Tata Steel India Round 1-3: Harikrishna, Mamedyarov and Aronian lead with 2.0/3
The first day of the first super tournament in India was fascinating. Of course, having ten great chess players fighting it out always feels great, but what was even more heartening was the jam packed crowd. The ICCR auditorium which had a capacity of 200 people was filled to the brim with people waiting outside the auditorium to go inside and view the games. The players held nothing back to entertain the crowd and in the first round itself Vishy Anand had everyone on the edge of their seats as he fought for 145 moves against Wesley So. At the end of three rounds of rapid chess at the Tata Steel Chess India we have three players in joint lead with 2.0/3 - Harikrishna, Mamedyarov and Aronian. A detailed report from Kolkata.
The nine round rapid event of Tata Steel Chess India kicked off on the 9th of November 2018. It is a 10-player event with each game having a time control of 25 minutes + 10 second increment. Hikaru Nakamura with a rating of 2844 is highest rated player in rapid section, while Nihal Sarin with a rating of 2127 is the lowest rated player. Although it is quite apparent that Nihal's rating of 2127 is not because he is a weak rapid player, it is just that he hasn't played enough rapid events.
The tournament hall reminded me of the settings of the London Chess Classic in Olympia. Some of the things that should be noticed are:
1. Two boards are placed in the front, three behind. In a way you can see all the players from any angle.
2. Excellent branding for the sponsors, especially the space below the fifth board
3. A packed auditorium!
The entry fee of the tournament is priced at a very reasonable Rs.250 per person. The idea of the organizers in fixing this price, was that they equated a round of chess with an entertaining movie. If someone wanted to watch a movie in a theatre for couple of hours, he would be ready to pay something around Rs.250.
|1||1||IND||2743||GM||Harikrishna Pentala||½ - ½||GM||Ganguly Surya Shekhar||IND||2608||10|
|2||2||AZE||2794||GM||Mamedyarov Shakhriyar||1 - 0||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||IND||2660||9|
|3||3||USA||2844||GM||Nakamura Hikaru||½ - ½||GM||Aronian Levon||ARM||2802||8|
|4||4||IND||2127||IM||Nihal Sarin||½ - ½||GM||Karjakin Sergey||RUS||2792||7|
|5||5||IND||2737||GM||Anand Viswanathan||½ - ½||GM||So Wesley||USA||2808||6|
Although the decisive game of the round was between Mamedyarov and Vidit, the most interesting battle was definitely between Vishy Anand and Wesley So. The game lasted for 145 moves and was drawn because of the 50 move rule. Vishy Anand said in the press conference, there are days when all three games of mine combined do not reach the 145 moves mark.
After the move a5, all that Wesley had to do was play ...g6 and give the move to his opponent. Vishy would have no real waiting moves and would lose the game. Instead Wesley decided to push his pawn to e3. Even that was fine, but after Ke2, he should have played ...g6. But he went for ....Kc3 and in the end it became a race with Vishy's king running to the kingside and So's king on the queenside.
Although White's has made huge progress the game was still drawn. The tablebase says that ...Qd7 would have led to a draw, instead ...Qc7 is a losing move. You would try to deduce some logic behind why that is the case, but I guess it is just too complicated to understand. It would entail both sides making the best moves, and in such a position it is humanly impossible. I think the chances of White winning this position are much higher than Black drawing because to play accurately for several moves is not at all easy, but Wesley managed to do that and full credit to him for that. The last pawn move was on move 93. The 50 move rule was done with no pawn advances. The game was drawn.
On any normal day Vidit would have taken the knight on g5 with his bishop. But here he decided to play ...g6. Of course it's not a losing move, but ...Bxg5 Bxg5 Ba6 would mean that Black has absolutely no problems.
The second round was delayed by a few minutes because of the game between Anand and Wesley So which lasted for 145 moves. It began at 4 p.m. instead of the scheduled 3.30 p.m. The two most important games of the round were Harikrishna getting the better of Mamedyarov and Aronian managing to trick Nihal Sarin.
|1||10||IND||2608||GM||Ganguly Surya Shekhar||½ - ½||GM||So Wesley||USA||2808||6|
|2||7||RUS||2792||GM||Karjakin Sergey||½ - ½||GM||Anand Viswanathan||IND||2737||5|
|3||8||ARM||2802||GM||Aronian Levon||1 - 0||IM||Nihal Sarin||IND||2127||4|
|4||9||IND||2660||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||½ - ½||GM||Nakamura Hikaru||USA||2844||3|
|5||1||IND||2743||GM||Harikrishna Pentala||1 - 0||GM||Mamedyarov Shakhriyar||AZE||2794||2|
Of course, Hari didn't have to be asked twice. He took on c4 with his knight and that was just a clean pawn up. Shakh didn't give up and kept fighting hard. But in mutual time trouble, he made a huge blunder.
Nihal was upto the task and didn't let Levon get any advantage. One of his moves which showed his excellent feel of chess happened in this position:
Mamedyarov continued his combative mood in the event by playing yet another decisive encounter, this time by beating Surya Sekhar Ganguly. Aronian drew his game against Anand and Harikrishna couldn't make most of his chances against Nakamura. Thus at the end of three rounds and day one we had three leaders - Harikrishna, Mamedyarov and Aronian.
|1||2||AZE||2794||GM||Mamedyarov Shakhriyar||1 - 0||GM||Ganguly Surya Shekhar||IND||2608||10|
|2||3||USA||2844||GM||Nakamura Hikaru||½ - ½||GM||Harikrishna Pentala||IND||2743||1|
|3||4||IND||2127||IM||Nihal Sarin||½ - ½||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||IND||2660||9|
|4||5||IND||2737||GM||Anand Viswanathan||½ - ½||GM||Aronian Levon||ARM||2802||8|
|5||6||USA||2808||GM||So Wesley||½ - ½||GM||Karjakin Sergey||RUS||2792||7|
Rank after Round 3
|8||10||GM||Ganguly Surya Shekhar||IND||2608||1,0||0,0||1,75||0||0||3||1||0,82||0,18||20||3,6|
|9||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||IND||2660||1,0||0,0||1,25||0||0||3||1||1,50||-0,50||20||-10,0|
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