Reports | January 29, 2012 12:19

Aronian draws with Radjabov in 12 moves, wins Tata Steel

Levon Aronian drew his last-round game with Teimour Radjabov in just 12 moves and thus secured clear first at the 74th Tata Steel chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. Pentala Harikrishna won the B group while Maxim Turov emerged as the winner in 'C'.

Levon Aronian giving the traditional winner's speech at the closing ceremony on Sunday night

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.

In the five and a half years that this site has existed, we have never witnessed what happened in the final round in Wijk aan Zee today: that a game between two elite players finished before the photographers had left the stage. The game between tournament leader Levon Aronian and runner-up Teimour Radjabov could have been an exicting one, because the player from Azerbaijan could still finish shared first if he won. Instead, already at move 10 the players started repeating moves and then shook hands. (Magnus Carlsen was the next player to shake Aronian's hand, and congratulated him.)

PGN string

Levon Aronian finished his game (and won the tournament) before finishing his tea

This was of course a big anti-climax of what had been a great tournament, and some (photo) journalists who were walking back from the stage to the press room, were joking whether they should be considering a different profession! Much has been said about short draws in chess, especially after the Candidates matches in Kazan last year, and also today this whole thing led to a heavy debat in the comments section below this article.

All we can add is that Aronian can certainly not be blamed. The Armenian played a fantastic tournament and finished as the deserved winner. In fact Aronian himself considered it to be the best individual performance in his career thus far, as he noted in a brief press conference on Sunday afternoon.

I woke up at 6am, went to bed at 1am. I had trouble sleeping as I wasn't sure what to play. I was in good form, but friends told me: 'You'll play for a win next time!' So I just tried to forget about te result and the tournament, but in the end I couldn't.

Aronian felt that his game in the penultimate round against Boris Gelfand had been his best.

Not because the game was good, but because it was was such a tense game. We both had timetrouble and the position was far from clear all the time. I think it was important that I managed to stay calm and he was the one who didn't handle the pressure.

The tournament winner felt that he had improved mentally.

I've been working on being able to strike back, not being upset about losing. [After the loss against Navara] I was very upset, but the more upset you are, the more you are motivated to come back. It's in any kind of activity that requires you to perform well all the time. I don't consider myself a good player unless I can strike back after a loss! Before the tournament I was thinking 'this might not be my tournament'. I felt I had problems in certain chess areas, and I would work on it in February, I would just do my best.. I still have those problems and I will still work on them!

Teimour Radjabov said about the short draw:

I was surprised by his opening choice. I had expected him to go for a win in an effort to reach first place on FIDE’s world rating list, and prepared for a completely different line. I ended up slightly worse with black and a draw was fine with me. I was happy to be the only player to remain unbeaten.

Radjabov eventually finished shared second with Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, who all scored 8/13, a point less than the winner. Carlsen tried to beat Loek van Wely, using the Stonewall, but only reached a slight advantage, not more.

Caruana joined the other two thanks to a last-round win against Boris Gelfand. The Israeli went back to his Petroff Defence, and the position was a draw for a long time, until Gelfand collapsed in the end.

PGN string

The Italian grandmaster, who will turn 20 later this year, won the 500-euro daily prize for this victory and he received the envelope on stage during the closing ceremony. He was also awarded a special 'young talent' prize and it was the now 101-year-old Professor Van Hulst who delivered it to him!

After congratulating Caruana (who by the way has entered the live ratings top 10!) Van Hulst urged him to enjoy other aspects in life as well, such as "art, literature and family!"

Gata Kamsky hasn't been given much attention in this event, but the American eventually finished his tournament on a respectable +1 score. In the final round he beat Veselin Topalov, who has been struggling with his form throughout the event.

PGN string

With a number of draws in the key games, nothing changed in the B group either and so Pentala Harikrishna of India maintained his half-point lead until the very end. He will be invited to the A group of the 75th edition in 2013.

Pentala Harikrishna receiving the first prize from the mayor of Velzen

In the C group Maxim Turov won another convincing game against Etienne Goudriaan and saw co-leader Hans Tikkanen getting into big trouble against Tania Sachdev. Eventually the Swedish GM managed to draw the game, but it meant that Turov will be playing in B next year.

Maxim Turov qualified for the C group by winning the BDO tournament last summer, and now qualified for 'B'!

The traditional pea soup dinner & closing ceremony

Levon Aronian holding the special Wijk aan Zee plaque... the traditional winner's speech...

...and celebrating his victory with his girlfriend Arianne Caoili, who played in the 9-round event and in fact won her group as well! Behind them is a delegation of local Armenians, who came along and brought a flag.

Daily official video

Games group A, round 13



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 ½-½ Ivanchuk
Karjakin 0-1 Gelfand   Aronian 1-0 Gashimov
Nakamura 1-0 Navara   Caruana ½-½ Van Wely
Carlsen ½-½ Giri   Giri 1-0 Kamsky
Kamsky ½-½ Caruana   Navara ½-½ Carlsen
Van Wely ½-½ Aronian   Gelfand 0-1 Nakamura
Gashimov 0-1 Ivanchuk   Radjabov 1-0 Karjakin
Round 7 21.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 8 22.01.12 13.30 CET
Karjakin 1-0 Topalov   Topalov ½-½ Aronian
Nakamura ½-½ Radjabov   Caruana ½-½ Ivanchuk
Carlsen 1-0 Gelfand   Giri 0-1 Gashimov
Kamsky 1-0 Navara   Navara ½-½ Van Wely
Van Wely ½-½ Giri   Gelfand ½-½ Kamsky
Gashimov ½-½ Caruana   Radjabov ½-½ Carlsen
Ivanchuk ½-½ Aronian   Karjakin ½-½ Nakamura
Round 9 24.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 10 25.01.12 13.30 CET
Nakamura ½-½ Topalov   Topalov 0-1 Caruana
Carlsen 0-1 Karjakin   Giri 0-1 Aronian
Kamsky ½-½ Radjabov   Navara 0-1 Ivanchuk
Van Wely ½-½ Gelfand   Gelfand ½-½ Gashimov
Gashimov ½-½ Navara   Radjabov ½-½ Van Wely
Ivanchuk 1-0 Giri   Karjakin 0-1 Kamsky
Aronian 1-0 Caruana   Nakamura ½-½ Carlsen
Round 11 27.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 12 28.01.12 13.30 CET
Carlsen 1-0 Topalov   Topalov 1-0 Giri
Kamsky ½-½ Nakamura   Navara ½-½ Caruana
Van Wely 0-1 Karjakin   Gelfand 0-1 Aronian
Gashimov 0-1 Radjabov   Radjabov ½-½ Ivanchuk
Ivanchuk 0-1 Gelfand   Karjakin ½-½ Gashimov
Aronian 0-1 Navara   Nakamura 1-0 Van Wely
Caruana 1-0 Giri   Carlsen ½-½ Kamsky
Round 13 29.01.12 12.00 CET        
Kamsky 1-0 Topalov        
Van Wely ½-½ Carlsen        
Gashimov ½-½ Nakamura        
Ivanchuk ½-½ Karjakin        
Aronian ½-½ Radjabov        
Caruana 1-0 Gelfand        
Giri ½-½ Navara        

Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group A | Round 13 standings


Games group B, round 13


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 ½-½ Nyzhnyk
Harika 0-1 Bruzon   Vocaturo ½-½ Tiviakov
Cmilyte ½-½ Reinderman   Ernst 1-0 Potkin
l'Ami ½-½ Harikrishna   Harikrishna 1-0 Timman
Timman 1-0 Ernst   Reinderman ½-½ l'Ami
Potkin ½-½ Vocaturo   Bruzon 1-0 Cmilyte
Tiviakov ½-½ Nyzhnyk   Lahno ½-½ Harika
Round 7 21.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 8 22.01.12 13.30 CET
Harika ½-½ Motylev   Motylev 1-0 Vocaturo
Cmilyte ½-½ Lahno   Ernst ½-½ Nyzhnyk
l'Ami ½-½ Bruzon   Harikrishna ½-½ Tiviakov
Timman 0-1 Reinderman   Reinderman 0-1 Potkin
Potkin ½-½ Harikrishna   Bruzon 1-0 Timman
Tiviakov 0-1 Ernst   Lahno 0-1 l'Ami
Nyzhnyk 1-0 Vocaturo   Harika ½-½ Cmilyte
Round 9 24.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 10 25.01.12 13.30 CET
Cmilyte ½-½ Motylev   Motylev 1-0 Ernst
l'Ami 1-0 Harika   Harikrishna 1-0 Vocaturo
Timman ½-½ Lahno   Reinderman 1-0 Nyzhnyk
Potkin 0-1 Bruzon   Bruzon ½-½ Tiviakov
Tiviakov 1-0 Reinderman   Lahno ½-½ Potkin
Nyzhnyk 0-1 Harikrishna   Harika ½-½ Timman
Vocaturo 1-0 Ernst   Cmilyte 0-1 l'Ami
Round 11 27.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 12 28.01.12 13.30 CET
l'Ami ½-½ Motylev   Motylev ½-½ Harikrishna
Timman 1-0 Cmilyte   Reinderman 1-0 Ernst
Potkin 1-0 Harika   Bruzon 1-0 Vocaturo
Tiviakov 1-0 Lahno   Lahno 0-1 Nyzhnyk
Nyzhnyk 1-0 Bruzon   Harika 0-1 Tiviakov
Vocaturo 0-1 Reinderman   Cmilyte ½-½ Potkin
Ernst 1-0 Harikrishna   l'Ami ½-½ Timman
Round 13 29.01.12 12.00 CET        
Timman ½-½ Motylev        
Potkin 1-0 l'Ami        
Tiviakov 1-0 Cmilyte        
Nyzhnyk 1-0 Harika        
Vocaturo ½-½ Lahno        
Ernst 0-1 Bruzon        
Harikrishna ½-½ Reinderman        

Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group B | Round 13 standings


Games group C, round 13


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 1-0 Haast
Brandenburg ½-½ Tania   Ootes 0-1 Schut
Adhiban ½-½ Sadler   Tikkanen ½-½ Turov
Goudriaan 0-1 Grover   Grover ½-½ Danielian
Danielian 0-1 Tikkanen   Sadler ½-½ Goudriaan
Turov 1-0 Ootes   Tania ½-½ Adhiban
Schut 1-0 Haast   Paehtz ½-½ Brandenburg
Round 7 21.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 8 22.01.12 13.30 CET
Brandenburg 1-0 Hopman   Hopman 0-1 Ootes
Adhiban 1-0 Paehtz   Tikkanen 1-0 Haast
Goudriaan ½-½ Tania   Grover 1-0 Schut
Danielian ½-½ Sadler   Sadler ½-½ Turov
Turov ½-½ Grover   Tania ½-½ Danielian
Schut 0-1 Tikkanen   Paehtz 1-0 Goudriaan
Haast 1-0 Ootes   Brandenburg ½-½ Adhiban
Round 9 24.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 10 25.01.12 13.30 CET
Adhiban 1-0 Hopman   Hopman 1-0 Tikkanen
Goudriaan ½-½ Brandenburg   Grover 1-0 Ootes
Danielian ½-½ Paehtz   Sadler 1-0 Haast
Turov 1-0 Tania   Tania 1-0 Schut
Schut ½-½ Sadler   Paehtz ½-½ Turov
Haast 1-0 Grover   Brandenburg 1-0 Danielian
Ootes 0-1 Tikkanen   Adhiban ½-½ Goudriaan
Round 11 27.01.12 13.30 CET   Round 12 28.01.12 13.30 CET
Goudriaan ½-½ Hopman   Hopman ½-½ Grover
Danielian ½-½ Adhiban   Sadler 0-1 Tikkanen
Turov ½-½ Brandenburg   Tania 0-1 Ootes
Schut 0-1 Paehtz   Paehtz ½-½ Haast
Haast 0-1 Tania   Brandenburg 1-0 Schut
Ootes ½-½ Sadler   Adhiban 0-1 Turov
Tikkanen 1-0 Grover   Goudriaan 0-1 Danielian
Round 13 29.01.12 12.00 CET        
Danielian 1-0 Hopman        
Turov 1-0 Goudriaan        
Schut 0-1 Adhiban        
Haast 0-1 Brandenburg        
Ootes 0-1 Paehtz        
Tikkanen ½-½ Tania        
Grover ½-½ Sadler        

Tata Steel 2012 | Grandmaster Group C | Round 13 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.


MiniMe's picture

That is your problem, you are making some drama out of nothing. I am perfectly fine with the way things are in chess.

It is up to players to decide when they want to draw, why ? because draws are part of the chess. And you know what ? Offering draws and giving agreement to draws are part of the game we call CHESS as well, didn't you know it? If you don't like it, than you don't like chess in its all aspects.

It doesn't matter how many draws there are, because in a Tournament you have only one goal - to win the tournament without breaking rules of the game called CHESS. Without the opportunity of mutually agreed draws chess is not a chess, but something else, at least not classical chess. As far as CHESS tournaments produces its winners and losers, everything is just fine.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

It is not a recurring issue. A big deal is made of the draws only in the last few years. We have had more short agreed draws in the past than nowadays. Take a look at the article (published on chessbase and other places) on the number of short draws and how they have changed from past to now (with or without the sofia rule). In general they have gone down. But then, somehow some part of the chess world has always find somethings to complain about nowadays. There is overall less appreciation of chess as they don't seem to understand how physically and mentally demanding it is. Chess players are ridiculed on draws, the blunders they make etc. Much of these is because of computers too. In general the respect the chess players get these days has gone down. And that is clearly because of fans like you. Look at the banter already on this one round.

giovlinn's picture

Yeah, seems pretty rational to me.

giovlinn's picture

LOL, I answered the wrong person!

Rodzjer's picture

It's short sighted to say that about the "larger problem in the chess world". These guys presented us a great tournament with fighting spirit.
Compare it to a Formula 1 race. The leader goes all out for 64 laps and on the 65th lap he's holding back a bit, taking no risks. And suddenly all Formula 1 fans start whining... This tournament had 13 rounds. Don't start whining about what happened in the last round!

Short Draws's picture

The tournament as a whole was great, but ending it like that leaves bad taste. Besides, I'm not talking only about this game, but about a recurring problem of non-fighting draws which we see again and again. This should not be a legitimate option. If the players are tired - then have more rest days. In the old days they played tournaments of 21 games, and the games were longer and with adjournments. I would like to see a situation in which a non-fighting draw is simply not an option, and would be considered by players, organizers, sponsors, and fans, as immoral. Accordingly, the playing conditions have to support that, the players' attitude, and so on.

Any comments on my proposal above in an earlier comment (financial consequences to an uneventful draw)?

Anonymous's picture

These "immoral" players should be given 10 lashes in the town square. Then we should call their moms and tell them what naughty boys they have been

MiniMe's picture

Shame on you.

Anonymous's picture

I think he was being sarcastic. Read the comment above

Frank Sträter's picture

I don't mind the occasional last round short draw, but Radjabov really annoyed me this tournament (too many early draw offers). I expect that the tournament organisation will not invite him next year for lack of fighting spirit. I'm happy to see Aronian in next year's edition.

Bert de Bruut's picture

Kasparov has pointed it out already some time ago: among top ten or so players, Nakamura has the lowest draw % and Radjabov the highest, so this cannot really be a surprise to anyone. Still, we want the tournament to be decided over 13 rounds, not 12 (let alone less), but even a "no draw before the xxth move" rule would have sufficed to prevent this non-game, with it's clever (and cowardly) repetition already at move 10. Bah!

Sarunas's picture

S.H. eagerly awaiting comments prompted me to put in following: why never the arbiter's role in tournaments is given it's due? If we take football for example, the arbiter's role defining the final score quite often surpasses that of some ordinary defence player. At any rate, referee's part in the game is very important.
Alas, in chess it's brutally downgraded and underestimated, to say the least. Every Wijk fan could easily tell all 14 main tournament player names, but how many know the arbiter's name? I personally don't.
In football the arbiter decides whether the goal scored is to be counted for real or is it a fake one. Discontent players shout, spit and curse but must obey his decision.
Now should we carry such arbiter authority into chess, then he could make his final say if Aronian -Rajabov 1/2:1/2 at move 12 with regard to moves made is legal or is 0:1/2 better or is 0:0 the best of all. Instead of insulting the players, let's give the arbiter's job its lost dignity.

rdecredico's picture

Thankfully more is left to the players. Arbiters are not referees.

Angel's picture

That has to be the worst idea I've ever heard. One of the worst things about football is precisely the fact that the arbiter has so much power in the outcome of the game.

rdecredico's picture

Putting oneself in the position to make easy last round draw to secure clear victory in tournament this strong is to be commended.

To the victor goes the spoils.

Congrats to Aronian for a fine achievement.

Short Draws's picture

And what about the one who played black? And the other game that ended in a short draw? Do a search on on any leading player with the factors: result is draw, number of moves is less than 20 (or less than 25), and you will realize the extent of the problem. Perhaps only about 5% or 10% of these draws are real, fighting games.

All those enthusiastic responses that Aronian played a great tournament are fine, but irrelevant to my main point. It is a larger problem than this, and by tolerating such non-games all those enthusiastic supporters indirectly contribute to not solving this problem.

Regarding the suggested 0:1/2 result or 0:0 - it is too drastic at this point, but it's going in a good direction. I would start with financial consequences, and - yes, to give some power to an outside committee.

Short Draws's picture

For all those who refuse to confront the main point, let me state it again, so that you will realize how absurd the situation is:

Do you know of any other sport in wich a non-game is tolerated by organizers and sponsors, and is rewarded and calculated into the overall result?

Thomas's picture

First the general problems with your "proposal": What exactly is an "uneventful draw"? Some games may remain balanced throughout and peter out to a dead-drawn endgame after 20-30 moves. Here it will be hard to prove that neither player even tried to get an advantage (maybe one or both did but didn't succeed).

Aronian-Radjabov was an uneventful draw, actually I think Danailov proposed (or wants to impose) that such games are counted as 0-0. If he gets his way, players will certainly find a way around it - for example they can play a 'sharp' theoretical variation that ends with an absolutely forced repetition. After the game they can claim that they couldn't deviate from the known theoretical path, or even that they re-invented that wheel.

Now the specific problem about today's game: financial consequences would have to be very harsh to make players change their mind. The prize fund isn't given at the homepage, but it is mentioned in the "Tata newspaper" which was distributed at the venue: 10.000-7.000-3.500-2.500-2.000-1.500-1.300 Euros. For Aronian, a draw or a win meant the same financially (plus the Bilbao invitation) while a loss could cost him quite a bit. For Radjabov it was a bit more complicated, but his losing chances would have been at least as high as his winning chances if they had played a full game.
Would you want financial consequences to be several thousand Euros??

Anonymous's picture

If chess were a sport, the players would be wearing shorts

Lee's picture

That rules out golf.

Angel's picture

Personally I don't believe your proposal would have made a difference. I think it would be like 'buying' draws: If Aronian (or any other player for that matter) had a chance to win a tournament by securing a last round draw I don't think they will hesitate to give up some euros of the prize money in order to win by drawing, knowing that the tournament win will eventually bring more money in the form of other tournament invitations.

Yes, I understand your point of not this particular draw but the underlying problem in chess, but honestly we are just talking about this issue because of the 'bad taste' the last round left.
Besides, professional players make a lot of money, it's like when they fined Serena Williams $2000 usd for yelling profanities at the chair umpire a few months ago; do you think that has (or will) shut her up?

I think changing the scoring system would have more impact.

Chessy's picture

Short Draws sounds like a Jehovas Witness to me..

Short Draws's picture

I don't mind being in minority here, and all the personal insults, but I would like to see at least some intelligent responses to my main points.

birdistheword's picture

Radjabov has beome a very streamlined professional: He looks at the field and then decides which opponents he wants to try to beat and which he will simply try to draw as quickly as possible to conserve energy. It's a very sound strategy, but the more popular it becomes the more none-games are played and the weaker players will simply be exhausted at the end because everyone else is ganging up on them. (As in the case of Gelfand: everyone sees that he doesn't have enough energy for longer games anymore, so they just keep pushing him until he topples over. Round after round.)

This bothers me as well, but I've no idea what can be done about it.

MiniMe's picture

There is nothing to be done about it, because its perfectly fair. That is what a tournament is, not a single game, so coming up with strategy is up to every player. Weaker players can try to draw with stronger players, just like the stronger players can try to beat weaker players.

birdistheword's picture

Sure it's fair, but somehow I'm getting tired of watching it. Oh well, long break until the next super tourney, so maybe I'll be excited when they start up again.

Thomas's picture

Actually I don't think Radjabov decided (before the round) which _opponents_ he wants to beat, but (during the round) which _positions_ he wants to play on. The only exception may be today's "game" against Aronian. And it always takes two to agree a premature draw or play a non-forced repetition.

From Radjabov's games, I have the impression that he was never in any serious trouble (except for half a move against van Wely) - given the strength of the field that's quite an achievement and sign of class. And it's something which cannot be said about Aronian and, even more so, Carlsen ... . If you can combine this solidity with a few wins, you deservedly end up gih in the final standings and gain a couple of rating points.

The only solution to your (perceived) problem I can come up with is a knockout format that eliminates weaker and/or out-of-form players early on. Funnily, Gelfand often did well in KO events. And hypothetically for this event:
- "one loss and you're out" would leave Radjabov as last man standing
- "two losses and you're out would leave the players in 2nd to 6th place, but not Aronian.

birdistheword's picture

Maybe you're right about the positions thing, and I've just been too influenced by seeing too many games where the top dogs plays conservatively versus their peers and then ultra sharp against the tailenders.

But yes, he's very solid, which is something he learnt from preparing for Kazan. Kramnik praised him very highly for replacing the KID with the Lasker variation for their internal match. Pick your spots, stay out of trouble and good things will happen. It's very professional and very mature, but not very exciting to _me_. Different strokes for different folks and so on.

Thomas's picture

This time Radjabov did play the KID ... . And whatever you think of his other games, he probably played the move of the tournament against Karjakin (62.Rc4+!!). Game of the tournament is harder to decide - some pick Carlsen-Topalov, but for me most insane game isn't the same as best game.

birdistheword's picture

Radjabov did play the KID, but he also played quite a few fairly short draws (below 30 moves). Now, there was nothing particularly wrong with any of these draws by themselves, but when you get a lot of such games it's indicative of a style in which you put safety first. The game against Carlsen wasn't a short draw, but it was fairly obvious from his play that this was all he wanted from the white pieces. His game in the last round just adds to the impression: He likes a good result more than the risk involved in trying for a great result. As I said, it's fair enough.

His finish against Karjakin was nice, though.

ra's picture

I also suspect Radjabov decides in advance whom he wants to play and whom not. I witnessed on the scene Radjabov offering a draw against Carlsen early on in a rich, interesting and unclear position. Was rejected -- the difference between the two guys was clearly not in terms of their chess evaluation, but their "morals".

Thomas's picture

I don't know when Radjabov offered a draw against Carlsen, but I never considered the position "rich, interesting and unclear": by move 19, just three minor pieces were left, the pawn structure was nearly symmetrical, neither player had weaknesses in his own or targets in the opponent's position - between strong GMs, that's a draw in at least nine out of ten cases.

Carlsen and Topalov like to play on in such positions, maybe for somewhat different reasons: Topalov because he religiously adheres to Sofia rules, Carlsen because he does score slightly more than 50% from such positions (and, as he said himself, spending too much time in his hotel room is boring).

On the other hand, Radjabov may have thought "it's a draw no matter how long we keep playing, no need and nothing to gain from continuing". So Carlsen and Radjabov have different attitudes, but I wouldn't say that Carlsen is right and Radjabov is wrong.

columbo's picture

you chose the wrong game to talk about DRAWS, Aronian played an incredible tournament, and the only elegant thing to do in that case is to CONGRATULATE him as the sole winner !!! And the level of the whole tournament was extremely GOOD. We are here to celebrate a great event, not to insult Aronian or any of the players. you were the first one to insult, you talked about SHAME !!! well ! shame on YOU ! Tata Steel was GREAT !

True Chess's picture

GATA crushed TOPALOV today and nobody talks about that! Huh!

Anonymous's picture

That is worthy of a mention

Septimus's picture

Topalov did not handle the endgame well. The win was by no means inevitable.

giovlinn's picture

Aronian played a fantastic tournament but that draw was disappointing. No fighting till the end, 12 moves... Fischer would've never done that. Fischer was right, draws shouldn't be counted. It's either win or lose.

anonymous's picture

Fischer was right on some things and completely crazy on others. For instance if he was in a 6 game match and the score was 5 wins in his favor, he would sweat over a theoretically drawn endgame until the opponent cracked from exhaustion; just check out the candidates matches leading up to his 1972 title match with Spaasky. So yeah, Fischer was a great player but also a maniac.

MiniMe's picture

Just want to sum it up, as there are many complainers about this 12 round draw of Aronian and Radjabov, and of the kind.

Concerning complains, it is actually up to players to decide when they want to draw, why ? because draws are part of the chess. Offering draws and giving agreement to draws are part of the game we call CHESS as well. If you don't like it, than you don't like chess in its all aspects.

It doesn't matter how many draws there are, because in a Tournament you have only one goal - to win the tournament without breaking rules of the game called CHESS. Without the opportunity of mutually agreed draws chess is not a chess, but something else, at least not classical chess. As far as CHESS tournaments produces its winners and losers, everything is just fine.

Anonymous's picture

"It doesn't matter how many draws there are, because in a Tournament you have only one goal - to win the tournament without breaking rules of the game called CHESS."

How did a draw help Radjabov achieve that?

MiniMe's picture

It didn't, BUT it did help him to clinch the second place, which would be not the case in the scenario of losing to Aronian. You can add to the overall goal of winning also a goal of at least performing as good as you can or believe you can, hence the results, quite simple really.

ra's picture

Concerning complains, it is actually up to players to decide when they want to pass the ball back to their goalie, why ? because back passes are part of FOOTBALL. If you don't like it, than you don't like football in its all aspects.

Without the opportunity of back passes to goalie, football is not football, but something else. As far as football tournaments produces its winners and losers, everything is just fine.

MiniMe's picture

Absolutely correct. I think it is really pitiful when people complain about things which are actually legitimate parts of the game. And if you complain, at least direct your complains to the game itself, but not to the players, that is sick.

Septimus's picture

I don't care for 12-move "GM" draws. This should not be allowed. But, it is also worth remembering that after so many rounds some form of fatigue does set in. Also, nobody has an inexhaustible store of preparation, so some games may just fizzle out to a dead position.

Nigel P's picture

Aronian made the type of practical decision that professional chess players have made for decades, to secure the win without risk. Radjabov, on the other hand, had a chance to fight for =1 and bottled it.
Similarly, Nakamura had a chance to fight for =2 and drew in 11 moves. So much for his so-called fighting spirit. All he did was lose fans.
Carlsen played on in an opposite coloured B ending until it was a dead draw (a well played game by Van Wely, btw) even though he could have offered a draw as soon as the Aronian's result was known. If Radjabov and Nakamura leak fans (and perhaps invitations) to Carlsen, they have no-one to blame but themselves.

anonymous's picture

I'm no fan of Nakamura but I wouldn't want to judge his fighting spirit on the basis of one short draw; he might have been exhausted or not feeling well.

Anonymous's picture

I don't understand, how fans of such an intelectual game as chess is,can't differentiate simple truth cuch as : 1)What would those same people say ,if Aronian fought for win and had lost? Stupid , right? 2)Is there higher place than 1 place ? 3)Who should have been motivated more Aronian or Radjabov? And above all ,if Radjabov risked, wasn't it possible that he could have finished in 5 or 6 place and without prize money, unless You consider Aronian, one of the greatist grandmasters of last 10 years, a client,rooky.Just food for thought ,respectful judges.

giovlinn's picture

All true those practical reasons but I consider chess a sport, you go for the win, not for very short draws. That's my opinion.

Anonymous's picture

Why all the hate...

Seriously, those players decide what THEY want, got it?

Nigel P's picture

Being critical about something or someone is not 'hate', unless you're 12 and see everything in black and white.

The players can decide what ever they want, and people can to decide to be critical of their decisions if they want. It's quite simple really.


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