Reports | January 27, 2011 5:09

Anand and Nakamura lead together again in Wijk aan Zee

Tata Tata R10: wins for Anand and NakamuraGoing into the third and final rest day, again the names of Vishy Anand and Hikaru Nakamura can be found at the top of the Tata leaderboard. The World Champion beat Alexei Shirov while the American grandmaster defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Magnus Carlsen suffered his second loss, against Ian Nepomniachtchi.

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.

January 26th, 2011: Round 10

This round started with a quick and boring draw, but luckily it was not an omen for the remaining games. Just like (almost) four years ago, Jan Smeets decided that a draw was an excellent result against Vladimir Kramnik. Because the ex-World Champion opted for the Berlin, the task wasn't too difficult for the Dutchman. Here's Smeets's comment about this game and his win against Nepomniachtchi yesterday:


Not long after this game had finished, another Dutch grandmaster handling the white pieces came into the press room after scoring half a point. Anish Giri was joined by Levon Aronian, and the two analyzed their game, and especially the final position, for a while. It turned out that Giri was better, but he had less time. Here's his reaction:



And... that's all as far as draws are concerned. The other five games ended decisively! The first winner was Hikaru Nakamura, who thus strengthened his lead in the standings. The American beat Vachier-Lagrave convincingly in the same Grünfeld line that the Frenchman had used in the same tournament to beat Shirov with the white pieces. The rare move 13.Bg5 got Vachier out of his comfort zone and a few moves later already he miscalculated, after which White's advantage was clear. Nakamura did the press conference, so at a later stage you can watch his explanation in a video here at ChessVibes.

Nakamura vs Vachier-Lagrave

While Nakamura was showing his game in the press room, another '1-0' appeared on one of the TV screens above him: that of Anand vs Shirov. Despite the fact that he won in a mere 26 moves, Anand called it an 'incredibly difficult game'. Shirov repeated his Cambridge Springs, which was 'tempting' for the World Champ to enter because it allowed target preparation. (The Indian brought Peter Heine Nielsen with him as a second, which might be interpreted as a very serious attempt to win this tournament.) Anand made the line look very good for White, because when Shirov allowed 22.Be7 he lost surprisingly quickly.

Wijk aan Zee 2011


22.Be7! Rfe8? With the amazing 22...Be4! Black might hold: 23. Rxe4 (23.Qd1 Bc3! is a nice pointe) 23...Nxe4 24.Bxf8 Bxf8 25.Rxb8 Qe1+ 26.Bf1 Nd2) 23.Bd6 Rbd8


24.Bh5! Killing. 24...Rxd6 25.Bxf7+ Kf8 26. Bxe8 and Shirov resigned because Qg6+ and Nxc4 will follow.

Anand after the game:



In a game between two players who are not in great shape in Wijk aan Zee, the next winner was Ruslan Ponomariov, who defeated Alexander Grischuk. It didn't start well for the Ukrainian, who blundered 20.f4 which allowed a strong queen sacrifice. But then, as he did so often already, Grischuk started thinking too much, and making inaccuracies, allowing White to get the upper hand. Ponomariov's explanation:



Erwin l'Ami had a tough day at the office. Against Wang Hao the Dutchman got a slightly worse position right after the opening and was just suffering for the remainder. And then, more of a surprise, Magnus Carlsen lost with White against Ian Nepomniachtchi. At first the Norwegian had avoided a move repetition, but soon this turned out to be a risky decision. For long, Carlsen had to play with an open king's position and eventually this was exploited by the Russian.


Wijk aan Zee 2011


25...Qd7! 26.Bf4 (26.fxe4 Ra4 27.Qd2 Bxe4+ 28.Kg1 Qg4+ 29.Kf2 Qg2#) 26...Ra4 27.Qb6 Nf6 28.Qxd6 Qg4 29.Nd4 Rxd4 30.Qxd4 Bxf3+ 31.Rxf3 Qxf3+ 32.Kg1 Qg4+ 33.Kh1 Qc8 and Black kept an advantage due to white's bad king.

In the fight for first place in the B group, and important game was McShane-Efimenko. The Ukrainian had prepared a set-up with ...e5 and ...g6 against the Englishman's 1.g3 opening and after a series of tactical strokes in the middlegame it was Black who got out of the mess with an extra piece. A great game, worth the 250 euros day prize and a shared first place for Efimenko. That's because leader Wesley So drew with Tkachiev.


The 100-euro daily prize in the C group went to Sebastian Siebrecht, who beat top seeded player Murtas Kazhgaleyev in a nice King’s Indian. Despite a loss against Ivanisevic, Daniele Vocaturo still leads by a full point. Kateryna Lahno, who saw her husband GM Robert Fontaine of Europe-Echecs arrive today, is still second and will face Vocaturo with Black on Friday.

Games Group A

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group A

Tata 2011 | Round 10 Standings Grandmaster Group A

Games Group B

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group B

Tata 2011 | Round 10 Standings Grandmaster Group B

Games Group C

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tata 2011 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group C

Tata 2011 | Round 10 Standings Grandmaster Group C


Share |
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.


S's picture

have you ever read a chessmagazine, gg ?

Reality check's picture


gg's picture

"Kramnik and Anand, who might have been holding back at tournaments during their wch-bussiness but already had overclassed him in tournaments before"

You mean when he was 16 years old? He won Wijk ahead of them both just after he turned 17, by the way.

S's picture

And right after that he finished twice behind Anand who came first at Linares 2007 and 2008. People tend to forget those things..Selective representation gets you nowhere. Point is not to ascertain who is stronger, the point is that there is little reason to assume that he can dominate them. I hope you get what I am trying to say.

Winterschaker's picture

Oh no...the world's best player gets outplayed with white in a Najdorf, without making any obvious mistakes! After his win vs. Nakamura I believed in the open sicilian again, but now...maybe I have to learn 1.d4 ;-)

Winterschaker's picture

And play the Najdorf with black :-)

gg's picture

Media hype? Have you followed any tournaments at all the last years?

Marcel's picture

Chess is a sport. And so it comes with emotions about favorites and scores of them. Competition is human. Just like the many comments here because you're a chessGIRL. You would't say the same before a match between Liverpool and Barcelona do you?

test's picture

With all due respect (it's easy to give criticism) but I do think the screen real estate of this website layout could be improved. See all this empty space left and right? ;)

Reality check's picture

True. But he is Carlsens replacement at the WWC Candidates matches. A win against the world # 3 would add some more credibility to his presence there.

He drew against Anand and Kramnik. Lost against Aronion.

A win against Carlsen in the final round would be a pleasnt way to wind up his play with those that have/had something to do with 2011 WCC Candisates matches.

Max's picture

Age, by the way (amazing that this needs to be recalled) and trajectory are significant factors to keep in mind.

Given Carlsen s trajectory and age, you needed to understand chess and chess psychology very deeply to figure that he,ight stagnate just now. Up until a few months ago he was performing consistently at 2850+ or even 2900

I dont think there s a conspiracy to 'like' him above say Aronian, who seems in fact to be a particularly likeable character

Creemer's picture

I think I remember Radjabov being first up against Grishuk.

Creemer's picture

In football I've heard the term 'scoreboard jounalism', which also seems fitiing for the discussion about Carlsen's performance at Tata. But of course: we are no journalists.

Max's picture

I havent myself read wonderboy, but I have followed Carlsen's progress since he became a GM.

For a reason I didnt quite understand at first, from the start he received more attention than Karjakin, who still holds the record for becoming the youngest GM and belongs to his exact same generation.

I think this wqs bc top GMs recognized that Carlsen was the especially talented one of the two - something which became clearer and clearer to the rest of us as he climbed the rating list and began to win tournament after tournament or win games against other top GMs.

I dont thik there was an orchestrated effort by who knows what forces to sell us a false product. In so far as there was such marketing, is because there has been reason to believe he was the next really big, big thing, after years in which it has been difficult to say who was really no 1. The 'next Kasparov' or 'Karpov' so to speak.

Ask Kasparov himself. He took him as a student bc he knew he could make him no 1 if he could sharpen his one on one competitiveness and opning repertoire. To suggest that this was orchestrated by forces of capitalismor who knows what seems in fact preposterous to me.

In your comparison to Aronian by the way (who I admire immensely by the way and think has been under -recognized till recently) - Give Me a Break Dude

I dont think he has won as many top tournaments as Carlsen has in a significantly longer career. For over two years Carlsen has basically won or tied first every single tournament; except Bilbao and some other.

Yes, I think Carlsen overestimated his superiority in tournaments by dropping out of the WCh.

But these attempts to question or underrepresent his achievemenets over the past few years, or the reason other top GMs, Kaspy included have perceived him the way they have are striking to me.

S's picture

I'm not saying it is a false product, and noone is talking about a conspiracy.
I am talking about writing books, making sure you get a lot of media coverage early on and getting money out of it. It's done in many sports but in chess it's still rare. All these special activities and marketing deals earned him an image and money, obviously, and it's quite naive to think that it does not matter to him.
Your salary does matter to you, doesn't it?

As for the rest- I think you bought it all..if you really think he played 2900 level, or that Aronian's career is that bad..
Aronian actually hasn't such a bad record compared to Carlsen, and I am pretty sure they are about even in the tournaments where they both participated. Some notes: Karjakin almost consistently outperformed Carlsen until '08, with much less attention and no sponsors (and I am not saying that is bad or good, it's something you can influence yourself). And there is f.e. no book or sponsor for them..It's not unlikely that Kasparov - Carlsen cooperation was not only about chess but also image. So I don't think it's preposterous to think that MC chose a bussiness strategy. At any rate I find my theory far more likely than the notion that he saw himself dominating the chess scene for the years to come. Who knows, I might be surprised in the future. Anyway, just my opinion.

S's picture

The Fide knockout- Wch never did have a setup like the upcoming Candidates, if I am not mistaken. This time the participants have been (somewhat) carefully selected, and the matches are a bit longer. Apart from that, these are just candidates- so indeed you would need to win the match against the champ after it as well.

S's picture

I'm not sure about his last game at Tata, but I think the Candidates may make him or break him. I guess he will be losing a lot of rating points now, and if he wants to stay in the picture he'd better do good. Unfortunately he is the first one to play Aronian if I'm not mistaken.

S's picture

It doesn't stop Nakamura so far though..

gg's picture

Whatever result he gets against Carlsen is much less interesting than the fact that he is having the by far worst tournament in his career.

S's picture

Imo, the evidence points in another direction. He has been marketed from the start- think of the book wonderboy (at a time when he was not the strongest young GM in the world) and the disproportianal coverage in the press. Also think of his bussiness deal with G-star and other companies or the carefully orchestrated coverage around the Kasparov cooperation. Those are clear signs of both the importance of money and image.

As for working ethics- there is little evidence to suggest he works little on chess. Sure, Kasparov said he doesn't work enough, but that man is known as a workaholic amonst the grandmasters. And you might also think that his (secret) cooperation with Kasparov (and who knows who else) shows that he does work hard on chess.

At any rate I can't imagine the Carlsen team thinking they would really dominate the tournament circuit. Aronian is, for a long time, not worse a tournament fighter. Nor did Carlsen show superiority over Kramnik and Anand, who might have been holding back at tournaments during their wch-bussiness but already had overclassed him in tournaments before. Sure he is one of the best, but not clearly the number 1 (and that was also how he was marketed). I think Magnus knew this very well.

bhabatosh's picture

well I think he thought he can outplay his opponent slowly even though the position was equal or favors black slightly. He is over confident about his game
and that leads to too many losses. Kramnik , Aronian , Anand don't loose as often as he does. sure he wins lot more but he looses games unnecessarily.

jussu's picture

Umm, yeah, the old man gets tired during a long game.

mdamien's picture

Well said.

john's picture

Carlsen needs a trainer and a more professional approach to the openings. It's fantastic that he has got this far with his current set up, but repeatedly getting no advantage with white against these top players will ruin anyone's chances of winning regardless of their talent.

S's picture

That's quite strange, since Carlsen was following an earlier game of him (or is it his?) (Carlsen-Dominguez 2010). Nepomniachi deviated with the thematical 12..exf4 instead of 12.Nb4. According to the CB database the theoretical novelty leading to the repetition came only 2 moves later; 14. Qd4 (?!), made by Carlsen. After 14..Nc6 15. Qd2 he has moved his queen to d2 for free (but that seems not advantageous at all!).
If he took his time, it is likely, but also surprising, that Carlsen did not look at the position that arised after 2 logical moves by his opponent deviating from his own repertoire early in the game.

I think in some ways this game was a mirror of the Nakamura game-
he too missed a little tactical motif and suddenly had to defend a position that is extremely hard to play. That's why the sicilian is so much fun to watch.

But I find it a little surprising when this happens to Super GM's so early in the game.

LMedemblik's picture

For me it was obvious that Carlssen went to far chasing the leaders.
With no pawns defending his King and with Queens and Rooks on the board, in the endgame, the outcome was predictable.

LMedemblik's picture

On the other hand you could say that it was obvious Nepomniachtchi didn't went for his repeated chess on move 33.

jeff's picture

Can you explain how you failed to mention Nakamura as one of Carlsen's contemporary rivals?

gg's picture

The marketing value of the knockout winners has never been particularly high, I wonder if Carlsen's withdrawal really can be explained by him thinking that losing in a knockout would prove something more than for example a bad result in Tata. If Grischuk or Kamsky wins the knockout, good for them, but I don't see them as better players than Kramnik just because of that.

Wouter Otto Levenbach aka Dave's picture

well, I knew what was the problem since I counted the letters and it is more than the spaces for it, but it is not a valid excuse to me, I'm sure you have the skills solve this problem Peter, don't you ?

Just imagine MVL reading the site seeing his name cut in half, "Va chier" means f**k off in French, which is probably why his family added the second name...
why not then write Nepo, Naka, Pono, Vishy, Chucky, etc, for the sack of space?

BTW, on the top of that there a bar stuck to his first name initial !?



ChessGirl's picture

In fact I know that some DO read this. For example Shirov more than once has posted in this forum, I have also seen Nakamura posting in other forums, etc. Of course in general they don´t bother reading all this precisely because they would be too affected by the hooligans who just take on insulting them and booing them for no reason at all. I just think that it´s logical if people have favorites, etc., but the radicalism I see in these forums all the time is just too much. At the beginning of a tournament, someone is the favorite and the others are all losers. Then the favorite is arrogant and he has upset us all. And if the "losers" play well, suddenly they become "much better players than Carlsen because lalala". I have seen this just sooo many times. People making such comments are the fans of no-one, are just here to bark, and they don´t respect professionals. Respect is a minimum for everyone playing in a tournament.

Lars's picture

Magnus had a chance to stay in the game with a win or take a draw. By his use of time, you could see that he did not particularily find it easy to refuse the draw. But unlike many other players he wanted to fight on. That in it self is worthy of respect. As a Carlsen fan, this was a loss i can easily swallow.

Lars's picture

Should be: "Magnus had a chance to get the whole point and stay in the game with a win - or fall even farther behind with a draw".

MarcelVanOs's picture

Indeed, Timman and Sokolov were not that happy with the white position. Timman suggested Kf1 instead of going long, specifically after black swapped the pawn on g3 (f4xg3). They noted that it's better to wait with that last move.

Their commentary on the game Nakamura - Vachier-Lagrave was full of astonishment. They simply couldn't understand why Vachier-Lagrave played the position like he did. They evaluated the position as lost quite early in the game. I think there's a lesson here for us amateurs, two GMs (remember Aronian - Nepo) getting completely thrashed after only one mistake in this opening.

In general I found their commentary great entertainment and that was all without using computer help. You really could see these guys still are great chess players. Sokolov showed lots of possible wild tactical lines in the Anand - Shirov game. And Timman showed some important principles of the Grunfeld, defending the line he himself pioneered (mainline with Bg4, f3 Na5).

columbo's picture

you are wrong, chess masters are not robots, and they take the time to listen to what people say, like you and me !

so imagine how they feel !

gg's picture

"He would have gained invaluable experience playing the candidates ,match-play as opposed to tournament play"

Seriously, you don't learn that much from playing a knockout and Carlsen has already participated in a few of them, he probably learns at least as much just from Tata.

Thomas's picture

I was watching at the venue yesterday, and Carlsen took his time (10 or 20 minutes?) before declining the silent draw offer. As a spectator you can only try to interpret body language (from a distance of about 10m) and won't know what's going on in a super-GM brain, but to me it seemed that he may have seriously considered calling it a day. Just before playing 18.ab5:, Carlsen looked into the audience - sign of agony or asking for assistance? These days I have to stress that he obviously didn't expect assistance, let alone that he got it ... .

In any case, you were overconfident twice :) :
- Carlsen didn't gain time on the clock, and
- your first comment was plain wrong.

Thomas's picture

And another little amateur onsite report: In Giri-Aronian, live commentators Timman and Sokolov thought that black was better. Timman even said "if I know that white plays like this, it's my favorite opening with black". (He considered castling short more promising to play for a win, obviously it involves risks and losing chances). They were rather surprised that _Aronian_ accepted a draw, and subsequently revised their assessment to something like "black is optically better or more comfortable, but it isn't much".

Of course there is nothing wrong if live commentary is a bit wrong. It still was a great show, and my main reason to visit on that very day. And I like Sokolov's accent (I can say so because I have an accent myself talking Dutch! :) )

S's picture

I think so.

S's picture

chill, bro'.

Thomas's picture

While watching live at the venue yesterday, I also wondered about 26.Qh7 - so did Anand as he thought for quite a while before 26.Be8: !? Or, to be honest, "I only wondered because Anand seemed to wonder".

Anyway, 26.Qh7 was better (+10.14) according to Stockfish on Chessbomb, but 26.Be8: was indeed 'good enough' (+4.44). Timman's pragmatic statement makes perfect sense, in other words: If you see a forced win, don't look for another one. If you see a decisive material gain, don't look for mate because there may be no mate.

S's picture

Not this tournament. Giri, Nepomniachi, Carlsen; all avoided draws by repetition and lost.

Max's picture

Actually, even though I'm sure Carlsen and company care about marketing image and money, I doubt that is really top priority. And I really doubt that he dropped out from the candidates because losing would be a blow to his image.
I simply think he and his team overestimated his superiority among the elite, thinking he would go on winning tournaments and being 50 + rating points above the rest of the field (as it seemed before Bilbao and the Olympiad).
Even worse is that this was his stated intention, to 'concentratre on winning tournaments and being no 1 on the rating list'. Even worse because the other players in the field are not doing that, but rather also playing the candidates and having to reserve some of their work.

Not being able to do this (it appears to me because of his work ethic - determination to work hard) Carlsen will now find that he has dropped out AND is not able to win nearly every tournament or be rated 50 + points above the rest.

By dropping out of the candidates he placed extra pressure on himself to go on winning all the time, and not beig able to is the real problem.

His marketing image is now tainted, but even worse to himself, I think; is that he missed an opportunity either to win (which was of course possible) or at least improve and gain experience towars becoming WC

Max's picture

With all due respect towards Carseln, who I admire, but playing on after move 15 with white against a player rated nearly 100 points under you is not what he's really great for.

columbo's picture

cheer boo bla bla bla you can BARK AS WELL we know that but a bit of intelligence doesnt affect the judgement either !!!

Sander's picture

I think its a bit early to conclude that he's stagnating after ONE tournament that he failed to win. Even Kasparov didnt win them all....

Reality check's picture

"How exactly did you [Kaushit] arrive at this conclusion?"

Simple. He bought last years media-hype (hook, line and sinker) of Carlsen the great, the brilliant, the wonder, the world #1.

iLane's picture

There's a mistake in the report which should be corrected:

"At first the Norwegian had avoided a move repetition, but soon this turned out to be a risky decision."

Carlsen had nothing to do with that repetition, it was not his decision to "avoid" it but Nepo played 33...Qc8, going for the win!

SXL's picture

Eh, no.

Have a look from 13... Ne5

iLane's picture

Ahhh, come on! That was still the opening. They just repeated to win some time...
Carlsen would never give away a white game on move 13 just like that.


Latest articles