Reports Jan 16, 2015 | 12:39 AMby Colin McGourty

Tata Steel 2015 R5: Carlsen strikes again

Playing Magnus at football (or chess) is not for the fainthearted - this was on Wednesday's rest day | photo: Alina l'Ami, Tata Steel Chess Facebook

Vassily Ivanchuk still leads the 2015 Tata Steel Chess Tournament after a quick draw in Round 5, but the race is heating up behind him. Magnus Carlsen scored his second win in a row and continued his domination of Levon Aronian, while his fiercest rival Fabiano Caruana was smoothly outplayed by a man having the tournament of his life: Polish no. 1 Radek Wojtaszek. Almost every game was a thriller, with Baadur Jobava in particular delighting then dismaying his fans with a wild game against Anish Giri.

The Masters group switched from Wijk aan Zee to Rotterdam for Round 5, but the trip didn’t seem to dampen the incredible fighting spirit of this year’s event.

A brilliant 40-second glimpse of the day's action 

Tata Steel Chess Round 5 results

There was only one relatively quiet draw – Ding Liren-Ivanchuk – but after the players had contributed three wins apiece it would be hard to grudge them a 26-move draw by repetition and a brief rest. Ding Liren’s streak of three wins in a row may have come to an end, but he remains in second place half a point behind sole leader Vassily Ivanchuk.

While Aronian took the bus to Rotterdam with most of the players and commentators…

…Carlsen apparently had a more luxurious travel option:

Given Carlsen’s status one chess fan felt that needed clarification:

At the board the contrast in the players couldn’t have been greater either. Magnus was in supreme form, combining deep strategy with ruthless tactical execution, while Levon Aronian’s 2015 has seen the slump he’s suffered ever since Wijk aan Zee 2014 continue. He fell to 7th place in the world rankings below Anish Giri and saw his overall career score against Carlsen sink to -7 (4 wins, 28 draws, 11 losses at classical chess).

Jan Gustafsson takes us through the game:

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Afterwards Magnus Carlsen did what he never quite managed to do during the Olympiad – escape the Norwegian press and join the live broadcast! He was interviewed by Dutch FM Tex de Wit, and gave some old chess wisdom the stamp of a World Champion's authority:

It's typical that if you have a positional advantage the tactics will be in your favour... When the position is good it's easy to play well.

You probably caught another comment from Magnus there:

Wojtaszek will just be dreaming of his opponents playing the Dutch.

That referred to Fabiano Caruana, who amazingly followed exactly the same recipe for disaster as Carlsen.

This time Caruana didn't have the last laugh! | photo: Alina l'Ami, Tata Steel Chess Facebook

1) Play the Dutch Defence

2) Lose your a-pawn

3) Lash out with a desperado move when strategically lost and low on time*

*to be fair it proved a good try as after 31 minutes Wojtaszek played 33.Rxa8 and not the seemingly very strong exchange sac 33.fxe5 Rxa3 34.Qxa3 Be7 35.b4. In the game Caruana may have had chances to hold until he went astray in time trouble. 

4) Resign after a game in which your opponent barely put a foot wrong

Wojtaszek suffered the last time he played in Wijk aan Zee in the B Group, but noted earlier in the tournament that he found it easier to play when he didn’t need to beat his opponents at all costs. He’s had impressive results in his career, including beating both Nakamura and Radjabov in the 2012 Olympiad, but nothing that quite matches this – he was quoted as saying after his victory over the World Champion that it had been worth working all his life in order to win such a game. It’s doubtful he imagined he’d be able to defeat not just the world no. 1 but the world no. 2 as well, with a draw against last year’s winner Levon Aronian sandwiched in between.

Wojtaszek is up to no. 13 in the world and currently turning the question of whether he can live with the world's very best on its head - can they live with him? | photo: Alina l'Ami, Tata Steel Chess Facebook

Playing catch-up

With somewhat surprise occupants of the top places the pre-tournament favourites may well believe they have good overall chances if they can start to make a move soon. Anish Giri is one of those, and he had an added incentive to make a point against Baadur Jobava today. Their last game, in the Tashkent Grand Prix, was followed by a now infamous press conference that you can find at the bottom of this report: Jobava – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Even without that press conference it’s unlikely Jobava would have considered playing it safe, despite his score going into the game of 0.5/4. Jan Gustafsson takes a look at a remarkable game, which provided the move of the tournament so far:

Afterwards Giri appeared on the live show, with Jobava pitching in from the sidelines before later appearing on the broadcast himself – perhaps he got bored waiting for the bus back to Wijk aan Zee!

Wesley So is another player with chances of winning the event, but he found Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan in defiant mood. First she attacked imaginatively:

And then she defended for her life when things got out of hand, holding on for a 66-move-draw in the longest game of the day.

Bouncing back

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave’s fine start to Tata Steel Chess 2015 was brought to a crunching halt by Ivanchuk in Round 4, while Loek van Wely had imploded against Carlsen. The question of who would recover sooner was crucial when they met in Round 5, and the verdict was clear:

However, Maxime didn’t break into the Top 10 last year for nothing, and he held a very tough ending with great aplomb, much to the delight of his French colleagues:

That left only one game, which featured an opening which has been strangely absent, if not entirely missed this year:

Teimour Radjabov, who’d lost to Ding Liren in the previous round, decided to break the apparent taboo on the most popular of elite openings by playing it against Ivan Saric. The Croatian spoiled the “fun” by dodging the ending… only to slip into an even more miserable position:

The sides may have identically bad pawn structures, but it’s Radjabov with Black who’s ready to gobble up the opposing army. In the play that followed Teimour could have won sooner, but the outcome never looked in doubt.

Despite mixed results Saric has certainly been making a splash at the Tata Steel Chess tournament | photo: Alina l'Ami, Tata Steel Chess Facebook

So Wojtaszek has now joined Ding Liren half a point behind Ivanchuk, while the group on +1 is a who’s who of young chess talent: Caruana, So, Carlsen and Giri.

1Ivanchuk, Vassily271542963
2Wojtaszek, Radoslaw27442930
3Ding, Liren27322882
4Caruana, Fabiano282032809
5So, Wesley276232851
6Carlsen, Magnus286232822
7Giri, Anish278432847
8Radjabov, Teimour27342707
9Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime27572703
10Saric, Ivan266622678
11Aronian, Levon27972614
12Van Wely, Loek26672613
13Hou, Yifan26732591
14Jobava, Baadur2727½2364

There’s just no rest either for us or the players. Back in Wijk aan Zee tomorrow at the regular time of 13:30 Fabiano Caruana will have the white pieces against Magnus Carlsen. As the World Champion himself observed it doesn’t get any tougher than that, although the recent trend of the tournament is clearly in his favour.

Meanwhile in Wijk aan Zee

The Challengers seemed determined not to be overshadowed by events in Rotterdam and bashed out six decisive games plus a 65-move draw between leaders David Navara and Wei Yi. That allowed local hero Erwin l’Ami to catch them on 3.5/5 by beating UAE’s Salem Saleh. Another notable result was 14-year-old Sam Sevian defeating his second Russian grandmaster in a row, this time Russian Women’s Champion Valentina Gunina.

Valentina Gunina getting into the Wijk aan Zee spirit on the rest day | photo: Alina l'Ami, Tata Steel Chess Facebook

Robin van Kampen, meanwhile, slipped out of the leading pack in dramatic fashion. His sacrificial attack looked promising until he played 23.g3??

He then resigned on the spot after Sam Shankland played 23…Nh3, since the knight fork on f2 will end his chances.

Don't miss tomorrow's Round 6, which you can of course follow live here on chess24! You can also watch every game in the Masters and Challengers using our free mobile apps:


See also:

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