"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Friday, 27 January 2012

Tata Steel: Round 11 Played a Havoc with the Standings Friday

Round 11 of Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee was a real mess.
One single draw only was agreed in the game Kamsky - Nakamura. All other players were hungry for the points. And there were real surprises!

Caruana F
1 - 0
Girish A
Kamsky G
½ - ½
Nakamura H
Aronian L
0 - 1
Navara D
Gashimov V
0 - 1
Radjabov T
Van Wely L
0 - 1
Karjakin S
Carlsen M
1 - 0
Topalov V
Ivanchuk V
0 - 1
Gelfand B

Levon Aronian against David Navara.
Photo © Frits Agterdenbos: http://www.chessvista.com
Probably the biggest one was the defeat of the leader of the tournament, Levon Aronian, by Czech grandmaster David Navara, who was considered by some commentators to be an "outsider" and "underdog"; however, in situation like this you have nothing to lose and you can just surprise and excel yourself. Like in the biblical story about David and Goliath. And this is what exactly happened in this game. In an opening which we can call a Grünfeld Indian Defence Navara took the advantage of queen-side pawn majority and after some transformation of material balance he created mating web in the ending Queen and two pawns against Queen and Knight and forced Aronian to resign because of a mate in six. And here is the game:

Magnus Carlsen and Veselin Topalov clashed each other in rather wild Moscow Variation of Sicilian (3.Bb5+) which later resembled much more to a Ruy Lopez. In move 20, Carlsen managed to place his Knight on f5, then he sacrificed (or lost, who knows?) an exchange on d1 and then, by all standards, he was probably lost. However, Topalov, unlike my engine, decided to sacrifice his Queen. If he had played 25...Qb7 he would have been better off and could have thought about the victory. 
Later the position became equal and Carlsen himself described the situation by following fashion: "... I knew I had the initiative. At least, I didn’t see a forced win for him any longer. He had excellent drawing chances until late in the game, but somehow I managed to win it.” 
After time control there was quite bizarre material balance on the chessboard - the Queen and three Pawns for Rook and Bishop pair.
Very interesting, inspiring and pretty game! Let's see the game.

Boris Gelfand, the World Champion Candidate, playing with Black pieces, beat Vassily Ivanchuk in the Catalan Opening. The position was looking quite innocuous, however, Gelfand gained some small edge, the game went into the ending and he turn the small advantage into the final victory. Very instructive performance of Boris Gelfand. The game with annotations of GM Sergey Zagrebelny from his life commentary on website ChessPro.ru is here:

In the game Loek Van Wely vers Sergey Karjakin the position has been balanced long time. After the game went into an ending, Karjakin got an edge and finally wove a mating web. Karjakin broke Van Wely's streak of ten consecutive draws in this tournament!

There were two other victories for Fabiano Caruana who beat Anish Giri and for Teymour Radjabov who beat Vugar Gashimov.
So have a look at the tournament cross table:

Despite of being defeated, Levon Aronian still remains on the top of the leaderboard with 7½ points. 
Magnus Carlsen and Teymour Radjabov are breathing down his neck, both with 7 points. And Vassily Ivanchuk is now fourth with 6½ points. Two rounds to go, we have something to look forward to.

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