International Chess Federation
Friday, 28 Jan 2022 22:56
Tata Steel Masters: Carlsen leads, Rapport moves to second position

Magnus Carlsen preserved his leading position despite missing a clear win against Vidit Gujrathi. Anish Giri suffered a painful defeat at the hands of his compatriot Jorden Van Foreest and slid to the third position. Richard Rapport moved to second place in the current standings after getting a win by forfeit over Daniil Dubov. The Russian GM had to drop out of the event due to testing positive for Covid-19.

Following the footsteps of Andrey Esipenko, Magnus Carlsen tried the Italian Game with Nc3 against Vidit Gujrathi, but the Indian GM passed the test and reached equality. However, the World Champion found a way to pose some problems for his opponent and after Vidit's mistake 28…Re8? got a won rook endgame. Then it came Magnus' turn to err as he hastily played 36.d7? (missing a very important intermezzo 36.Re7+! which is not easy to spot) and let the opponent escape with a draw.

Jorden Van Foreest opted for very aggressive Saemisch system in the Nimtzo-Indian as White against his countryman Anish Giri and built an impressive pawn center. As it often happens in this system, Black put pressure on the c4-pawn but then literally drew fire on his own king by casting short. Jorden sacrificed an exchange on f6 and got an excellent long-lasting positional compensation that grew into a crushing attack. Anish returned material but only put off the inevitable – Black capitulated right after the time control.

The game Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – Sergey Karjakin saw an old but still popular line of the Italian. In a sharp position, both opponents played optimally and sealed a draw by repetition on the move 23.

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa and Fabiano Caruana manoeuvred for a while in a roughly equal position that emerged from Semi-Slav Defense but with 22.Ne2 the Indian allowed a breakthrough b6-b5. Black was slightly better, but White's next move 23.Nd4 turned out to be a grave mistake. Fabiano got a remote a-passer which he aptly used as a decoy for White's pieces to launch a deadly attack.

Andrey Esipenko tried to push on the black side of Ruy Lopez against Nils Grandelius and even sacrificed a piece, but after the Sweed's precise reaction had to assume the defensive. White got the upper hand, but being in time trouble, Nils decided not to take chances and took a draw by repetition.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda – Sam Shankland was the shortest game of the round – the opponents split a point in the middle of the opening.

Standings after Round 11: 1. Маgnus Carlsen – 7½; 2. Richard Rapport – 7; 3-4. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Anish Giri – 6½; 5-8. Vidit Gujrathi, Sergey Karjakin, Andrey Esipenko and Fabiano Caruana – 6;  9. Jorden Van Foreest – 5½; 10. Jan-Krzysztof Duda – 5; 11. Sam Shankland – 4½; 12-14. Nils Grandelius, Praggnanandhaa R. and Daniil Dubov – 3½.

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Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit and Lennart Ootes – Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2022