Reports | January 20, 2012 23:24

Tata Steel R6: Sole lead again for Aronian

Tata Steel R6: Sole lead again for Aronian

For the second time, it's Levon Aronian who is the sole leader at the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. On Friday the Armenian grandmaster defeated Vugar Gashimov, while Magnus Carlsen had to be satisfied with a draw against David Navara. The other decisive results were Giri-Kamsky 1-0, Gelfand-Nakamura 0-1 and Radjabov-Karjakin 1-0.

Levon Aronian making his first move in round 6

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.

It's a rare thing, to see a game between two of the world's best players finish in less than three hours and... the result not being a draw. This is what happened in Aronian vs Gashimov. Every now and then the Azerbaijani tries the slightly risky Benoni, and usually with good results. This time things went wrong at an early stage. Well, timewise, because half of the moves came on the board very quickly.

PGN string

The winner of the game, and the 500-euro Piet Zwart Prize, said:

Actually I didn't really expect this line, I mean it's a very rare line and very risky. Maybe I wasn't playing precisely, but I was trying to play safe.

Well, this was enough apparently to score the full point. According to Aronian this

...can only be explained by my opponent's bad form.

And so in order to keep the pace, Magnus Carlsen needed to win with Black against David Navara, who hadn't made a very good impression so far. However, in no time a dead drawn position was reached in this game. The Norwegian played on for another few hours, because he felt the position had the "potential to be slightly better" for him.

I thought I wasn't going to be doing very much in the hotel anyway, so why not sit there for a while.

Magnus did have some advantage, according to Navara.

At least the advantage of the stronger player.

After this round Carlsen is sharing second place with Teimour Radjabov, who inflicted the third loss upon Sergey Karjakin. He felt it was a deserved win.

I kept pressing. I was slightly better all the time but to make it a point is hard.

The finish was pretty:

PGN string

Just when he seemed to be doing quite well in the tournament, Boris Gelfand blundered terribly against Hikaru Nakamura. Although it still might have been a draw at the end, according to the Israeli grandmaster he played the whole game "horribly".

PGN string

Anish Giri won his second game of the tournament, against Gata Kamsky. At first the Dutchman was winning, then he spoilt it but in the ending that resulted, according to Giri his opponent

misplayed it completely; allowed me too much.

PGN string

After his fine game on Thursday, Jan Timman was defeated by tournament leader Pentala Harikrishna. The Indian grandmaster, who won the daily prize for this game, is a point ahead of Alexander Motylev.

PGN string

In the C group Maxim Turov dropped his first half point, against the runner-up in the standings, Hans Tikkanen. A very entertaining draw was played between Matthew Sadler and Etienne Goudriaan.

PGN string

Daily video by the organizers

Games group A, round 6


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 - 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 6 standings


Games group B, round 6


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 - 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 6 standings


Games group C, round 6


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 - 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 6 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.


Nick's picture

Nice video. Please change the reporter

MiniMe's picture

Navara sounded like a robot.

stevefraser's picture

More likely Asperger's syndrome.

victorhdiaz's picture

What a gift from Gelfand to Nakamura, absolutely absurd.Keep an eye on Radjabov!

TomTom's picture

And this guy will play for the highest title.

Chess Fan's picture

That will be a different "match".
I have a feeling that Gelfand is hiding his preparation and will do substantially well against Vishy (relative to the form he is displaying in this tournament).

redivivo's picture

I'm certain he will continue "hiding his preparation" in all events after the match as well, since he has been doing it for more than a decade before the match :-) By the way, Linares 2010 was played two months before Topalov's title match but he was still sole winner while Gelfand finished last.

Zeblakob's picture

@redivido, agree on the "hiding preparation" hysteria.

redivivo's picture

Gelfand is a nice guy, but not the player he was 1990-95 when he scored great results every time. The last ten years he has only won two of the many round robins he has played, and in none of the two he faced a single 2700 opponent. The last time was seven years ago when he shared first with his strongest opponent (#34). He's just not World Champion material, but of course still a strong player, capable of scoring a good result once in a while.

Chess Fan's picture

"Keep an eye on Radjabov!".
I agree. He is the very talented dark-horse. I would say also Karjakin but he seems to be out-classed in this particular tournament. Hope he finds his form soon.

mark vellacott's picture

No - don't change the reporter.

christos's picture

Navara aware that he is a target: "Fortunately I had a way to equalize, but Magnus still kept some advantage. At least the advantage of the stronger player, and ok, I lost three games in a row."

Thomas Richter's picture

The A group is always tough for the qualifier from the B group - unless that person happens to be a rising star who improved a lot within one year (past qualifiers include Karjakin, Carlsen, Caruana and Giri).

It will certainly be like this next year: if Harikrishna keeps pace, he might face his compatriot Anand apparently for the first time ever at Tata A 2012. So far, board 1 at the World Team Championship 2011 seems to be his strongest-ever event?

redivivo's picture

Round 7 looks interesting: Karjakin-Topalov will either end Karjakin's all decisive streak or Topalov's draw streak, Nakamura-Radjabov could be a KID discussion between two leading experts, Carlsen-Gelfand will be a game Gelfand really doesn't want to lose while Carlsen will try hard to repeat the win from Tal Memorial. In Ivanchuk-Aronian anything can happen, and then there's the Dutch Championship van Wely-Giri.

Anthony's picture

The Candidates clearly did not produce the strongest challenger and I'm not referring to Carlsen not participating.

Which means the system was inadequate.

Thomas Richter's picture

It's easy (and legitimate) to criticize the format of the candidates event, but is a/any system "inadequate" because the 'wrong' person wins?

Did the strongest player win Corus 2009 (Karjakin ahead of Aronian, Carlsen, [Ivanchuk and Morozevich - top5 at the time but completely out of form])? Did the strongest player win Tata 2011 (Nakamura who had mixed results thereafter)? Did the strongest player win Reggio Emilia 2011 (Giri)? In all cases, the winner was strongest - or maybe also luckiest - _at that occasion_ ... to finish ahead of nominally stronger or more established participants.

With respect to a WCh qualifier, what would be the best solution? Several events with the same field isn't feasible, should FIDE just seed the strongest player into a match against Anand?? And (assuming for the sake of argument that Carlsen doesn't exist) who would that be when Kazan was underway - Aronian, Kramnik or Topalov?

Regarding Gelfand and all the criticism (hate?) he receives, apparently he did something wrong winning the World Cup (as a favorite) and the candidates event (as an outsider)?

redivivo's picture

Minimatch knockouts is a useless system, one can't just state that Gelfand is unfairly criticised, and that there have been sensation also in other events. The same system had Khalifman and Kasimdzhanov winning and no one too that seriously either. Compare with the tournament candidates won by Tal, Smyslov and Petrosian and the conclusion is obvious.

Randowan's picture

Such rubbish. If the system is supposed to produce the strongest challenger, then the rating is the only "objective" measure and then there is no need for a qualification process at all - and hey, why even play for the world title? The entire idea of sports is that you need to play for the win every time! Greece winning the euro cup in football is probably the best example, they were not the "best" team but still won.

redivivo's picture

A great argument for two game bullet candidates :-)

joey's picture

Karjakin got 100% decisive games!

Chess Fan's picture

All of you here criticizing the qualification of Gelfand here are missing one critical point. He won and qualified legitimately with all the top players (except Magnus - but it was his choice), in a legitimate championship to determine the world champion challenger. FIDE needs to be commended for attempting to have a process in place and determine a challenger.
There may be other formats (for example, I can also support Aronian and Carlsen playing a 12-match format and challenging the World Champion the next year), but let us support the attempt of a regular process to select a candidate on meritocracy (where you respect the process as selecting the best candidate or not) and respect Gelfand as a challenger for that.
I still think, win or lose, Gelfand will give a very good fight to Vishy based on a formidable Israeli team and a souped-up version of Deep Junior. So, all your armchair experts, please take a breath and let the process take its course. Aronian and Magnus are free and will qualify to challenge the world champion naturally in due course.

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