Reports | January 18, 2011 4:58

Tata R3: Nakamura grabs lead in A, McShane wins third

Tata R3: Nakamura grabs lead in A, McShane wins thirdHikaru Nakamura grabbed the lead in the A group of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament on Monday. The American grandmaster beat Alexei Shirov and is the only player on 2.5/3. Magnus Carlsen blundered and lost against Anish Giri. In the B group Luke McShane from England won this third game.

General info

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament is held from Friday, January 14th till Sunday, January 30th, 2011 in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. Besides many amateur events there are three Grandmaster Groups (A, B and C), all 14-player round-robins. All rounds begin at 13.30 CET, except for the last which begins at 12.00 hours. There are three rest days: on January 19th, 24th, and 27th. The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds increment for each move starting from the first move. More info here.

Round 3

The third round of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament started with a bang. Theoretically it might be impossible, but it was a reality between human beings: the world's highest rated player lost in just 22 moves to the player who promoted from the B group last year. But, we're not talking about just a player, we're talking about one of most talented grandmasters on the planet: Anish Giri from The Netherlands. Still, a decisive result after such a short game needed something more: a big blunder from Magnus Carlsen.

Tata R3: Carlsen-Giri

Giri had reacted well to Carlsen's funny 11th move, and in the following position Black is already clearly better.

Wijk aan Zee 2011

White should give a pawn with 20.Nd4 Qxd5 21.Qe2 and hope for the best. The game was immediately decided after 20.Ng5?? e3! and the knight on g5 hangs. The game continued 21.Qb2 (attacking the other knight) and now Giri's second Vladimir Chuchelov immediately spotted 21...Na4! watching the game on a TV screen in the press room: "It's completely over!" When Giri played 21...Qxg5 he quickly assured himself with an engine at one of the present laptops that his pupil was still winning - in fact Giri had found the 'human' way of keeping the extra piece. His idea was to win pretty after 22.Qxb6 with

22...e2! 23.Re1 Qxc1! 24.Rxc1 e1Q+ 25.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 26.Bf1 Bh3 and, a queen up, White gets mated.

In the game Carlsen resigned after 22.Bxe3 Qg4! attacking the rook on d1. His short comment after the game: "I just missed 20...e3. It's as simple as that." Later he would tweet: "Always nice to confirm that I'm still capable of blundering a piece in one move!"

Giri was asked to do the press conference, which we filmed and will publish later today in a separate post. (You can watch it here already.)

Tata R3: Anish Giri

Anish Giri: a welcome gift from the world's highest rated player

But this wouldn't be the only big story of the day. Many hours later Hikaru Nakamura from the USA won his second game. He beat Alexei Shirov and thus grabbed the sole lead in the standings.

Tata R3: Nakamura-Shirov

"I was probably winning after the opening but instead of winning in a couple of hours, I misplayed it and won after seven hours." Still, at the start of the 4th round the American will receive the daily 500-euro “Piet Zwart Prize” for the best game of the round, named after the former Hoogovens tournament director.

Wijk aan Zee 2011

Thanks to a nice tactic Shirov managed to prolong the game:
42...Bxd5! winning back a pawn because after 43.exd5? Rxe3 44.Kf1 Kg6 White cannot move anything and might even be lost! In the end this didn't save the game for Shirov.

The other winner of the day was Ruslan Ponomariov. He surprised Jan Smeets with a rare line of the Winawer, to get his opponent out of his - already famous - preparation. It worked out well, because Smeets had spent an hour on the clock already at move 11. Still, the Dutchman felt his loss had been "stupid", as he "just dropped a pawn". That was 14.c4 of course, allowing quite a simple trick indeed. Here's Ponomariov's comment afterwards:


Tata R3: Smeets-Ponomariov

The draws between Vachier-Lagrave and Aronian, and Nepomniachtchi and Grischuk were rather uneventful. Playing White, last seeded player Erwin l'Ami did surprisingly well against World Champion Vishy Anand. He got a promising position, but at some point his advantage vanished. Still, an excellent result for l'Ami, who is making is debut in the A group. Here's his comment after the game:


In the B group the 250-euro day prize was awarded to Poland’s Radek Wojtaszek. He inflicted another loss upon China's Li Chao, in aggressive style. Luke McShane increased his lead to a full point with a third consecutive win against Vlad Tkatchiev.

Tata R3: Luke McShane

The best possible start for Luke McShane in group B

Daniele Vocaturo from Italy won the the 100-euro day prize in Group C for his win against top seed Murtas Kazhgaleyev (Kazakhstan). Vocturo shares first place in the group with Katherina Lahno of the Ukraine.

Tata R3: Vocaturo

The C group's day prize went to Daniele Vocaturo

Games Group A

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group A

Tata 2011 | Round 3 Standings Grandmaster Group A

Games Group B

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group B

Tata 2011 | Round 3 Standings Grandmaster Group B

Games Group C

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group C

Tata 2011 | Round 3 Standings Grandmaster Group C


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, 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.


arkan's picture

So you are rated 2814, you play with white against a scrub with 2686. Opening goes fine, early middle as well and then suddenly you drop a whole piece.

I hope to see a video explanation soon, i was shocked

Michel83's picture

They're humans, not machines, so I'm pretty sure the explanation is a "black spot". He just didn't see it. Brains do that sometimes.
Of course it is shocking and it's rare on this level, but it happens.

leigh's picture

hehe, I don't think it was a "black spot", he might be mind-absent

Prashant's picture

Might be thinking of his modeling work

jshandl's picture

I remember Kramnik not seeing a mate in one in his match against fritz.
I don't think he was dreaming of modeling then. As far as I know, Morozevitsch and Topalov are also not earn for their living my modeling. Blundering seems not to be so uncommon on top level as many here suggest.

giovlinn's picture

Giri a scrub. lol! Maybe your brain needs a scrub! Giri is actually very good.

Reality check's picture

But Kasparov wasn't shocked. Here's what he had to say about your boy a couple weeks ago:
"A year ago he was dominating chess, but he isn’t anymore".

Jeffrey "notyetagm" Hall's picture

Go Naka!

Naka! Naka! Naka!

@arkan: How dare you call Giri a scrub, especially after he smoked Carlsen's little ass today.

arkan's picture

Giri is great i just fail to understand how it's possible Carlsen can screw up that badly and enuxplainably against a player he should beat anyday everyday

Sander's picture

You underestimate Giri, he is way too strong for anyone (even MC) to beat '' anyday everyday'' . In fact Giri's future may be brighter than Carlsen's since they are almost as talented but Giri seems to work harder for it and he's not distracted by side affairs.

ozan's picture

Giri is a very promising talent, love to see him comment analyse etc..
And right now it does not make sence and not important who will be better 5 years later. We as chessfuns want to see both (Carlsen and Giri) at the chess sceen with high performances to get pleasure from their games.
But the result of this game is not that much related to the talent of Giri.
Carlsen blundered!.. Which I think what is more important for this game.
I suppose Carlsen and his father must find a more professional approach to chess of this great guy. That is what Kasparov always complain about: Carlsen's lack of high concentration on chess studies, dicipline etc.

giovlinn's picture

You're right, I mentioned that before that Carlsen was a "lazy" player and got only thumbs down. However Fischer was once in love in a tournement - in South America I believe and he ended 13th! I still Magnus has it but I don't think he's very focused these days. Besides it's the first time he lost with white to a younger person. I hope that will shake him up

Saji Soman's picture

You are right. Giri has a right and professional approch to chess. That doesn't mean carlsen doesn't have.

Remco G's picture

The difference in rating is only 128 points. Their expected score is something like 66%-34% -- not close to "he should beat him anyday everyday". More like two days out of three.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Giri is much stronger and more focused than people think. If you see his analyses, you'll find that he has a keen mind and he is hungry for chess. He is personable and seems to be a very interesting person. Very refreshing!

Jeffrey "notyetagm" Hall's picture


It seems to me that Giri is like 2750 strength, at least. GM Mueller said he played the endgame "perfectly" in his first round draw against l'Ami.

mark van schwarzter's picture

Yes Anish Giri seems to have a more of a personality than Carlsen.

Cheesus's picture

I'm beginning to wish McShane had been invited to the A Group...;)

Ramiro's picture

If he wins B goes automatically to group A next year

Marcel's picture

In the past Carlsen had his share of lucky wins. Numerous times he won because of bad continuations of his opponents in winning positions. I don't understand the many supporters of him. Too bad for him he doesn't participate in the world championship cycle. Because in the next cycle Giri is already stronger than him! And also it's much more fun to listen to Giri's interviews than Carlsen's. Giri has much more humor, already at the age of 16.

giovlinn's picture

I think Carlsen wants to have 2 careers- one at modeling and one at chess. However that will not go together.........

hmmm's picture

Carlsen is an idiot. He thinks he is too good to play in the Candidates matches - but doesn't have the sheer invincibility of a Kasparov to back it up.

Stop being such a drama queen Magnus, and focus on the chess.

Zeblakob's picture

Agree. I read your post this morning and I can not continue working because you make me laughing .... hahahaha

lefthandsketch's picture

At this rate, if Carlsen keeps focusing on his career as a corporate spokesperson instead of his chess he will be irrelevant by the time the next WCC cycle rolls around. Honestly, I really liked him and supported him whole-heartedly, but with his recent decision to turn his back on chess professionally, I'm not sure how long he can continue to lead his double life and convincingly play elite level chess.

Juan's picture

So sad to see Le, Quang Liem almost winning that game, and finally throwing the whole point.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Unbelievable! Crushing loss.

midi's picture

Glad to see Lahno and Sadchev fighting in the C group.

dude's picture

haha like no one voted anand would win.. he was 3rd!!.. hope he kicks some ass... today's game was totally cool against hao.

Bela's picture

Giri will be the king in 5 years

Brian Wall's picture

What double life? Two days modeling?

giovlinn's picture

So what? Could even be that Carlsen has lost interest in chess, who knows? He wanted to be a soccer player once before chess. Now he maybe wants something else. Anyway 2011 will not be his year, I'm afraid. Unless he really focuses on chess only.

Remco G's picture

Or he just blundered a piece, and that's it. It happens to all of them.

He's good at comebacks within tournaments, and this one is 13 rounds long.

chandler's picture

zahar-ganguly Grp B. what a game !?! Hope someone annotates some of it....

test's picture

Carlsen loses one game and he's written off. (Never mind the London Classic.) Giri wins and he's the next Carlsen. Yep.

Sander's picture

True, we cant help being a bit opportunistic, its just that MC loses quite often these days. A player of his calibre shouldnt lose that often....Anand for example barely loses. Im not saying that Magnus wont win this tournament but he loses too often.

Remco G's picture

But he wins more often than Anand does too! They have different styles, let the rating system sort them out.

Reality check's picture

You're only as good as your latest hit. London? Yesterday.

Bert de Bruut's picture

We don't know who the next worldchampion will be, but Giri is the new kid for sure! And Carlsen has to take care or he will end up as the new Ivanchuk!

Remco G's picture

What, be hugely popular and in the top-10 for twenty years? There are fates worse than Ivanchuk's :-)

Bert de Bruut's picture

For ordinary top GM's yes (not to mention mere mortals), but there is nothing like becoming worldchampion, of course, when you are as gifted as Ivanchuk and Carlsen...

unknown's picture

It's all Gemma Arterton's fault!

Nepo's picture

I doubt it. They haven't met one another - the shoots were separate.

Leon's picture

Maybe MC is in love, he is at an age that this could effect his performance...

Zeblakob's picture

so the "big" brain starts working??

Mejnour's picture

"big brain"? How do you know? LoL

Creemer's picture

Could very well be.
But age has nothing to do with it.
When you are in love, it affects you deeply. No matter your age.

columbo's picture

love is NOT a disease gentlemen !!!

Tim-|J Gluckman's picture is a very good starting point to explore current tourney chess. Tx for your work on this project!

Thomas's picture

As someone had asked about the prize fund ... it's not secret but mentioned in the "newspaper" that's freely distributed at the tournament venue and probably some other places [I heard they printed 75,000 copies].
For group A, first prize is 10,000€, second prize 7,000€, ... seventh prize 1,300€, other players get 100€ per point scored. In group B, it's 3,000-350€ or 50€ per point. In group C, 1,000-200€ or 25€ per point. Obviously, (secret) appearance fees must be at least comparable.
The newspaper, a great new idea this year, has many little stories on what happens behind the scenes. They could put it on the Web, but maybe it's too much to translate it all from Dutch, or they want that people visiting onsite get some extra information :) . If anyone has specific questions, maybe the answer is there (and I'll translate/summarize on request). I will post the story behind the press conferences in a minute in a dedicated thread.

katar's picture

Yesterday Naka fought from a slight advantage to a win against Shirov. Today the shoe was on the other foot-- he fought from a slight disadvantage to a draw against Giri. Win lose or draw, Naka is a great fighter. I also love seeing a Japanese-American in the world top ten! It's just good for chess if it seems like a truly global sport without boundaries. Such diverse players also help to proliferate chess into other media markets. I am also rooting for Le Quang Liem and Wesley So. This tournament is awesome-- so much fascinating chess from so many great players! And Tiviakov is not in there trying to make 14 straight draws. :) What a great time to be a chess fan, from any country. Thanks for the coverage ChessVibes.


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