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74th Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2012 (12)

Aronian beats Gelfand in wild game to secure at least share of Tata Steel title

Levon Aronian secured at least a tie for first with a win against Boris Gelfand.Photo © Frits Agterdenbos.

Levon Aronian secured at least a tie for first with a win against Boris Gelfand.Photo © Frits Agterdenbos. |

Levon Aronian takes a one point lead into the final round of the 74th Tata Steel tournament. This event allows for shared first so even if he loses with white to rival Radjabov he will still be one of the winners. In today's round 12 both he and opponent Boris Gelfand played for a win and Aronian emerged as winner only after a late blunder. Magnus Carlsen got into trouble against Gata Kamsky but just about scrambled to a draw. Vassily Ivanchuk was not in good shape today and blitzed moves out against Teimour Radjabov, he got way ahead on the clock however and when he offered a draw Radjabov accepted. Notes to these three games from the venue by Michiel Abeln in notes and PGN file. Almost every game today had drama. Read the details below. Kramnik also announced that he will play Aronian in a 6 game match 21st-28th April 2012. The lack of events in the first half of the year means they need practice for the candidates. 1st Aronian 8.5pts. 2nd-3rd Carlsen, Radjabov 7.5pts. 4th-6th Ivanchuk, Caruana, Nakamura 7pts. Final Round 13 Sun 29th Jan 2012 EARLY 11:00am GMT Kamsky-Topalov, Van Wely-Carlsen, Gashimov-Nakamura, Ivanchuk-Karjakin, Aronian-Radjabov, Caruana-Gelfand, Giri-Navara.

Gelfand lost to Aronian

Boris Gelfand against Levon Aronian

Boris Gelfand against Levon Aronian. Photo © Frits Agterdenbos:

Levon Aronian defeated Boris Gelfand in an uncompromising and flucuating struggle which concluded with a simple oversight (probably Gelfand missed the power of 47...Rh7) when Gelfand allowed a decisive attack rather than protect his king with 46.Nxg2. Aronian said afterwards that both players were out for a win and that both players put a lot of emotion into the game. This win combined with other results means that Aronian will at least share first in the event, he can still be caught by his final round opponent Radjabov if he loses to him with white. This would also open the door for Magnus Carlsen.

So great win against Gelfand so now you're officially first but maybe shared.

Yeah I'm very happy. It was a crazy game, lots of emotions, I felt it's going to be a result, no draws, in a game like this, there is just too much pressure there.

This was also what Boris thought?

Yes, both were trying to win at moments I thought I'm succeeding and at moments I thought he is, it was very balanced.

And now tomorrow will you play in the same way?

I think I'll play the same way, I'll try to play chess. I'll see what happens.

Post mortem in Russian

Gelfand,B (2739) - Aronian,L (2805) [D35]
74th Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (12), 28.01.2012

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Bf4 Nf6 5.e3 0-0 6.a3 Nbd7 7.Nb5 Ne8 8.Nf3 c6

Gelfand plays a sideline to play for a win


9.Nc3 f5

[Aronian felt that 9...g5 10.Bg3 f5 11.Qc1 would be too optimistic]


[10.h4 hard to tell which square for the h-pawn is better]

10...Nd6 11.cxd5

[11.Qb3 was also a way to maintain the initiative]

11...exd5 12.Bd3 Nf6 13.Ne5 Nfe4 14.0-0 Nf7

essential to remove the knight on e5

15.Qc2 Bd6 16.Bh2

[16.Nxf7 Rxf7 17.f3 Nxc3]

16...Nxe5 17.Bxe5 Bxe5 18.dxe5 a5 19.Na4 b5

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 19...b5

this is not a good move


[White is clearly better after 20.Qxc6 Ra6 21.Qxb5 Rg6 (21...f4 also doesn't work) ]

20...Qe7 21.Rac1 Qxe5 22.f4 Qd6?!

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 22...Qd6

Not the right square

23.Bxe4 fxe4 24.Nb3

missed by Aronian

24...Bd7 25.Qc5 Qg6 26.Kh2 h5 27.Nd4 Rac8 28.b4

[28.g3 was also a good move]

28...axb4 29.axb4 h4 30.Ne2 Rf6

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 30...Rf6

both players are playing for a win!

[30...d4 31.Qxd4 Be6]

31.Ra1 Rcf8 32.Qe7

I really liked his queen on e7 which is maybe not a good thing

32...R8f7 33.Qd8+ Kh7 34.Rg1

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 34.Rg1

very strong, missed by Aronian


[34...d4 was dismissed by Aronian because of 35.g4 but this might still be playable for black]


[35.g4 hxg3+ 36.Rxg3 Re6]

35...Rf8 36.Qc7 R6f7 37.Qe5

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 37.Qe5

Gelfand offered a draw and Aronian said no and really got confused

37...Re8 38.Qc3 g5 39.Rf1 Qd6 40.Kg1 Ref8 41.Qc5 Qh6

[41...Qxc5 this will never win for black and Aronian didn't refuse the draw offer for nothing]

42.f5 Kg8 43.f6

[43.Nd4 g4 44.Rf4 gxh3 45.Rxd7 Qg5]

43...g4 44.hxg4 h3 45.Nf4 hxg2 46.Kxg2??

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 46.Kxg2?

A big blunder by Gelfand, the normal outcome would have been a draw

[46.Nxg2 Bxg4 (46...Rh7 47.Qd6!) 47.Rxf7 Rxf7 48.Qxc6]

46...Qxf6 47.Kg3 Rh7 48.g5 Qxg5+ 49.Kf2 Rxf4+ 50.exf4 Rh2+ 51.Ke3 Qg3+ 52.Kd4 Qg7+ 53.Ke3 Rh3+ 0-1

Radjabov 1/2 Ivanchuk

Teimour Radjabov

Teimour Radjabov. Photo © Michiel Abeln.

When Vassily Ivanchuk is upset he often plays his games at incredible speed. Today he played a Benko Gambit as black against Teimour Radjabov and on move 20 offered a draw. At that point Radjabov had 38 minutes left (+ 30 seconds per move) and Ivanchuk 1 hour 31 and the position was very complicated and unclear. Radjabov could have gambled that Ivanchuk would start to blunder but the time difference and unclear position led him to take a draw.

We saw some interesting lines in analysis, you couldn't try to go through with it?

Radjabov: I wanted to try and go for a win in fact, somehow I saw the real try is f5 and as soon as I understood it doesn't work too much, I thought that OK with such a time, an hour less on the clock, he is playing fast and position is like, it's quite tricky all the time he has Rb8 and Nb5. I didn't like it so much for white as I thought that if I fight for the advantage it should be with f5 or something like that and as f5 didn't work I thought OK I was quite upset because at first when I calculated this position I thought that I'm am much better, and afterwards I understand he goes for Nb5 somewhere and it becomes trickier so then I decided with one hour less it's about a good decision to make.

Ivanchuk: It was sharp opening battle and in complicated position I offer a draw. I should try but I was very disappointed with yesterday's game. It's very difficult to play for me.

Radjabov,T (2773) - Ivanchuk,V (2766) [A57]
74th Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (12), 28.01.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.b6 d6 6.Nc3 Nbd7 7.e4 g6 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.Be2 Nxb6 10.0-0 0-0 11.a4

[11.Bf4 Ne8 12.h3 Nc7 13.Qd2 Bb7 14.Bh6 f5 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.b4 Nd7 17.bxc5 Nxc5 18.Qd4+ Kg8 19.e5 Rc8 20.Rad1 Ne8 21.Rfe1 Ng7 22.Bf1 Rc7 23.Rc1 Qc8 24.exd6 exd6 25.Ng5 Re8 26.Qh4 Nh5 27.Rxe8+ Qxe8 28.Qb4 Qe7 29.Nf3 Nf6 30.Re1 Qd7 31.Ng5 Rc8 32.Qd4 Qg7 33.Ne6 Nxe6 34.Rxe6 Nxd5 35.Qxg7+ Kxg7 36.Nxd5 Bxd5 37.Rxd6 Bxa2 38.Rxa6 Rc2 39.g3 Rb2 40.Bg2 h5 41.h4 Rb1+ 42.Kh2 Rb2 43.Kg1 Bc4 44.Rc6 Be2 45.Rc7+ Kh6 46.Bd5 Rb8 47.Re7 Bd1 48.f4 Rd8 49.Bc4 Bc2 50.Kf2 Be4 51.Ke3 Rc8 52.Kd4 Bc2 53.Bd5 Rd8 54.Ke5 Bb1 55.Bf7 Bc2 56.Kf6 Bb1 57.Re8 Rd6+ 58.Re6 Rd8 59.Re8 Rd6+ 60.Be6 Kh7 61.Re7+ Kh6 62.Re8 Kh7 63.Kg5 Kg7 64.Rg8+ Kh7 65.Rxg6 1-0 Dreev,A (2670)-Topalov,V (2700)/Moscow 1996/CBM 052 ext]

11...Bg4 12.a5 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Nc4 14.Qa4 Ne5 15.Be2 Ne8 16.Bg5

[Ivanchuk suggested 16.Ra3 Nc7 17.Rb3 Nd7 but not clear this is more promising than the game]

16...Nc7 17.f4 Nd7 18.e5 f6 19.exf6 Bxf6 20.Bxf6 Nxf6

Vassily Ivanchuk


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 20...Nxf6

[and now the game could have continued with 20...Nxf6 21.f5 g5 22.Ne4 h6 23.h4 Rb8 24.hxg5 Rb4 25.Nxf6+ exf6 26.Qc6 Rxb2 and it's still a big fight.]


Carlsen 1/2 Kamsky

Magnus Carlsen confidently played the surprise move 9.d4 but it seemed Kamsky was better prepared for it. Photo © Michiel Abeln.

Magnus Carlsen escaped with a draw against Gata Kamsky after making quite a mess (he put this much stronger) of his opening. Carlsen missed Kamsky's 17...Kh8! which left a bishop en-prise, unfortunately for Carlsen he couldn't take it. It is probable that black had a winning advantage but neither player saw a concrete line and Carlsen defended quite precisely to hold in 59 moves.

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Frits Agterdenbos:

Magnus, draw today?

Carlsen: Yeah! Not a very good game but fortunately I defended well enough after I f***ed up in the middlegame or opening, whatever.

Did he miss something somewhere to win?

Carlsen: Nothing clear I think. He always had the advantage but you know there was nothing clear.

Kamsky: The position looked really promising, Magnus admitted he blundered with 17...Kh8 [by which he means he missed this move of Kamsky's] in the opening and then black is better and then he was finding all the right defensive moves and I didn't see any way to make my advantage decisive and in the end I decided to force a draw because his king on f6 was really active and I'm just not taking any risks. So it was a draw.

Carlsen,M (2835) - Kamsky,G (2732) [C89]
74th Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (12), 28.01.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.d4 dxe4 10.Nxe5 Bb7 11.Nxc6

Gata Kamsky


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 11.Nxc6

Carlsen's novelty over an old game of Khalifman. However Carlsen spent quite some time on the move suggesting he was already on his own.

[11.Nd2 Bd6 12.f4 exf3 13.Ndxf3 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Bxe5 15.dxe5 Qxd1 16.Rxd1 Ne4 17.Be3 Rae8 18.Rd7 Rxe5 19.Rxc7 Bd5 20.Bd4 Rf5 21.Re1 Bxb3 22.axb3 Nd2 23.Bc5 Rd8 24.b4 1/2-1/2 Khalifman,A (2688)-Adams,M (2742)/ Wijk aan Zee 2002/CBM 087]

11...Bxc6 12.Bg5 Nd5 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Nd2 f5 15.f3 e3

Gata Kamsky


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 15...e3


[Both Kamsky and Carlsen agreed that 16.f4 Kh8 17.Bxd5 (The engines have an improvement over what both players calculated: 17.Qf3! Qf6 18.Bxd5 exd2 19.Red1 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Rae8 21.Rxd2 with a clear advantage) 17...Bxd5 18.Nf1 Qe4 19.Qf3 Qxf3 20.gxf3 Bxf3 21.Rxe3 Bd5 would give white a tiny edge]

16...Nf4 17.cxb5+ Kh8!

Gata Kamsky


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 17...Kh8!

Carlsen admitted he had missed this idea "I keep understimating my opponent's counterchances"

18.Nc4 e2 19.Qd2 Qg5 20.Rxe2

[Carlsen calculated for a long time the lines after 20.g3 Nh3+ 21.Kg2 Bxf3+ 22.Kxf3 Qh5+ 23.Kg2 f4 24.Ne5 f3+ 25.Nxf3 Rxf3 26.Rxe2 Raf8 but was not sure whether he had seen everything and decided that the game continuation was safer]

20...Nxe2+ 21.Qxe2 Bxb5 22.Qe3 f4 23.Qe5 Qh4 24.Qe1 Qxe1+ 25.Rxe1 Bxc4 26.Bxc4

Gata Kamsky


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 26.Bxc4

Of course this endgame is better for black, but both players felt that it was never winning

26...c6 27.Re6 Rf6 28.Re4 a5 29.h4 Rd8 30.Re5 a4 31.Ra5 Rfd6 32.Rxa4 Rxd4 33.b3 g6 34.Kh2 Kg7 35.Ra6 Rd2 36.a4 Rf2 37.Ra7+ Kh8 38.Kh3 h5 39.Rf7 Rdd2 40.Rxf4 Rxg2 41.Rf7 Rh2+ 42.Kg3 Rdg2+ 43.Kf4 Rxh4+ 44.Ke5 Rg5+ 45.Kf6 Rf5+

[45...Rg1 was an alternative.]

46.Kxg6 Rxf7 47.Bxf7 Rf4 48.Be6 Rxf3 49.Kxh5 Re3 50.Bc4 Kg7 51.Kg5 Re5+ 52.Kf4 Kf6 53.Bd3 Rh5 54.Be4 c5 55.Bd3 Rh4+ 56.Ke3 Ke5 57.a5 Rh3+ 58.Ke2 Kd4 59.Bc4 1/2-1/2

Nakamura beat Van Wely

Hikaru Nakamura against Loek van Wely

Hikaru Nakamura against Loek van Wely. Photo © Michiel Abeln.

Hikaru Nakamura got little or nothing out of a Sveshnikov Sicilian opening against Loek van Wely. The game then saw lengthy maneuvering where Nakamura got both an advantage on the clock and then on the board just coming up to first time control. Nakamura felt that van Wely failed to find an active plan earlier that would give him equality. 35.Ng5! set up some serious problems for black and van Wely admitted that by move 40 his position was pretty hopeless as he had "misplaced a few pieces" and Nakamura had "some attack going on". Nakamura won in 55 moves.

Nakamura: I think the position optically looked much better for me with the knight on d5 but objectively the position is probably quite balanced. Somewhere in the middlegame Loek probably tried to outwait instead of coming up with an active plan because of that I was eventually able to regroup, double on the d-file and get my knight to g5 and after that ... with correct play he's probably still fine but it was just very difficult with the time pressure he had and just trying to come up with a plan it's very difficult when you sort of have to wait for your opponent to come up with a plan, because of that I think he lost his way in the middlegame.

Loek, something went wrong with the plan?

Van Wely:

Which plan?

Of drawing all the games.

It's not a plan, I just like to play my games. But losing can never be a plan. Today I think I had a nice position from the Sveshnikov but somehow in time trouble I misplaced a few pieces and he got some attack going on. After 40 moves it was clear that I can only escape by a miracle if the guy is going to do something crazy but I think the position is simply too bad.

Nakamura,Hikaru - Van Wely,Loek [B33]
74th Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (12.6), 28.01.2012

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c4 b4 12.Nc2 Rb8 13.b3 Bg5 14.g3 0-0 15.Bg2 a5 16.0-0 Ne7 17.h4


17...Bh6 18.Nxe7+

Exchanging knights seems to be new.

[18.Nde3 g6 19.Qe2 Qb6 20.Rad1 Bb7 21.h5 Bg7 22.Rd2 Rbd8 23.Qg4 f5 24.exf5 Bxg2 25.Nxg2 gxh5 26.Qg5 Nxf5 27.Nge3 Nxe3 28.Nxe3 Kh8 29.Qxh5 Qa7 30.Kg2 Qf7 31.Qxf7 Rxf7 32.Rfd1 Bf8 33.c5 1-0 Horvath,A (2486)-Hardicsay,P (2328)/Balatonlelle 2007/CBM 119 ext; 18.Nce3 Bxe3 19.Nxe3 Nc6 20.Qd3 Qe7 21.Rad1 Rd8 22.Nf5 Bxf5 23.exf5 Nd4 24.Bd5 Kh8 25.f4 f6 26.g4 Qa7 27.Kh1 a4 28.Ra1 Rb6 29.g5 Ra6 30.gxf6 axb3 31.Rg1 b2 32.Qg3 Nxf5 33.Qg5 g6 34.Rab1 Rxa2 35.Be4 Qd7 36.Rg2 exf4 37.Kh2 Ra3 38.Rbxb2 Ne3 39.f7 Kg7 40.Bxg6 h6 41.Qxf4 Nxg2 42.Qd4+ Kf8 43.Qh8+ Ke7 1-0 Melia,S (2422)-Manakova,M (2299)/St Petersburg 2009/CBM 129 Extra]

18...Qxe7 19.Qd5 Qc7 20.Rad1 Rd8 21.Kh2 Bg4 22.Rde1 Bd7 23.Qd3 Qc5 24.Rd1 Bc6 25.Qe2 Ra8 26.Ne1 Qb6 27.Nd3 Qb7 28.Rfe1 g6 29.f3 Bg7 30.Nf2 h5 31.Rd3 Bh6 32.Red1 Qe7 33.Nh3 Rd7 34.Qf2 Rb8 35.Ng5!

Loek van Wely


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 35.Ng5!

After both sides have maneuvered for some time white now gets an initiative just at a time when van Wely is in time pressure.


[35...a4 36.f4 Qf6 37.c5!; 35...Bf8 36.Bh3 Rdd8 37.f4 exf4 38.Qxf4 Qe8 39.c5]]

36.hxg5 Qxg5 37.Bh3 Rc7

[37...Rdd8 is most natural but seems to lead to white's advantage too. 38.Rxd6 Rxd6 39.Rxd6 Rd8 (39...Be8 40.f4 exf4 41.gxf4) 40.f4 exf4 41.Qxf4]

38.Rxd6 Kg7 39.f4 exf4 40.gxf4 Qe7

They reached move 40 and van Wely believes he can only save this by some kind of miracle. His pieces are now not co-ordinated.

41.e5 a4 42.e6 axb3 43.axb3 Be8 44.f5 g5 45.Qd4+ f6 46.Bg2 h4 47.c5 Rbc8 48.c6 Rxc6 49.Bxc6 Rxc6 50.Rxc6 Bxc6 51.Qb6 Be8 52.Rc1 Kh6 53.Rc7 Qf8 54.Qd4 g4 55.Qf4+ 1-0

Topalov beat Giri

Veselin Topalov against Anish Giri

Veselin Topalov against Anish Giri. Giri has that haunted look of a player who has lost confidence. Photo © Frits Agterdenbos:

Veselin Topalov won his first game of the event and inflicted a fifth defeat in a row on Anish Giri. A rueful Topalov said that he felt he had an advantage and this time didn't let it go but that this win didn't make up at all for the seven previous games in the event where he felt he had an advantage and he couldn't even win one. Giri was passively placed in a major piece middlegame come ending that arrived just out of theory from a Petroff. Giri had to wait to see what Topalov would go for and defended pretty well for a long time. It is hard to say when Giri became lost, by move 40 white's two rook and queen were active and Giri's were not. Giri tried to get out of jail by opening up Topalov's king with c5-c4xb3 but this overlooked a final combination that destroyed his postiion.

One would have to worry for Giri who is sure to be damaged, at least in the short term, by this extremely painful sequence of 5 losses and counting. He has white against Navara in the final round with whom he shares last place.

So Veselin first win today?

Yeah finally I could win a game. I think maybe I didn't play the best moves but at least I didn't let the advantage I believe [I had] go compared to the other games I played in this tournament it was good.

You feel relieved after the game of yesterday?

No, not really because the fact I won today doesn't change much. I'm still not happy of course.

It was still in your head today?

No, no, no, it's the whole tournament, it's not only about yesterday. It's not possible to miss seven better positions and not to win even one,

Topalov,Veselin - Giri,Anish [C42]
74th Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (12.2), 28.01.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Be6 9.0-0-0 Qd7 10.Kb1 Bf6 11.Bg5 Qe7 12.Bb5 a6 13.Bxc6+

[13.Ba4 b5 14.Bb3 Ne5 15.Bxf6 Nxf3 16.Qe3 Qxf6 17.Bd5 Rb8 18.Bc6+ Ke7 19.Qa7 Rhc8 20.Bxf3 Rb6 21.Bb7 Re8 22.Rhe1 Kf8 23.Bxa6 Qd8 24.a4 bxa4 25.Ka1 Qb8 26.Qxb8 Rexb8 27.Bd3 Rxb2 28.Re4 Ra2# 0-1 Ivanchuk,V (2779)-Gashimov,V (2746)/Monaco MNC 2011/The Week in Chess 853]

13...bxc6 14.Qf4 Bxg5 15.Nxg5 0-0 16.Rde1 Qd7 17.f3 h6 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Qg4 Rf5 20.Re2 e5 21.Rd1 Qf7 22.Qb4 Qd7 23.Qa4 Kh8 24.c4 Qe8 25.Rd3 Rf4 26.Qa5 Qe7 27.c5 Rf6 28.Qc3 Qe8 29.b3 Rb8 30.a4 Ra8 31.Re4 Qc8 32.Qd2 Qf8 33.Qa5 Qe7 34.Rde3 Qd7 35.Re1 Rf5 36.Qc3 Rd8 37.g3 Rf7 38.cxd6 cxd6 39.f4 exf4 40.gxf4

Anish Giri


Veselin Topalov

Position after 40.gxf4


[40...Kg8 41.Re6 doesn't seem a lot better.]

41.Re6 Rxf4

[41...Kg8 42.f5 is unpleasant.]

42.Rxh6+ Kg8 43.Qd2

Giri's position is very difficult now. Computers might save it but practically white has a huge advantage.

43...Rf7 44.Rg1 c4 45.Qg5 Rdf8

[45...cxb3 46.Qh5 bxc2+ 47.Kc1 Rf1+ 48.Rxf1 gxh6 49.Rg1+ doesn't work for black.]

46.Qh5 Rf1+ 47.Kb2 1-0

Navara 1/2 Caruana

David Navara against Fabiano Caruana

David Navara against Fabiano Caruana. Photo © Frits Agterdenbos:

David Navara should have scored his second win in a row after getting a decisive advantage in the early middlegame against Fabiano Caruana. Navara maneuvered his knight to f5 where it seemed to Caruana that his knight, queen and rook should produce a decisive attack. It doesn't seem that clear and probably Caruana should grab the e-pawn. Instead Caruana lost two pawns in a few moves. Navara however then started to get into time trouble. Probably he should have played 31.Rxd4 sacrificing the exchange but eliminating Caruana's final active piece. Instead Navara played rather planlessly trying to get to first time control and blundered the exchange. His position was so good that the position was about equal then and Navara held the ending pretty comfortable. Navara admitted to being very tired at the end of this event.

David Navara against Fabiano Caruana

David Navara against Fabiano Caruana. Photo © Michiel Abeln.

Navara,David - Caruana,Fabiano [C78]
74th Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (12.5), 28.01.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.c3 d6 8.d4 Bb6 9.Be3 0-0 10.Nbd2 h6 11.h3 Re8 12.Re1 Bd7 13.Bc2 Qb8

[13...Rb8 1-0 Navara,D (2722)-Onischuk,A (2675)/Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2011/The Week in Chess 878 (28)]


[14.Nf1 1/2-1/2 Bologan,V (2665)-Ganguly,S (2625)/Melilla ESP 2011/The Week in Chess 890 (87)]

14...a5 15.Bd3 Qa7 16.Bxb5 exd4 17.cxd4 Nxd4 18.Bxd7 Nxd7 19.Nxd4 Bxd4 20.Rc1 Bxe3 21.Rxe3 a4 22.Nf3 Rab8 23.Rc2 Nc5

[23...Rb3 was at least a possiblity here if Caruana was worried about the attack.]

24.Nd4 Qb7 25.Nf5

Fabiano Caruana


David Navara

Position after 25.Nf5

White's attack looks extremely threatening over the board. It isn't clear whether it is as powerful as all that though if black grabs the e-pawn he is pressurising.


Losing a pawn for nothing.

[25...Rxe4 Looks like it may hold although white's attack looks great. 26.Rg3 Kf8 (26...g6 27.Qd2) 27.Rxg7 Rf4 28.Ng3 Kxg7 29.Nh5+ Kf8 30.Nxf4]

26.Nxh6+ Kg7 27.Ng4 Nb3

Full scale panic.

[27...Rxe4 28.Qc1 with an attack.]

28.Rc4 Re6 29.Rxa4

That's now two pawns.

29...c5 30.Rc4 Nd4 31.b4

[31.Rxd4 Removing black's only active piece I would play in a blitz game without hesitation. And here it indeed also seems best. 31...cxd4 32.Qxd4+ f6 33.b4 Ra8 34.Kh2 was worth considering. ]

31...Rxe4 32.bxc5 dxc5 33.Rxc5 Rf4 34.Rd3 Rd8 35.Qa1

White is now trying to get to time control and his moves don't really contain any plan.

35...Kh7 36.Nf6+ Kg7 37.Ng4 Kh7 38.Qf1?

Fabiano Caruana


David Navara

Position after 38.Qf1?

A mistake, fortunately it only costs Navara the draw rather than the whole game.


38...Ne2+ 39.Qxe2 Qb1+ 40.Kh2 Qxd3 41.Qe7 Qd6 42.Qh4+ Kg7 43.Rc6 Qxc6 44.Qxd8 Qc5 45.Qd2 Qd4 46.Qc1 Rf5 47.Kg1 Rc5 48.Qh6+ Kg8 49.Qe3 Qxe3 50.Nxe3 Rc3

This ending where white has a pawn for the exchange and the pawns are all on one side is drawn with best play.

51.h4 Rxa3 52.g3 Kg7 53.Kg2 Kf6 54.Nd5+ Ke5 55.Nf4 Kf5 56.Nh3 Ra2 57.Kf3 f6 58.Nf4 Ra3+ 59.Kg2 g5 60.hxg5 fxg5 61.Nd5 Ke5 62.Ne3 Ke4 63.Ng4 Ra2 64.Nf6+ Kf5 1/2-1/2

So David you had such a good position and then you gave away the exchange.

Navara: Yes I became nervous and wanted to play as safely as possible in the time trouble but one of these so called safe moves was losing an exchange. So I was very disappointed and then I was able to save a draw at least.

Fabiano a narrow escape after being two pawns down?

Caruana: After the opening it was about equal but at some point I just misplayed it and after Nf5 he has a very strong attack. Maybe I could defend better and Nf5 but I didn't see any defence actually and I was just two pawns down, totally hopeless position and he had many ways to win but at some point he got in time trouble and I started to get threats. He blundered 38...Ne2+ and after that it's pretty much equal position.

Navara: So in the end a draw is a normal result. I was happy. I was lucky in the endgame. I knew that the endgame with the knight placed on h3 should be a fortress and it was. I played it very quickly in the end as I was very tired.

Karjakin 1/2 Gashimov

Sergey Karjakin

Sergey Karjakin. Photo © Michiel Abeln.

Vugar Gashimov's attempt to surprise Sergey Karjakin with a twist in the Queen's Indian didn't seem to work as Karjakin initially seemed confident and doing well. However Karjakin went wrong and a few moves later Gashimov found a strong attacking idea sacrificing a piece for two pawns and opening up white's king. Things weren't that clear and Gashimov chose to draw by repetition rather than play for more. Uppermost in his mind was that his play had not been good in Wijk aan Zee and he feared some of white's counter-attacking ideas.

Karjakin,Sergey - Gashimov,Vugar [E15]
74th Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (12.1), 28.01.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Nc3 0-0 8.e4 d5 9.cxd5 Bxf1 10.Kxf1 exd5 11.e5 Ne4 12.Kg2 Qd7 13.Qc2 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 Nc6 15.h4 Rac8

Gashimov's surprise for Karjakin in an opening he hardly ever plays. However Karjakin seemed well prepared for this. His idea is to keep the knight on c6 for the moment where it pressurises d4.

[15...Nd8 16.Qd3 Ne6 17.Ng5 Bxg5 18.hxg5 Nxg5 19.f4 Ne4 20.Nxe4 dxe4 21.Qxe4 f5 22.exf6 1/ 2-1/2 Van Wely,L (2655)-Adams,M (2699)/London ENG 2009/The Week in Chess 771]

16.Rae1 Nd8 17.Ng5 Ne6 18.f4 c5 19.dxc5 Rxc5 20.Qd3 Bxg5 21.hxg5 Nxf4+ 22.gxf4 Qg4+ 23.Kf2 Qxf4+

Vugar Gashimov


Sergey Karjakin

Position after 23...Qxf4+


[24.Ke2 g6 and Gashimov said that he is winning the pawn on e5 which is the most important in the position. 25.Qh3 (25.Nxd5 Qxe5+ 26.Ne3 Re8) 25...h5 26.gxh6 Rfc8]


[24...Qxg5+ 25.Kf3 g6 and Gashimov wasn't sure about this position as the pawn on e5 survives and also there are ideas of b4 and Nxd5 for white which he didn't like. Also the fact that he isn't playing well in Wijk aan Zee meant that he decided taking the repetition was the best idea.]

25.Kf2 Qf4+ 26.Kg2 Qg4+ 27.Kf2 1/2-1/2

74th Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee (NED), 14-29 i 2012 cat. XXI (2755)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
1. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2805 * 0 . ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 1 2906
2. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2835 1 * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 . 1 1 1 ½ ½ 2848
3. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2773 . ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 2843
4. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2766 ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ . ½ 0 ½ 1 1 1 7 2809
5. Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2736 0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 ½ . 1 ½ ½ 1 7 2814
6. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2759 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 1 ½ . 1 ½ 7 2810
7. Kamsky, Gata g USA 2732 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * 1 ½ ½ . ½ 1 0 6 2755
8. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2769 0 1 0 . 0 ½ 0 * 1 0 1 ½ 1 1 6 2752
9. Van Wely, Loek g NED 2692 ½ . ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 5 2696
10. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2739 0 0 ½ 1 . 0 ½ 1 ½ * ½ ½ ½ 0 5 2700
11. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2770 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ . 0 ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 5 2698
12. Gashimov, Vugar g AZE 2761 0 0 0 0 ½ . ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ 1 2666
13. Navara, David g CZE 2712 1 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ * . 4 2636
14. Giri, Anish g NED 2714 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 0 0 . * 4 2636
Round 12 (January 28, 2012)
Carlsen, Magnus - Kamsky, Gata ½-½ 59 C89 Ruy Lopez Marshall
Radjabov, Teimour - Ivanchuk, Vassily ½-½ 20 A57 Volga Gambit
Nakamura, Hikaru - Van Wely, Loek 1-0 55 B33 Sicilian Sveshnikov
Karjakin, Sergey - Gashimov, Vugar ½-½ 27 E15 Queens Indian
Gelfand, Boris - Aronian, Levon 0-1 53 D31 Semi-Slav Defence
Topalov, Veselin - Giri, Anish 1-0 47 C42 Petroff's Defence
Navara, David - Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ 64 C78 Ruy Lopez Moeller Defence

B and C Groups

Pentala Harikrishna

Pentala Harikrishna. Photo © Frits Agterdenbos:

Alexander Motylev against Pentala Harikrishna

Alexander Motylev against Pentala Harikrishna. Photo © Michiel Abeln.

Erwin L'Ami against Jan Timman

Erwin L'Ami against Jan Timman. Photo © Michiel Abeln.

Matthew Sadler against Hans Tikkanen

Matthew Sadler against Hans Tikkanen. Photo © Michiel Abeln.

B-Group: Pentala Harikrishna maintains a half point clear into the final round after drawing with second placed Alexander Motylev. Erwin L'Ami was lost against Jan Timman but drew when he blundered and also remains half a point off the lead.

Maxim Turov

Maxim Turov. Photo © Frits Agterdenbos:

C-Group: Hans Tikkanen inflicted pre-tournament Elo favourite Matthew Sadler's first defeat to stay level with Maxim Turov who beat the also previously unbeaten Baskaran Adhiban. Both players are on 9.5/12 two points clear of the field.

Kramnik announces match against Aronian in April

Vladimir Kramnik I hear you have some exciting news.

Yes, I came here of course to see the organisers of the event, to see everyone here, to greet some chess players and to have a couple of meetings with other organisers like Bilbao but also as well to meet Levon Aronian because we agreed to sign a contract the other evening that we are going to play a match with him, a friendly match, just a training match, but still a very serious one of course, of six games of classical chess in the last week of April. I think it's supposed to start on the 21st of April for the first game, two rest days after the 2nd and after 4th round so the last game is on the 28th of April. We just signed the contract yesterday. It's official, we can announce it. There will probably be two sponsors. One sponsor is a Russian branch of a very big western company, IGC, which specialises in the certification of precious stones. The second sponsor I think is a western company also from the same field, and about the place, we are going to tell a little bit later, it's already finalised, the contract is almost ready, I can tell it will be surely western Europe, and most probably it will be the place most well known for chess. We will announce it in a week maximum.

What is your score against Aronian.

I think in classical chess I have a small plus, +1 or +2 in rapid I think he is a bit better, I never counted really. But what is important is he is a very tough opponent, and I'm very glad to play it. The main idea is for the sponsors they just like chess they don't have any other interest other than to see a very good, very interesting match, and for us, especially for me, it is excellent training for the coming candidates tournament and we are copying exactly the rules of the candidates tournament, the time control so for us it is very good training for this event. Since I don't have any tournaments for the next few months it's a very good opportunity for me to keep warm and to play another very strong opponent. Another innovation, a small innovation that we agreed yesterday will be that if the game will end in less than three hours, which can happen, with the position, of course we are not going to agree any draws in playable position but of course sometimes there is three times repetition, of perpetual check or something you cannot avoid, then we agreed we will play an addition rapid chess game just for the spectactors.

Sort of like in Japanses Chess?

Kind of but which will not count for the score of the match but simply for us to play some chess and also the spectators they will not be disappointed after a short game. But I hope there will not be a short game but if you will see one rapid game 25m + 10spm so that's more or less all for the moment. I guess you can ask Levon after the tournament what he thinks about it. You can expect an announcement about the venue during the first half of February.

74th Tata Steel GMB Wijk aan Zee (NED), 14-29 i 2012 cat. XV (2603)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
1. Harikrishna, Pentala g IND 2665 * ½ ½ 1 ½ . 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 1 2757
2. Motylev, Alexander g RUS 2677 ½ * ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ . 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 8 2724
3. L'Ami, Erwin g NED 2596 ½ ½ * ½ 1 ½ ½ . ½ 0 1 1 1 1 8 2721
4. Bruzon Batista, Lazaro g CUB 2691 0 ½ ½ * ½ ½ 0 1 1 . 1 ½ 1 1 2690
5. Tiviakov, Sergei g NED 2677 ½ 0 0 ½ * 1 ½ 1 1 0 . 1 ½ 1 7 2661
6. Reinderman, Dimitri g NED 2581 . ½ ½ ½ 0 * 1 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 7 2656
7. Nyzhnyk, Illya g UKR 2568 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 * ½ 0 ½ 1 1 1 . 2641
8. Potkin, Vladimir g RUS 2684 ½ ½ . 0 0 1 ½ * ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 2567
9. Timman, Jan H g NED 2571 0 . ½ 0 0 0 1 ½ * 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 2570
10. Ernst, Sipke g NED 2606 1 0 1 . 1 0 ½ 1 0 * 0 0 0 ½ 5 2538
11. Cmilyte, Viktorija g LTU 2503 ½ ½ 0 0 . ½ 0 ½ 0 1 * ½ 0 ½ 4 2479
12. Lahno, Kateryna g UKR 2557 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ * . ½ 4 2486
13. Vocaturo, Daniele g ITA 2545 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 1 . * ½ 4 2486
14. Harika, Dronavalli g IND 2516 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ . 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * 2454
Round 12 (January 28, 2012)
Motylev, Alexander - Harikrishna, Pentala ½-½ 52 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
L'Ami, Erwin - Timman, Jan H ½-½ 38 E15 Queens Indian
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro - Vocaturo, Daniele 1-0 49 A05 Various
Reinderman, Dimitri - Ernst, Sipke 1-0 28 A11 Reti Opening
Cmilyte, Viktorija - Potkin, Vladimir ½-½ 30 D16 Slav Lasker/Smyslov
Lahno, Kateryna - Nyzhnyk, Illya 0-1 31 E97 King's Indian Classical
Harika, Dronavalli - Tiviakov, Sergei 0-1 45 A20 English Opening
74th Tata Steel GMC Wijk aan Zee (NED), 14-29 i 2012 cat. IX (2454)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
1. Tikkanen, Hans g SWE 2549 * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 . 1 1 1 0 1 1 2679
2. Turov, Maxim g RUS 2645 ½ * ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 . 1 1 1 1 1 2682
3. Brandenburg, Daan g NED 2527 ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 . 2556
4. Adhiban, Baskaran g IND 2561 ½ 0 ½ * 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 . 1 2553
5. Grover, Sahaj m IND 2532 0 ½ ½ 0 * . 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 2459
6. Sadler, Matthew D g ENG 2660 0 ½ ½ ½ . * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 2459
7. Paehtz, Elisabeth m GER 2454 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ * 1 1 ½ . ½ 1 ½ 6 2464
8. Tania, Sachdev m IND 2411 . 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 * ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 1 2420
9. Goudriaan, Etienne f NED 2279 0 . ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ * 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 5 2395
10. Danielian, Elina g ARM 2490 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 * 0 . ½ ½ 2373
11. Ootes, Lars NED 2326 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ . 1 0 1 * 1 0 0 2377
12. Hopman, Pieter NED 2342 1 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ . 0 * 0 1 4 2335
13. Schut, Lisa wm NED 2290 0 0 0 . 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 * 1 4 2333
14. Haast, Anne wm NED 2290 0 0 . 0 1 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 * 2303
Round 12 (January 28, 2012)
Brandenburg, Daan - Schut, Lisa 1-0 32 B22 Sicilian Alapin
Adhiban, Baskaran - Turov, Maxim 0-1 43 A13 Reti Opening
Sadler, Matthew D - Tikkanen, Hans 0-1 42 C02 French Advance
Paehtz, Elisabeth - Haast, Anne ½-½ 38 B47 Sicilian Paulsen
Tania, Sachdev - Ootes, Lars 0-1 53 E81 King's Indian Saemisch
Goudriaan, Etienne - Danielian, Elina 0-1 37 A01 Larsen Opening
Hopman, Pieter - Grover, Sahaj ½-½ 32 A46 Queen's Pawn Opening

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