Reports Jan 21, 2014 | 3:13 PMby Colin McGourty

Tata Steel Rds 6 and 7: Aronian unstoppable

Levon Aronian has so far been in a class of his own at the Tata Steel Tournament in Wijk aan Zee. After seven rounds the world no. 2 leads the Masters by a full point. The Challengers, meanwhile, has turned into a two-horse race.

Tata Steel Chess

Levon Aronian shines in Wijk aan Zee | photo: official website

Levon Aronian has taken full advantage of the absence of World Champion Magnus Carlsen to demonstrate his own exceptional skills in the Tata Steel Masters. After a draw in Round 7 against Boris Gelfand the 31-year-old Armenian leads on 5.5 points, with a full point advantage over Anish Giri and Sergey Karjakin.

In Round 6 Aronian had to face Wesley So. The 20-year-old player from the Philippines had impressed in the first five rounds with two wins and three draws, making this a top-of-the-table clash. On this occasion, however, it turned into a one-sided affair. Aronian was well-prepared and used his superior piece play to take his young opponent down a notch:  

1. c4 ♘f6 2. ♘f3 g6 3. ♘c3 d5 4. cxd5 ♘xd5 5. e4 ♘xc3 6. bxc3 ♗g7 7. ♗e2 c5 8. 0-0 ♘c6 9. ♕a4 ♗d7 10. ♕a3 ♕a5 11. ♖d1 In the game Akopian (2681) - Mamedyarov (2733), Porto Carras 2011, Black prevented the d4 pawn advance and fared better, but we have to assume that Levon would have improved on his compatriot's play:

11... 0-0

11... e5 12. ♗c4 ♕xa3 13. ♗xa3 b6 14. ♖ab1 ♖d8 15. d3 h6 16. h3 ♘a5 17. ♗d5 ♗c6 18. ♗xc6+ ♘xc6 19. ♔f1 ♔e7 20. ♔e2 ♖d7 21. c4 f5 22. ♗b2 ♔e6 23. ♗c3 ♖hd8 24. a4 ♘b4 Draw.

12. ♖b1 b6 13. d4 ♕xa3 According to Aronian Black should have delayed this exchange with

13... ♖fd8 and only when White closes the centre with 14. d5 should he continue with 14... ♕xa3 15. ♗xa3 ♘a5

14. ♗xa3 ♗g4 15. dxc5 By taking on c5 White opens the diagonal for the dark-squared bishop.

15... ♗xc3 16. ♗a6! A very aesthetically-pleasing move. It has the concrete threat of 17. Bb7.

16... ♖ab8 17. ♖dc1 ♗xf3 Perhaps Black should have held onto this bishop as after this there's no longer any counterpart for White's light-squared bishop.

18. gxf3 ♗d2 19. ♖d1 ♗c3 20. ♔g2 bxc5 21. ♗xc5 ♗b4 22. ♗e3 ♗d6 23. ♖bc1 By this point White has the situation under total control. His pieces dominate the centre and the queenside and are terrorising the black pieces all over the board.

23... ♘b4 24. ♗c4 ♖fc8 25. f4 Naturally White seizes more space in the centre.

25... ♔f8 26. a3 ♘c6 27. ♗a6! ♗xa3 28. ♖c4! Sharply calculated. Black is running out of outposts for his minor pieces.

28... ♖d8?

28... ♖c7 had to be played to support the knight, though after 29. ♖d5 , with the idea of 30. Rb5, White would still have a strong initiative.

29. ♖a1 ♗b2 30. ♖aa4! Controlling the 4th rank so the black pieces are unable to make use of d4.

30... ♖d6 31. e5 ♖e6 Obviously not an ideal square for the rook.

32. ♖c2 ♘d8? This loses Black material.

32... ♖b4 33. ♖a2 ♗d4 34. ♗c8±

32... ♗d4 33. ♗xd4 (33. ♖xc6 ♖xc6 34. ♗xd4± ) 33... ♘xd4 34. ♖c8+ ♖xc8 35. ♗xc8 ♘f5 36. ♗xe6 fxe6 37. ♖xa7+−

33. ♗xa7 ♖a8

33... ♖b3 34. ♖c8 ♔e8 35. ♗c4+−

34. ♗b5 ♗xe5 35. fxe5 ♖xe5 36. ♗e3

1-0

Anish Giri misses a win

Anish Giri has been in excellent form so far. The 19-year-old Dutch player is only a point behind Aronian after seven rounds, though he could have been closer – against Boris Gelfand he let an “elementary” win slip in a minor-piece endgame:

59. ♗a3?

59. d5! Decisively opening the diagonal for the bishop. Giri had seen this resource in advance, but as he refrained from playing it he must have miscalculated something in the following variations. 59... exd5 (59... ♘xd5 60. ♗g7+− ) 60. ♔b4 ♘c4 (60... ♘d7 61. ♗d4 ♔e6 62. ♗g7+− ) 61. d7! ♔e7 62. ♗g7 ♘d2 63. ♗xh6 ♘xf3 64. ♗g7 ♘h4 65. h6 ♔xd7 66. h7 ♘g6 and White must have misevaluated the position somewhere around here. 67. ♔c3 The king is in the square of the f-pawn. 67... ♔e6 68. ♔d4 ♔f7 69. h8Q ♘xh8 70. ♗xh8+− White has a winning advantage.

59... ♔e8 60. ♗c5

60. d5 might still have been worth a try, but Black seems to be able to maintain the balance. 60... e5! The diagonal has to be closed. 61. ♗b2 ♘d7 62. ♔c4 ♔d8 63. ♗a3 With the idea of transfering the king to e4 without Nc5+ getting in the way. (63. ♔b5? e4! ; 63. ♔d3 ♘c5+ 64. ♔e2 ♘d7 ) 63... e4! Ensuring Black sufficient counterplay. 64. fxe4 ♘f6 65. e5 f3! 66. ♔d3 ♘xg4 67. ♗c5 f2 68. ♔e2 ♘xe5 69. ♗xf2=

60... ♘d7! Black now has a fortress.

60... ♘d5? , on the other hand, would be a blunder due to 61. d7+! ♔xd7 62. ♗f8+−

61. ♔c4 ♘f6 62. ♔d3 ♔d7 63. ♗b4 ♔c6 64. ♔c4 ♔d7 65. ♔d3 ♔c6 66. ♔c4

1/2-1/2

Nakamura stumbles

Hikaru Nakamura has struggled at this year’s Tata Steel Tournament. After seven rounds the world no. 3 is on only 3 points and lies in a disappointing 10th place. Things went drastically wrong against Loek van Wely:

Instead of playing solidly Nakamura decides to throw oil on the fire with

21. ♘e5

21. b3 ♖cc8 22. c4 was another option.

21... dxe5 22. ♗e3 ♖cd4 An only move, as Black would have lost material after e.g.

22... ♕c7 23. ♖xd8+ ♕xd8 24. ♕xc4

23. c3 This is the resource the US player had in mind, but things are far from clear. In return for the exchange Black gets very active piece play.

23... ♗c6 24. b3 This is debatable as White could have defended his pawns on the queenside.

24. ♕c2 ♖c8 25. cxd4 exd4 26. ♗f4 e5 27. ♗g3 was possible, with roughly equal chances.

24... ♕xb3 25. cxd4 exd4 26. ♗f4 ♕xa4 Black has two pawns and a piece for the exchange and the white pieces are uncoordinated. Black may already have the advantage.

27. ♕f3 ♗b5 28. ♖a1 ♕b4 29. ♖fd1 d3 This pawn enormously restricts the white forces.

30. ♖ab1 ♕a3 31. ♗f1 ♘c6 32. ♕g3 ♕a2 33. ♖bc1 d2! The tactical skirmishes that follow are well worth a look, with Van Wely showing he has fine powers of calculation.

34. ♖xd2 ♖xd2 35. ♗xb5 axb5 36. ♗xd2 ♘d4! A strong zwischenzug!

36... ♕xd2 37. ♖xc6 didn't enter into Black's plans.

37. ♖c8+ ♔h7 38. ♕c7 He tries a trick, as

38. ♕e3 fails to 38... ♕xd2! 39. ♕xd2 ♘f3+ 40. ♔g2 ♘xd2−+

38... ♕b1+ 39. ♗c1 At first glance it seems White has managed to escape, but Black has other tricks up his sleeve.

39... ♘f3+ 40. ♔g2

40. ♔f1 ♕d3+ 41. ♔g2 ♘xh4+ 42. ♔g1 ♕d1+ 43. ♔h2 ♗e5+! 44. ♕xe5 ♘f3+−+

40... ♘xh4+ 41. ♔h3 ♕xe4 42. ♕f4 White has no time to take on f7.

42. ♕xf7 ♕g2+ 43. ♔xh4 ♕g4#

42... ♕h1+ 43. ♕h2 ♕b7! 44. ♖d8 ♗e5! 45. f4

45. ♕xe5 ♕g2+ 46. ♔xh4 ♕g4#

45... ♕f3+ 46. ♕g3 ♕h1+ 47. ♕h2 ♕f3+ 48. ♕g3 ♕h1+ 49. ♕h2 ♕xc1 50. fxe5 ♕xg5 51. ♕f4 ♕xd8

51... ♕g2+ 52. ♔xh4 g5+! 53. ♕xg5 ♕h2# would have been a wonderful conclusion.

52. ♕xf7+ ♔h6 A stunning performance from "King Loek".

0-1

Tata Steel Masters - Standings after Round 7

  ScoreRatingTPR123456789101112
1Aronian, L.5.5 / 728122970   1 1½ ½1½1
2Giri, A.4.5 / 727342835   ½½½1½  ½1
3Karjakin, S.4.5 / 727592827   0 ½½11½ 1
4Caruana, F.4.0 / 7278227950½1 0 ½1  1 
5Dominguez, L.4.0 / 727542777 ½ 1  0½1½ ½
6So, W.4.0 / 7271928040½½     1½1½
7Harikrishna, P.3.0 / 727062693½0½½1  ½0   
8Van Wely, L.3.0 / 726722695 ½00½ ½ ½1  
9Rapport, R.3.0 / 726912693½ 0 001½  1 
10Nakamura, H.3.0 / 7278926940 ½ ½½ 0  ½1
11Gelfand, B.2.0 / 727772591½½ 0 0  0½ ½
12Naiditsch, A.1.5 / 727182533000 ½½   0½ 


Challengers turns into a two-horse race

The Tata Steel Challengers has become a title duel between Baadur Jobava and Ivan Saric. After eight rounds the Georgian leads by half a point thanks to some bravura defence in their encounter in Round 7:

White has an extra pawn on the kingside and soon sets out to create a queen. Black's counterchances are based solely on his ability to trouble the white king - but doesn't he need too long for his counterplay? Let's see what happens!

36. g6 fxg6 37. hxg6 cxb3 38. axb3 ♕f8 Black has to bring the queen back to defend as otherwise the g-pawn in particular will make it to the baseline.

39. ♕g5

39. ♕e5 , to hinder the coming counterplay, may have been more precise, but at this point you can only guess at the difference. 39... ♕g7 40. ♖g5! , with the idea of 41. Nh5, keeps Black under heavy pressure, but it's unclear whether it would be sufficient to win.

39... ♕g7 40. ♘h5 ♕d4 41. ♘f6

41. g7! promised better winning chances, but the variations are complicated. 41... ♗e4! 42. ♘f6 (42. g8Q ♗xc2+! 43. ♔xc2 ♕d3+ 44. ♔b2 ♖xg8 45. ♕xg8 ♕d2+ etc. leads to perpetual check, as you can easily see.) 42... ♗xc2+! 43. ♔xc2 ♕f2+ is, on the other hand, more complicated, but Black also seems to have enough counterplay here. 44. ♔c1 ♖d2 A real hammer blow. 45. ♕xd2 ♕xg1+ 46. ♔c2 ♕xg7 and a draw is the most likely result.

41... a5! Amazing. This looks too slow, but it leads to a draw.

42. g7 a4 43. g8Q ♖xg8 44. ♘xg8 axb3 45. cxb3 White has nothing better.

45... ♗e4+ 46. ♔a2 ♗d5 Wow! White is a rook up, but after this quiet move he can't prevent perpetual check.

47. ♖g3 There simply isn't anything better.

47... ♗xg8 48. ♕xg8

48. ♕e3 ♕xe3 49. ♖xe3=

48... ♕d2+ 49. ♔a3 ♕a5+ 50. ♔b2

1/2-1/2

Jobava is enjoying himself in Wijk | photo: official website


Tata Steel Challengers - Standings after Round 8

  ScoreRatingTPR1234567891011121314
1Jobava, B.6.5 / 827102823 ½½  1 ½  1111
2Saric, I.6.0 / 826372736½  ½½ 111   ½1
3Muzychuk, A.5.5 / 825662703½  ½ ½½11   ½1
4Timman, J.5.0 / 826072677 ½½ ½ 1 ½101  
5Bok, B.4.5 / 825602630 ½ ½  ½½½110  
6Wojtaszek, R.4.5 / 8271125810 ½   0½½  111
7Reinderman, D.4.0 / 825932616 0½0½1   011  
8Duda, J.3.5 / 825532569½00 ½½   10 1 
9Troff, K.3.5 / 824572556 00½½½   ½½ 1 
10Brunello, S.3.5 / 826022513   00 10½ 1½ ½
11Yu, Y.3.5 / 8267725210  10 01½0   1
12Zhao, X.3.0 / 8256724940  0100  ½  ½1
13Van Delft, M.2.5 / 8243024380½½  0 00  ½ 1
14Goudriaan, E.0.5 / 824312169000  0   ½000 

Links:


Sort by Date Descending Date Descending Date Ascending Most Liked Receive updates

Comments 0

Guest
Guest 6415829584
 
Join chess24
  • Free, Quick & Easy

  • Be the first to comment!

Register
or

Create your free account now to get started!

I am aged 16 or older.

By clicking ‘Register’ you agree to our terms and conditions and confirm you have read our privacy policy, including the section on the use of cookies.

Lost your password? We'll send you a link to reset it!

After submitting this form you'll receive an email with the reset password link. If you still can't access your account please contact our customer service.

Which features would you like to enable?

We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines. Some components of our site require cookies or local storage that handles personal information.