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Tata Steel Chess 04: Adhiban holds Anand to a draw!

by Aditya Pai - 17/01/2018

There were India-versus-India clashes in both events of Tata Steel Chess last night. Anand, in his game against Adhiban, missed a few tactical shots and ended up drawing in a better position. A win would have catapulted him to sole first place as Anish Giri drew against Magnus Carlsen in a razor-sharp theoretical battle. In the Challengers, Vidit Gujrathi made no mistake getting past Harika Dronavalli while Anton Korobov also won his game against Olga Girya. With their wins, Vidit and Korobov have put themselves a point ahead of their nearest rivals. An illustrated report.

Masters: Adhiban's opening adventure 

Indians were pitted against one another in the fourth round of Tata Steel Chess in both the Masters and the Challengers event. In the Masters, Adhiban Baskaran managed to hold Viswanathan Anand to a draw while Vidit Gujrathi defeated Harika Dronavalli with the white pieces in the Challengers. In another exciting game of the round, Magnus Carlsen held Anish Giri, who is co-leading the tournament, to a draw with the black pieces. Due to this result, there were no changes at the top of the leaderboard. Anand and Giri still lead the tournament, half a point ahead of their nearest rival.


Adhiban’s game against Anand was a tense battle in which the 25 year old from Chennai displayed inspired play from the very start. Kicking off with the non-committal 1.Nf3, Adhiban went on to sacrifice a pawn on his fourth move in an attempt to open up files and diagonals for his pieces. Anand, however, chose to keep things simple and returned the pawn immediately.

Adhiban's played enterprisingly throughout the game to hold "the Indian Chess God" to a draw | Photo: Alina L'ami 

Equalizing comfortably out of the opening, Anand was able to build up some pressure against Adhiban’s position. The former five-time world champion even had an extra pawn on the queenside. But somehow, Anand missed a few tactical shots. Adhiban said after the game that Anand wasn't really feeling well yesterday. Adhiban in his trademark aggressive style generated counterplay with his active pieces and the presence of bishops of opposite colour only helped his cause.


After forcing an exchange on the 34th move, Adhiban went on to make a temporary bishop sacrifice that forced perpetual checks. After two back to back losses, this was a great performance by the young GM.


In his post-game interview, Adhiban sounded very optimistic and pointed out that even last year – when he finished joint third at the event – he was in the exact same spot as he is this year. It all changed for him after the first rest day and he is, therefore, looking forward to it.


Talking about Anand, Adhiban said, "He has been a God for so many years in Indian chess and he proved it yet again by winning the World rapid event (last month). My path and his different path are totally different and I want to keep improving and hopefully, one day succeed him if possible."

Interview with Adhiban Baskaran | Tata Steel Chess YouTube

Carlsen and Giri played a complicated French Winawer that ended with perpetual checks | Photo: Alina L'ami

Anand’s co-leader at the event, Anish Giri, was almost caught by surprise by the reigning world champion, Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen essayed a complicated line in the Winawer variation of the French Defence and the game got razor sharp in no time. Giri, though, turned out to be prepared for this tactical battle. After a plethora of tactical skirmishes that also entailed a lot of piece trades, Magnus decided to call it a day on move 31 having forced perpetual checks.


Talking about his preparation, Giri revealed after the game that he had mainly been preparing for 1…e5 when it occurred to him that Magnus might play this line of the French Defence and when Magnus did go for the French Defence, he was very excited. “When he played 1…e6, I was excited because I was thinking now I am going to bang out thirty moves because I had something very nice there. But then he allowed me to take on g7; that surprised me. This I hadn’t repeated in a while,” he said.

Doesn't Kramnik resemble Walter White from Breaking Bad in this picture? | Photo: Alina L'ami 

Despite all the exciting tactics in the game between Giri and Carlsen, the game that stole the day was Vladimir Kramnik’s game against his compatriot and eight-time Russian champion, Peter Svidler. Kramnik, who had the white pieces in this game, went daringly into one of the lines of the Gruenfeld Defence, a line which Svidler champions and demolished his opponent in merely 24 moves. Perhaps, Svidler resigned a bit too early but Kramnik was clearly in a much better position while Svidler could barely move a piece.

Kramnik had lost in the very first round of this tournament to Anish Giri. But since then, he has more than recovered. With this win today, the former world champion has moved up to the joint second spot with Magnus Carlsen and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Results of Round 4

1GMAnish Giri
2762½ - ½GMMagnus Carlsen
2GMYifan HouCHN 26780 - 1GMMaxim Matlakov
3GMVladimir Kramnik
27941 - 0GMPeter Svidler
4GMBaskaran Adhiban
2671½ - ½GMViswanathan Anand
5GMSergey Karjakin
2765½ - ½GMShakhriyar Mamedyarov
6GMYi Wei
27401 - 0GMGawain C B Jones
7GMFabiano Caruana
2794½ - ½GMWesley So

Rank after Round 4

1GMViswanathan Anand
2783      ½ 1 1 ½ 3.0 / 429300.00
2GMAnish GiriNED2762  ½1       ½ 13.0 / 429550.00
3GMMagnus CarlsenNOR2826 ½     ½  ½ 1 2.5 / 428300.00
4GMVladimir Kramnik
2794 0     1   1 ½2.5 / 428230.00
5GMShakhriyar MamedyarovAZE 2791     ½½ ½    12.5 / 428280.00
6GMWesley So
2788    ½ ½ ½ ½   2.0 / 427700.00
7GMSergey KarjakinRUS2765½   ½½   ½    2.0 / 427560.00
8GMYi WeiCHN2740  ½0     1 ½  2.0 / 427600.00
9GMMaxim Matlakov
27300   ½½       12.0 / 427600.00
10GMGawain C B JonesENG 2660      ½0  ½ 1 2.0 / 427420.00
11GMFabiano CaruanaUSA 27940 ½  ½   ½    1.5 / 426760.00
12GMPeter Svidler
2760 ½ 0   ½    ½ 1.5 / 426540.00
13GMBaskaran AdhibanIND 2671½ 0      0 ½  1.0 / 425670.00 
14GMYifan Hou
2678 0 ½0   0     0.5 / 424320.00

Challengers: Vidit and Korobov increase their lead to a full point.

The Challengers also witnessed an Indian versus Indian clash between Vidit Gujrathi and Harika Dronavalli. Yet again, Vidit was involved in a battle that kicked off with the Moscow variation of the Sicilian. But this time, he was on the white side of the board.

Vidit found himself in the Moscow variation of the Sicilian once again in round four | Photo: Alina L'ami

Vidit played the opening well and seized the advantage quite early in the game creating good play on the queenside. Harika tried creating counterplay on the queenside but this only backfired. As play progressed, Vidit’s initiative on the queenside grew insuperable. Harika, who was already in a lost position, missed a mating trick on her 37th move and resigned immediately.

Vidit’s co-leader in the Challengers, Anton Korobov, also won a very nice game against Olga Girya. With three wins apiece, Vidit and Korobov have established a full point’s lead over the rest of the field, having scored 3.5/4.

Results of Round 4

1GMSantosh Gujrathi Vidit
27131 - 0GMDronavalli Harika
2GMAnton Korobov
26521 - 0WGMOlga Girya
3GMMatthias Bluebaum
2643½ - ½GMAryan TariNOR2578
4GMJeffery XiongUSA2629½ - ½GMJorden Van Foreest
5GMDmitry Gordievsky
2605½ - ½GMMichal Krasenkow
6GMBenjamin BokNED 2611½ - ½GMErwin L'AmiNED 2611
7IMLucas Van ForeestNED 24891 - 0GMBassem Amin

Rank after round 4

1GMSantosh Gujrathi ViditIND 2713       1  ½1 13.5 / 429510.00
2GMAnton KorobovUKR2652    ½   11  1 3.5 / 429350.00
3GMDmitry GordievskyRUS 2605      ½½  ½ 1 2.5 / 426740.00
4IMLucas Van ForeestNED2489      0½  1  12.5 / 427220.00
5GMJeffery XiongUSA2629 ½    ½  ½  ½ 2.0 / 425950.00
6GMErwin L'AmiNED 2611       ½ ½ ½ ½2.0 / 426220.00
7GMJorden Van ForeestNED 2609  ½1½   0     2.0 / 425920.00
8GMMichal KrasenkowPOL 26510 ½½ ½        1.5 / 425160.00
9GMMatthias BluebaumGER 2643 0    1   ½ 0 1.5 / 424980.00
10GMBenjamin BokNED 2611 0  ½½     ½  1.5 / 425170.00
11GMAryan TariNOR 2578½ ½0    ½     1.5 / 425240.00
12GMDronavalli HarikaIND 25280    ½   ½   ½1.5 / 425690.00
13WGMOlga GiryaRUS 2505 00 ½   1     1.5 / 425430.00
14GMBassem AminEGY 26980  0 ½     ½  1.0 / 423950.00


About the Author

Aditya Pai is an ardent chess fan, avid reader, and a film lover. He holds a Master's in English Literature and used to work as an advertising copywriter before joining ChessBase India. He loves all things German and is learning the language. He has also written scripts for experimental films.

Previous reports on Tata Steel Chess

Tata Steel Chess 01: Anand off to a flying start

Tata Steel Chess 02: Adhiban crumbles against Magnus

Tata Steel Chess 03: Anand leads the Masters, Vidit the challengers!

Coverage on Firstpost

Tata Steel Chess Round 1: Viswanathan Anand off the mark with a win; other Indian participants held to draws

Tata Steel Chess Round 2: Anish Giri takes sole lead; Viswanathan Anand in joint 2nd after draw

Tata Steel Masters Chess: Viswanathan Anand crushes Fabiano Caruana’s opening novelty to join Anish Giri in the lead