Summary Round 13 Tata Steel Chess Tournament
The jubilee 80th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament is done and dusted and after an exciting last day we have two new champions: Magnus Carlsen in the Masters and Vidit Gujrathi in the Challengers.
The 13th and final round started off rather quietly with Magnus Carlsen agreeing a quick draw against Sergey Karjakin. This meant that with a win Anish Giri could become the sole tournament winner, while a draw would secure a playoff match against Carlsen - in that scenario Mamedyarov couldn’t make the playoff even in case of a win since only two players would contest the final decider and the Azeri had the worst tiebreak of the three of them. Although Giri was maybe a tiny bit better against Wei Yi, he asserted after the game it was never anything tangible and the players agreed a draw on move 21. The spectators were thus going to witness the first ever Tata Steel Chess playoff to crown the winner of the 2018 edition and they couldn’t have hoped for a better showdown than one between the reigning World Champion and the Dutch number one player. Before the playoff started, the game between Mamedyarov and Anand ended in a draw, while Wesley So beat Hou Yifan and Adhiban overpressed and eventually lost against Kramnik. This win took the Russian to 8.5/13, for shared 3rd place with Mamedyarov (but just edging him out on tiebreak), half a point behind Carlsen and Giri.
In the playoff Magnus Carlsen demonstrated once again why he is unbeaten since 2007 at this discipline as he played a trademark endgame grind to take the first game. The rematch was a very tense affair with the advantage swinging back and forth between the players, before Giri eventually offered a draw in an inferior position and Carlsen thus became a record 6-time winner in Wijk aan Zee. Many congratulations to the World Champion on an unprecedented achievement, but also to Anish Giri on what was most likely the best performance of his career to this day!
In the Challengers meanwhile Vidit couldn’t get an advantage against Jorden van Foreest with the white pieces and the players agreed a draw on move 24. This meant that Anton Korobov could catch the Indian with a win against Dmitry Gordievsky, but the Ukrainian was always worse and eventually lost the game. Top seed Vidit thus deservingly won the Challengers with an unbeaten score of 9/13, a full point clear of the rest of the field, and qualified to next year’s Masters group – congratulations! Despite his last round loss, Korobov finished in clear second on 8/13, while Jorden van Foreest, Bassem Amin, Dmitry Gordievsky and Jeffery Xiong all shared 3rd place on 7.5/13, with the young American securing a podium place thanks to his superior tiebreak.
We couldn’t have wished for a more successful event here at Tata Steel Chess Tournament and we would like to thank you all for following us for the past two and half weeks – see you next year!