The Action Continues Fast and Furious at Tata Steel
BySamuel ShanklandJan 17 — 8:00 AM
Image by Tata Steel Chess
For the second day in a row, there were three decisive games, but there was no change to the at the top as Pavel Eljanov continues to lead the event.
For the second consecutive day at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, there was plenty of action in the top section, but the leader remained the same.
After winning his first two games, Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine only drew on Monday (against Pentala Harikrishna of India), but he held on to the lead. He now has 2.5 points, followed closely by five players, including Harikrishna, who each have 2 points.
There were three decisive results on Monday in Round 3, just as in Round 2, but the winners were all different. This time it was Sergey Karjakin of Russia, Wesley So of the United States and Wei Yi of China who chalked up victories, moving them into the group who each have 2 points.
Tata Steel Chess
Loek van Wely with his son prior to Round 3.
Karjakin won a pretty smooth game over Loek van Wely of the Netherlands, getting a clear edge from the opening, and then capitalizing when van Wely erred in the middlegame.
Karjakin, Sergey vs. van Wely, Loek
Tata Steel Masters |Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands |Round 3 |16 Jan 2017 |1-0
16. dxe5Nxe5?A blunder that gives White a big advantage.
( 16... Qe6Good or bad, Black had to try this move. 17. Qxe6Bxe618. a3And White has a pleasant endgame with an edge in space. )
17. Nxe5Qxd1+18. Rxd1Rxd1+19. Kc2Bxe5Black has two rooks and a pawn for the queen and seems fine, but Karjakin has a nice shot: 20. Bxg6!Winning a critical kingside pawn. Black is in big trouble 20... Rd6
( 20... hxg621. Qxg4 )
21. Qxg4?I don't know why White wanted to trade bishops
( 21. Bd3This would have led to a decisive advantage. )
21... Rxg622. Qe4Bxh223. Qxb7Even after some errors, White is still winning. His pieces coordinate beautifully, Black's king is open, and his queenside is falling. 23... a624. a4Bf425. Bd4+e526. Bc5Re827. Qxc7Another pawn falls! 27... Rxg2+28. Kb1Rg629. Qf7Ra830. b4There is no stopping the White pawns. Wan Wely could not put up much more resistance. 30... Bh631. b5axb532. axb5Rc833. Qd5Bf834. Bxf8Rxf835. Qxe5+Kg836. Kc2h637. c4Rg538. Qe6+Kg739. Kc3Rf740. b6h541. Kb4h442. c5Rf143. Qe4Rgf544. Qxh4R5f4+45. Qxf4Rxf4+46. Kb5Rf147. b7Kf648. c6Rb1+49. Ka6Rc150. Kb6
Wesley So, left, and Richard Rapport during Round 3.
So’s victory over Richard Rapport of Hungary was anything but smooth. In fact, he was absolutely busted at one moment! But chess can be unforgiving and a winning position can turn into a lost one with one or two bad decisions. Rapport built up a big advantage but he did not manage to find his way in a very complicated position and went from dead won to dead lost in just two moves.
So, Wesley vs. Rapport, Richard
Tata Steel Masters |Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands |Round 3 |16 Jan 2017 |1-0
( 33... c6!This would have been a nasty move. White would not be able to stop an Invasion by Black. 34. bxc6Qa7And mate would soon follow on f2. )
34. Ne2!White is managing to pull his defense together. 34... Qg6?35. Ne7!Black must lose material. A rapid turnaround! 35... Rf2+36. Kxf2Qg2+37. Ke1Rg338. Rxg3Qxh1+39. Rg1Qxf340. Nxf4Qe3+41. Ne2Nd3+42. Qxd3Qxd343. Ng8Qf344. h5Kh845. Rg6Qh1+46. Kd2Qxe447. Nf6Qb4+48. Ke3
( 9... Be7This is the more common move. 10. Bf2Qc7With a complicated position, as has been seen in many games between top players. )
( 10. Bc4!?Why not? Now the variation given earlier no longer works: 10... Be711. Bf2Qc712. Bxe6!And Black is in big trouble. )
10... e5I don't understand this move. It allows White to put his knight on f5 and Black loses a lot of time. 11. Nf5g6
( 11... exf4If I were playing Black, I would take the pawn so that at least I would have a material advantage as partial compensation for having the worse position. )
12. Bf2This is a good move, but not the best.
( 12. Ne3!This was a nice idea, the point being 12... Qxe3Fails to 13. Bf2Qxf414. g3Qg515. h4When Black's queen is trapped. )
12... Nc513. b4!gxf514. O-O!White is only down a piece for a moment, but Black is badly underdeveloped and his king has no safe haven. 14... Nfxe415. Nxe4fxe416. bxc5dxc517. fxe5?!
( 17. Qd5!This move was stronger. )
17... Be618. Rb1Qc619. Bg4!b520. Bh4!Wei positions all of his pieces to attack. 20... Rg8?
( 20... Bg7This move was necessary, though White would still be better after: 21. Bf5Bxe522. Qg4 )
21. Bxe6!Qxe622. Rf6!Qg4
( 22... Qxe523. Rxa6!This move is the point. 23... Rxa624. Qd8# )
( 23... Qxh424. Qd5And White has a decisive edge. 24... Ra725. Rd1!With mate to follow. )
24. Rf4Qd725. Qxd7+!It seems weird for White to exchange queens when he is attacking, but there is an important point: 25... Kxd726. e6+!Nepomniachtchi may have missed this move. By luring the pawn to e6, the square is no longer available for Black's king.
( 26. Rxf7?Rae827. Rd1+Ke6!The point. If Black has a pawn on e6 instead of an empty square, he loses a piece )
26... fxe627. Rf7Rg5An unfortunate necessity for Black.
( 27... Rae828. Rd1+!The reason White played e6: Black cannot play Ke6, so he loses a piece. )
28. Rd1+Ke829. Rh7b430. a4c431. Bxg5hxg532. Rh8+Bf833. Rf1Ke734. Rh7+Kd635. Rh8Ke736. Rh7+Kd637. Rhf7Bh638. Rd1+Ke539. Rc7c340. Kf2g441. Rc5+Kf642. Ke2Rb843. Rb1Rd844. Rf1+Ke745. Rc7+Kd646. Rc4Ke7?Wei let up a bit and gave Nepomniachtchi real drawing chances. But after Black's last move, the young Chinese star never faltered again.
( 46... Ke5!And Black can continue to put up a real fight. The threat of Rd2 compels White to play 47. Rd1But after 47... Rb8!It's hard for White to avoid b3. )
47. Rd1!Rb848. Rdd4!b349. cxb3Rxb350. Rc7+
( 50. Rxe4This would have been easier for White. )
In Round 4, I am looking forward to the game between Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, and Wei, who at 17, is China’s top rising star .
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter, has his own site, and is also on Facebook.
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