Reports | January 19, 2012 21:13

Aronian & Carlsen maintain half point lead in Wijk aan Zee

Aronian & Carlsen maintain half point lead in Wijk aan Zee

In round 5 of the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen maintained their half-point lead over the rest of the field. Hikaru Nakamura scored a quick win against David Navara while Boris Gelfand won with Black against Sergey Karjakin. The third winner in the A group was Vassily Ivanchuk, who won against Vugar Gshimov.

The first Thursday is traditionally the only day when no amateur event takes place in the playing hall

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.

After the first rest day, when indeed some players played football, the tournament resumed with an exciting 5th round.

ECU President Silvio Danailov visited the tournament on Thursday - here he's standing next to one of the organizers, Dolf Vos

Hikaru Nakamura was the first to score a full point, which was in fact the first win for the American. Not for the first time in this tournament David Navara at some point completely collapsed.

PGN string

After the game we had a brief chat with Nakamura. First, we asked him whether this was indeed an easy win.

I wouldn't call it easy. David couldn't come up with the right setup for his pieces and pretty much from the early middlegame on I was just a little bit better and then he made a couple of serious mistakes. It was a relatively smooth win and certainly after the poor start I'm quite happy to win a game. For whatever reason up until my game against Anish I felt like I was playing badly and once I was able to draw that game very quickly I... I don't know how to explain it, I just had this very good feeling that I was just going to win my next game. Because of that I was very positive going into the game today, it felt very natural... I'm very happy with my game today overall.

We asked Hikaru to what extent he's thinking about last year's success, and whether it influences his play.

One big difference with last year is that this time I'm coming off with playing three very strong tournaments in a row and it's something I've never done before. I feel like overall, I've been swinging a little bit. In Moscow I played horribly, one of the worst tournaments I've ever played, then I played very well in London, Reggio I was playing well but then I just lost my head at the end...

What exactly happened?

I made two very big mistakes. The first one was that after my win against Vitiugov in the 6th game I started looking ahead instead of focusing on the tournament. My goal at that point was, I wanted to become Anand, I wanted to just draw all games very simply, get out of the tournament and get on to Wijk. That's a sensible plan to have but for whatever reason I made some poor opening choices where there was a lot of play and it was just very difficult. When you sort of switch your mindset from one tournament to another, it's very difficult. I sort of felt like the tournament was over. Instead of staying focused and trying to finish the tournament well I just completely shut down and I think that carried over here.

Until today.

Yes. One big advantage to winning last year, to even playing here several times now is that, one of the main things to remember is that it's a very long tournament and even if you get off to a bad start, if you sort of minimize the damage and you don't lose too many games at the start, you can always return to form before it's too late!

Boris Gelfand also won his first game, and it was a fine victory in a Najdorf with Black against Sergey Karjakin. It got him the 500 euro daily prize.

PGN string

Boris Gelfand, and other participants, arriving in the playing hall

We know where the Israeli grandmaster got his inspiration from, because afterwards he told us he had been watching Real Madrid-Barcelona on Wednesday night.

"Did you see it? It wasn't really a fight this time. Magnus [Carlsen, known to support Real - CV] agreed, Real wasn't putting up much resistance."

Fan of Barcelona Boris Gelfand

The third winner in the A group was Vassily Ivanchuk, who thus "recovered" from what was apparently a disappointing draw against Loek van Wely on Tuesday. Basically Vugar Gashimov was playing too optimistically, as he admitted himself after the game.

I played badly so I deserved to lose! Ne1 and g4 didn't work. I tried to play for a win but it was not a good idea.

PGN string

At the start of the round, most attention went to Carlsen-Giri. The reason, of course, was Giri's quick win exactly one year ago, which made the headlines and resulted in an appearance in a very popular talkshow on national television. This time the two young stars drew, after lots of complications.

The same result was seen in the other games and the quickest of those was Van Wely versus Aronian. It was clear from the start that they were both happy with this result. Van Wely:

Of course I was kind of hoping the guy would try some fancy business and then I could profit from his risky strategy but it seemed that he also was kind of content with a draw I think.


Giving yourself an extra rest day is never a mistake I think. I didn't feel like risking today.

For all groups Ivan Sokolov is awarding the daily prizes, but even if it hadn't been his good friend Jan Timman playing the game, Sokolov would surely have awarded the B group's 250 euro envelope to the white player for his fine victory over Sipke Ernst.

It was a strategical fight where White's Réti bishop got very strong from the start. Some nice, tactical nuances based on positional factors made it a very nice game.

The players analyzing afterwards

Timman showed this game with the famous demo board in the press room and yes, we filmed it! When he was ready, he said to his old friends Hans Ree and Hans Böhm: "Now I hope Ivan likes it too!"

Pentala Harikrishna is half a point ahead of Alexander Motylev, who beat Kateryna Lahno with Black in a Scandinavian with 3...Qd6. The Russian grandmaster, who is also helping Sergey Karjakin, had met the same variation earlier in the tournament with White against Sergey Tiviakov!

Maxim Turov also won his 5th game and so maintained his full point lead - Hans Tikkanen is the only player with 4/5. Pre-tournament favorite Matthew Sadler needs to hurry a bit if he still wants to fight for first place... 

Daily video by the organizers

Games group A, round 5


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 ½-½ Topalov   Topalov - Ivanchuk
Karjakin 0-1 Gelfand   Aronian - Gashimov
Nakamura 1-0 Navara   Caruana - Van Wely
Carlsen ½-½ Giri   Giri - Kamsky
Kamsky ½-½ Caruana   Navara - Carlsen
Van Wely ½-½ Aronian   Gelfand - Nakamura
Gashimov 0-1 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 5 standings


Games group B, round 5


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 0-1 Motylev   Motylev - Nyzhnyk
Harika 0-1 Bruzon   Vocaturo - Tiviakov
Cmilyte ½-½ Reinderman   Ernst - Potkin
l'Ami ½-½ Harikrishna   Harikrishna - Timman
Timman 1-0 Ernst   Reinderman - l'Ami
Potkin ½-½ Vocaturo   Bruzon - Cmilyte
Tiviakov ½-½ 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 5 standings


Games group C, round 5


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 ½-½ Hopman   Hopman - Haast
Brandenburg ½-½ Tania   Ootes - Schut
Adhiban ½-½ Sadler   Tikkanen - Turov
Goudriaan 0-1 Grover   Grover - Danielian
Danielian 0-1 Tikkanen   Sadler - Goudriaan
Turov 1-0 Ootes   Tania - Adhiban
Schut 1-0 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 5 standings


The B group at the start of the round

Vladimir Potkin and Sergey Tiviakov chatting before the game

The post-mortem between Teimour Radjabov and Veselin Topalov

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.


Stan Illianovich's picture

What is going on with Sergey Karkjakin??

christos's picture

Gelfand played very well today.

S3's picture

If Motylev wasn't doing so well in the B group I'd guess they would be partying every night again.

Parkov's picture

more like Sergey Karcrapin

The Devil's picture

Is ChessVibes not covering the postgame analysis by the winners of each round?

Mattovsky's picture

I very much liked Timman's play today. A beautiful game!

Ludo Tolhuizen's picture

I fully agree!

couriermike's picture

Nakamura's opening novelty worked out really well.

Niima's picture

And a very nice game by him in general.

hatsekidosie's picture

What happened at the end of Carlsen-Giri? Was it a joke or an argument to play on till the very end?

The Devil's picture

Haha, I was just going to write about that. Especially the last couple moves, Giri declined to capture the pawn, and Carlsen declined to queen it, so they both just did King moves. Was kind of funny.

Gus's picture

Maybe it means they get along?

classic's picture

Carlsen does not seem to be in the best shape for the time being.
He gets some advantage in the middle game, but fails to capitalize.
Playing at his best, he will normally capitalize on those advantages.
However, he is still in (shared) lead, so a 90%-Carlsen may perhaps be enough in the end.

KingTal's picture

But Carlsens Performance says that he is a 102,43%-Carlsen at moment.

darkergreen's picture

but when you look at the top 3 after this round you will see that magnus is the only one played with the top 4/5 of the tournament standings.

S3's picture

What a bunch of nonsense. As if a game can be won regardless the opponent.

Rini Luyks's picture

Little joke by Carlsen and Giri to reach 64 moves...and what happened in Potkin-Vocaturo? The european champion playing so badly that endgame (Bg3??) and Vocaturo not taking advantage? Weird...

Rafiq's picture

Ah!!Gelfand played a superb Najdorf!

Sarunas's picture

Such game as Carlsen -Giri is kindly paying respect to watchers in full. Thanks to both players! That's genuine 21st century chess.

chandler's picture

ah... and i guess van wely has forgotten when he'd gotten mad at someone for playing for a draw with white in the dutch nationals.

A40's picture

Topalov's moment not yet to come. Go for a
win ! and not only for a draw ??

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