Wijk aan Zee 2015 – Round 8

The shocking thing in today’s round was how Ivanchuk lost.

Playing white against So, he went for the line in the Anti-Marshall that Anand used to beat Aronian in the first round of last year’s Candidates. It may sound good, but in fact just after that game it was discovered that black had an absolutely amazing sacrifice which would have given him a devastating attack. This was widely known, even published in the the New In Chess magazine with analysis by Giri. I state my opinion in the comments to the game, as why this happened. This victory is So’s second tournament victory with black after 1 e4 e5, the first one being against Jobava a few rounds earlier.

Ding Liren won his second game in a row after losing to the Frenchman. Today he beat Saric, who didn’t react appropriately to Ding’s improvement on Tomashevsky-Vitiugov and was surely ground down. With this win Ding is shared second, an excellent result so far for the Chinese player, who has only one draw in the tournament (against Ivanchuk).

It can be said that the game Jobava-Carlsen was typical for both players. Jobava played well positionally (which he can do no less well than playing wild chess) while Carlsen was patient and hit the ball back, just like Nadal in tennis. It was a well-played game by both, until, typically again, Jobava over-extended himself and that was all Carlsen needed to notch up his 5th win in a row.

Hou Yifan repeated the line Harikrishna used against Aronian in last year’s Wijk, where black demonstrated a convincing way to equalise and practically shut down the whole line for white. Aronian followed his own recipe and equalised, but another sign of his bad form came when he sacrificed/blundered (choose as you wish) a pawn:

Vachier outprepared Giri. Now that’s a curious sentence. Both are known for their deep preparation, this time the Frenchman was more lucky in finding a blind spot in his opponent’s opening work. Perhaps yesterday’s marathon tired Giri who couldn’t find the correct moves over the board?

Van Wely lost to Caruana as a result of a one-move blunder. Too many blunders for the Dutchman who now stands on -4 while Caruana moves to +1. I expect Caruana to have a decent result here and getting decent results when out of form is a sign of a great player.

26 Nf2?? Bc4

Radjabov beat Wojtaszek, who seems to have run out of steam after yesterday’s loss to Jobava. Radjabov was better prepared in the 6 h3 Najdorf and won in 59 moves, never allowing black a chance. This win moves Radjabov to +1 while the Pole slips back to 50%.

Tomorrow is a free day and after that we have the duel of the theoreticians who share second place – So-Vachier. Perhaps an exciting Najdorf?

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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  • Jan 20,2015 at 10:09 pm

    Yeah… impressive 3/3 for the Frenchman.

  • Anonymous
    Jan 20,2015 at 10:04 pm

    go MLV….

  • Anonymous
    Jan 18,2015 at 11:02 pm

    I hope Ivanchuk wins his next game

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