The 76th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament took place January 10-26, 2014 in the city of Wijk aan zee in the Netherlands. The top players competed in two groups (previously there were three), with twelve players in each, instead of fourteen. The favorite and number one ranked in this event was the super GM from Armenia, Levon Aronian, with a rating of 2812. The time controls were 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move. I selected two of the best games from round 2 and round 7.
Hikaru Nakamura (2789) – Loek Van Wely (2672) 76th Tata Steel Chess Tournament Wijk ann Zee NED (7) 2014.01.19
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 d6
Sicilian defense scheveningen variation.
6. g4 Nge7 7. Nb3 a6 8. h4
8. Be3 b5 9. f4 Bb7 10. Qe2 !? It have been played a few times, but this might be a Nakamura novelty, and maybe a little too premature to launch a pawn front of a keres attack without more coordination with the rest of the pieces.
8… b5 9. Bg2 Bb7 10. g5 Rc8 11. Qe2 h5 12. a4 b4 13. Na2 g6 14. Bf4 Bg7 15. Rd1 Ne5 16. Nxb4 Nc4 17. Nd3 Qb6
Black has compensation for the pawn, of that there is no doubt; however, there is still no specific danger for White and he can hope to retain his extra material.
18. O-O O-O 19. Nd2 Rfd8 20. Nxc4 Rxc4 21. Ne5 dxe5 22. Be3 Rcd4 23. c3
Nakamura wins an exchange with this sequence, but his position is passive and his pawns become weak. More than this, the passed d-pawn that Black receives as compensation will become quite strong.
….Bc6 24.b3 Qxb3 25. cxd4 exd4 26. Bf4 Qxa4
26… d3 27. Qd2 Bxa4 was more direct, but Black’s position is good regardless
27. Qf3 Bb5 28. Ra1 Qb4 29. Rfd1 d3 30. Rab1 Qa3 31. Bf1 Nc6 32. Qg3 Qa2 33. Rbc1
It was hard to suggest a move for White, but this allows a finishing blow.
….d2 34. Rxd2 Rxd2 35. Bxb5 axb5 36. Bxd2 Nd4
This is the point of the combination. White cannot hold on to his bishop on d2 because of the multiple forks. 36… Qxd2 37. Rxc6 Qe1+ 38. Kg2 Qxe4+ 39. Qf3 Qxh4 is better for Black, but not by much.
37. Rc8+ Kh7 38. Qc7
38. Qd3 Qxd2 loses the bishop and the game because of the fork on f3 later.
Black’s attack is decisive with this move calculation.
39. Qxf7 forces Black to give a perpetual because of Qg8 threat.
39. Bc1 Nf3+ 40. Kg2 Nxh4+
40… Qxe4 also wins
41. If Kf1 Qd3+
41… Qxe4 42. Qf4 Qh1+ 43. Qh2 Qb7 44. Rd8 Be5 45. f4
45. Qxe5 Qg2+ 46. Kxh4 Qg4#
45… Qf3+ 46. Qg3 Qh1+ 47. Qh2 Qf3+ 48. Qg3 Qh1+ 49. Qh2 Qxc1 50. fxe5 Qxg5 51. Qf4 Qxd8
51… Qg2+ 52. Kxh4 g5+ was most precise, but obviously this move in the game wins as well.
51… Qxf4 52. Rh8+ Kg7 53. Rg8+
Nakamura’s last attempt for a stalemate trick.
52. Qxf7+ Kh6 and Black wins! 0-1
Levon Aronian (2812) – Fabiano Caruana (2782) 76th Tata Steel Chess Tournament Wijk aaa Zee NED (2) 2014.01.12
1. Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. d4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 g6 7.Bf4 Bg7 8.e3 O-O 9. Bd3 Nd7
10. O-O Qa5
An initial English opening transposed into an alapin position.
11. Qc2 cxd4 12. cxd4 e5 13. Bg3 exd4 14. Nxd4 Nb6?! 15. Qc7!
Pinning the knight on b6 and taking control of the 7th rank.
I wish Black could keep his dark square bishop longer and didn’t leave White a more obvious line of attack on the dark squares.
16. exd4 Bf5
A desperate move from Black to activate his pieces as the expense of the pawn on b7 with hopes of compensating with the white isolated pawn on d4, although this is not so easy to recover back.
17. Bxf5 Qxf5 18. Qxb7 Rfd8 19. Rfd1 Rd7 20. Qa6 Qe4 21. Be5 Rf8 22. h3 f6 23. Bg3 Rff7 24. f3 Qf5 25. Rac1 Kg7 26. Kh2 Rfe7 27.Rc5 Nd5 28. Qa5 Qe6 29. Re1 Qf7 30. Re4
White’s best is a rook trade if he brings the f pawn into the center 30..Rxe4, but of course black should not help in that.
….Ne3 31. Bf2 Nf5 32. Qd2 Re6 33. Rxe6 Qxe6 34. d5 Qd6+ 35. Kg1 Rb7
A little trick with the idea of 36..Rb1+ and if 37.Be1 Qxc4 and White will lose the rook and the game.
36. Qe1 Ne7 37. Ra5 Nxd5 38. Qd1 Rd7 39. Rxa7 Rxa7 40. Bxa7 g5 41. a4!
White has a clear free pawn and now it is just a matter of time until Black doesn’t have any good moves.
….Qa6 42. Bd4 Qc4 43. Qa1 Qc2 44. a5 Nf4
threating Qxg2 ++
45. Bf2 Ne2+ 46. Kh2 Nf4 47. Qf1 Nd3 48. Bd4 Qd2 49. Bg1 Qf4+ 50. Kh1 Qc4 51. Qa1 Qc2 52. Be3 h6 53. a6 Qe2 54. Qg1 Qa2 55. a7 Nb4 56. Qd1 Nd5 57. Qd2 Qa1+ 58. Bg1
And Black resigns since he cannot stop the a pawn promotion without losing more pieces and White will have a decisive advantage 1-0.