Wijk aan Zee 2015 – Round 12

I’m the first to admit it when I’m wrong and I admit I was wrong about the derby of the round, Giri-So.

I expected an uneventful draw as a result of a good opening preparation by So, but it turned out to be a one-sided game. In spite of the 111 moves played it was one-way traffic all the time. The reason? So didn’t make it out of the opening. Which I find surprising, as he’s already established himself as one of the best-prepared players in the elite, hence my expectations yesterday. Of course, all credit to Giri, who managed to find a grey area in So’s repertoire.

This win moved Giri above So in sole second, leaving him with theoretical chances to win the tournament. It’s curious that this loss is So’s first since April!

The other decisive game of the day was Saric-Wojtaszek, when they both confused the move-orders. Saric went along the game Caruana-Gelfand, considered good for black (instead of some better alternatives) and then Wojtaszek most probably forgot how Gelfand played and made a bad move. Then Saric didn’t take advantage of it and they transposed back to normal theory.

The other games were drawn. A few words about them as it’s time for bed.

Carlsen had some problems drawing with Ding Liren, but eventually managed. It’s surprising that he couldn’t draw easily in the QGD, bearing in mind that he prepared it for Anand.

Radjabov couldn’t do anything against Hou Yifan in the Catalan. Too sterile play by Radjabov with white, it happens to him occassionally.

Vachier and Aronian played an interesting game when the Frenchman went berserk and sacrificed his queenside for attack. It sufficed for a draw.

Ivanchuk and Caruana played a tame Grunfeld line that became alive only to peter out to a draw.

And finally Jobava played a dull game and drew without problems against van Wely.

Tomorrow’s last round sees Carlsen play Saric and Wojtaszek play Giri. I’d still say Carlsen wins his game and the tournament.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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