14 January 2013

Monday Morning Chess

It is Monday afternoon and the third day of the Tata Steel Grandmaster chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee. This event is one that I often try to follow live. When the games begin, it is 4:30 am in my time zone. Following them from the beginning requires willingness to forego sleep. This morning, I slept in until nearly 6:30 am.

Looking through the games to select the one to follow, I found some interest in the Spanish Opening struggle in the game Anand -- Caruana. Sokolov appeared to be missing from the board after Giri's 13...Bf6. His position did not seem bad, but he was quite despondent after failing to win yesterday, so his absence raises concerns. Carlsen's attack on van Wely's King's Indian Defense also caught my eye. Here, also, the game clocks suggested a played absence. Loek van Wely appears to have less than twenty minutes remaining, while Magnus Carlsen has nearly ninety.

While I was typing, van Wely resigned. A few more moves were played after my screenshot. Carlsen's king appears to rule the queenside, while the Dutch player's king had no prospects on the other side of the board.

Will I find a single game to follow to its conclusion?

There looks to be an interesting endgame brewing in Leko -- Nakamura.

Leko,Peter (2735) -- Nakamura,Hikaru (2769)
Tata Steel, Wijk aan Zee 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.c3 d6 8.a4 Rb8 9.d4 Bb6 10.Na3 0–0 11.axb5 axb5 12.Nxb5 Bg4 13.Bc2 exd4 14.Nbxd4 Nxd4 15.cxd4 Re8 16.Re1 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Nh5 18.f4 Qh4 19.Ra3 Nxf4 20.Rg3 Qf6 21.Qf3 Nd5 22.Ba4 Qxf3 23.Rxf3 Re7 24.Bd2 Nf6 25.e5 dxe5 26.dxe5 Nd7 27.Bc3 Nc5 28.Bc2 Rd7 29.Bf5

Black to move

As I was creating the diagram, the players agreed to a draw.

Their postgame analysis is interesting. I like that each player is looking harder for the resources of his opponent. (Video added at 1:00 pm PST)

In the Grandmaster B Group, Sergey Tiviakov has employed an offbeat line against Jan Timman's Caro-Kann. At least the line appears offbeat to me. When I first took an interest in this tournament, Jan Timman was one of the young players battling with more experienced players. Now, he is the one with decades of experience.

Tiviakov,Sergey (2655) -- Timman,Jan (2566)
Tata Steel, Wijk aan Zee 2013

1.e4 c6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 e5 4.Ngf3 Bd6 5.d4 exd4 6.exd5 Qe7+ 7.Qe2 cxd5 8.Qxe7+ Nxe7 9.Nxd4 Nbc6 10.N2f3 Nxd4 11.Nxd4 Nf5 12.Bb5+ Ke7 13.Ne2 Rd8 14.Bg5+ f6 15.Bd2 Bc5 16.Bd3 Kf7 17.0–0 g5 18.Rad1 Be6 19.Nc1 Bb6 20.Rfe1 Nd6 21.Nb3 Bg4 22.Rb1 Bf5 23.Bxf5 Nxf5 24.Ba5 Bxa5 25.Nxa5 Rac8 26.Rbc1 b6 27.Nb3 d4 28.Red1 h5 29.Rd3 Rd6 30.Kf1 g4 31.h3 ½–½

And that game, too, ended while I entered the moves in my database.

A quick glance at opening data reveals that 2.d4 is not the only move that one can play against the Caro-Kann. That may be the choice in more than 146,000 games, but 2.d3 has been played more than 6000 times. Tiviakov has been playing it since the early 1990s, but even Vladimir Kramnik has trotted it out. Perhaps it is worth exploring so that it might be employed against some unwary A Class player in one of my tournaments.

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