All Tata Steel Masters

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament attracts the very best chess Grandmasters in the world. Visitors to the tournament have witnessed the domination of the biggest names in the chess world including Magnus Carlsen and Gary Kasparov.

The first twelve Tata Steel Masters of 2018 you can find below. Number 13 and 14 will be announced shortly.

 

Name Country Rating World Ranking
Magnus Carlsen Norway 2837 1
Shakhryar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan 2799 3
Fabiano Caruana USA 2799                4
Wesley So USA 2788 6
Vladimir Kramnik Russia 2787 7
Viswanathan Anand India             2782         8
Peter Svidler Russia 2765 12
Sergey Karjakin Russia 2760 13
Anish Giri    Netherlands 2752 14
Wei Yi China 2743 19
Maxim Matlakov Russia 2735 23
Hou Yifan      China 2680 64
Adhiban Baskaran India 2655 95
Gawain Jones  England 2654 96

 

 We will be introducing all Masters one by one in more detail over the next few weeks:

Vladimir Kramnik

It has been quite a while since ‘Big Vlad’ played in our tournament: 2011 was the last time, when he finished in shared 5th place, with 1.5 point less than winner Hikaru Nakamura. Kramnik played12 times in Wijk aan Zee in total. His first tournament was in 1998, where he shared first place with his friend and rival Viswanathan Anand. It has been his only tournament victory so far. It is always a pleasure to have Kramnik around, so we are glad that he accepted the invitation! The former World Champion (2000 - 2007) is still very active as a player, despite the fact that the now 42 years old once ‘threatened’ to quit chess at the age of 40… Kramnik is still difficult to beat, all his opponents respect him a lot, also the ones from the new generation. Can he compete for first place in Wijk aan Zee? We believe he can! His form in January will be of great importance. When his form is good, Kramnik is definitely one of the top favourites in this event. Welcome back in Wijk aan Zee, Vladimir! Many chess fans will follow his steps in the coast village from move to move, as Kramnik still has many fans all over the world!

Country: Russia

 

(Photo: New in Chess)

 

Wesley So

Born in the Philippines on October 9th 1993, Wesley was only six when he learned the movement of chess pieces across a board. After memorizing them, chess set in hand, he explored the streets of his neighbourhood daring people to play with him. At nine years old he began to compete in local junior chess tournaments. His first major tournament win was taking 1st place at the 2003 Philippine National Chess Championships for the under 10 age group. Later, after taking the American nationality, his star rose fast. So’s definite breakthrough to the World Class Players Group was in 2016, when he won the Elite Tournament in St. Louis. Through all his success, Wesley remains an open minded person, who is always approachable for organizers, press and fans. That is what has made him so popular in Wijk aan Zee, where he reached another highlight in his career, winning the 79th Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2017 convincingly and unshared, leaving world champion Magnus Carlsen  a full point behind. Not everything turned into gold later that year, since in St Louis 2017 he shared last place with only 3 points of 9 games, a big upset for Wesley, who seemed to be unbeatable till then. We are glad that he comes back to defend his title!

 

Personal page: wesleyso.com
Country: USA

Viswanathan Anand

The great Vishy Anand already played 17 times in Wijk aan Zee, including his Candidates match against Arthur Jusupov in 1994. Anand made his debut in 1989, the period when his nickname was still ‘Speedy Gonzales’, asit was his habit the to think between 30 and 60 minutes about an entire game. It proved his exceptional talent for the game. Anand had just turned 19 then when he shared first place in our tournament with Sax, Ribli and Nikolic at his first appearance in Wijk aan Zee in 1989. Later, Anand won again in 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2006. Together with Carlsen he is record holder, winning the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 5 times. Vishy however, also made 6 second places and 3  third places. So Wijk aan Zee and Viswanathan Anand go together quite well! Not only in results; Vishy has said more than once that he likes the particular atmosphere in the coastal village.

Of course there is more than Wijk aan Zee on his record list: the tiger from Madras (now Chennai) was World Champion, Junior World Champion and he won practically all important tournaments  all over the world (Tilburg, Linares, Madrid, Monaco, Dortmund, Mainz, Leon…. only to name a few…). As for Kasparov, Fischer and Karpov it is not easy to write a small biography about Anand, because his list with successes is simply too long to name them all. It is our pleasure that the modest chess giant from India is back in Wijk aan Zee, after a few years of absence.

Country: India

[Photo: New in Chess]

 

Anish Giri

Young Dutch superstar Anish Giri came to Holland in his early teens, and mastered the language fluently in no time. The Tata Steel Chess Ambassador led a ‘normal life’ in high school, not far away from his hometown Rijswijk, where he used to live with his parents. Meanwhile he managed to become a top grandmaster, which proves his huge talent and intelligence. After having finished his school, Giri became a professional. Wijk aan Zee has no secrets for Anish. He will play for the 10th time in a row in our tournament, having participated in all three groups (A, B and C). Since 2011 Anish has played in the Masters, with two second places and one fourth place as his best achievements so far. Giris is known as one of World’s best prepared opening players, while he is also known as practically unbeatable. Still 2016 and 2017 did not bring him the successes he was hoping for, so the 80th TSCT is an important tournament for him in several aspects. Can Anish be the first Dutch winner since legend Jan Timman, who won in 1985?

Twitter: @anishgiri; Personal page: anishgiri.nl;

Country: Netherlands


Adhiban Baskaran

In 2016 the then 23-year old prodigy from India played one of his best tournaments ever, winning the Tata Steel Challengers and thus qualifying for the Tata Steel Masters in 2017. Adhiban shared first place with the strong GM’s Safarli and Dreev, but took first place on tiebreak (mutual result): he had defeated both Safarli and Dreev in the tournament. His first appearance in a top level tournament in 2017 went even better! Probably even much better than Adhiban had expected himself. He shared 3rd place with Aronian and Wei Yi, with the impressive score of 7,5 - 13. He won four games, among others against the then WC-finalist Sergey Karjakin. With his open mind, attractive style and positive approach to everybody (fans, colleagues, organizers, journalists) he gained many new fans and it also brought him the prestigious ‘Gashimov-Award’ for the most sportive player in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2017. For the organizers of Tata Steel Chess this was a clear reason to invite Adhiban back in the Jubilee Tournament, an invitation he gladly accepted.

Country: India

(photo: New in Chess)