Wijk aan Zee 2015 – Round 10

So all good things come to an end and today we saw the end of Carlsen’s winning streak. I cannot say I was surprised, as I actually expected Ivanchuk to be super-solid today.

Ivanchuk played a theoretical draw in the Ragozin against Carlsen. Nothing much to be added here, giving both players extra rest before the rest day.

The game between Ding Liren and So was another theoretical draw. This one in the QGD, in a line that was introduced by Botvinnik in his game against Spassky in Leiden 1970. As Botvinnik writes, he discovered the move 8 h4 while sitting in the hotel foyer in Menorca in 1967 while outside a hurricane was raging. Botvinnik thought that taking on h4 was bad for black, but he (un)fortunately didn’t have access to Stockfish, Houdini or Komodo. Funnily enough, Ding and So followed an old game by Geller (from 1982), but thanks to the 3 amigos above So successfully improved on Geller’s play.

Vachier and Wojtaszek, another two players who know their theory played an English Opening and instead of following Aronian on move 11 (who played 11…e4 and 11…Nd7, but lost both times), black followed So, who played 11…h6. Wesley So is very fast becoming the person to follow. Obviously the Frenchman improved on move 13, but after black’s 13…Kd8 he didn’t have much. He sacrificed a pawn to open up the position with 14 d6, but black defended accurately. After many moves considered best by the comp and played by both sides, the game ended in a draw on move 32.

Saric and Giri played an exciting Taimanov Sicilian following Radjabov-Giri from round 6, which ended in a spectacular perpetual, until Giri deviated with 14…Rc8. Strangely enough, they played computer moves until move 23! This was the first moment Giri thought in this game, for some 12 minutes. That’s what I call deep and high-quality preparation – to analyse deeply and precisely in a completely unknown territory! From then on Saric’s play deteriorated significantly (it’s quite typical, when you play your prep you play at a 3100 level, when you start to play on your own, your level drops several hundred points) and Giri won rather easily.

Radjabov and Aronian played a theoretical draw in the Marshall Attack. I remember Aronian saying once that if he wanted to play for a draw he played the Marshall, while if he wanted to play for a win, he played the Berlin.

Jobava lost to Caruana. How many players are out there who would think of 7 g3 in this position?

7 g3!??!

Jobava’s ugly-looking setup didn’t quite manage to impress Caruana who went on to outplay him in classical style. But ugly-looking doesn’t necessarily mean bad, no matter what Hollywood tells us. Jobava fought and even though he was losing he managed to confuse Caruana. And just when he managed to escape with a draw, disaster struck:

Van Wely beat Hou Yifan by playing 1 e4, a move he normally never plays. The game was very interesting – they followed the recent game Naiditsch-Sutovsky until move 16, when instead of the best move (according to comps) and the one chosen by Naiditsch, van Wely played 16 c5. This was cunning: first, Hou never expected 1 e4 and this line; second, Hou played 3…g6 and 4…bc6 in December and won, so van Wely could prepare with a degree of certainty that Hou would repeat the line; third, she must have had some vague recollection of the Naiditsch-Sutovsky game and used it to navigate the complications; fourth, playing by analogy can be very dangerous in tactical positions. And that is what happened, Hou copied Sutovsky’s recipe, but it didn’t work due to tactical reasons. A very good psychological preparation by van Wely!

Tomorrow’s a rest day and then the final 3 rounds will be played. Who will finish second?

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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  • Jan 23,2015 at 11:41 pm

    Thanks guys, I appreciate it!


  • Jan 23,2015 at 12:00 am

    Thank you very much for your detailed chronicle. You supplied a lot of interesting information about the games.

  • Jan 22,2015 at 3:50 pm

    I found this blog today, didn't know it exists until now but i'm very glad i did it. Better late then never. Now, i will just need to read entire blog archive 😉

    Thanks for your analysis and insight of tata steel games. Its tough to predict who will be second. Maxime arguably has toughest schedule, maybe So has best chances(if he's able to cope with the pressure)…

    Поздрав и се најдобро!

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