The Week in Chess
Ding joins Nepomniachtchi in the lead after Round 5 of the Tata Steel Masters - 5
Wed Jan 16 20:51:00 2019
Before the first rest day the Tata Steel Masters went "on tour" to the beautiful city of Alkmaar. The city is famous for its cheese and the venue was the Taqa Theater De Vest.

Magnus Carlsen ended a run of 21 draws in a row in Classical Chess going back to Round 2 of the European Club Cup in October (where he beat Ian Nepomniachtchi's second Vladimir Potkin). Since then Carlsen drew the entirety of the classical part of his 12 game World Championship defence against Fabiano Caruana and then the first four rounds of this event. Today Carlsen beat Jorden van Foreest in a sharp Sicilian with opposite sides castling. Perhaps 24.Nd1 was nearly the decisive error, certainly the start of the wrong plan and Van Foreest resigned on move 33,s but in a sense he never really seemed to get going against the champion.

Ding Liren also won today, beating Sam Shankland with the black pieces. Shankland's pieces got in a tangled mess after the innocuous looking 18.Ng4? error and his position fell apart in just a few moves. This allowed Ding to catch Ian Nepomniachtchi who only drew. Nepomniachtchi had a temporary initiative against Richard Rapport but on untangling his pieces black was OK.

Teimour Radjabov was winning against Jan-Krzysztof Duda but once he didn't find 21.Qh2 he gradually frittered his advantage away. Anish Giri and Viswanathan Anand agreed a draw after 22 moves. The computer would have liked black to continue with 22...Qxb5 with a small edge. Kramnik and Mamedyarov reached sterile equality after 31 moves. Vidit looked to have outplayed Fedoseev to earn a late victory but couldn't finish the game off and it was finally drawn.

Round 5 Standings: 1 Nepomniachtchi 3½pts/5, 2 Ding Liren 3½pts, 3 Carlsen 3pts, 4 Vidit 3pts, 5 Giri 3pts, 6 Anand 3pts, 7 Mamedyarov 2½pts, 8 Radjabov 2½pts, 9 Duda 2½pts;, 10 Fedoseev 2pts, 11 Rapport 2pts, 12 Shankland 2pts, 13 Kramnik 1½pts; 14 Van Foreest 1pt

Rest day Thursday

Round 6 - Friday 18th Jan 1:30pm Carlsen-Mamedyarov, Rapport-Kramnik, Anand-Nepomniachtchi, Duda-Giri, Ding Liren-Radjabov, Vidit-Shankland, Van Foreest-Fedoseev,

Giri and Vidit win in Tata Steel Round 4 - 4
Tue Jan 15 20:12:00 2019
Leader Ian Nepomniachtchi earned a comfortable draw with black against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in Round 4 of the Tata Steel Masters and kept the lead with 3 points. This allowed Anish Giri and Santosh Gujrathi Vidit to move within half a point in a four way tie for second place with Ding Liren and Viswanathan Anand.

Giri looked comfortable straight out of the opening against Richard Rapport's 1. d4 d5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bf4 and after the dubious 21.Nxb6?! tactic was played white was always struggling and by the time they reached move 40 white had to resign. Vidit ground down Jorden Van Foreest in a bishops of opposite colours endgame. There may have been a way to draw this but it was tricky. Ding Liren looked to have a slight pull against Vladimir Fedossev but he couldn't make anything of it. The remaining games were drawn, Magnus Carlsen was again the last to finish trying to make something out of nothing against Vladimir Kramnik. Anand-Radjabov and Duda-Shankland were the other draws.

Round 4 Standings: 1 Nepomniachtchi 3pts 2 Vidit 2½pts 3 Ding 2½pts 4 Anand 2½pts 5 Giri 2½pts 6 Mamedyarov 2pts 7 Carlsen 2pts 8 Shankland 2pts 9 Duda 2pts 10 Radjabov 2pts 11 Fedoseev 1½pts 12 Rapport 1½pts 13 Kramnik 1pt 14 Van Foreest 1pt

Round 5 is in Alkmaar 16th Jan 2019 starting half an hour later at 2pm UK time.

Van Foreest-Carlsen, Fedoseev-Vidit, Shankland-Ding Liren, Radjabov-Duda, Giri-Anand, Nepomniachtchi-Rapport, Kramnik-Mamedyarov,

Ian Nepomniachtchi leads the Tata Steel Masters on 2.5/3 - 3
Mon Jan 14 20:29:00 2019
Ian Nepomniachtchi defeated a struggling Vladimir Kramnik in the third round of the Tata Steel Masters tournament to lead the tournament alone on 2.5/3. This is also Nepomniachtchi's third classical win in a row against Kramnik. Ding Liren also scored his first win beating Jorden van Foreest and Jan-Krzysztof Duda beat Vladimir Fedoseev. Shankland-Anand, Radjabov-Rapport and Giri-Mamedyarov were all drawn. Magnus Carlsen managed to win a pawn against Santosh Gujrathi Vidit but he never had a winning advantage and his was the last game to finish in a draw after nearly 7 hours of play.

Round 3 Standings: 1 Nepomniachtchi 2½pts, 2 Ding 2pts, 3 Anand 2pts, 4 Carlsen 1½pts, 5 Shankland 1½pts, 6 Vidit 1½pts, 7 Mamedyarov 1½pts, 8 Rapport 1½pts, 9 Radjabov 1½pts, 10 Duda 1½pts, 11 Giri 1½pts, 12 Fedoseev 1pt, 13 Van Foreest 1pt, 14 Kramnik ½pt,

Round 4 Tuesday 15th Jan 13:30pm Carlsen-Kramnik, Mamedyarov-Nepomniachtchi, Rapport-Giri, Anand-Radjabov, Duda-Shankland, Ding Liren-Fedoseev, Vidit-Van Foreest

Dutch players the only winners in Round 2 of the Tata Steel Masters - 2
Sun Jan 13 22:38:00 2019
The Dutch players were the only winners in the second round of the Tata Steel Masters in Wijk aan Zee. In round one Anish Giri and Jorden van Foreest lost with white and in the second round won with black. Giri defeated Vladimir Kramnik in a strange game where, at least according to the computer the evaluation swung around a bit, 22.g3? Rc8 should have been good for black but 22...fxg3 was only equal but 25.Qf5 seems to have been the decisive error (25.Qd2) and after 25...Bc4 black's advantage increased move by move and Kramnik resigned on move 42. Jorden van Foreest was down on the clock against Jan-Krzysztof Duda on the run up to first time control but went from about equal to winning in the space of 10 moves, 30.Re2?! seemed to be the start of white's troubles and 40.Rc3? left black completely winning and resignation followed 10 moves later.

The other games were drawn. Magnus Carlsen seemed to lose a theoretical battle against a fast moving Ian Nepomniachtchi which left the Russian comfortable as black and the players agreed a draw on move 32. Richard Rapport was a pawn down in a delicate Knight and Pawn endgame against Sam Shankland, computers tell me 74...h5? "threw away" the win and that he might have had with 74...h6. Of course it's all very difficult for humans. Vidit's position looked a bit suspicious against Ding Liren but they didn't find anything concrete after the games. Anand didn't get a lot vs Fedoseev's Petroff. Mamedyarov and Radjabov drew also.

Round 2 Standings: 1 Anand 1.5pts, 2 Nepomniachtchi 1.5pts, 3 Carlsen 1.0pts, 4 Fedoseev 1.0pts, 5 Rapport 1.0pts, 6 Mamedyarov 1.0pts, 7 Shankland 1.0pts, 8 Ding Liren 1.0pts, 9 Radjabov 1.0pts, 10 Vidit 1.0pts, 11 Giri 1.0pts, 12 Van Foreest 1.0pt, 13 Duda 0.5pts, 14 Kramnik 0.5pts,

Round 3 - Monday 14th Jan 12:30 GMT Vidit- Carlsen, Van Foreest-Ding Liren Fedoseev-Duda, Shankland-Anand, Radjabov-Rapport, Giri-Mamedyarov, Nepomniachtchi-Kramnik

Lively start to the 2019 Tata Steel Chess Tournament - 1
Sat Jan 12 21:07:00 2019
There was an interesting first round to the Tata Steel tournament although just two games finished decisively with the two Dutch players being defeated.

Ian Nepomniachtchi caught Anish Giri completely by surprise in using the Pirc Defence and Giri never seemed comfortable. 16.f4 is dubious, 17.Bf3 is probably already losing for white and his piece sacrifice the following move didn't work. Viswanathan Anand beat debutant Lucas Van Foreest with the black pieces. The players castled on opposite sides and from about move 20 Anand moved ahead in the race to attack and won very quickly. The remaining games were drawn.

Round 1 Standings: Anand, Nepomniachtchi 1pt, Carlsen, Mamedyarov, Kramnik, Radjabov, Duda, Rapport, Shankland, Fedoseev, Vidit and Ding 0.5pts and Giri, Van Foreest 0pts

Round 2 Sunday 13th Jan: Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi, Kramnik-Giri, Mamedyarov-Radjabov, Rapport-Shankland Anand-Fedoseev, Duda-Van Foreest Ding-Vidit