Saturday, January 21

Tata Through Round 7

(Gelfand faces the Dutch from Nakamura. Photo from Chessbase.)

The Tata Steel Chess 2012 tournament has reach the halfway point with the top two rated players in the World continuing to share the lead. In the past three rounds, both Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian drew twice and won once, leaving them with 5.0/7. American star Hikaru Nakamura picked up ground with a pair of exciting victories. On the other hand, three players lost twice since the first rest day: Vugar Gashimov, Boris Gelfand, and David Navara.

Standings After Round 8 of 13
Updated 1/22: All round 8 games were drawn except for Giri 0-1 Gashimov.
  • 5.5 Aronian and Carlsen
  • 5.0 Radjabov
  • 4.5 Caruana, Ivanchuk and Nakamura
  • 4.0 Giri and Van Wely
  • 3.5 Kamsky, Karjakin and Topalov
  • 3.0 Gashimov and Gelfand
  • 2.0 Navara
The biggest surprises are the two local players, seeded 12th and 14th out of 14. The youngster Anish Giri has two wins against a single defeat (1/22: now two defeats) while the veteran Loek Van Wely managed seven straight draws. Most disappointed must be World Championship challenger Gelfand and the highly rated Vugar Gashimov. There is still plenty of time for fortunes to change since six rounds remain to be played.

Here are my favorite games from Group A, one for every round.

  1. Karjakin 0-1 Aronian -- Ruy Lopez closed
  2. Aronian 1-0 Nakamura -- Dutch Leningrad
  3. Carlsen 1-0 Aronian -- Queen's Gambit Declined + BN vs R endgame
  4. Navara 0-1 Karjakin -- Ruy Lopez Berlin + pawn endgame
  5. Nakamura 1-0 Navara -- English Opening, reversed Dragon
  6. Gelfand 0-1 Nakamura -- Dutch Leningrad
  7. Kamsky 1-0 Navara -- Ruy Lopez Berlin + R and B endgame
  8. Giri 0-1 Gashimov -- Sicilian Najdorf, 6.Bg5

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