Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Tata Steel Round 4

"I was always on top."

In Group A, Magnus, Anand, and Karjakin are the leaders with three points each.  Group B houses two 3.5 point contenders, Tiviakov and Rapport, while group C possesses only Peralta with 3.5 points and the leader.

Magnus (3.0) looked confident during his game against Harikrishna (2.0) and indeed won. And I was excited to learn that Magnus played one of my favorite openings, albeit, much better than I could ever hope to play.  The Ponziani Opening is one of the oldest documented openings and was discussed at length in 1497 (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 Nf6).  Howard Staunton even played and wrote about it in "The Chess Player's Handbook," in 1847.  Recently, Hikaru Nakamura played the Ponziani countergambit against Julio Rivero (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 f5 4. d4 fxe4 5. Nxe5).  In the interview afterwards, Magnus reflects, "I think e both made mistakes, but fortunately he made the last one."  He continues to indicate that he was always "on top" but when [Harikrishna] pushed h5 Magnus was unsure if he could win or not.
Magnus v. Harakrishna.  39. ..h5 provided difficulty for Magnus
My other favorites to watch were Nakamura, who obtained a draw in a queen game with repitition.  Nakamura indicated that he was lucky to obtain that ending.  Jan Smeets drew against Alexander Ipatov.  He transposed into a Caro Kann defense against a d4 opening (?) and faired rather well with numerous exchanges, uncastled kings, and ending with rooks.  Alexandra Goryachkina also obtained a well-deserved  three-move repition draw against Twan Burg.

Peralta v. Schut.  We gonna lose something here?  Maybe the game.

Lisa Schut destroyed Fernando Peralta's queen-side with daring raids by a knight and her queen, but a d-file pawn began inching it's way up the board forcing Lisa to drop a rook.  Peralta returned the favor 5 moves later to save his bishop pair and Lisa looked better with 2 unopposed pawns on the queen side and a majority on the king-side. A misplaced rook allowed Peralta to snag the knight or the rook, or both with a viscious fork waiting to manifest.  Very neat game to watch.
Could he actually win the tournament?

One of the best games of the day was Viswanathan Anand (3.0) who appears to actually be a contender for the tournament title after beating Aronian Levon (1.5) in a game that caught Aronian off-guard.  23. Qd3?? (A move I might make) . . . Balunder! . . .  Those dog-gone long bishops . . . His g2 pawn was mercilessly pinned and would allow the black queen to slay the other protecting pawn h3 . . .and the queen working with the bishops . . . getting right in the king's face . . .bam . . . checkmate.
Viswanathan v. Levon.  23. Qd3??  Whoops!!

Round 4 Report
Standings Group A
Standings Group B
Standings Group C

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