Summary Round 1 Tata Steel Chess Tournament


The jubilee 80th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament got off to a flying start as both the Masters and the Challengers groups produced many exciting battles and three decisive games each.

In the Masters two former World Champions, Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, took an early lead together with Dutch star Anish Giri. Anand got the better of supertournament debutant Maxim Matlakov after a few inaccuracies by the Russian player left Vishy in the driving seat. Meanwhile Vladimir Kramnik’s game against prodigy Wei Yi seemed to be headed for a draw, when (in Kramnik’s own words) the Chinese ‘started to play very strangely’ and Kramnik was able to take home the full point. In the final game of the day to end Anish Giri eventually ground down Hou Yifan from a queen endgame which looked drawish for a long time. However, after the queens were exchanged all it took was one mistake by the women’s world number one player for Giri to win the game and join Anand and Kramnik in the early lead.

Elsewhere the clash between World Champion Magnus Carlsen and world number two Fabiano Caruana ended in a draw after a strategic struggle resulting from Carlsen’s somewhat intriguing opening choice. We also had draws between the qualifier from last year’s Challengers Gawain Jones and Sergey Karjakin, between Svidler and Adhiban and finally between So and Mamedyarov.

Interestingly early leaders Anish Giri and Vladimir Kramnik are facing each other in today’s second round, with Anish getting a double white after picking number one at Friday’s drawing of lots.

In the Challengers the early leaders are Jorden van Foreest, Anton Korobov and Dmitry Gordievsky. Jorden beat his brother Lucas van Foreest in what was surely one of the most anticipated games of the event, after the latter qualified from last year’s Tienkamp. Korobov played an impressive game to get the better of Matthias Bluebaum while Gordievsky crashed through against fellow Russian Olga Girya in style with a typical King’s Indian attack. In round two we also get an early leaders clash in the Challengers as Dmitry Gordievsky takes on Jorden van Foreest.