2020 Tata Steel Chess (Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands)

Tata Steel Chess 2020
2020 Tata Steel Chess - Masters

2020 Tata Steel Chess – Participants (Masters)
Photo by Alina L’Ami

Coming off of a blistering 2019, Magnus Carlsen winning the Grand Chess Tour, he starts off the 2020 campaign seeking his 8th Tata Steel title. He won the event last year 1/2-point ahead of Anish Giri who is also returning. One of the criticisms of chess is that top-level events feature the same 10-12 players.

The effect of playing the same players is (1) players get familiar with each other and (2) their preparation becomes more precise. Thus, the games mostly end in 80% draws approaching the rate of draughts. GM Jonathan Tisdall made an interesting observation via Tweet…

Nevertheless, the good thing about the Tata Steel Chess event (besides the pea soup) is the diversity of the field. In general, the organizers are able to pull together a mixture of world-class talent, cagey veterans and rising stars. Both Alireza Firouzja and Jeffery Xiong will be making their first appearances in the Masters section. Firouzja won a silver medal at the recent World Rapid & Blitz Championships. Xiong played in the Challengers section back in 2017 and 2018.

The previous winner of the Challengers section gets an automatic berth to the Masters section. That honor goes to Belorussian player Vladislav Kovalev who won the group last year by 1.5 points. This field is even younger with several of the participants being less than 20 years old. Last year was saw India’s Rameshabu Praganandhaa, but this year 15-year old Nihal Sarin will carry the flag.

Other young talents here are Nodirbek Abdusattorov (15), Anton Smirnov (18), Lucas van Foreest (18) and Vincent Keymer (15). Both van Foreest and Keymer played last year finishing in the bottom half. Dinara Saduakassova also played last year and is the only woman in either section. The veterans of the field are Pavel Eljanov, Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Rauf Mamedov and Erwin l’Ami… all in their 30s.

Video by Tata Steel Chess

2020 Tata Steel Tournament
January 11th-26th, 2020 (Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands)
1 Carlsen, Magnus GM Norway
2 Caruana, Fabiano GM USA
3 Giri, Anish GM Netherlands
4 So, Wesley GM USA
5 Anand, Viswanathan GM India
6 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof GM Poland
7 Vitiugov, Nikita GM Russia
8 Artemiev, Vladislav GM Russia
9 Yu, Yangyi GM China
10 Firouzja, Alireza GM FIDE
11 Xiong, Jeffery GM USA
12 Dubov, Daniil GM Russia
13 Kovalev, Vladislav GM Belarus
14 Van Foreest, Jorden GM Netherlands
1 Anton Guijarro, David GM Spain
2 Grandelius, Nils GM Sweden
3 Mamedov, Rauf GM Azerbaijan
4 Eljanov, Pavel GM Ukraine
5 Ganguly, Surya Shekhar GM India
6 Abdusattorov, Nodirbek GM Uzbekistan
7 Nihal Sarin GM India
8 L’Ami, Erwin GM Netherlands
9 Smirnov, Anton GM Australia
10 Smeets, Jan GM Netherlands
11 Keymer, Vincent IM Germany
12 Van Foreest, Lucas GM Netherlands
13 Saduakassova, Dinara IM Kazakhstan
14 Warmerdam, Max IM Netherlands
Official Site

Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
Schedule: Masters, Challengers
Videos: (YouTube)

One Comment

  1. After Tata victory, Caruana eyes Candidates 2020

    Fabiano Caruana

    After Fabiano Caruana won the 2020 Tata Steel Tournament, there was recurring buzz about whether the American would get another shot at wresting the world title away from Magnus Carlsen. In fact, he bested an elite field that included the champion. Next month (March 15th-April 5th), he will be in Yekaterinburg, Russia among the field of eight candidates vying for a chance to challenge Carlsen for the title.

    The field is a strong one and the non-qualification of top players such as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So, Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura may give Caruana a smoother path. That being said, Caruana will have his work cut out as Ding Liren and Alexander Grischuk are expected to be strong challengers for the right to play for the championship title. Ian Nepomniachtchi is one of three Russians in the field including a wildcard nominee, Kirill Alekseenko. Anish Giri and Wang Hao are going to be dark houses.

    Caruana earned the right to play Carlsen in 2018 after winning the 2018 Candidates Tournament in Berlin, Germany. He went on play a 12-game match against Carlsen in London, England. The match ended in a 6-6 deadlock after the classical segment, but Carlsen dominated play in the tiebreaker.

    Game #4 of the 2018 World Chess Championship
    Photo by Ray Morris-Hill

    Things will be very different this time around with Alexander Grishcuk being the oldest player in the field at age 36. Absent are Vladimir Kramnik (retired) and Viswanathan Anand (non-qualifier) as well of the aforementioned players in the top 20. After Caruaua’s convincing +7 win in Wijk aan Zee, he maintains his #2 spot in the rating list and goes into the Candidates with momentum.

    Will this be a better chance at redemption for the American? Will 2019 Grand Chess Tour champion Ding Liren be the next challenger? Both have proven they can match wits with Carlsen and both have placed ahead of him in recent events (Ding-2019 Sinquefield, Caruana-2020 Tata Steel). Carlsen had a fantastic 2019, so it is unlikely that there will be 12 classical draws as the last match and 10 draws in Carlsen-Karjakin. This year’s championship match will increase to 14 games.

    World Candidates Chess Tournament
    March 15th-April 5th, 2020
    Yekaterinburg, Russia

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