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The Week in Chess

Chess News from throughout the World
  1. Carlsen beats Gawain Jones even after a "crude" blunder of a piece in Tata Steel Masters Round 8 - 8

    The 8th round of the 80th Tata Steel Masters saw a big shakeup of the leaderboard with a defeat for the leader Shakhriyar Mamedyarov allowing both his opponent Anish Giri and World Champion Magnus Carlsen to catch him. Carlsen's win was remarkable as he recovered from blundering a piece away in the opening phase.

    Mamedyarov subsided to his first loss of the tournament in a Symmetrical English where he more or less had equality out of the opening (perhaps rather than the new 12...Qd6 the known 12...Qb6 was better) but about 10 moves later he was in trouble and 10 moves after that he resigned.

    Magnus Carlsen didn't predict Gawain Jones' choice of the Dragon Sicilian in spite of the Englishman having written a book about it. Carlsen was dissatisfied with the result of his opening and after a long think he uncorked the "crude" - his word - blunder 17.g4, this just lost a piece to 17...f4. Carlsen admitted that he was lucky to have any compensation at all, but he did have some, and having nothing to lose he found a good practical chance. Jones had choices to realise his advantage but it was his 22...Qb6?! (22...g5 or Kh8 were still large advantages) that reduced it quite a bit and after 23.g5 his 23...hxg5?! (23..Bf8 or gxh5 were better) his entire advantage had gone. The further error 25...Qd8? left Carlsen with a big advantage and Jones did not resist long after that.

    Hou Yifan had quite a substantial advantage against Fabiano Caruana but it was all quite difficult and after 33.Qd2? Qh4! Caruana took the initiative and brought home the full point.

    The remaining games were all drawn. Svidler-Anand, Kramnik-So and Wei Yi-Matlakov all lasted less than 30 moves. Adhiban-Karjakin was in a Rook and Pawn ending after 26 moves where white had a pawn extra on the king side but with few winning chances and it was drawn after 43 moves.

    There was also a similar change in the leadership of Challengers Group with Anton Korobov losing while his only real rival Santosh Vidit won. The winner will surely come from one of these two players as they are two point clear of the rest of the field.

    Masters Round 8 standings: 1st= Giri, Carlsen, Mamedyarov 5.5pts 4th= Kramnik, Wesley So 5pts 6th= Anand, Karjakin 4.5pts 8th= Svidler, Matlakov 4pts 10th Jones 3.5pts 11th= Wei Yi, Caruana 3pts 13th Adhiban 2pts 14th Hou Yifan 1pt

    Rest Day Monday 22nd January 2018.

    Masters Round 9 Pairings Tuesday 23rd January 2018 12:30 GMT: Jones-Hou Yifan, Anand-Carlsen, Wesley So-Svidler, Mamedyarov-Kramnik, Matlakov-Giri, Karjakin-Wei Yi, Caruana-Adhiban.

  2. Mamedyarov increases his Tata Steel Masters lead to a point after 3rd win in a row - 7

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won his third game in a row beating Wei Yi in the 7th round of the 80th Tata Steel Masters. Mamedyarov grabbed a pawn in a Catalan but Wei Yi as black had sufficient compensation. However Wei Yi's 19...Rfc8 (19...g5 safeguarding the bishop was needed) was an error after which he was just a pawn down for nothing and lost quickly.

    Vladimir Kramnik beat Viswanathan Anand in a smooth easy performance that left the winner surprised. 10.h3? was already an error probably overlooking that 10....g5 11. Bg3 Nh5 12. Nxe5? Nxg3 13. Nxc6 fails for a couple of reasons (Qxf6 or Bxf2+). Kramnik was unsure whether Anand forgot this or didn't know it in the first place but after this black was better and white's position was already harder to play, slowly but surely Kramnik improved his position for a very comfortable win. They first played in 1989 and this either equalised the players' classical score or put Kramnik one up.

    Magnus Carlsen seemed relieved to beat a struggling Hou Yifan with a last gasp win. Carlsen felt he built up quite a significant advantage but was dissatisfied with his exchange sacrifice idea which he felt in retrospect wasn't the best decision. Carlsen pressed for a long time but it was only after the error 50...d5? that he had the win.

    Sergey Karjakin beat Fabiano Caruana after the latter made a very strange oversight just leaving a pawn to be taken after 17...Qe7 18.Bxb7. It took Karjakin a bit of time to convert but the result wasn't much in doubt.

    Gawain Jones ended up being a bit worse against Peter Svidler but after 27...fxe4 (27...f4!?) the position equalised and the game was drawn. Wesley So was a tiny bit better against Anish Giri but the game finished in a draw. Maxim Matlakov was better throughout against Baskaran Adhiban but he couldn't increase his advantage enough to win.

    Anton Korobov maintained his 1pt lead over Santosh Vidit after both drew in round 7.

    Round 7 Standings: 1st Mamedyarov 5.5/7pts, 2nd= Giri, Kramnik, Wesley So, Carlsen 4.5pts 6th= Karjakin, Anand 4pts 8th= Jones, Matlakov, Svidler 3.5pts 11th Wei Yi 2.5pts 12th Caruana 2pts 13th Adhiban 1.5pts 14th Hou Yifan 1pt

    Round 8 Pairings Sunday 21st Jan 2018 12:30pm GMT: Hou Yifan-Caruana, Adhiban-Karjakin, Wei Yi-Matlakov, Giri-Mamedyarov, Kramnik- Wesley So, Svidler-Anand, Carlsen-Jones.

  3. Mamedyarov takes the sole lead of the Tata Steel Masters after 6 rounds - 6

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov leads the 80th Tata Steel Masters after a second consecutive win. Mamedyarov defeated Baskaran Adhiban in a long game which was sharp but balanced for the most part. 41.Qd2? (41.Qxb5) was a huge gamble which left Mamedyarov objectively lost, after Adhiban's 45.Be3 (45.Re3!) the position was balanced again. Later after the mistake 59.Rxf3?! Mamedyarov quickly obtained a decisive advantage.

    The other winner in the Masters was Wesley So who was being beaten by Wei Yi until he found an amazing resource which completely turned the tables. That said, Wei Yi consistently gets into time trouble, and probably should stop doing it, as it was definitely a contributing factor here. 26.Rd4?! lost Wei Yi his advantage as the rook fell with check in a key variation a few moves later.

    The remaining games were drawn. Peter Svidler admitted that his opening went somewhat wrong but this led to a very sharp and interesting struggle with Magnus Carlsen which finished in perpetual check. Hou Yifan vs Karjakin was a variation of the Caro-Kann recommended in Vidit's video series and didn't depart much from equality. Kramnik was close to winning against Gawain Jones out of the opening but a few inaccurate moves lost all of this edge and the game was drawn. Caruana and Matlakov drew a theoretical debate in the Ruy Lopez. Anti-Marshall. There was a similar theoretical story in the Catalan between Giri and Anand.

    Anton Korobov was the only winner in the B-Group beating Aryan Tari and extending his lead to a point.

    Round 6 Masters Standings: 1st Mamedyarov 4.5pts/6 2nd= Giri, Anand, So 4pts 5th= Kramnik, Carlsen 3.5pts 7th= Karjakin, Matlakov, Jones, Svidler 3pts 11th Wei Yi 2.5pts 12th Caruana 2pts 13th= Adhiban, Hou Yifan 1pts

    Round 7 Sat 20th Jan 12:30GMT Pairings: Carlsen-Hou Yifan, Jones-Svidler, Anand-Kramnik, So-Giri, Mamedyarov-Wei Yi, Matlakov-Adhiban, Karjakin-Caruana.

  4. PRO Chess League 2018 - Games and Results

    The PRO Chess League is a rapid chess tournament taking place on the website 18th January to 8th April 2018. 32 city based teams from throughout the world start in four groups. Play day is generally Wednesday. The first round was changed to fit in with Wijk aan Zee. There are four players per team and they play each member of the opposition once (although substitutes are allowed) for a total of four games. The final four play in a decider on the weekend of 7th-8th March. Time control 15 minutes plus 2 seconds a move. Leading players: Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, etc.

    Live video commentary on the website.

  5. Giri, Anand and Mameyarov lead the Tata Steel Master after five rounds - 5

    The 80th Tata Steel Masters visited the "Beeld en Geluid" in Hilversum for the fifth round. This is the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and the players were greeted by members of the Sesame Street cast of which there is a Dutch version.

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov joined the leaders by beating Fabiano Caruana. Caruana needed to find a series of accurate moves (28...h6 29.Rd4 f5=) instead after 28...Qc6 he lost a pawn and this was decisive. Peter Svidler needed two bites at the cherry to defeat a struggling Hou Yifan. Hou blundered badly with 20...Bd7? but Svidler allowed her right back into the game after not playing 22.Nc8 Ne6 23.Ng5 winning. 38.d3? was a decisive blunder in mutual time trouble. Wesley So ground down Baskaran Adhiban but was perhaps somewhat lucky as the decisive blunder almost within sight of the draw was 71.Kd8? (71.Kd6=).

    Magnus Carlsen achieved nothing with white against Vladimir Kramnik who looked the better prepared, eventually Carlsen slipped to being worse and bailed out into a drawn endgaame where he had to suffer a little bit. Gawain Jones played the Panov attack against Anish Giri's Caro-Kann but this merely led to simplification and a draw he probably wanted. Viswanathan Anand found a hole in his preparation against Wei Yi's Petroff on the way to the venue. He decided to play the line anyway as a bluff and Wei Yi played all the way down the problem line to a comfortable draw. Maxim Matlakov and Sergey Karjakin played an uneventful draw.

    Round 5 standings: 1st= Giri, Anand, Mamedyarov 3.5pts 4th= Kramnik, Carlsen, Wesley So 3pts 7th= Karjakin, Wei Yi, Matlakov, Jones, Svidler 2.5pts 12th Caruana 1.5pts 13th Adhiban 1pt 14th Hou Yifan 0.5pts

    Rest day Thursday 18th Jan.

    Round 6 pairings Friday 19th Jan 2018 12:30pm Hou Yifan-Karjakin, Caruana-Matlakov, Adhiban-Mamedyarov, Wei Yi-Wesley So, Giri-Anand, Kramnik-Jones, Svidler-Carlsen.

  6. Giri and Anand share the lead after Tata Steel Masters Round 4 - 4

    Anish Giri and Viswanathan Anand both drew in Round 4 of the 80th Tata Steel Masters in Wijk aan Zee.

    Giri said after the game he predicted Carlsen's choice of the Winawer French but not the right variation. He was pleased to recall as much of the theory as he did but the game stayed more or less dynamically equal throughout. Adhiban drew with white against an under the weather Viswanathan Anand. Adhiban was better for a while but after 21...Qc8 which he missed he was the one seeking a draw. Gawain Jones lost a sharp King's Indian to Wei Yi. Jones missed the power of the resource 26.Rg5 and his position collapsed.

    Vladimir Kramnik continued a fine run of wins against Peter Svidler with white in Wijk aan Zee. Svidler was about equal out of the opening but still was the one under pressure. 18...Rc7?! (Bxe5 is better) was the result of a miscalulation in a long line and after having to settle for 19.Rxa7 Rb8 black didn't last long.

    Wesley So was in a real mess with black against Fabiano Caruana after the poor 21...Nfg8 (Rfd8) but continue to resist. Caruana missed many chances in a winning position (34.Qh8 or 37.Rd6 for instance) but after 37.Bg5 So was out of the woods. So's 40...d2 presented Caruana with a final chance but after 41.Rf1?! (41.Rd1!) the game finiahed in a draw.

    Karjakin vs Mamedyarov was a fairly dull Petroff. Hou Yifan drifted into trouble against Maxim Matlakov (27.Nf1 was dynamic equality) and after giving up the exchange was much worse. Hou Yifan did fight well but 46.Ke5? was the decisive error (46.Kd3 and the game goes on) after which Matlakov converted.

    Vidit and Korobov lead the B-Group on 3.5/4.

    Round 4 Standings: 1st= Anand, Giri 3pts 3rd= Carlsen, Kramnik, Mamedyarov 2.5pts 6th= Karjakin, So, Wei Yi, Matlakov, Jones 2pts 11th= Caruana, Svidler 1.5pts 13th Adhiban 1pt 14th Hou Yifan 0.5pts

    Round 5 Wed 17th Jan 2018 1pm GMT in Hilversum: Svidler-Hou Yifan, Carlsen-Kramnik, Jones-Giri, Anand-Wei Yi, Wesley So-Adhiban, Mamedyarov-Caruana, Matlakov-Karjakin.

  7. Anand and Gawain Jones win in Tata Steel Masters Round 3 - 3

    Viswanathan Anand joined Anish Giri in the lead after defeating Fabiano Caruana in the 3rd round of the 80th Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee. This is, by his own reckoning, Anand's 18th appearance in Wijk aan Zee and he is seeking a record breaking 6th win. Anand with white was unsure what Caruana had in mind in a well known variation of the Petroff, he was confronted with 12...Nc7 which was a novelty and 13...Bg6, a very dangerous piece sacrifice. Anand managed to avoid the position becoming a complete mess and obtained two minor pieces for rook and pawn the evaluation remained about equal. Then it was Caruana who started to drift and then blundered with 28...axb4. Caruana bet on activity and a possible perpetual check that turned out not to be there. Anand grabbed a pawn, consolidated his position and finished with a lovely queen offer.

    The other winner of the day was bottom seed Gawain Jones, he beat Adhiban in a Tarrasch French. Jones is on +1 in spite of a hard start to the tournament.

    Magnus Carlsen didn't talk to the press after a quick draw against Wei Yi. Carlsen's opening with white was a failure and there was sterile equality after just 14 moves.

    The leader Anish Giri also drew quickly, with black against Peter Svidler, Giri has white vs Carlsen tomorrow. The remaining games were also drawn, So-Karjakin and Mamedyarov-Matlakov weren't especially interesting but Kramnik looked to have a nice edge vs Hou Yifan before 25.c5?! (Qxe4 wss better) 25...Nc4! proved to be just equal and there was a draw by repetition immediately after.

    Santosh Gujrathi Vidit and Anton Korobov lead the Challengers with 2.5/3.

    Masters Round 3 standings: 1st= Anand, Giri 2.5pts 3rd= Mamedyarov, Jones, Carlsen 2pts 6th= Karjakin, So, Svidler, Kramnik 1.5pts 10th= Caruana, Wei Yi, Matlakov 1pts 13th= Hou Yifan, Adhiban 0.5pts

    Masters Round 4 - Tues 16th Jan 12:30GMT: Hou Yifan-Matlakov, Karjakin-Mamedyarov, Caruana- Wesley So, Adhiban-Anand, Wei Yi-Jones, Giri-Carlsen, Kramnik-Svidler

  8. Anish Giri leads the Tata Steel Masters with 2 out of 2 - 2

    Anish Giri defeated Vladimir Kramnik in the second round of the 80th Tata Steel Chess tournament. Giri won in a confusing game where Kramnik miscalculated starting with 26...Rxc3 (26...Rd6=) perhaps he didn't see until too late that his rook had no squares after 30...Bb4, he resigned shortly afterwards.

    Magnus Carlsen scored his first win of the tournament when he out played Baskaran Adhiban from a very unpromising looking endgame with black. 25.Bf3?! was the start of white's troubles and after 26.a5 Bxc2 the game was already pretty much over. Adhiban must have thought his a-pawn was fast but it wasn't.

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov steadily outplayed Hou Yifan on the black side of an Exchange Winawer French Defence. After first time control looked like Wei Yi would beat Peter Svidler and Fabiano Caruana would beat Gawain Jones but both players with the black pieces managed to hang on to draw. Matlakov-So and Karjakin-Anand saw piece exchanges and early draws.

    There is a four way tie on 1.5/2 in the B-Group with Jorden van Foreest, Dmitry Gordievsky, Santosh Vidit and Anton Korobov.

    Round 2 Standings: 1st Giri 2pts 2nd= Carlsen, Anand, Mamedyarov 1.5pts 5th= Caruana, Karjakin, Wesley So, Jones, Kramnik, Svidler 1pt 11th= Wei Yi, Matlakov, Adhiban 0.5pts 14th Hou Yifan 0pts

    Round 3 pairings Monday 15th Jan 2018 12:30pm GMT: Kramnik-Hou Yifan, Svidler-Giri, Carlsen-Wei Yi, Jones-Adhiban, Anand-Caruana, Wesley So-Karjakin, Mamedyarov-Matlakov

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