Tata Steel Chess 2022: The World Classical Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen opened his win account in the Second Round against Anish Giri and became the joint leader with Duda and Vidit.
A huge win for the world champion in the Second Round. It did not take long to take the win for Magnus Carlsen against Giri. Carlsen went for a Catalan, played against Ian Nepomniachtchi, but attained the position via a more traditional move order.
It can be thought as this opening from Magnus was the left-over preparation for the recently concluded World Chess Championship 2021. The opening was played much like what Dubov would play, as he was one of Magnus’ Seconds in the team. Asked about this, Carlsen countered: “It was maybe backup world championship prep!”
The game was played in style by the Norwegian as he sacrificed an exchange. The engine evaluated it as nothing advantageous for White but it was interesting. Anish Giri found his calculations ineffective as two moves later he started shaking his head showing the trouble to come.
Carlsen: “It was very tense. I think the opening was pretty successful in that it was a fresh position where he had to navigate some really difficult variations. Fortunately for me, he kind of went wrong at some point and I had a clear initiative.”
The second interesting game and which got a conclusive result was between the defending champion, Jorden van Foreest and Richard Rapport. It was pretty much equal all the game but Jorden misplayed a knight endgame to suffer an unnecessary loss. It was a lucky day for Rapport as he was lacking in the opening. Rapport said: “We were both kind of short on time so he just sort of panicked I think.”
The game of the day was definitely Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Andrey Esipenko. A daring opening from Mamedyarov with 3.g4!?. It is said to be “the extended Catalan”. A dilemma for the Russian is whether to take the pawn or avoid that move?
Esipenko thought for eight minutes chose to avoid the pawn with 3…d5. The opening surely went in Mamedyarov’s favor as he had over an hour left while the Russian had only 24 minutes.
The game only went till the 26th move after which both GMs agreed to a draw. The queen trade was the reason for the draw as nothing was conclusive from the position.
Magnus Carlsen reacted with: “I would have snapped it off I think, as Black! I think he must have seen some of my father’s blitz games ’cause he always does this on move two, 1.d4 Nf6 2.g4; that’s his pet opening, which is probably considerably worse version than what Mamedyarov did.”
The clash between GM Sergey Karjakin and Dubov was potentially a spicy one as Karjakin had openly criticized his compatriot for helping Carlsen in a match against a co-Russian player. The game was, however, one of the quickest draws of the round as Dubov quickly managed to equalize with the Tarrasch Defense.
A bigger fight, but with the same result, was GM Sam Shankland vs. GM Nils Grandelius. In the end, it was Shankland who had a fortress with a rook and knight against a queen, but the American GM had more reason to be unhappy with the result as he was very close to winning in the middlegame.
The game between Vidit Gujrathi and Fabiano Caruana also ended in a draw. It was a Semi-Slav Defense with the mainline attack. A standard match that didn’t deviate much. Both players repeated the position to take the three-fold draw.
An Indian was seen in Praggnanandhaa and Duda’s game. The game followed from Queen’s Gambit declined into the Semi-Tarrasch Main Line. On the 18th move, it was a completely new game that was not played before. But a series of trades simplified the game and after the queens were ready to trade both players agreed to a draw.