Wijk aan Zee 2015 – Round 4

Ivanchuk strikes again! 3/3 with white is an amazing feat, today he beat the Frenchman who was surprised by Ivanchuk’s very rare 15 a4 (15 Nd5 is usual) in the Najdorf and didn’t react very well. It’s good to see Ivanchuk leading the tournament, as for him, more than anyone else, positive emotions and convincing results are needed like air so that he can continue to play well. Much has been said about his (in)stability, and it is true that one loss might derail him completely, but for the time being he’s leading and let’s just enjoy the look at the standings.

Like I wrote yesterday, it’s easy to be original and play badly. That is happening to Jobava right now. He continued in his original style against Saric and while he was playing well he got a big advantage. But then he pushed too hard with the originality while forgetting objectivity and was duly punished.

17 Ke3? just pushing too far (17 f4 or 17 h4 was normal and good)

It’s strange to see Radjabov playing the KID with white. It takes a Chinese to try the KID against Radjabov and after surviving several unpleasant moments Ding Liren did emerge victorious! It’s worth noting that Radjabov employed the ever-popular Makagonov line against his favourite opening (5 Nf3 and 6 h3).

29 Qh6? the decisive mistake

After 29…Rb8 all black’s pieces attacked white’s king. The only way was to play 29 Qh5 and then Nf4, trying to exchange queens.

Decent people pay at least twice for their missed opportunities. I don’t know him personally, but van Wely seems like a decent guy. He paid yesterday for his missed wins against Wojtaszek in round 2, when he lost badly to Ivanchuk and he was doomed today even though he had white against Carlsen. He even tried to curb his usual aggressive instincts and played a “drawish line” (his own words) but to no avail. As for Carlsen, it seems yesterday’s loss shook him and brought him back to his senses – he got rid of the experiments in the opening and played a good game, using van Wely’s mistakes with his usual precision.

The remaining 3 games were drawn. Giri didn’t want to create much with black against Hou Yifan’s solid Guioco Piano, but I find it strange as all the moves in that game were the comp’s first choices. I’m sure Giri had it all prepared beforehand and in fact the most intriguing moment of the game was in this position when Giri spent 25 minutes on his move:

To play (11…Rf3) or to draw (11…Bf5)?

Giri’s choice perhaps confirmed Carlsen’s remark from before the tournament.

Caruana and So played a balanced Spanish which after correct play by both sides led to a draw. Worth noticing is So’s early novelty in a well-known position:

9…Nb8!? The Breyer maneuver hasn’t been tried before here

Aronian tried to squeeze water from stone against Wojtaszek, but he wasn’t successful. I found his opening choice too sterile, but perhaps he was afraid of running into some Anand preparation (Wojtaszek is an Anand second of many years).

Tomorrow’s the first rest day and then the participants play round 5 in Rotterdam, bringing back the memories of the famous AVRO from 1938 when the participants played almost every round in a different place. Not very good for concentration and preparation, but let’s see how these changes affect the players of the 21st century.

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