. Radjabov, 6; 9th: L. Aronian, 5½; 11th: R. Wojtaszek, 5; 12th: Y. Hou, 4½; 12th-13th: L. Van Wely, I. Saric, 4; 14th: B. Jobava, 2.


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

The game of the day had to be the demolition of Wei Yi over Anna Haast. The opening was reminiscent of the games Radjabov-Giri and Saric Giri in the Master’s tournament. What was amazing was the fluidity of white’s attack. It became apparent that Haast simply did not see any of the moves leading up to the combination and perhaps followed the moves of Giri without much depth in understanding.

Video by GM Daniel King.

There was more bloodshed in the Challengers’ section, but none of the decisive result would have a bearing on the top positions. David Navara drew Samuel Sevian putting him a full point behind and perhaps the championship out of reach. Sam Shankland bested Erwin L’Ami with a topical line in the Guioco Piano after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Bd3!? This game turned out badly for L’Ami as Shankland snatched the initiative, a few pawns and the full point.

Standings after Round #12 (Challengers)

1st: Y. Wei, 10; 2nd: D. Navara, 9; 3rd: S. Shankland, 8; 4th: R. Van Kampen, 7½; 5th: S. Salem, 7; 6th-7th: S. Sevian, V. Potkin, 6½; 8th: E. L’Ami, 5½; 9th: V. Guinina, 5; 10th: D. Klein, 4½; 11th-12th: A. Haast, B. Michiels, 4; 13th: A. Dale, 3½; 14th: J. Timman, 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. I saw a very fascinating interview of Wesley So by GM Yassir Sierawan. This is the first time So has ever faced Carlsen in a tourney. Seirawan asked some very challenging questions about So’s decision making in his draw against Carlsen. GM So was able to answer them all, and in the process he described his knowledge of “positions where Carlsen outplays people”. It seems as though So was not always necessarily playing for a better position–he was playing to avoid positions that Carlsen is comfortable with. That including positions that are technically not that good for Carlsen, but they are still “positions where Carlsen outplays people”!

  2. Oh Thanks for the clarity Patzer, however i would like to know why Carlsen won Tata Steel? I’ve noticed that the Traditionalist dont ever point this out after their events they just give a score. Its the same with Fischer – Spassky 72! I ask them WHY DID FISCHER WIN? and they just stay quiet and have no response! I realize its a bit of an Ultramodern Query but does anyone KNOW why?

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