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Tata Steel 2023 R7: Abdusattorov increases his lead, Praggnanandhaa in pursuit

by Shahid Ahmed - 22/01/2023

As a fan of the sport, one could not have asked for a better day at the Tata Steel Chess 2023. The seventh round witnessed the maximum number of decisive games in both Masters and Challengers section. Nodirbek Abdusattorov defeated Arjun Erigaisi to increase his sole lead by a full point 5.5/7. R Praggnanandhaa and Wesley So won their respective games to join Anish Giri and Fabiano Caruana at 4.5/7 each. Magnus Carlsen got back to winning ways by defeating Richard Rapport. IM Vaishali beat her second consecutive GM of the event, Brazil no.1 Luis Paulo Supi. Round 8 for both Masters and Challengers section starts today at 6:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Extreme decisive day

A total of ten out of 14 games, combining both Masters and Challengers section, ended decisively. Three in the Masters and only one in the Challengers section had a draw. GM Alexander Donchenko (GER) beat the coleader GM Mustafa Yilmaz (TUR) to emerge as the new sole leader in the Challengers section 5.5/7.

GM R Praggnanandhaa moves to shared second place with a win over GM Jorden van Foreest (NED) | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Arjun - Abdusattorov: 0-1

Arjun Erigaisi (2722) continued his play of exciting chess in this event. He played aggressively and advanced his kingside pawns. According to his opponent, Nodirbek Abdusattorov (UZB, 2713), White had to play 17.h4 when he went 17.Qc2.


Position after 16...Bg6

Now was the right time to go h4, but White opted 17.Qc2. Abdusattorov immediately spotted Qa6, having the idea of d3. He was not sure how to continue after 17.h4. Black's only play was to create some counterplay at the center of the board, hence he created a passed pawn on the d-file. 17...Rd8 18.h4 Qa6 19.cxd4 cxd4 20.Qb3 d3 21.h5 Bxf5 22.gxf5 Nd4 23.Nxd4 Rxd4 24.Bg3 d2 25.Re3 and now Black played Qh6 after ten minutes of thinking. White could have still continued the fight with 26.Rd3. However, the position was quite complicated and 26.Qxb7 Bg5 turned the tide in Black's favor and he went on to win the game.

Fourth win for Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Video: Tata Steel Chess Tournament

Nodirbek Abdusattorov (UZB) defeated Arjun Erigaisi convincingly | Photo:Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Praggnanandhaa - Jorden: 1-0

Jorden van Foreest (NED, 2681) made a surprising decision to sacrifice his pawn early 10...b4 for almost little to no compensation. R Praggnanandhaa (2684) was not expecting his opponent to play 4...Bf5 line in the Slav Defence.

Position after 15...e4

Praggnanandhaa thought that 15...e4 was a very bad move by Black which stopped all counterplay possibilities. Afterwards, White had an easy play to go for b4-idea 16.Ne1 Bg4 17.Rdb1 Qc7 18.h3 Bxe2 19.Nxe2 Qa7 20.b4. White consumed a lot of time and it cost him a few hours of play as mentioned by him in the post-game interview.

Praggnanandhaa wins against Jorden van Foreest in Round 7 | Video: Tata Steel Chess Tournament
Praggnanandhaa beats Jorden van Foreest, reaches a live rating of 2698.6 | Video: ChessBase India

Praggnannandhaa avenged his last year's loss against Jorden van Foreest (NED) at the same event | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Gukesh - So: 0-1

Exchanging pieces is the best way to reduce the intensity of opponent's attack. D Gukesh (2725) should have traded his bishop for the knight at f4 at the first opportunity he got. As his opponent, Wesley So (2760) said, 16 moves in five minutes at this event is certainly not going to be an easy task.

Position after 27...Nf4

28.Bxf4 exf4 29.c4 would have been fine for White. However, 28.Rd2 Qd5 just abandoned all hope for White to fight back.

Two in-a-row for Wesley So | Video: Tata Steel Chess Tournament

D Gukesh is having a tough event | Photo: Lennart Ootes/ Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023
Magnus Carlsen gets back to winning ways | Video: Tata Steel Chess Tournament

When the artist Richard Rapport is playing, you can almost always expect him to make things interesting | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Vaishali - Supi: 1-0

IM Vaishali R (2425) registered her second consecutive victory. Her opponent, Brazil no.1 GM Luis Paulo Supi (2608) made a thematic exchange sacrifice in the Sicilian Najdorf. However, he was unable to get things going. Eventually a blunder before the first time control ended cost him the game in an already dwindling position.

Position after 35...Bh4

35...Bf6 would have still kept the game going. 36...Bh4 immediately ends the game after 37.Nxg6.

Vaishali wins her second game in-a-row | Video: Tata Steel Chess Tournament

After beating two GMs in-a-row, IM Vaishali is now on a hat-trick | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/ Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

GM Alexander Donchenko (GER) defeated coleader GM Mustafa Yilmaz (TUR) to gain sole lead | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/ Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

The current world champion checking the game of the next world champion? | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/ Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Erwin - Max, Round 6

Position after 29.Rh8+!!

It would be a remiss if I do not mention a fantastic finish by the reigning Netherlands champion, GM Erwin l'Ami (2627) against the previous champion, GM Max Warmerdam (2616) in the previous round six. What's the best way to finish off a game with a beautiful tactic? Doing it against someone who likes to play sharp chess himself.

Erwin l'Ami scores a fantastic combination against Max Warmerdam | Video: Tata Steel Chess Tournnament
85th Tata Steel Chess 2023 Round 7 Live Commentary by IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 7 Masters games

Replay Round 7 Challengers games

Round 7 results

Five out of seven games ended decisively in Masters Round 7 | Photo: Tata Steel Chess

Six games had decisive results and only one ended in a draw | Photo: Tata Steel Chess

Round 8 pairings

Masters Round 8 pairings | Photo: Official site

Challengers Round 8 pairings | Photo: Official site

Standings after Round 7

Nodirbek Abdusattorov maintains his sole lead 5.5/7 | Photo: Official site

Donchenko defeated Mustafa to gain sole lead 5.5/7 | Photo: Official site


Starting from Saturday, 14th January, all round starts at 6:30 p.m. IST, only Sunday 29th January, the final round will start at 4:30 p.m. IST. Rest days are - 18th (Masters), 19th (Challengers), 23rd and 26th January.

Time Control

100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move.


Official site

Tournament regulations

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