International Chess Federation
Monday, 29 Jan 2024 00:19
Wei Yi wins 2024 Tata Steel Masters

Wei Yi emerged as the winner of the Tata Steel Masters 2024 after beating Gukesh D in the tiebreak blitz final. This victory is the most significant achievement in the 24-year-old Chinese GM's chess career. 

Round 13 encounters Ding Liren – Ju Wenjun and Nepomniachtchi – van Forrest quickly ended in draws, while the main events unfolded in the games of the leaders. 

Praggnanandhaa R – Alireza Firouzja | ½-½, 60 moves

The opponents followed the game Praggnanandhaa – Duda (Esports Cup, 2022) in the Classical Line of Gruenfeld up to move 16, where Alireza deviated with 16…Be8. White emerged slightly better, and after exchanging most of the pieces, the opponents transitioned into a minor piece endgame in which the young Indian had the remote a-passer. At a certain point, Pragg seemed to make substantial progress, but Alireza was up to the challenge.

47…d4! The only move! With this timely pawn sacrifice, Black penetrated the kingside with his king and reached a draw after 48. Nxd4 Kd5 49. Nb5 Bg6 50. Nc3+ Kd4 51. a4 Bd3 52. a5 f5 53. Na4 Be2 54. Nc5 Kd5 55. Na4 Bf1 56. Nc5 Be2 57. a6 Bxa6 58. Nxa6 Ke4

Anish Giri – Max Warmerdam | 1-0, 41 moves

The players castled to the opposite wings in a popular line of the English opening, but White was first to launch an attack. However, Anish did not demonstrate the necessary accuracy, and Max equalized by breaking in the center. Giri ventured upon a piece sacrifice for a couple of pawns, which yielded dividends surprisingly quickly. 

Here, Black could have held his ground with 21... Qc6 22. Qh7+ Kf7 23. Rh6 Re6 but even 21…Kf8 played by Max was OK. Unfortunately, Black failed his defensive mission with several subpar moves and came under a crushing attack after 22. f5 Qf7 23. Qd6+ Kg8? (23... Qe7 24. Qf4 Be5) 24. f6 Qg6? (24... Bf5 25. fxg7 Qxg7 26. Qd5+ Qf7 27. Rh8+ Kg7) 25. Qf4 Qf5 26. Qg3 Be6 27. fxg7 Bf7 28. Rf4 Qe6 29. Qh2 Kxg7

Here, Anish delivered the final blow 32.Rxf7+! and after Qxf7 31. g6! Qe6 32. Rd7+ Qxd7 Max capitulated. 

Parham Maghsoodloo – Gukesh D | 0-1, 65 moves

Gukesh introduced a new move on the black side of a topical line of the Ragozin and obtained a comfortable position. True to his aggressive style Parham castled long, advanced his kingside pawns but could not resist temptation of a dubious knight sacrifice. 

After 16.Nxf7?! Gukesh accepted and got the upper hand, but the position remained very tense and complicated. Unsurprisingly, both made errors. 

White has just played 29.Qf4+. Gukesh had three winning continuations at his disposal, namely Kg7, Qf6 and the strongest 29…Bf5!! The Indian, however, decided to evacuate his king to the queenside and played 29…Ke6? giving his opponent a great chance to equalize with either 30.exd5 followed by 31.b3! or the immediate 30.b3! The idea behind this move is that after 31…cxb3+ 32.Kb2 White’s king is safe while Black is under attack, while 31…Rxb3 is met with 32.Na4! threatening Nc5+. 

Parham played a natural 31.Rb1 and after 30... Kd7 31. exd5 Bb7 32. Qf7 Rb8 33. d6 Qxd6 34. d5 Ba8 35. Rh8 Bxd5 36. Nxd5 Qxd5 37. Rxf8 Qe5 Black returned a piece but launched a devastating counter-attack. 

After 39..c3 40. Ke1 Rxb2 41. Rd1+ Ke6 Maghsoodloo threw in the towel. 

Wei Yi – Vidit Gujrathi | 1-0, 38 moves

Wei quickly got a very good attacking position in the Colle System after a serious inaccuracy on move 12 by Vidit.

After 12…Be7 13.Rc1 Qd8 White is just slightly better. Vidit opted for 12…Nxe4?, but after 13.Rxe4 Bb7 14. Rc1 Qb8 15. Rh4 White transferred his rook to the kingside, creating dangerous threats. Interestingly, all these moves were played almost a century ago in the game Pzepiorka – Prokes (Budapest, 1929), which White also won. After 15…f5 16.Bc4 Qe8 17.Qb3 Vidit had a last chance to put up some resistance with 17…Bxf3 18.Qxf3 Qg6, but he played 17…Kh8 and after 18.Re1 Be4 19.Bxe6 White got an overwhelming position. The rest was a smooth sail for the Chinese GM who cruised to his third straight victory and tied for first place. 

Nodirbek Abdusattorov – Alexander Donchenko | 1-0, 66 moves

Once again, Alexander played the Najdorf with g6 as Black and managed to equalize. On move 19, instead of castling, Black went for a knight sortie on g4, which White could have punished with 20.e5, but Nodirbek preferred 20.Rd5 

Alexander struck with 20…g5 and after 21. Bg3 e6 22. Rxd6 gxf4 23. Rxf4 Be5 Nodirbek was forced to sacrifice an exchange as 23.Bxf4 fails to 23…Nxh2. White got sufficient compensation, but over the next several moves, Black consolidated and emerged better. Doncheko, however, too hastily traded his dark-squared bishop for White’s knight and it was even again. 

Here, Alexander could have forced a draw with 30... Qa1+ 31. Kh2 Qe5+ 32. Kh1 (32. Bf4 Qc5 33. Qg3 Qc3) 32... Qa1+ but he snatched the c2 pawn with 30…Qxc2, which was more dangerous, although Black still could have maintained the balance with accurate play. Closer to the time control, Alexander weakened his position too much, and Nodirbek forced the transition into a won queen endgame.

After 42. Bb4! Qf7 43. Rxg7 Qxg7 44. Bd6 Kc8 45. Bxc7 Qxc7 46. Qxf6 a5 47. Qf8+ Kd7 Abdusattorov converted his decisive advantage on move 66. 

As a result, Gukesh, Abdusattov, Giri and Wei Yi scored 8.5 and tied for first place. A four-player knockout tiebreak was played with the time control 3 min +2 sec increment to determine the champion. 

Wei Yi miraculously escaped with a draw in his first game vs Nodirbek Abdusattorov and came from behind in the second one to win the first semifinal. 

Anish Giri and Gukesh D exchanged blows, both winning with the black pieces. The young Indian came out victorious in the third decisive game (this time with White) and advanced to the final. 

The first game of the final was a logical draw, while in the second one Wei gradually outplayed Gukesh in a roughly equal position and clinched the title.

Final standings Tata Steel Masters 2024


 Wei Yi






  Abdusattorov, Nodirbek



 Giri, Anish



 Firouzja, Alireza



 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi






 Nepomniachtchi, Ian



 Ding Liren




 Ju Wenjun



 Donchenko, Alexander



 Van Foreest, Jorden



 Maghsoodloo, Parham



 Warmerdam, Max



Leon Luke Mendonca wins the 2024 Tata Steel Challengers and punched his ticket to the 2025 Tata Steel Masters. Going into the final round sharing the top position with Marc Andrea Maurizzi (who led the field for the most part of the event), he scored a crucial victory over Divya Deshmukh, while his main rival drew with Erwin L’Ami.

Daniel Dardha won his game over Liam Vrolijk and caught up with Mark Andrea but became second thanks to superious tiebreaks.  

Final standings Challengers

Photos: Jurriaan Hoefsmit and Lennart Ootes – Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2024

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