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Tournament Report – Tata Steel Chess 2015

For the past few weeks the chess world has focused its attention on the small town of Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands and the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, which features some of the strongest players in the world. The tournament consists of two sections: a Masters and Challengers group. The round-robin format of this particular tournament adds some interesting dynamics to the matches and there were no shortages of incredible moments in this year’s tournament.

Final Tournament Standings

77th Tata Steel GpA Wijk aan Zee | 9-25 January 2015
1. Carlsen, Magnus 2862 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 9 2877
2. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 2854
3. Giri, Anish 2784 ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 2852
4. So, Wesley 2762 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 2854
5. Ding, Liren 2732 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2856
6. Ivanchuk, Vassily 2715 ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 2805
7. Caruana, Fabiano 2820 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 7 2769
8. Radjabov, Teimour 2734 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 6 2717
9. Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2744 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 2688
10. Aronian, Levon 2797 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 2684
11. Hou, Yifan 2673 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 5 2664
12. Saric, Ivan 2666 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 2641
13. Van Wely, Loek 2667 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 4 2610
14. Jobava, Baadur 2727 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 ½ 3 2536

Tournament Analysis

It seems like these days that everyone is looking for the next player to “pull a Caruana” by winning seven games or more in a row as Fabiano Caruana did at the 2014 Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis. Magnus Carlsen came close to equalling Caruana’s achievement by winning six games in a row before drawing a game against Vassily Ivanchuk. The post game interview for that match turned out to be one of the highlights of the match. During the interview, Carlsen referred to the game as “nonsense” and stated that he preferred to “play good chess” versus Ivanchuk’s “nonsense.” The game was a paltry 18 moves and lasted only 25 minutes before Ivanchuk’s opening lines forced a draw.

Ivanchuck vs. Carlsen, 1.5-1.5, 2015.01.09

I recall some chat members on ChessBomb referring to the Round 11 game between Anish Giri and Wesley So as the “Blunder Collection of the Century.” That game lasted an agonizing seven and a half hours and totaled 111 moves at the end. Giri had several chances throughout the game to force a win, but seemed distracted and unable to find the appropriate winning lines. Once the game passed move 60, much of it was a King and Queen battle for supremacy which ultimately turned in Giri’s favor and brought Wesley So his first loss since April 2014.

Giri vs. So, 1-0, 2015.01.24

Winner Takes All!

In the midst of the exciting games, close calls, and winning streaks, World Champion Magnus Carlsen managed to earn the tournament win with 9 out of 13 overall. With his victory over Wesley So on Saturday, Anish Giri had pulled into a close second with Carlsen and had the opportunity to tie the World Champion, but a draw guaranteed Magnus a win if he could merely draw his game against GM Radjabov. Magnus Carlsen was in fine form during the tournament and earns his 4th win among the countless other great chess players to claim victory at the 70 year-old tournament.

Complete Tournament Masters Game Archive