So Leads Tata Steel as Carlsen Sets Unbeaten Record

Wesley So leads the A Group at Tata Steel after Tuesday’s fourth round. So is at 3/4, a half-point ahead of fellow Americans Fabiano Caruana and Jeffery Xiong. They share second place with Vladislav Artemiev, Alireza Firouzja, and Jorden Van Foreest, at all 2.5/4.

So took the lead in Round 4 with this intricate victory over Firouzja. His positional dominance here can be seen as a model for how “more mature” competitors can handle young tactical dynamos like the embattled Iranian.

[pgn] [Event "82nd Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2020.01.14"] [Round "4.4"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D27"] [WhiteElo "2765"] [BlackElo "2723"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2020.01.11"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O a6 7. b3 (7. dxc5) ( 7. a4) (7. Bb3) 7... cxd4 8. Nxd4 Be7 9. Bb2 O-O 10. Be2 Bd7 11. Nd2 Nc6 12. Rc1 (12. Nc4 Rc8 13. Rc1 Nd5 14. Nxc6 Bxc6 15. Ne5 Bb5 16. Bxb5 axb5 17. Qe2 b4 18. Rxc8 Qxc8 19. Rc1 {0-1 (40) Esipenko,A (2642) -Firouzja,A (2723) Moscow 2019}) (12. Bf3 Rc8 13. Nc4 b5 14. Nxc6 Bxc6 15. Qxd8 Bxd8 16. Bxc6 bxc4 17. Bb7 Rb8 18. Bxa6 {1/2 (30)-1/2 (30) Adhiban,B (2639) -Nakamura,H (2745) Douglas 2019}) 12... Rc8 13. N4f3 b5 14. a3 Qb6 15. Rc2 e5 $5 16. Bd3 (16. Nxe5 Nxe5 17. Bxe5 Bxa3 18. Nf3 Qe6 19. h3 $14) 16... Rfd8 17. Qe2 Bg4 18. Rfc1 Na7 $6 19. Rxc8 Rxc8 20. Rxc8+ Nxc8 21. h3 (21. Bxe5 Bxa3 22. Qd1 Qe6 23. Qc2 $14) 21... Bxf3 22. Qxf3 Qd8 23. Qe2 Qd5 24. Bc2 Nd6 25. Qd3 Qxd3 26. Bxd3 Nd7 27. g4 g6 28. Ne4 Nxe4 29. Bxe4 Nc5 30. Bc2 e4 (30... f6 31. b4 Nb7 32. Bb3+ Kf8 33. Kf1 $14) (30... Bf6 31. b4 Na4 (31... Ne6 $2 32. f4) 32. Bc1 Kf8 $14) 31. b4 Nd3 32. Bc3 Kf8 33. Kf1 f5 34. Ke2 Bd8 (34... h5 {computer move?} 35. gxf5 gxf5 36. Bxd3 exd3+ 37. Kxd3 Kf7) (34... Bh4 35. f4 $1 Bd8 36. Bxd3 exd3+ 37. Kxd3 $16) 35. Bxd3 exd3+ 36. Kxd3 Kf7 37. e4 fxg4 (37... Ke6 38. exf5+ gxf5 39. Ke3 Bb6+ 40. Bd4 Bc7 41. Bc5) 38. hxg4 g5 $2 (38... h5 $1 {going for counterplay, but what follows is fairly paradoxical for humans:} 39. gxh5 (39. f3 $2 h4) 39... gxh5 40. f4 h4 41. Ke3 h3 42. Kf3 Bh4 43. f5 h2 44. Kg2 Bg3 45. e5 Ke7 $132) 39. Kd4 Bb6+ 40. Kd5 Bxf2 41. Kc6 Ke6 42. Kb7 Kd7 43. Kxa6 Kc6 44. e5 Be3 45. e6 Bc1 46. a4 bxa4 47. Be5 1-0 [/pgn]
In Round 2, So showed his calculative ability in his win over Viswanathan Anand. Anand’s 12. … Bxf2 was accurate, but So played all the right moves and kept the balance. The former World Champion slipped on move 23, and he was forced to resign just four moves later.
[pgn] [Event "82nd Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2020.01.12"] [Round "2.7"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C53"] [WhiteElo "2765"] [BlackElo "2758"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2020.01.11"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. h3 a6 8. Bb3 Be6 9. Bc2 d5 10. Ng5 dxe4 11. Nxe6 fxe6 12. dxe4 Bxf2+ $5 (12... Qe8 {wti ... Nh5-f4}) (12... Nd5 $5 13. exd5 Bxf2+ 14. Ke2 exd5 {is probably insufficient comp, but Black is not without chances.}) 13. Kxf2 Ng4+ 14. Kg1 Ne3 15. Qe2 Nxc2 16. Rb1 N6d4 (16... N6b4 {effectively transposes to the game.}) 17. cxd4 Qxd4+ 18. Kh2 Rf2 19. Qg4 Ne3 20. Qxe6+ Kh8 21. Rg1 Qd3 22. Qxe5 Raf8 $6 { The most natural move in the world, but unfortunately for Anand, it is a bit slow.} (22... Nxg2 23. Rxg2 Rxg2+ 24. Kxg2 Qe2+ 25. Kg3 Rf8 $11) 23. Qg3 (23. Qg5 $5) 23... Qe2 $2 (23... R8f6 {is the last chance to save the game. After} 24. b4 {(wti Rb1-b3)} Rg6 25. Rb3 Rxg3 26. Rxd3 Nf1+ 27. Nxf1 Rxd3 {White has two pieces for the rook and a significant advantage, but it's not quite over yet.}) 24. b4 $1 {Giving White the dual threads of Rb3 and Bb2.} Rxg2+ 25. Rxg2 Nxg2 26. Qg4 1-0 [/pgn]

Firouzja is enjoying a solid start in his first elite tournament, having earned fine wins over Kovalev in Round 1 and Artemiev in Round 3.

Alireza Firouzja (photo Alina l'Ami)

[pgn] [Event "82nd Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2020.01.11"] [Round "1.7"] [White "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Black "Kovalev, Vladislav"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C92"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2660"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2020.01.11"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. d4 Re8 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. a4 h6 13. Bc2 exd4 14. cxd4 Nb4 15. Bb1 c5 (15... bxa4 16. Rxa4 a5 17. Ra3 {1-0 (44) Kasparov,G (2800)-Karpov,A (2730) Lyon/New York 1990 CBM 021 [Schussler,H]}) 16. d5 c4 $6 {Inaccurate.} ( 16... Nd7 17. Ra3 c4 (17... f5 $5 {1/2-1/2 (62) Shirov,A (2656)-Firouzja,A (2499) Bandar e Anzali 2017}) 18. axb5 axb5 19. Nd4 Rxa3 20. bxa3 Nd3 21. Bxd3 cxd3 22. Bb2 {1-0 (41) Kasparov,G (2740)-Karpov,A (2705) London/Leningrad 1986 MainBase [ChessBase]}) 17. Nd4 Nd7 {Mixing up move orders gives Kovalev a significant disadvantage.} 18. axb5 axb5 (18... Nd3 19. Bxd3 cxd3 20. b4 $1 { controlling c5} axb5 21. Bb2 $16) 19. Rxa8 Bxa8 20. Nxb5 Qb8 21. Na3 Nd3 22. Re3 Nxc1 23. Qxc1 g6 24. Naxc4 {White is two pawns up, and Black lacks any real compensation for the material.} Bg7 25. Ra3 Qc7 26. b4 Bb7 27. Bd3 Rb8 28. Qd1 Bc8 29. Qa4 Ne5 30. Nxe5 Qc1+ 31. Bf1 Bxe5 32. Nc4 Bd4 33. Qe8+ $1 Kg7 34. Rf3 f6 35. Qe7+ Kg8 36. Qd8+ 1-0 [/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "82nd Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2020.01.13"] [Round "3.5"] [White "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Black "Artemiev, Vladislav"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2731"] [PlyCount "113"] [EventDate "2020.01.11"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4 h5 5. c4 e6 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. Nge2 Nd7 8. Ng3 Bg6 9. Bg5 Qb6 10. Rc1 dxc4 11. Bxc4 Nf5 12. O-O Be7 13. Nxf5 Bxf5 14. Bxe7 Kxe7 15. Qd2 Qd8 16. Nd1 Nb6 17. Ne3 Kf8 18. Nxf5 exf5 19. Bb3 Qxh4 20. Rfe1 Rh6 21. e6 fxe6 22. Bxe6 Re8 23. Bxf5 Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 Qd8 25. Qd3 Kf7 26. Qf3 Qf6 27. Qb3+ Kf8 28. Qa3+ Qd6 29. Qe3 Qd8 30. Qe4 Rf6 31. Bg6 Kg8 32. Qh4 Qd5 33. Re8+ Rf8 34. Qe7 Nd7 35. Bc2 Qxd4 36. Rxf8+ Nxf8 37. Bb3+ Kh7 38. Qxf8 Qxb2 39. Bg8+ Kh6 40. Qf4+ g5 41. Qd6+ Kg7 42. Bb3 Qa1+ 43. Kh2 Qf6 44. Qxf6+ Kxf6 45. Kg3 b5 46. Bd1 h4+ 47. Kg4 c5 48. f4 gxf4 49. Kxf4 Ke6 50. Kg4 a5 51. Kxh4 a4 52. g4 c4 53. g5 a3 54. Be2 Kf5 55. Kh5 Ke4 56. g6 c3 57. Bd1 1-0 [/pgn]
Fabiano Caruana and Jeffery Xiong are in a five-way tie for second place with +1 (2.5/4). Caruana defeated Yu Yangyi on the White side of a Petroff to claim his share of second, while Xiong’s victory came at the expense of Jordan van Foreest. The two Americans drew their fourth round game, a heavily theoretical line of the Qc2 Nimzo where Xiong was pressing but ultimately unable to break through.

[pgn] [Event "82nd Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2020.01.14"] [Round "4.5"] [White "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E21"] [WhiteElo "2712"] [BlackElo "2822"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2020.01.11"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 O-O 5. Qc2 c5 6. dxc5 Na6 7. g3 Nxc5 8. Bg2 Nce4 9. O-O Nxc3 10. bxc3 Be7 11. e4 d6 12. e5 dxe5 13. Nxe5 Qc7 14. Qe2 Nd7 15. Bf4 Nxe5 16. Bxe5 Bd6 17. Rfe1 Rb8 18. Rad1 Bxe5 19. Qxe5 Qxe5 20. Rxe5 b6 21. c5 Ba6 22. c6 Rbc8 23. Bf3 (23. Rd7 Rfd8 24. Re4 Rxd7 25. cxd7 Rd8 26. Ra4 Bb5 27. Rxa7 Kf8 28. Bf1 Bxd7 29. Rb7 e5 30. Bc4 b5 31. Bxb5 Be6 32. c4 Rd1+ 33. Kg2 Rc1 34. a4 Bxc4 35. Bxc4 Rxc4 36. a5 Ra4 37. Ra7 e4 38. Ra8+ Ke7 39. a6 Kf6 40. g4 e3 41. fxe3 Rxg4+ 42. Kf3 Ra4 43. a7 {1/2-1/2 (43) Nakamura, H (2781) -Caruana,F (2799) London 2017}) (23. h4 $5) 23... Rc7 24. Rd4 Re8 25. a4 Kf8 26. Re1 Bc8 (26... e5 27. Rb4 f6 28. Bd5 Rd8 29. c4 Bxc4 30. Bxc4 Rd4 $11) 27. a5 bxa5 28. Re5 Ke7 29. Rxa5 Rd8 30. Rb4 a6 31. Kg2 Ra7 32. c4 Kd6 33. Rb7 $5 (33. c5+ Kc7 34. g4 e5 $11) 33... Bxb7 34. cxb7 Kc7 35. c5 Rxb7 36. Rxa6 (36. Rxa6 Rb2 37. Ra7+ Kc8 38. Rxf7 $11) 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
Magnus Carlsen is on an even score after four rounds with four draws. In itself, this might seem a slightly sub-par performance for the World Champion, but as always it’s the long term perspective that matters. With these four games Carlsen now owns the record for the most consecutive games without a loss at 111 and counting, a feat so noteworthy that it was picked up by CNN International and the New York Daily News!

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Carlsen doubled down on his winning ways on Wednesday's rest day, leading his soccer team to victory against Loek van Wely’s all-stars.

Meanwhile, Surya Shekhar Ganguly leads the B Group, also with a score of 3/4. His Round 4 win over Dinara Saduakassova provides some interesting ideas to those trying to crack the Catalan with the Black pieces.

Ganguly and friends (photo Alina l'Ami)

[pgn] [Event "82nd Tata Steel GpB"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2020.01.14"] [Round "4"] [White "Saduakassova, D."] [Black "Ganguly, S."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2519"] [BlackElo "2636"] [PlyCount "52"] [EventDate "2020.01.10"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 a6 6. O-O Nc6 7. e3 Rb8 8. Nfd2 e5 9. Bxc6+ bxc6 10. dxe5 Ng4 11. Nxc4 Be6 12. Nbd2 Bb4 13. b3 h5 14. Qc2 h4 15. Nf3 hxg3 16. fxg3 Bc5 17. h4 Rh5 18. Kg2 g5 19. e4 gxh4 20. Nxh4 Rxh4 21. gxh4 Qxh4 22. Rh1 Nh2 23. Be3 Qh3+ 24. Kg1 Bxc4 25. Rxh2 Qxe3+ 26. Kh1 Bd3 0-1 [/pgn]


Quick links: Tata Steel main website A Group Standings B Group Standings Live Games

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

January 14, 2020Wijk aan Zee NED Saduakassova, D.2519 Ganguly, S. move 25 ... Qf1 checkmate

In reply to by Jerry McGowin (not verified)

The Rook on a1 would like a word with you. SMH...

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