Back to Wijk: Tata Steel Starts Saturday

It’s back to Wijk.... err... work with the first big tournament of 2022. And — despite some COVID-enforced challenges — what a tournament it looks to be.

The Tata Steel Masters and Challengers kick off Saturday at 8am EST (2pm local time) Sporthal de Moriaan in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. Play continues daily through January 30, with rest days on January 19, 24, and 27.

Both events feature fields of 14 players competing in a single round-robin format. The Masters is a Category 20 event boasting an average rating of 2737, while the Challengers clocks in at Category 13 with a 2561 average rating.

 

Masters

GM Magnus Carlsen

NOR

2865

GM Fabiano Caruana

USA

2792

GM Anish Giri

NED

2772

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

AZE

2767

GM Richard Rapport

HUN

2763

GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda

POL

2760

GM Sergey Karjakin

RUS

2743

GM Santosh Gujrathi Vidit

IND

2727

GM Daniil Dubov

RUS

2720

GM Andrey Esipenko

RUS

2714

GM Sam Shankland

USA

2708

GM Jorden van Foreest

NED

2702

GM Nils Grandelius

SWE

2672

GM Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa

IND

2612

 

Challengers

GM Arjun Erigaisi

IND

2632

GM Rinat Jumabayev

KAZ

2631

GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly

IND

2627

GM Erwin l'Ami 

NED

2622

GM Thai Dai Van Nguyen

CZE

2613

GM Max Warmerdam

NED

2607

GM Jonas Buhl Bjerre

DEN

2586

GM Lucas van Foreest

NED

2539

GM Daniel Dardha

BEL

2532

IM Volodar Murzin

RUS

2519

IM Polina Shuvalova

RUS

2516

GM Marc`Andria Maurizzi

FRA

2502

WGM Jiner Zhu

CHN

2478

IM Roven Vogel

GER

2452

 

Headlining the Masters event, and fresh off his successful world title defense, is Magnus Carlsen, while two Americans — Fabiano Caruana and Sam Shankland — will look to gain points on the scoreboard and the Elo rankings. Shankland appears to have arrived fairly early to blustery Wijk, as this Tweet shows:

Tweet URL

Some plotlines to track as the event unfolds:

  • Can Magnus Carlsen take steps here to crack the 2900 rating barrier, a task that he has set himself after admitting some loss of motivation in post-World Championship interviews?
     
  • Will there be a handshake in the round two matchup between Sergey Karjakin and Daniil Dubov, after Karjakin’s intense criticism of Dubov for assisting Carlsen in his match against Ian Nepomniachtchi?
     
  • Can Jorden van Foreest duplicate his magic from last year’s Masters, where he was the surprising winner?
     
  • Youth is always well represented at Tata Steel. Can the Indian phenom Praggnanandhaa make a solid showing in one of his first elite classical events? Will Arjun Erigaisi follow his fantastic performance at the World Rapid and Blitz with more success here? What about Andrey Esipenko, who finished third in the Masters last year? And keep an eye on two of the young hopes of Russian chess — IM Volodar Murzin and IM Polina Shuvalova — in the Challengers.
     
  • New this year is a revamped tiebreak format designed to avoid any of the grumbing seen after the World Rapid and Blitz Championships. Will it be needed? Will grumbling occur anyway?

The rise of the Omicron variant has, of course, created intense difficulties for organizers, and the Tata Steel team is no exception. The traditional Amateur tournaments have been cancelled for the year due to the pandemic, and the playing hall is restricted to competitors in the two round-robins.

Fortunately, chess fans will have plenty of opportunity to keep up with all the games. Daily updates will be available on most of the major chess sites. Chess.com and Chess24 are offering live coverage on Twitch and YouTube: Robert Hess, Daniel Naroditsky, and Fiona Steil-Antoni lead the Chess.com coverage, while Peter Svidler and (in a return to English language commentary!) Jan Gustafsson helm the Chess24 programming.

US Chess will have an update in the middle of the event, and a full wrap-up after the tournament ends on January 30.


Quick links:

Tata Steel Chess homepage
Chess.com coverage
Chess24 coverage
The Week in Chess event page

Chess.com livestream (Twitch)
Chess.com livestream (YouTube)
Chess24 livestream (Twitch)
Chess24 livestream (YouTube)

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments

Archives

Share Your Feedback

We recently completed a website update. If you notice a formatting error on this page, please click here.