Giri, Donchenko Claim Tata Steel Titles

After maintaining at least a share of the lead for the first 12 rounds, Uzbek GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov fell just short in his bid to win the Tata Steel Masters at the age of 18. Instead, due to a loss against Dutch GM Jorden Van Foreest, Abdusattorv had to settle for shared second with 8/13 alongside comeback kid GM Magnus Carlsen.

 

Image
The eight-time champ welcomes Giri to the club (courtesy Lennart Ootes)
Image Caption
The eight-time champ welcomes Giri to the club (courtesy Lennart Ootes)

 

With a win over Romanian GM Richard Rapport, Dutch GM Anish Giri secured his first outright win in Wijk aan Zee with an undefeated 8½/13 score.

 

Image
Giri phone
Image Caption
Giri returns to his true love: posting on social media (courtesy Lennart Ootes)

 

Rapport has a funny way of being causally influential even when he is not making headlines. Here, his characteristically fearless choice to play an unusual line against Giri’s Richter-Rauzer led to a position that, frankly, was more solid than many of Rapport’s opening experiments. But even without an objective advantage, Giri continued playing bold, attacking chess until Rapport made one (major) blunder.


 

The other most influential player in this event had to be Giri’s countryman Van Foreest. In the penultimate round, Van Foreest managed to surprise the ever-prepared Giri with an exchange sac in the opening, using just two minutes compared to Giri’s 39 for the first 20 moves.

 

Image
Abdusattorov JVF
Image Caption
Van Foreest (right) with a second chance to play spoiler (courtesy Lennart Ootes)

 

Shortly thereafter, Van Foreest had a clearly winning position.

 

 

In 2020, he defeated Giri in an Armageddon tiebreak to win the prestigious Dutch event before his colleague. He was set to play “spoiler” again until one imprecision allowed Giri to claw back into the game.

 

 

But Van Foreest still got his wish in the final round. Abdusattorov did not have to play an Open Sicilian, but he seemed uninterested in playing it safe either in the opening or later in the game. A few miscalculations, however, allowed Van Foreest to demonstrate excellent understanding of where the pieces go in this fluid structure.

 

 

American GM Wesley So finished fourth with 7½/13. Fellow American GM Fabiano Caruana enjoyed a plus-score of 7/13, as did Iranian GM Parham Maghsoodloo.

 

Image
final masters crosstable

 

Maghsoodloo’s event certainly ended on a high note. After losing in round ten to Carlsen, he proceeded to win his final three games.

 

Image
Maghsoodloo
Image Caption
GM Parham Maghsoodloo finished the event on a three-game win-streak (courtesy Maaike Brink)

 

His round 13 Najdorf triumph against American GM Levon Aronian was especially fascinating, as he managed to keep up with Aronian’s patient maneuvering until he began bullying the experienced grandmaster at his own game.

 

 

 

In the Challengers, Russian GM Alexander Donchenko won outright first with a round to spare, finishing on a blistering 10/13 score.

 

Image
Donchenko
Image Caption
Donchenko wins one more for the road (courtesy Maaike Brink)

 

The result is particularly impressive when considering that he did not even finish undefeated, losing to 2022 Dutch Champion GM Erwin L’Ami on the white side of a Carlsbad in round nine. From there, Donchenko pulled a “Parham-plus-one,” winning his final four games.

 

Image
challengers final crosstable

 

He clinched the event with a miniature victory on the black side of an Advanced Caro-Kann when Dutch IM Thomas Beerdsen mistimed an essential d4-d5 break.

 

 

Then, in a line of the Exchange Slav that lives up to the opening’s sometimes-unearned reputation as a dull choice, Donchenko won in remarkably different fashion. Allowing Serbian GM Velimir Ivić to decide how best to consolidate a pawn-down ending, Donchenko ended up happy to use his newfound passed a-pawn to push for a bonus victory.

 

 

The lone American in the Challengers, GM Abhimanyu Mishra, was having a tough event after a first-round victory against Dutch IM Eline Roebers.

 

Image
Mishra
Image Caption
Mishra (right) essayed a fantastic victory towards the end of a long event (courtesy Jurriaan Hoefsmit)

 

But one more highlight came in round 12, defeating Slovakian GM Jerguš Pecháč in a highly entertaining Italian.

 

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