Reports | January 17, 2012 21:30

Aronian rejoins Carlsen in the lead in Wijk aan Zee

Aronian rejoins Carlsen in the lead in Wijk aan Zee

Levon Aronian rejoined Magnus Carlsen in the lead at the 74th Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. On Tuesday the Armenian grandmaster defeated Gata Kamsky with White, while tournament leader Carlsen drew with the black pieces against Fabiano Caruana. After two losses Sergey Karjakin won his second consecutive game, against David Navara. Going into the first rest day, both Pentala Harikrishna (B group) and Maxim Turov (C group) are leading by a full point.

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.

Perhaps it's too early to say so, but the 74th edition of the Tata Steel chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee seems destined to become a fierce and fantastic fight between the two highest rated players, Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen. And who will make their life more difficult, a young chap like Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Sergey Karjakin, Teimour Radjabov, or perhaps Veselin Topalov, or Vassily Ivanchuk?

We'll know more after Wednesday, which is the first of three rest days in the Grandmaster Groups A, B and C. (Some of the players are intending to play some football on one of the squares in Wijk aan Zee, but unfortunately the weather doesn't seem to cooperate nicely...)

After his game against Gata Kamsky, Levon Aronian felt that he had been in the same situation as the day before - his loss against Magnus Carlsen - but this time on the other side.

I was the one who was pressing, also managed to let my opponent get away but in the end he was the last one to make a mistake.

PGN string

Sergey Karjakin shares one thing with Levon Aronian: after four rounds the Russian grandmaster hasn't drawn a single game. His game on Tuesday should have been a draw, though, but in the famous Berlin Endgame, David Navara avoided a move repetition and then started to make mistakes.

PGN string

The round saw a small incident, related to the game between Vassily Ivanchuk and Loek van Wely. The Ukrainian was building up a nice advantage, but then he allowed his opponent to escape:

PGN string

Immediately after the game ended, it became clear that Ivanchuk was hugely disappointed about losing the advantage. The round report on the official website describes it well:

The Ukrainian, clearly disgusted over his own dismal performance, sadly shook his head, groaned audibly while signing his score sheet, then tried to rip the hair from his scalp and finally left the tournament arena after a nasty karate kick against the door guarding the players’ exit.

The video crew noticed as well, but eventually it was decided not to include their footage of the incident in the daily round video. You can see a bit of Chuky's reaction in one of the 'En Passant' videos, though.

Going into the first rest day, Pentala Harikrishna of India is a full point ahead of the rest after a 40-move draw with white against Lithuania’s Viktorija Cmilyte. The prize for best game of the round in this group went to Alexander Motylev for his victory against Sergei Tiviakov.

PGN string

Maxim Turov won all four games so far in Grandmaster Group C and he's also leading by a full point. The best game was played by Baskaran Adhiban against fellow Indian Sahaj Grover.

PGN string


Daily video by the organizers

Games group A, round 4


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 ½-½ Topalov   Topalov ½-½ Gashimov
Radjabov 1-0 Navara   Ivanchuk ½-½ Van Wely
Karjakin 1-0 Giri   Aronian 1-0 Kamsky
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Caruana ½-½ Carlsen
Carlsen 1-0 Aronian   Giri ½-½ Nakamura
Kamsky ½-½ Ivanchuk   Navara 0-1 Karjakin
Van Wely ½-½ Gashimov   Gelfand ½-½ 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 4 standings


Games group B, round 4


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 ½-½ Motylev   Motylev 1-0 Tiviakov
Lahno ½-½ Reinderman   Nyzhnyk ½-½ Potkin
Harika 0-1 Harikrishna   Vocaturo ½-½ Timman
Cmilyte 1-0 Ernst   Ernst 1-0 l'Ami
l'Ami 1-0 Vocaturo   Harikrishna ½-½ Cmilyte
Timman 1-0 Nyzhnyk   Reinderman ½-½ Harika
Potkin 0-1 Tiviakov   Bruzon ½-½ 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 4 standings


Games group C, round 4


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 ½-½ Hopman   Hopman 0-1 Schut
Paehtz ½-½ Sadler   Haast 0-1 Turov
Brandenburg ½-½ Grover   Ootes 1-0 Danielian
Adhiban ½-½ Tikkanen   Tikkanen 1-0 Goudriaan
Goudriaan 1-0 Ootes   Grover 0-1 Adhiban
Danielian ½-½ Haast   Sadler ½-½ Brandenburg
Turov 1-0 Schut   Tania 0-1 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 4 standings




Vassily Ivanchuk and Veselin Topalov chatting before their game

Grandmaster Group C at the start of the 4th round

Joint analysis with Pentala Harikrishna, Tania Sachdev, Sahaj Grover and Baskaran Adhiban of India

Ilya Nyzhnyk and Vladimir Potkin looking at their game, and Anish Giri kibitzing

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.


Anonymous's picture

aronian spicing it up, me likey

whzyerdaddy's picture

Rather ungentlemanly and sarcastic tweet by Lev, suprised/disappointed.

Ruralrob's picture

I must admit, it made me LOL.

Knight11's picture

Guys, what is Aronian's Twitter Handle? What did he say?

tanc's picture

"God bless America!"

It definitely made me laugh. You can follow him on:!/LevAronian

The Devil's picture

I hope Aronian/Carlsen will be the next Kasparov/Karpov in terms of competition.

MiniMe's picture

Not sure it will be like that. Nowadays the field is more full of very competitive players, especially taking into account such a young guy as Giri. I think it will be a more diverse competition.

Parkov's picture

Yes, they are both head and tails above the competition. I'm not sure others such as Nakamura, Giri and Caruana have enough scope for improvement.

Excalibur's picture

Get over yourself. His real twitter handle is and he didn't say anything.

Knight11's picture


tanc's picture

You should really watch your words before you make a fool of yourself.

That is a fake twitter account and nothing to do with Levon. See:

Knight11's picture

Lol. Thanks for the right account.

MiniMe's picture

Not sure you are right. Take a look at this news page,
I am not sure which one is the valid still.

tanc's picture!/LevAronian is indeed his real Twitter account. To prove it, he has also linked in recent photos of himself in his tweets (esp. his South-East Asia trip) and on his Facebook page.

fen's picture

Uploading photos on to a twitter account doesn't prove anything. Some of those photos are obviously publicity photos and the others easily could have been taken by a "fan" with a cell phone.

Tata Steel is following this account:!/GMLevonAronian
so I assume it's the correct one. Unfortunately, the account has not been authenticated - something that GM Aronian definitely needs to do if someone is impersonating him.

MiniMe's picture

It's nice Aronian won Nakamura and Kamsky. I think they were one of those difficult players to whom Aronian was losing from time to time.

The Devil's picture

On a special sidenote, Aronian and Carlsen are neck and neck now in terms of scores against each other:

Overall record: Levon Aronian beat Magnus Carlsen 13 to 11, with 28 draws.*

calvin amari's picture

The Kamsky of old would have held that endgame and the Aronian of old would not have been able to win it. Both players have evolved, however, but in different directions. During the London classic Levon noted the extent to which he has been working on endgames of this type. Speaking of endgames, it seems that Karjakin spotted and exploited a weakness -- not in Navara's position but rather in his nerves. But that's the way the game is played ....

katar's picture

Good point. Levon presented an award to John Nunn at the London Classic for his "Nunn's Chess Endings", and Levon shocked everyone by saying he spent a couple months studying both volumes cover to cover!!

S3's picture

Actually Navara could probably have drawn by repetition. An admirable and brave decision to go on. Looks to me like he just blundered/miscalculated again in the end.

Thomas Richter's picture

The tournament homepage quotes Karjakin with the words "normally, he [Navara] should have agreed to a draw by repetition", implying that he (Karjakin) wouldn't have objected at this stage.

It seems that such "admirable and brave decisions" tend to backfire in Wijk aan Zee: last year Nepomniachtchi won three(!) games after the opponent declined a silent draw offer - against Wang Hao, Giri and Carlsen.

S3's picture

Well yeah, and I'm not saying his decision was right or wrong but as I see it his decision to play on doesn't point at a "weakness in Navara's nerves".

Btw, many people regulary complain about draws but I rarely here them compliment a player for avoiding one. On the contrary, usually if they lose they suddenly get criticised.

True Chess's picture

You are so right, a Kamsky in form would hold the draw in this game. But there is something wrong with him after the candidates match against Gelfand. And then that unfortunate loss to Svidler. He kinda seems to have lost interest or he just seems he could not recover somehow. I would like to see old holy and mighty Kamsky like in Mainz with his New York cap and fighting chess spirit.

christos's picture

I don't think there is much, if any, difference in strength between those two. Yesterday Aronian simply got a miserable position after the opening, this can happen to anyone from time to time, even to Carlsen.

Mauricio Valdes's picture

Topalov is the new king of draws!

Zeblakob's picture

It is better to not lose than to lose :)

Ruralrob's picture

Amazing lack of criticism directed at Ivanchuk for his his rather embarassing and childish antics after his draw with van Wely. Imagine if that had been Nakamura -- the entire chess world would now be raining fire and brimstone down upon his head, calling for his permanent expulsion from chess tournaments, and crowing about how terrible all "Yanks" are.

Yes I know, Ivanchuk is Ivanchuk, but... come ON. Dude needs to pull it together.

Ashish's picture

There's a big perception difference between coming across a temperamental eccentric genius, and coming across as a snotty arrogant brat. It may not be fair, but society tends to accept one and not the other. (And this matters because at the end of the day, society, via corporate advertising, is paying the bills.)

senthil's picture

Please who criticise the world champ anand, just check his record in this tournament.

Why do u expect him win always ? He is going to retain world champship & come back with full form .

RealityCheck's picture

World Champion Viswanathan Anand will undoubtably leave the young chaps a few more mile-stones to beat.

tanc's picture

You can see a short post game interview with Levon here:

Harry's picture

Why doesnt tell somebody something about the wooden board videos???

Charles Foster Kane's picture

I want to see Ivanchuk the Ninja do the door in!

Coco Loco's picture

Does anyone know why not 26.b4 after van Wely's 25...d4?

columbo's picture

i don't see Topalov nor Ivantchuk as dangerous opponents for Magnus ... Maybe Radjabov ...

christos's picture

I agree that Radjabov is very close to Aronian and Carlsen. People seem to be speaking of Nakamura's talent and they usually forget about the higher rated and much more successful Radjabov, who was also born in 1987 and is constantly improving (though at twenty five years of age one is certainly not considered a young chessplayer today).

Thomas Richter's picture

Higher-rated is a matter of give and take, come and go: in July 2011, Nakamura was 22 points ahead of Radjabov, in the September list they were almost tied. The point about Radjabov may be that he has been around in the top10 for several years already, without making further progress and even falling a bit behind for a while - not saying that it would now be too late ... .

I am completely missing another name in these discussions: Sergei Karjakin. He had a bad start in Wijk aan Zee (like Giri in Reggio Emilia!), but already showed that he can compete with the very best: Tal Memorial 2010, Bazna 2011, also +- Tal Memorial 2011.

S3's picture

Ratings don't matter. I think Radja's play has improved last year. He had Kramnik on the ropes in their candidates mini match and I think he worked a lot before that. At Bazna he played very well in spite of a mediocre result. I wouldn't be surprised if we see something great of him this year.

Karjakin just needs to get a bit more stable.

Thomas Richter's picture

Karjakin had a bad result at the World Team Championship - maybe he couldn't handle the pressure playing first board, maybe he couldn't adapt to the climate in China. At the World Cup, he had an "accident" against Polgar (great as Judit is, I don't think she could win a longer match against Karjakin). Other than that, he was rather stable and upwardly mobile in 2010 and 2011.

In any case, if Karjakin is unstable, what to say about Nakamura? I would put Nakamura in the same league as Ivanchuk, Morozevich and (if he makes another comeback) Shirov: always capable of doing very well in supertournaments, but then capable of finishing at the bottom of the table at the next occasion. Great players, but IMO unlikely to play a major role in WCh cycles - where you have to prove yourself at several events.

columbo's picture

Ivantchuk at the bottom ? Where and when did that happen ?

Thomas Richter's picture

For example Bazna 2011 (4/10), Astrakhan GP 2010 (5.5/13), Nalchik GP 2009 (5.5/13), MTel 2009 (3/10), Corus 2009 (5.5/13), Nanjing 2008 (4/10). But he had also won Bazna, MTel and another FIDE Grand Prix event in Jermuk - not many players have such diverging results from event to event or year to year.

S3's picture

I think Karjakin is much better than Nakamura, but Karjakin tends to lose games in a very silly manner once in a while. You don't see that often with Anand, Carlsen and Aronian for example. Not counting Aronian's silly loss in that mediocre game a couple of days ago of course.

columbo's picture

There is something else about Radjabov. MEXICO !!! he collapsed after Mexico, but seems to have recovered.

darkergreen's picture

I did not get why chessbase guys said that video reports were good! I was feeling terrible while waiting to see the players talk! And that footages, with "great" questions and "funny" jokes!..

madgett's picture

Can you tell what happened to the always enjoyable presentations of the game of the day in Wijk an Zee? Those would be nice to see.

Eric's picture

Peter, to the Tata Steel Group C Round 4 standings chart, please add:
Hopman 0-1 Schut


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