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Tata Steel01: Adhiban misses his chance; Hari draws against Aronian

by Sagar Shah - 15/01/2017

The first round of the Tata Steel Masters 2017 began on Saturday with some exciting chess. Adhiban had clear winning chances against Loek van Wely, but couldn't convert it into a full point. Harikrishna, on the other hand, had a pretty dull draw against Levon Aronian in the theoretical lines of the Marshall. On Sunday, Adhiban and Harikrishna will face off against each other. We have a detailed round one report with excellent pictures by Alina L'Ami. 

Pictures by Alina L'Ami

The Tata Steel Masters 2017 kicked off on Saturday. 14 players in the Master group, 14 in the challengers and over 2000 amateur players gathered at the venue to make it an extra-ordinary chess atmosphere.

The classy playing hall where all that separates amateurs from Challengers and Masters is a small barricade

The seven boards each of the Master and Challengers section

Adhiban was up against Loek van Wely in the first round

Adhiban went for the Alapin Variation in the Sicilian

White has a comfortable development advantage in the position

White is a pawn up and King Loek has no real compensation

Adhiban wasn't able to play in the most accurate manner and the Dutch grandmaster somehow held on to dear life and wriggled out with the half point. Although it was not the best of results for Adhiban he was positive about it. He wrote on his Facebook page: "Nice way to kick start the event! I missed many chances but was clearly in control, which I am happy about!"

[Event "79th Tata Steel GpA"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
[Date "2017.01.14"]
[Round "1.4"]
[White "Adhiban, Baskaran"]
[Black "Van Wely, Loek"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B22"]
[WhiteElo "2653"]
[BlackElo "2695"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "121"]
[EventDate "2017.01.14"]
1. e4 c5 2. c3 $5 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 e6 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Na3 Qd8 {This same
line was used by Carlsen in his game against David Smerdon in Baku Olympiad
2016. The game ended in a draw.} 7. Nc4 Be7 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. O-O O-O 10. Bf4 $14
{White has free flowing development and is surely slightly better.} b6 11. Nd6
Nh5 12. Be5 $1 (12. Nxc8 Nxf4 13. Nxe7+ Qxe7 $11) 12... Nxe5 13. dxe5 $14 {
The knight on h5 is offside and d6 pawn doesn't hang because of Bxh7 tricks.}
Bxd6 14. exd6 Bb7 15. Re1 (15. Ne5 $6 Nf4 $15) 15... Nf6 $2 (15... g6 $14 {
The position is under control for Black.}) 16. Ne5 $1 {The knight joins into
the party.} g6 17. Bb5 (17. Bc2 $16) 17... Qc8 (17... Ne4 $1 18. Nd7 $5 a6 (
18... Re8 19. Ba4 a6 20. Ne5 Rf8 21. f3 Nxd6 22. Nd7 $16) 19. Ba4 b5 20. Nxf8
bxa4 21. Nxe6 fxe6 22. Qg4 $14) 18. Qa4 a6 19. Bf1 b5 20. Qh4 Qd8 21. Rad1 $16
{White has everything is place and is clearly for choice.} Kg7 (21... Nd5 22.
Qh6 Qxd6 23. Rd3 {is a dangerous attack brewing up.}) 22. a4 c4 23. axb5 axb5
24. b3 $1 cxb3 25. Bxb5 Nd5 26. Qd4 Qf6 27. c4 $6 (27. Rb1 Ra3 28. g3 $16 {
And White is just clearly better.}) 27... Nf4 28. Bc6 Bxc6 29. Nxc6 Qxd4 30.
Nxd4 {Black has minimized the damage but is still clearly worse.} b2 31. g3 e5
32. Nb5 Ne6 33. Rb1 (33. Rxe5 Ra1 34. Ree1 Rfa8 $132) 33... Rfc8 $2 (33... Nc5
$1 34. Red1 (34. Rxe5 Ra1 35. Ree1 Rfa8 36. Kg2 Nd3 37. Red1 Rxb1 38. Rxb1 Kf6
$15) 34... Na4 $15) 34. Rxb2 Rxc4 35. Rxe5 {White is a pawn up and Black has
no real compensation.} Ra1+ 36. Kg2 Rd1 37. h4 h5 38. Ree2 Rc5 39. Rec2 Re5 $2
(39... Rxc2 40. Rxc2 Nd4 41. Nxd4 Rxd4 42. Rc6 Kf6 $11) 40. Nc7 $1 Ree1 (40...
Rxd6 41. Ne8+ $18) 41. Rd2 Nd8 42. Nd5 Nc6 43. Ne3 (43. Nc3 $5) 43... Rg1+ 44.
Kf3 Rxd2 45. Rxd2 Kf6 46. Nd5+ (46. Nc4 Ke6 47. d7 Ke7 48. Kf4 Nd8 49. Kg5 Ne6+
50. Kh6 $16 {White is clearly pushing.}) 46... Ke6 47. Nf4+ Kd7 48. Nd3 Nd8 (
48... Kxd6 49. Nb4+ Kc5 50. Rc2+ Kxb4 51. Rxc6 $16) 49. Nc5+ Kc6 50. Ne4 Kd7
51. Nc5+ Kc6 52. Ne4 Kd7 53. Ra2 (53. Nf6+ Ke6 54. Nh7 $5) 53... Nc6 54. Rb2 f5
55. Rb7+ Ke6 56. Ng5+ Kxd6 57. Kf4 Rf1 {Black has limited the damage.} 58. Nf7+
Ke6 59. Ng5+ Kd6 60. Nf7+ Ke6 61. Ng5+ 1/2-1/2


Adhiban has his Master look in place!

Harikrishna with the white pieces had a theoretical discussion with Levon Aronian, but the game ended in a draw
[Event "79th Tata Steel GpA"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
[Date "2017.01.14"]
[Round "1.3"]
[White "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C89"]
[WhiteElo "2766"]
[BlackElo "2780"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2017.01.14"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3
d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d3 {This move is not replacing
the move 12.d4 in the Marshall for White to try for an advantage.} Bd6 13. Re1
Bf5 14. Qf3 Qh4 15. g3 Qh3 16. Be3 Bxd3 17. Nd2 Qf5 18. Bd4 Rfe8 19. a4 h6 20.
Kg2 Qxf3+ (20... Kf8 {was Aronian's choice against Caruana when he lost that
game.}) 21. Nxf3 Bf5 {The first new move of the game.} (21... Rac8 22. axb5
axb5 23. Nd2 (23. Kg1 Bf5 24. Ra6 Rxe1+ 25. Nxe1 Be6 26. Nd3 Bf8 27. Bc5 Bf5
$11 {1/2-1/2 (41) Leko,P (2708)-Svidler,P (2745) Reykjavik 2015}) 23... Rxe1
24. Rxe1 c5 25. Bxd5 cxd4 26. cxd4 Bb4 27. Re3 Bxd2 28. Rxd3 $16 {1-0 (51)
Saric,I (2650)-Brkic,A (2584) Mali Losinj 2016}) 22. Be5 Bc5 23. Nd4 Bd7 24.
axb5 axb5 25. Rxa8 Rxa8 26. Nxb5 $1 {White wins a pawn, but this is not going
to be enough.} Be6 27. Nd4 Bxd4 28. Bxd4 Nf4+ 29. gxf4 Bxb3 {Although this is
definitely a pleasant position for White, it is impossible to convert. The
game ended in a draw after a few moves.} 30. Kg3 f6 31. h4 h5 32. Bc5 Rd8 33.
Bd4 Ra8 34. f3 Ra2 35. Re8+ Kh7 36. Re7 Kg8 37. Re2 Kh7 38. Re7 Kg8 39. Rb7
Rxb2 40. Rb6 Kh7 41. Rxc6 Rd2 42. Rc5 Kg6 43. f5+ Kh7 44. Rc7 Kg8 45. Rc8+ Kh7
46. Rd8 Rc2 47. Rd7 Kg8 48. Rd8+ Kh7 49. Rd7 1/2-1/2


To give you a better feel for this opening, here is the game annotated by Fabiano Caruana for CBM 159 when he won against Levon Aronian with the white pieces. Usually following the commentary of these top GMs helps you to get a better idea of what's going on.

[Event "Zuerich Chess Challenge"]
[Site "Zuerich"]
[Date "2014.02.03"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C89"]
[WhiteElo "2782"]
[BlackElo "2812"]
[Annotator "Caruana,F"]
[PlyCount "131"]
[EventDate "2014.01.30"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "5"]
[EventCountry "SUI"]
[EventCategory "22"]
[SourceTitle "CBM 159"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.17"]
{Before this game, the tournament hadn't been going well for me. I had missed
a lot of chances and the previous day I had lost a terrible game to Carlsen.
But unless you're stranded in the Indian Ocean, all is not lost!} 1. e4 e5 2.
Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O {The Marshall has
been one of the toughest nuts to crack in modern chess. Players (myself
included) have tried nearly every move here, but for this game I decided to
play the most principled.} 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12.
d3 Bd6 13. Re1 Bf5 14. Qf3 Qh4 ({Last year Kasimdzhanov played} 14... Qf6 {
against me, but I also got a slight advantage there.}) 15. g3 Qh3 16. Be3 {
Not a new move, but a rare one. Levon had faced this before, and easily held a
draw, but I felt that Black would still have some problems to solve.} (16. Bxd5
cxd5 17. Qxd5 {is the main line, with an enormous body of theory.}) 16... Bxd3
17. Nd2 Qf5 18. Bd4 {Ivanchuk opted for the queen trade right away, which
makes less sense to me.} Rfe8 19. a4 h6 {A slightly mysterious move, which
Levon played very quickly. I wasn't surprised, because it's the first line of
Houdini and one of the moves I had checked} ({Neither side wants to release
the tension by trading queens. For example,} 19... Qxf3 $6 20. Nxf3 {would
give White an advantage because a knight or bishop can land on e5.}) 20. Kg2 {
Just a useful waiting move.} Kf8 {This came as a surprise to me.} ({If Black
tries to force matters, for instance with} 20... b4 {, he might become worse:}
21. c4 c5 22. Qxd5 Qxd5+ 23. cxd5 cxd4 24. Nc4 Bxc4 25. Bxc4 {, and rather
instructively, this ending is extremely unpleasant for Black, mainly because
his pawn is on b4, which leaves the bishop on d6 obstructed and vulnerable to
Rc6.}) 21. Rxe8+ Rxe8 22. axb5 axb5 23. Qxf5 {Too compliant. I spent a lot of
time on these moves, because I felt it was the critical moment, but I couldn't
find a clear path to an advantage.} (23. Ra6 $1 {, my first intention, was the
right way:} Ne7 24. Bd1 $1 {A very important move, which I saw, but rejected
based on} Qg6 {, overlooking that I can continue chasing the queen:} 25. Qg4 $1
{, and White's advantage becomes obvious.}) 23... Bxf5 24. Bxd5 cxd5 25. Ra6 {
White's advantage looks minuscule, but I remember analysing similar positions
and concluding that there are some dangers for Black.} Be7 $6 {This doesn't
look entirely accurate.} (25... Re2 $1 {was the best move and the one I
expected during the game.} 26. Rxd6 (26. Be3 Ke7 27. Ra1 {traps the rook, but
it can never be won because ...Bd3 defends everything.}) ({I don't recommend
the shameless pawn grab with} 26. Nf3 Ke7 27. Bxg7 Be4) 26... Rxd2 27. b4 {
I thought White would have an advantage here, but it turns out Black gets
counterplay against my king.} Be4+ 28. Kh3 f5 $3 {An incredibly strong move,
courtesy of Houdini.} 29. Rg6 (29. Rb6 g5 30. Rxh6 Bd3 31. Kg2 Be4+ {is a draw}
) (29. Rd8+ Ke7 30. Rh8 Kf7 31. Rh7 Rxd4 32. cxd4 Kg8 {is a funny line. If you
didn't know the previous moves it would be hard to figure out how the rook got
to h7!}) 29... Rd1 $1 {Getting the rook out of the attack from Bxh6. Now White
can't capture on g7 and} (29... f4 30. Rb6) 30. Rb6 g5 {again leads to a draw.}
) 26. Nf1 ({The machine shows its weakness here, preferring} 26. Rb6 Bg5 27.
Nf3 Be4 28. Rxb5 {, which wins a pawn but allows an eternal pin on the knight.
I was worried I might get worse here.}) 26... b4 {Naturally Black takes his
chance to trade off his weak b-pawn. Nevertheless, White keeps some advantage.}
27. Ne3 Bd3 (27... Be6 28. f4 {, and White can start to expand on the kingside.
Black has no counterplay.}) 28. Ra5 bxc3 29. bxc3 Bd8 {Levon was very upset
about this move after the game. Although it's not very accurate, I don't think
it was the main cause for Black's defeat.} 30. Ra8 f6 31. f3 Be7 32. Ra7 Bd6
33. Rd7 Ba3 34. Rxd5 Kg8 35. h4 Bc1 36. Ng4 ({I felt my chances to win
wouldn't be so high if I allowed the trade.} 36. Kf2 Bxe3+ 37. Bxe3 Bc4 38. Rc5
Be6 {looks very drawish.}) 36... Bc4 37. Rc5 Be6 ({It made more sense to get
the rook to the 2nd immediately:} 37... Re2+ 38. Nf2 (38. Kf1 Ba6) 38... Be6)
38. Nf2 Ra8 39. g4 Ra2 $2 {This move, made extremely quickly, shocked me.
Levon started to play poorly over the next few moves, despite the fact that
his position is perfectly fine.} (39... Bf4 $1 {, preventing Kg3, was
necessary.} 40. Nd3 Ra2+ 41. Bf2 Be3 42. Rc6 (42. Rc7 Rd2) 42... Bd7 43. Rc7
Rd2 44. Rxd7 Bxf2 45. Kh3 Be3 {, and Black gets enough counterplay to make a
draw.}) 40. Kg3 {Suddenly, my king is free and Black is in serious trouble.
The bishop on c1 is especially poorly placed.} Ra6 41. Rc7 {A strong move,
which prepares Bc5 in case of ...Ba3.} Bd2 (41... Ba3 42. Bc5 Bb2 43. Bb4 $1 {
, and again it's hard for Black to get his bishop out.}) 42. Ne4 Be1+ 43. Bf2 {
I was very happy to get rid of Black's bishop pair.} Bxf2+ 44. Kxf2 Ra2+ $6 {
For better or worse, Black had to take his chances with 44...f5, because in
the game he goes down without a fight.} (44... f5 45. Nc5 Rd6 46. Nxe6 (46. g5
hxg5 47. hxg5 f4 {is not what I want.}) 46... Rxe6 47. gxf5 Re5 {, and here
White has to decide whether or not to take a move to damage Black's pawns with
48.f6 or start pushing with 48.c4. Both ways offer good winning chances but I
couldn't find a clear-cut path to victory.}) 45. Kg3 Rc2 ({Now} 45... f5 46.
Nc5 {just wins.}) 46. Kf4 Ra2 47. h5 {I've achieved a bind and stopped ...f5.
Now all that remains is to push the c-pawn.} Ra5 {At first, I wasn't entirely
sure how to proceed here, but then I saw a very attractive idea and got
excited.} 48. Nc5 Bd5 49. Rc8+ Kf7 {Perhaps Levon thought I just wanted to
repeat the position, because he seemed surprised by my next move.} (49... Kh7 {
has the benefit of not losing on the spot, but that's where the good news ends.
} 50. Nd7 g5+ 51. Ke3 (51. hxg6+ Kxg6 52. Rc7 {threatens Nf8# and is also very
strong.}) 51... Kg7 52. Rc7 {, and Black won't survive for long.}) 50. c4 {
The point. Now it's very easy, although I manged to prolong the game a bit
more than was necessary.} Ba8 (50... Bxc4 51. Nb7 {wins a piece.}) 51. Rc7+ Kg8
52. Ne6 Ra3 53. Rxg7+ Kh8 54. Kf5 Bxf3 55. Rg6 Be2 56. Rxh6+ Kg8 57. Rg6+ Kh8
58. Rxf6 Rf3+ 59. Nf4 Bxc4 60. Kg5 Kg8 61. Kh6 Ra3 62. g5 Ra7 63. g6 Rc7 64.
Nh3 Rc8 65. Ng5 Rd8 66. Nh7 1-0



The game between Wesley So and Magnus Carlsen was an uninspiring draw
Getting White against Loek is a waste of white pieces!
The power couple Anish Giri and Sopiko Guramishvili playing in the Masters and Challengers section respectively
Naturally Anish was more worried about his wife's game than his own
Lu Shanglei could manage only a draw against Sopiko
Anish had absolutely no problems against Karjakin's 6.a3 in the Najdorf
"Daniel is three months old, but he still doesn't have a good understanding of the Sicilian!" Typical Anish Giri humour!
Pavel Eljanov scored the only win of the first round in the Master's section against Richard Rapport
[Event "79th Tata Steel GpA"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
[Date "2017.01.14"]
[Round "1.5"]
[White "Eljanov, Pavel"]
[Black "Rapport, Richard"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A04"]
[WhiteElo "2755"]
[BlackElo "2702"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2017.01.14"]

1. Nf3 e6 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. c4 g5 5. d3 h6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. h4 g4 8. Nd2 d6
9. e3 f5 10. Nb3 Nge7 11. d4 b6 12. O-O O-O 13. Qe2 e5 14. Rd1 cxd4 15. Nd5 d3
16. Qxd3 e4 17. Nxe7+ Nxe7 18. Qc2 Ba6 19. Nd4 Qd7 20. b3 Nc6 21. Bb2 Ne5 22.
Ne2 Nd3 23. Bxg7 Qxg7 24. Nd4 Rae8 25. Rxd3 exd3 26. Qxd3 Bb7 27. Bxb7 Qxb7 28.
Ne2 Rf6 29. Nf4 Qe4 30. Qd2 Rc8 31. a4 Rc5 32. Rd1 Qf3 33. Nd5 Rf7 34. Qc2 a6
35. Nxb6 Qe4 36. Qc3 Qe5 37. Rd4 a5 38. Qd3 Rc6 39. Nd5 Kg7 40. Nc3 Rf6 41. Rd5

Daniel King analyzes the game between Eljanov and Rapport

Dmitry Andreikin drew his game against Wei Yi
Ian Nepomniachtchi drew his game against Radoslaw Wojtaszek

Masters tournament

Round 1 - Saturday, January 14
Harikrishna, P. ½-½  Aronian, L.
Adhiban, B. ½-½  Van Wely, L.
Eljanov, P. 1-0  Rapport, R.
Karjakin, S. ½-½  Giri, A.
So, W. ½-½  Carlsen, M.
Wojtaszek, R. ½-½  Nepomniachtchi, I.
Andreikin, D. ½-½  Wei, Y.

Some brilliant video editing by the Tata Steel Team

Challengers section

World Junior Champion Jeffery Xiong is a star attraction in the Challengers section. He lost to Markus Ragger in the first round
[Event "79th Tata Steel GpB"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
[Date "2017.01.14"]
[Round "1.6"]
[White "Ragger, Markus"]
[Black "Xiong, Jeffery"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2697"]
[BlackElo "2667"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2017.01.14"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nde2 b5 8. Ng3
Qc7 9. Bd3 Be6 10. O-O Nbd7 11. f4 Be7 12. Qf3 O-O 13. Kh1 Qc6 14. f5 Bc4 15.
Bg5 Rac8 16. Nh5 b4 17. Bxf6 Nxf6 18. Nxf6+ Bxf6 19. Bxc4 Qxc4 20. Nd5 Qxc2 21.
b3 a5 22. Qe3 Kh8 23. Rac1 Qxa2 24. Nxf6 Rxc1 25. Rxc1 gxf6 26. Qh6 Kg8 27.
Qxf6 Qd2 28. Rf1 Re8 29. Rf3 a4 30. Rg3+ Kf8 31. Qg7+ Ke7 32. f6+ Kd8 33. Qxf7
a3 34. Qa7 Qc1+ 35. Kh2 Qf4 36. Qb8+ Kd7 37. Qb5+ Kd8 38. Qxb4 h5 39. Qxd6+ Kc8
40. Qc6+ Kd8 41. f7 1-0


Vladimir Dobrov drew his game against Ilya Smirin

Nils Grandelius was well prepared and made an easy draw with the black pieces against Gawain Jones

Challengers tournament

Round 1 - Saturday, January 14
Jones, G.
Grandelius, N.
Guramishvili, S.
Lu, S.
Smirin, I.
Dobrov, V.
Tari, A.
Hansen, E.
Bok, B.
Tingjie, L.
Ragger, M.
Xiong, J.
van Foreest, J.
l'Ami, E.

The most unfair fights are the ones you lose - a great picture and caption by Alina L'Ami

The charismatic organizer Jeroen van Den Berg ensures that the wimbledon of chess takes place year after year

Indians have come to follow their stars Harikrishna and Adhiban

On Sunday Harikrishna will take on Adhiban

Kids having a great time along with coach Robert Ris!

Follow round two on the ChessBase India newspage

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