Report of round 7
In round 7 of the 75th Tata Steel Chess Tournament World Champion Viswanathan Anand caught up with leader Magnus Carlsen by defeating Loek van Wely. Although the Dutchman achieved an adequate position on the black side of a Scandinavian Defence, his attempt to break free was ill-timed costing him first a pawn and then the game after (see diagram) 23.Qb1, the move Van Wely had missed in his calculations. Carlsen was nowhere near a win with Black against Peter Leko (see picture), but despite trying for 83 moves, neither was the Hungarian Grandmaster.
After winning his second game, Hikaru Nakamura is only half a point behind the leaders. The 2010 Tata winner had a difficult pairing on paper, facing his nemesis Wang Hao with Black (see picture): Wang Hao was on plus 4 after just 7 games with Nakamura. However, the past was soon forgotten when the Chinese Grandmaster made a few errors in the opening, allowing the American Grandmaster to seize the iniative. Nakamura won an exchange and had no difficulties with the technical phase. The number three in the world, Levon Aronian was poised to win his third game in a row, this time at the cost of Sergey Karjakin. The Russian Grandmaster was completely outplayed in an Anti-Marshall of the Ruy Lopez, but just before the first time control Aronian missed a golden opportunity: (see diagram) instead of 38...Bg4, he should have played 38...Re1!, forcing the white rook to protect the knight after which Black would have had a winning attack with 39...Rh1 40.Kg3 Qf6!. In the game Karjakin's king escaped and Aronian even had to sacrifice an exchange to avoid trouble, with a draw as a result. The remaining three games, Hou Yifan-Caruana, l'Ami-Giri and Sokolov-Harikrishna, quickly transposed into equal endgames, resulting in three logical draws.
The leader in Group B, Richard Rapport, had no problem fighting off runner up Daniil Dubov's attempt to join the lead and the game was agreed a draw once an equal endgame arose. Sergey Movsesian of Armenia (see picture) and Germany's Arkadij Naiditsch closed the gap with Rapport by beating the youngsters Robin van Kampen and Alexander Ipatov respectively. Van Kampen's loss was especially striking; trading his dark-squared bishop in a King's Indian he created a weakness that eventually became his downfall: (see diagram) 27...Nd3? 28.Rxd3! cxd3 29.Qh6 d2 30.Ra1! and White will soon checkmate with Qg7.
In Group C Fernando Peralta of Argentina (see picture) again took the sole lead, defeating Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson with the black pieces. The International Master from Iceland seemed oblivious to the dangers of his position when he played (see diagram) 21.Nb5. Peralta did not miss 21...Bg4! after which 22.f3 is not possible on account of 22...Nxf3 23.gxf3 Bxf3 with a winning mating attack. Even more devastating is 22.Re1 Nf3! 23.gxf3 Bxf3 24.h3 Rd1 25.Rc2 Qg5 26.Kh2 Bd1!. Gretarsson tried 22.Rd1 instead, but lost an exchange and then the game after 22...Bd7 23.Qa3 Qg5!.