Reports | January 25, 2014 19:54

Aronian & Saric Win at Tata With a Round to Spare

Levon Aronian clinched his fourth victory in Wijk aan Zee on Saturday, with a round to spare. The world's #2 grandmaster really dominated this year's Masters Group as he also won his black game against Leinier Dominguez today. In the Challengers Group, Ivan Saric won against Yu Yangiy and also secured victory.

Levon Aronian joined the world's elite not long after Garry Kasparov quit chess, and therefore they never played a game. It would have been very interesting to see these two players fighting each other! On Saturday both of them did fight for the headlines: Kasparov visited Wijk aan Zee, gave a press conference and joined the live commentary, while Aronian duly won another game. The Armenian's domination at a top level event is Carlsenesque, or Kasparovian!

Kasparov started the 10th round by hitting the gong

First, here's the press conference given by Kasparov, who comments on the situation of the leaked contract after 20 minutes and 42 seconds.

Back to the games. In a Ruy Lopez, Dominguez's 17.Re1 was inaccurate according to Aronian. It was a mistake engines don't immediately notice, but it made Black's position “slightly more preferable.” White's problem was the bishop on a2, which soon got locked away and after a few more inaccuracies Black even got a protected passer on b3, when it was basically over.

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With Aronian playing so impressively, this tournament is more about the question who will finish second. Anish Giri and Sergey Karjakin are the ones fighting for that prize, and in the penultimate round they drew their mutual game in an Open Catalan. After Giri was unable to prevent the push ....b7-b5 he needed to be a bit careful, but it was not so difficult to maintain the balance.

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For Hikaru Nakamura the tournament has been disappointing, but at the end of round 10 he had reasons to smile, and tweet:

Nakamura was one of several GMs in this tournament who profited from Richard Rapport's over-creative play. The young Hungarian is playing amazing chess, but unfortunately it's just a bit too much at this level. In a sharp opening position, White should have taken the knight on c2 and it would have been a game. “Had he calmed down he should have been a bit better but he continued to play very creatively,” said Nakamura, who took the rook and defended his position to a win. 

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In round 7 and 8 Loek van Wely won two games in a row, but his success was short-lived. He continued with two losses, and on Saturday it went wrong against Boris Gelfand, who won his first game of the tournament. The Dutchman “was overoptimistic and played a bit too ambitiously”, said the Israeli GM. Van Wely probably underestimated 32...Rd1!.

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Like Gelfand, Arkadij Naiditsch won his first game; he beat Fabiano Caruana as Black in a Réti Opening. Black was comfortable from the start and got a strong initiative on the queenside. After 31...Rd8 it was hard to do anything about the move 32...Nxf4 (the engine suggests 32.Qg1) but Caruana's 32.Re1 was definitely not the right way.

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Wesley So got to show his hard preparation on the Berlin Ending for the second time in this tournament. He drew comfortably with Naiditsch earlier, and he did so with Pentala Harikrishna as well.

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Masters Group, round 10 standings

 

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In the Challengers Group Ivan Saric has also secured victory with a round to spare. His game with Yangyi Yu seemed to be heading towards a draw, but in the time trouble phase he outplayed his opponent.

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Saric has a 1.5 point lead because Baadur Jobava lost to Dimitri Reinderman and Jan Timman drew with Merijn van Delft.

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Tail-ender Etienne Goudriaan won his first game:

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Challengers Group, round 12 standings

 

The Tata Steel tournament runs 11-26 January and is held in Wijk aan Zee, Amsterdam and Eindhoven. You can find the official website here and the live games here. The live streaming commentary can also be found here on Chess.com

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

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Comments

chess's picture

what took you so long?

Andy's picture

Reading the chessbase article, studying it, rewriting it a bit,...
"Journalism" takes time, you know.

TMM's picture

Journalism isn't easy you know. Especially if you want to make sure that in all three sentences of the article(!) you don't make any typos in, say, the names of Chinese players...

Thomas Richter's picture

Have you ever written an article yourself? Indeed, a full article isn't easy, certainly not this one which will presumably include highlights from a 45-minute press conference with Garry Kasparov. I haven't seen Peter Doggers at the venue yesterday but I guess he was there, and (if I am not mistaken) he goes back to Amsterdam between the rounds to spend the nights at home.

TMM's picture

These comments were based on the initial "report" of only three lines of text. That has nothing to do with being able to write articles; if you have a full-time job reporting about chess events, then you should not be so much later than ChessBase with such a lousy report. Either don't post these three-line initial reports, or do it quickly and carefully. (The typo is still there in the third line.)

ONLYTOPCHESS's picture

Aronian is the winner just because Carlsen s not playing or Am I wrong?

GG's picture

All these inadequate Carlsen fans...

In 2012 Tata, Aronian finished first with 9/13 (+5) and a performance rating of 2891, a point ahead of Carlsen, Radjabov and Caruana.

In 2008 he won the Corus jointly with Carlsen, with a better tiebreak score.

So u r wrong, dude.

GG's picture

All these inadequate Carlsen fans...

In 2012 Tata, Aronian finished first with 9/13 (+5) and a performance rating of 2891, a point ahead of Carlsen, Radjabov and Caruana.

In 2008 he won the Corus jointly with Carlsen, with a better tiebreak score.

So u r wrong, dude.

Xenyatta's picture

You're wrong. Carlsen doesn't win every tournament, although in any given tournament his chances for victory have to be favored over the combined rest of the field (e.g. better than 50%) Since Carlsen has become the highest rated player, he has won most, but not all, of the tournaments in which he's competed. I don't expect for Carlsen to become invulnerable now that he has become the World Champion.

Anonymous's picture

It is strange how lucky this Aronian guy is. He reminds me a lot of Magnus Carlsen, another famous trickster. They both play weak openings, and instead of getting punished for that, their opponents start wasting time pondering obvious moves, and then they make inexplicable blunders and lose. I suspect they both rely on hypnosis, the use of which goes back to the Karpov/Korchnoi matches.

For me, Aronian is not the winner of this tournament; he was just lucky.

sxl's picture

Your insight is shallow.

listen to yourself's picture

yes boy, aronian luckily won against 6 chess elites in a tournament with his hypnotic eyes...

Huy's picture

If you don't mind my asking: what exactly do you mean by "luck"?

RG13's picture

1. Hypnosis is not luck.

2. Some said similar things about Lasker.

mickey's picture

Hypnosis is part of the game!

GG's picture

For me, u r miserable... i'm not sure about ur luck though... :)))

Mike Runyon's picture

yea, this Aronian guy is a real potzer!

>:)'s picture

Don't like so or naka.

Anonymous Too's picture

Anonymous if you think Aronian was just "lucky" with his dominating performance you are either a fool or you don`t know chess.

Anonymous's picture

"For me, Aronian is... just lucky"

For most of us, chess strength as performed by the world's strongest players like Aronian or Carlsen is way over the top, inexplicable if you like. Some people who consider themselves chess "experts", simply can't handle this unconvenient truth and try to find more convenient explications like calling the new world champion "not the strongest" or even turning to myths like "hypnosis", "luck", "cheating", "not chess-related" et cetera .... nice tries, but most uf us are simply unable to assess the strength of these super grandmasters. Regularly watching their games with an engine at hand might easily trick ourselves into believing the opposite, but well that just remains a lovely illusion ;-)

I'd still like to see a Carlsen-Aronian wcc match in November, but winning the candidates tournament against 4 Russian players will prove extremely difficult, even for Levon Aronian.

Morley's picture

Great chess from Aronian. He mentioned in the short interview after this round that he is spending more time than usual preparing before each game. It is definitely showing, as he is getting good positions in the early middlegame consistently (or at least positions where he has play, even if the computer prefers his opponent) and getting way ahead on the clock.

His performance here is roughly as good as Carlsen's last year, and with a win tomorrow against Van Wely (very possible) it could be one of the best ever. This year Tata is missing some of the stronger players of last year (Anand, Carlsen) but is also missing the lower rated players Ami, Sokolov, Hou, etc. Carlsen won last year with a 2930 performance, which Aronian is crushing with a 2984 one. Can't wait for Zurich, hopefully this is a "new" Aronian, one hungry for the title.

RG13's picture

Well Nakamura seems to know something about chess and he thinks that Carlsen has a hypnotic effect on him; donning dark sunglasses to try to mitigate that. I think that Korchnoi also used to have that fear.

Xenyatta's picture

Spassky wore sunglasses vs. Kortchnoi, while Benko wore his sunglasses vs. Tal. Whatever. Fischer never wore sunglasses, but he did break Spassky's --and Geller's, and Tal's-- "hexes" by beating them.

That's what Nakamura needs to do: beat Carlsen.
It'd be great for Naka if he beat Carlsen in convincing, dominating fashion. Probably better if Carlsen simply made a bad blunder.

Anand was able to resist losing to to Carlsen for quite a while, and then Carlsen finally broke through with a win.

Carlsen has been able to stave off being defeated by Nakamura. For the past several years, it is clear that Carlsen no longer presses hard against Nakamura, and plays as if he is conceding that Naka is no longer the "customer" that he was. eventually, it is Naka who will start pressing, unless Carlsen reasserts his domination and again makes Hikaru glad to escape with a Draw.

RG13's picture

You are right of course; also there was this time when Korchnoi played a match with Karpov and the Soviets had hired a 'para-psychologist' to sit in the front row and try to hypnotize him. Korchnoi freaked out and started losing. There are some iconic pictures of that somewhere online.

RG13's picture

Does anyone know the last time that Carlsen clinched victory with a round to spare?

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen had a 1.5 point lead before the last round in last year's Tata.

Anonymous's picture

WC match with Anand with two rounds and three points to spare!

Harry_Flashman's picture

Aronian seems to be the best challenger for Carlsen, but a Candidates Tournament full of Russians is tricky..

Io's picture

Ian Rogers is by far the best commentator of all of them ... Thanks Ian

Andy's picture

The best commentators by far are Susan Polgar and Sergey Tiviakov!

Anil Philip's picture

Best commentorator is GM Ramesh.

Lee's picture

Yep Ian Rogers does a fine job explaining the positions and possible plans. I enjoyed L'ami's work earlier in the tournament too for a simliar reason.

While I think Lawrence Trent is the best 'presenter', Rogers in particular always seems to have an idea what's going on. Trent (as someone pointed out in an earlier round) benefits from having a strong player on handto bounce ideas off.

Xenyatta's picture

Saric's victory is only to be expected, given the extremely logical quality of his chess style. Play long and prosper! He could be an interesting addition to the Elite RR in 2015.

Glad to see Aronian making progress. His form has been a bit spotty over the past 2 years. Partly that was a result of seeking to play complicated positions on the knife's edge, and being guilty of being over-optimistic or over-ambitious.

If he wins in the final round vs Van Wely, it will be among the All-Time greatest results for Wijk aan Zee.

I'd be pleased to see Aronian rise to 2850 or so, and become a true main rival for Carlsen.
Giri and Caruana are the best candidates to crash through 2800 in a meaningful way. Giri has had a very impressive performance, actually--maybe this event will be an inflection point on his rating curve?

Huy's picture

How do you crash through 2800 in a meaningless way?

Xenyatta's picture

If a player breaks the 2800 barrier by a few points, and then drops back down under 2800 based on the results from the very next tournament (or next few tournaments), and subsequently never again achieves a 2800+ rating, that would be rather meaningless. Given the trends toward ratings inflation, there are a few Top 50 players who could have a hot streak, crash through 2800, and then drop back down again.

Achieving 2800 is a real feat, and might represent a high point in that player's career, but from a broader perspective, he might be a "flash in the pan."

Anonymous's picture

I think you just described Caruana, although I won't say he will never reach 2800 again. He did reach 2800 live once and then immediately shed a large number of points.

RG13's picture

For what it's worth Anand briefly went over 2800 but it meant something because he was the number 1 rated player AND world champion at the same time.

AngeloPardi's picture

And Anand went way over 2800 : his live record is 2820, fourth best ever.

Kasperian's picture

Did Levon reach the his personal best in Live Ratings?

Xenyatta's picture

I don't believe so yet, although if he defeats Van Wely to finish +7, he will surely be close. At any rate, I believe that he positioned himself to achieve a personal best rating, if he plays well at his next event.

On the one hand, that event boasts the highest rated field of All-Time, on the other the filed is necessarily quite small, and the event is only a Single Round Robin. It will be hard to accrue a nice gain in ratings points unless he gets off to a quick start and ends with a string finish. :-)

Xenyatta's picture

Hmmm.... the site www.2700ches.com gives Aronian a 2832.6 live Rating, which is indeed his best ever.

Jimmy Liew's picture

I agree Rogers is very good as a commentator. He is very knowledageble and gives lots of stories during his commentary as well as he is very good at analysing and break down complex variations. It is even more difficult when you do not have a co-commentator to help you fill in between the time you have to analyse in your head.

Bob's picture

Thumbs up for Mr Rogers, struggling with a poor move-transmission, still did a great job

Anonymous's picture

Will Aronian break Carlsen's 3002 performance rating from Nanjing with a win against Van Wely?

chess's picture

the win is very likely. but is it enough to break the record???

setikiki tilapongo's picture

other "unusual" Anonymous's comments... is it hypnosis victim?

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