International Chess Federation
Thursday, 19 Jan 2023 23:48
Tata Steel Masters: Abdusattorov stuns Carlsen, grabs the lead

Nodirbek Abdusattorov beat Magnus Carlsen and emerged as the sole leader. Levon Aronian and Parham Maghsoodloo scored their first victories in the event.

The fifth round of the Tata Steel Masters, played at Ajax football arena in Amsterdam, produced the sole leader. Nodirbek Abdusattorov prevailed over Magnus Carlsen and took the pole position, whereas his main rival Anish Giri drew his game with Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa. The Uzbek youngster leads with 4/5, followed by Anish Giri.

Magnus Carlsen – Nodirbek Abdusattorov  0-1

The World Champion essayed a rare line of English Opening, which he previously tested in a blitz game with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, but after a series of logical moves by his opponent, did not achieve much. On move 13 Carlsen played somewhat reserved 13.Nf3 to which Nodirbek, instead of safe castling, reacted in the most aggressive way 13…Bf6, attacking the rook and taking control over a big diagonal. Carlsen picked up the gauntlet and sacrificed an exchange.

In the subsequent complicated play, Black evacuated his king to the queenside and emerged slightly better, although White had a chance to equalize. Abdusattorov was building up pressure and got a sizable advantage at some point, but then it was his turn to make inaccuracies. Closer to the time control, he sacrificed an exchange to liquidate into a queen endgame with an extra pawn, which, according to the 7-piece tablebase was drawn. However, just a few moves later, the pendulum swang back.

43.Qe8+ was the only move leading to a draw. Magnus played 43.Kh2 and after 43…Qe2+ 44.Kg1 Qe5! Nodirbek transferred his queen to the center and slowly but surely converted his extra pawn.

 Praggnanandhaa R – Anish Giri  ½–½

After massive exchanges of the minor pieces and queens in Giuoco Piano, the opponents steered into an equal rook endgame and signed peace on move 47.

Fabiano Caruana – Wesley So  ½–½

The game saw a very sharp line of the Scotch Game in which Fabiano introduced a novelty 15.Re1. Castling opposite wings suggested a very interesting middlegame battle, but after making a series of precise moves, the opponents found themselves in an equal endgame in which a draw was soon agreed.

Arjun Erigaisi – Ding Liren ½–½

The opponents had a theoretical discussion in a trendy line Giuoco Piano with h7-h6 and g7-g5 by Black, which Erigaisi recently tested against Le Quang Liem. Ding deviated from this game with a new move 12…g4 (the first line of Stockfish). Arjun sacrificed a pawn and got sufficient compensation but played an active 17.Nf5 too early.

Black did not react in an optimal way, and White got an edge. However, choosing between two squares for his knight Erigaisi made the wrong one and Ding Liren engineered an active play on the kingside.

Black could have kept up the pressure with 31…Bc5 (Be3). Ding decided to force events but miscalculated. The Chinese GM played 31…Rxf3, but after 32.Qd5+ Rf7 33.Bd8! Qf4 34.Bc7 Qf6 35.Bd8 White secured a draw by repetition.

Levon Aronian – Vincent Keymer  1-0

Black completely equalized in the Ruy Lopez but played some sluggishly and without a clear purpose in the middle game. As a result, Levon regrouped his pieces and launched a dangerous attack on the kingside. To avoid the worst, Vincent had to part with a pawn only to trade the queens.

The endgame looked gloomy for Black, but Levon miscalculated, and after finding the only but sufficient defence Keymer built a fortress which was very hard to break. However, when a draw was just a few steps away, Vincent committed a grave mistake.

65…Be8? Ignoring White’s only active idea h4-h5 and Bxf5. After 65…Kf6 White would have been hard-pressed to make progress.

Levon immediately jumped on the opportunity – 66.h5! and after 66…gxh5 67.Bxf5 Bd4 68.Ne4 White eventually captured the h5-pawn via the Bh7-f5-Bg6 maneuver and scored a full point.

Parham Maghsoodloo – Jorden Van Foreest  1-0

After Jorden mixed up lines the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, Parham correctly sacrificed a piece and got a huge compensation. However, instead of natural 14.Bxc4, with overwhelming position, he regained a piece immediately and also got some edge, but not as big. Still, White had better chances thanks to two bishops and a potential attack on the kingside, which he indeed launched later on.

Van Foreest tried to bail out with a queen sacrifice and could have put up more stubborn resistance, but it was not his day after all, as Maghsoodloo smoothly sailed to his first victory in the event.

Gukesh D – Richard Rapport  ½–½

The opponents played a long line in the Gruenfeld Defence in which, according to modern theory, Black holds his ground comfortably. The game did not question this evaluation as even after making a slight inaccuracy, Rapport reached a draw on move 47.

Standings after Round 5: 1. Nodirbek Abdusattorov – 4; 2. Anish Giri – 3.5; 3-5. Rameshbabu  Praggnanandhaa, Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian – 3; 6-9. Arjun Erigaisi, Wesley So, Parham Maghsoodloo, Ding Liren – 2.5; 10-11. Magnus Carlsen and Richard Rapport – 2; 12-14. Vincent Keymer, Gukesh D and Jorden Van Foreest – 1.5.

Photos:, Jurriaan Hoefsmit