Reports | January 15, 2012 21:28

Aronian beats Nakamura, grabs early lead at Tata Steel

Aronian beats Nakamura, grabs early lead at Tata Steel

Levon Aronian is the sole leader after two rounds at the 74th Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. On Sunday the Armenian grandmaster defeated Hikaru Nakamura to get to a 2/2 score. In the only other decisive game of the A group's second round, former winner Sergey Karjakin lost his second game in a row, to Fabiano Caruna.

Levon Aronian beats Hikaru Nakamura in round 2

Event Tata Steel Chess Tournament | PGN Group A, Group B, Group C via TWIC
Dates January 13th-29th, 2012
Location Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands
System 3 GM groups with 14 players-player double round robin
A group
Carlsen, Aronian, Radjabov, Topalov, Karjakin, Ivanchuk, Gashimov, Nakamura, Gelfand, Caruana, Kamsky, Giri, Navara, Van Wely
B group
Bruzon, Potkin, Motylev, Tiviakov, Harikrishna, Ernst, L'Ami, Reinderman, Timman, Nyzhnik, Lahno, Vocaturo, Harika, Cmilyte
C group
Sadler, Turov, Adhiban, Tikkanen, Grover, Brandenburg, Danielian, Paehtz, Sachdev, Hopman, Ootes, Haast, Schut, Goudriaan
Rate of play 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move.

The view from the Hotel Hoge Duin ('high dune'), with Tata Steel's blast furnaces ('hoogovens')

Levon Aronian seems to be more ambitious than ever, and determined to start the new year with a very good result. In his game against the winner of last year, Hikaru Nakamura, the Armenian grandmaster got a clear advantage with White in a Dutch Defence, where he had to be satisfied with a quick draw last year. Then Aronian sacrificed his queen for bishop, rook and pawn and although objectively speaking Black should have been OK, it proved too difficult for the American over the board.


The position was very complicated. Lots of unclear things were happening! I can't really say that at any moment that I felt that I'm better, it was very sharp. Only when he captured on c5 and took e6 I already feel I have a clear advantage. White has a clear plan while Black is just suffering with his pieces.

PGN string

Levon Aronian leads with 2/2

Fabiano Caruana underlined the progress he's made, and already showed in Reggio Emilia, with an excellent victory over Sergey Karjakin, the sole winner in Wijk aan Zee two years ago. Seeing his opponent build up huge pressure against his king, the Ukrainian-born Moscovite had to give an exchange and defended vigorously, but to no avail.

PGN string

Caruana, who won the Piet Zwart prize made possible by the municipalities of Velsen and Beverwijk: 

Yes, a very nice result. Probably I could have played the technical phase better but I think I never let go of the win.

The other five games ended in draws. Anish Giri seemed to be doing very well again in his game against Teimour Radjabov. The Dutch hope grabbed a pawn, and another one, and at one point

felt that it was going to be some nice, easy win. Then I calculated a bit deeper and I got worried.

Vassily Ivanchuk got a tiny edge against Magnus Carlsen and tried to increase it, but the Norwegian avoided any real trouble. Veselin Topalov also had a small advantage at first, against Loek van Wely, but in the final part of the game it was the Bulgarian who had to be careful.

In the B group we also have a sole leader: Pentala Harikrishna of India. Kateryna Lahno made a big mistake just after the time control:

PGN string

Dutch legend Jan Timman lost against Sergey Tiviakov, who was awarded the Piet Zwart prize for his use of the bishop pair:

PGN string

In the C group, Maxim Turov is the only one with 2/2 because Matthew Sadler couldn't beat Tania Sachdev, who was in fact better for most of the game. The longest game of the day took its toll: the ending between Hans Tikkanen and Daan Brandenburg flickered between equal, good for Black, equal, suddenly lost for White, and eventually was drawn!

PGN string

Daily video by the organizers

Games group A, round 2


Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group A | Pairings

Round 1 14.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 2 15.01.12 13.30 CET
Navara ½-½ Topalov   Topalov ½-½ Van Wely
Gelfand 0-1 Giri   Gashimov ½-½ Kamsky
Radjabov ½-½ Caruana   Ivanchuk ½-½ Carlsen
Karjakin 0-1 Aronian   Aronian 1-0 Nakamura
Nakamura ½-½ Ivanchuk   Caruana 1-0 Karjakin
Carlsen 1-0 Gashimov   Giri ½-½ Radjabov
Kamsky ½-½ Van Wely   Navara ½-½ Gelfand
Round 3 16.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 4 17.01.12 13.30 CET
Gelfand - Topalov   Topalov - Gashimov
Radjabov - Navara   Ivanchuk - Van Wely
Karjakin - Giri   Aronian - Kamsky
Nakamura - Caruana   Caruana - Carlsen
Carlsen - Aronian   Giri - Nakamura
Kamsky - Ivanchuk   Navara - Karjakin
Van Wely - Gashimov   Gelfand - Radjabov
Round 5 19.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 6 20.01.12 13.30 CET
Radjabov - Topalov   Topalov - Ivanchuk
Karjakin - Gelfand   Aronian - Gashimov
Nakamura - Navara   Caruana - Van Wely
Carlsen - Giri   Giri - Kamsky
Kamsky - Caruana   Navara - Carlsen
Van Wely - Aronian   Gelfand - Nakamura
Gashimov - Ivanchuk   Radjabov - Karjakin
Round 7 21.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 8 22.01.12 13.30 CET
Karjakin - Topalov   Topalov - Aronian
Nakamura - Radjabov   Caruana - Ivanchuk
Carlsen - Gelfand   Giri - Gashimov
Kamsky - Navara   Navara - Van Wely
Van Wely - Giri   Gelfand - Kamsky
Gashimov - Caruana   Radjabov - Carlsen
Ivanchuk - Aronian   Karjakin - Nakamura
Round 9 24.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 10 25.01.12 13.30 CET
Nakamura - Topalov   Topalov - Caruana
Carlsen - Karjakin   Giri - Aronian
Kamsky - Radjabov   Navara - Ivanchuk
Van Wely - Gelfand   Gelfand - Gashimov
Gashimov - Navara   Radjabov - Van Wely
Ivanchuk - Giri   Karjakin - Kamsky
Aronian - Caruana   Nakamura - Carlsen
Round 11 27.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 12 28.01.12 13.30 CET
Carlsen - Topalov   Topalov - Giri
Kamsky - Nakamura   Navara - Caruana
Van Wely - Karjakin   Gelfand - Aronian
Gashimov - Radjabov   Radjabov - Ivanchuk
Ivanchuk - Gelfand   Karjakin - Gashimov
Aronian - Navara   Nakamura - Van Wely
Caruana - Giri   Carlsen - Kamsky
Round 13 29.01.12 12.00 CET        
Kamsky - Topalov        
Van Wely - Carlsen        
Gashimov - Nakamura        
Ivanchuk - Karjakin        
Aronian - Radjabov        
Caruana - Gelfand        
Giri - Navara        

Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group A | Round 2 standings


Games group B, round 2


Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group B | Pairings

Round 1 14.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 2 15.01.12 13.30 CET
Reinderman ½-½ Motylev   Motylev ½-½ Potkin
Bruzon 0-1 Harikrishna   Tiviakov 1-0 Timman
Lahno 1-0 Ernst   Nyzhnyk ½-½ l'Ami
Harika ½-½ Vocaturo   Vocaturo 1-0 Cmilyte
Cmilyte 0-1 Nyzhnyk   Ernst ½-½ Harika
l'Ami 1-0 Tiviakov   Harikrishna 1-0 Lahno
Timman ½-½ Potkin   Reinderman ½-½ Bruzon
Round 3 16.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 4 17.01.12 13.30 CET
Bruzon - Motylev   Motylev - Tiviakov
Lahno - Reinderman   Nyzhnyk - Potkin
Harika - Harikrishna   Vocaturo - Timman
Cmilyte - Ernst   Ernst - l'Ami
l'Ami - Vocaturo   Harikrishna - Cmilyte
Timman - Nyzhnyk   Reinderman - Harika
Potkin - Tiviakov   Bruzon - Lahno
Round 5 19.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 6 20.01.12 13.30 CET
Lahno - Motylev   Motylev - Nyzhnyk
Harika - Bruzon   Vocaturo - Tiviakov
Cmilyte - Reinderman   Ernst - Potkin
l'Ami - Harikrishna   Harikrishna - Timman
Timman - Ernst   Reinderman - l'Ami
Potkin - Vocaturo   Bruzon - Cmilyte
Tiviakov - Nyzhnyk   Lahno - Harika
Round 7 21.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 8 22.01.12 13.30 CET
Harika - Motylev   Motylev - Vocaturo
Cmilyte - Lahno   Ernst - Nyzhnyk
l'Ami - Bruzon   Harikrishna - Tiviakov
Timman - Reinderman   Reinderman - Potkin
Potkin - Harikrishna   Bruzon - Timman
Tiviakov - Ernst   Lahno - l'Ami
Nyzhnyk - Vocaturo   Harika - Cmilyte
Round 9 24.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 10 25.01.12 13.30 CET
Cmilyte - Motylev   Motylev - Ernst
l'Ami - Harika   Harikrishna - Vocaturo
Timman - Lahno   Reinderman - Nyzhnyk
Potkin - Bruzon   Bruzon - Tiviakov
Tiviakov - Reinderman   Lahno - Potkin
Nyzhnyk - Harikrishna   Harika - Timman
Vocaturo - Ernst   Cmilyte - l'Ami
Round 11 27.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 12 28.01.12 13.30 CET
l'Ami - Motylev   Motylev - Harikrishna
Timman - Cmilyte   Reinderman - Ernst
Potkin - Harika   Bruzon - Vocaturo
Tiviakov - Lahno   Lahno - Nyzhnyk
Nyzhnyk - Bruzon   Harika - Tiviakov
Vocaturo - Reinderman   Cmilyte - Potkin
Ernst - Harikrishna   l'Ami - Timman
Round 13 29.01.12 12.00 CET        
Timman - Motylev        
Potkin - l'Ami        
Tiviakov - Cmilyte        
Nyzhnyk - Harika        
Vocaturo - Lahno        
Ernst - Bruzon        
Harikrishna - Reinderman        

Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group B | Round 2 standings


Games group C, round 2


Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group C | Pairings

Round 1 14.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 2 15.01.12 13.30 CET
Sadler 1-0 Hopman   Hopman 0-1 Turov
Tania ½-½ Grover   Schut ½-½ Danielian
Paehtz 0-1 Tikkanen   Haast ½-½ Goudriaan
Brandenburg ½-½ Ootes   Ootes ½-½ Adhiban
Adhiban 1-0 Haast   Tikkanen ½-½ Brandenburg
Goudriaan 1-0 Schut   Grover 1-0 Paehtz
Danielian 0-1 Turov   Sadler ½-½ Tania
Round 3 16.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 4 17.01.12 13.30 CET
Tania - Hopman   Hopman - Schut
Paehtz - Sadler   Haast - Turov
Brandenburg - Grover   Ootes - Danielian
Adhiban - Tikkanen   Tikkanen - Goudriaan
Goudriaan - Ootes   Grover - Adhiban
Danielian - Haast   Sadler - Brandenburg
Turov - Schut   Tania - Paehtz
Round 5 19.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 6 20.01.12 13.30 CET
Paehtz - Hopman   Hopman - Haast
Brandenburg - Tania   Ootes - Schut
Adhiban - Sadler   Tikkanen - Turov
Goudriaan - Grover   Grover - Danielian
Danielian - Tikkanen   Sadler - Goudriaan
Turov - Ootes   Tania - Adhiban
Schut - Haast   Paehtz - Brandenburg
Round 7 21.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 8 22.01.12 13.30 CET
Brandenburg - Hopman   Hopman - Ootes
Adhiban - Paehtz   Tikkanen - Haast
Goudriaan - Tania   Grover - Schut
Danielian - Sadler   Sadler - Turov
Turov - Grover   Tania - Danielian
Schut - Tikkanen   Paehtz - Goudriaan
Haast - Ootes   Brandenburg - Adhiban
Round 9 24.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 10 25.01.12 13.30 CET
Adhiban - Hopman   Hopman - Tikkanen
Goudriaan - Brandenburg   Grover - Ootes
Danielian - Paehtz   Sadler - Haast
Turov - Tania   Tania - Schut
Schut - Sadler   Paehtz - Turov
Haast - Grover   Brandenburg - Danielian
Ootes - Tikkanen   Adhiban - Goudriaan
Round 11 27.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 12 28.01.12 13.30 CET
Goudriaan - Hopman   Hopman - Grover
Danielian - Adhiban   Sadler - Tikkanen
Turov - Brandenburg   Tania - Ootes
Schut - Paehtz   Paehtz - Haast
Haast - Tania   Brandenburg - Schut
Ootes - Sadler   Adhiban - Turov
Tikkanen - Grover   Goudriaan - Danielian
Round 13 29.01.12 12.00 CET        
Danielian - Hopman        
Turov - Goudriaan        
Schut - Adhiban        
Haast - Brandenburg        
Ootes - Paehtz        
Tikkanen - Tania        
Grover - Sadler        

Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group C | Round 2 standings


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.


Hughbertie's picture

Aronian is on a totally different level to the japanese yank.
And how did Sadler wriggle out of that foxes clutches to get a draw...

Daaim Shabazz's picture

The game was back-and-forth throughout. However, the last phase of the game was instructive.

Johnny's picture

With Aronian's win today he evened the score between the two in classical time controls.

Mauricio Valdes's picture

Aronian´s game is remarkable.....he certainly had some home preparation under his sleeve!

Zeblakob's picture

Someone at chessbomb asked for a match MC-Aronian.
ps. I do not know if he means a WCC semi-final.

Guillaume's picture

That someone asked for something unclear in some remote website has to be the information of the day. Thanks for sharing.

Zeblakob's picture

I see, Guillaume gets his meta-logic from meta-Guillaume, etc ...

Sergio's picture

I asked for a match me against Anand, just to have the honour to play him. But that is also irrelevent or not?

joey's picture

Very relevant in this topic

Lee's picture

If Aronian can come through against Carlson unscathed, he'll be tough to beat over the remainder of the 2 weeks.

Also, he looked on the first daily video like he's lost a little weight. Mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a healthy body)

Anonymous's picture

The reason behind Aronian's excellent form is his girlfriend, she is a woman who knows how to keep her man satisfied physically (she is beautiful and sexy) , emotionally and intellectually (she knows chess rather well, after all).

phil's picture

Kar jacking's prize

Harish Srinivasan 's picture

The video quality from tata is better than anything that I have ever seen before. The cameras used are i am sure very expensive ones. A great showcase for chess.

Peter Doggers's picture

Indeed it's nice to see that they've clearly improved compared to last year. Interestingly, they're using a Canon DSLR with zoom lens that has video recording, and a wireless mic. The high depth-of-field makes a nice impression indeed, but the downside is that the camera sometimes has difficulty keeping the subject in focus.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Ah yes, I noticed that at the end of the report where it took a few seconds to regain focus on the journalist who was talking while moving towards the camera. I guess that would mean for static interviews and videos without much movement these are great. Chess seems to be a right fit at least on these terms.

noyb's picture

Outstanding video coverage! If all tournaments were covered in such a manner, Chess would be mainstream television world-wide.

Drag Queen's picture

Get real.

Sergio's picture

Haha funny that someone with your username is saying that.

Harry's picture

Where is the most important thing from Wijk - the wooden board videos???

Olorin's picture

Yeah, exactly!
That was the highlight of every round to me.
Do't get me wrong, the video coverage is nice, I like the short player interviews, but otherwise it's not very special.
The game presentations at the wooden demo boards were, but... :(

CAL|Daniel's picture

Exactly! All this baloney about nice videos is hogwash. You want nice videos go see the post mortems from years past! Those were nice videos. This year, it appears they just majorly dropped the ball.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

The absence of player showing their game on the demo board is a different thing to talk about than the player interviews. The player interview videos are great. period.
Now on to the absence of player demo's, yes its a pity they don't have that. it was great last year and before. I still recall Kramnik's demo after his win against Carlsen.

saturnz's picture

there are some really hot women playing chess and attending events these days

eltollo's picture


Knallo's picture

Congratulations on winning your group, Peter!

The Devil's picture

Magnus beat Aronian in the 3rd round

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