Report of round 13
Magnus Carlsen has won the 75th Tata Steel Chess Tournament with a score of 10 out of 13, equalling Garry Kasparov's 1999 record win in Wijk aan Zee. In the final round of the tournament the world number one was a bit lucky his opponent Anish Giri (see picture) allowed a drawing combination after reaching a nearly winning position: (see diagram) After 28.Qa3 Black would be in big trouble, but with 28.Qd6? White allows 28...Bxb3. However, Carlsen apparently was not satisfied with a draw and tested his luck one more time with 28...Ne8?!. Even though 29.Qa3 is still much better for White, Giri chose to force Carlsen to execute a drawing combination: 29.Qa6? Bxb3! 30.Qxf6 Nexf6 31.axb3 Rxb3 32.Rc2 Rb1 33.Ka2 R1b4 34.Ka2. Giri's draw was enough to tie for first in the battle for best Dutchman as Loek van Wely had already gone down in flames against Sergey Karjakin. The Russian Grandmaster was well prepared for Van Wely's second Sicilian Dragon of the tournament, and when the latter embarked on a faulty plan with (see diagram) 22...a5? 23.Qh4 a4? the game came to an abrupt end with 24.Bxf7! and White soon won.
Battling for second place, last year's winner Levon Aronian was all set to make matters even worse for Fabiano Caruana, who had lost his last three games. Nevertheless, in the end Caruana rose to the occasion and managed to draw after 104 moves. Although his score of 8,5 out of 13 would ordinarily suffice for first place, Aronian had to settle for the runner-up position. He did not, however, have to share second place with Viswanathan Anand. The World Champion suffered a painful defeat at the hands of Wang Hao (see picture). The Chinese Grandmaster reached a slightly better endgame out of the opening and went on to exploit the advantage of a bishop over a knight in exemplary manner.
Hou Yifan (see picture) ended the tournament with a quick theoretical draw against Peter Leko. The former Women's World Champion started the tournament as bottom seed and had a rough start in the tournament. In the end, her fighting spirit and youthful energy prevailed and with a score of 5,5 out of 13 she clearly exceeded expectations. In order to avoid last place, Ivan Sokolov gave it his all one more time, but Erwin l'Ami kept his cool and held the draw. Finally, Pentala Harikrishna tried to convert an extra pawn in an endgame against Hikaru Nakamura, but the American Grandmaster did not care for a third loss in a row and minimized the damage taking half the point.
The winner of Group B only emerged after six hours of play and 82 moves when Arkadij Naiditsch finally brought Sipke Ernst to his knees in a queen endgame. Tied for first, but losing the fight for the right to participate in Group A on tie-break is Richard Rapport, who tricked Predrag Nikolic in a complicated position: (see diagram) 39.f5? c3! 40.Nxc3 Qf4 41.Ke1 Qg3! 42.Kd1 Rxc3 43.Rb8 Kg7 44.Rb7 Kf6 and White was lost. Jan Smeets was the best Dutchman in Group B in third place with a score of 8,5/13. Group C was won by Sabino Brunello with the massive score of 11 (!) out of 13. Fernando Peralta had quickly drawn his black game against Alexaner Kovchan, giving Brunello the chance to take clear first by beating Miguoel Admiraal. The best Dutchman was Robin Swinkels in third place with a score of 8,5/13.
Both Yifan Hou and Richard Rapport received a special prize for upcoming talent. The prize for Richard Rapport was made available by the Province of North Holland. The prize for Yifan Hou was made available by Prof Johan van Hulst.