Tata Steel Chess 2022: Vidit Gujrathi vs Daniil Dubov was the game of the third day. Dubov dragged Vidit out of opening preps with his wild opening, however, Vidit defended brilliantly to take the win and also took the sole lead.
An Italian game was on the board with 8.Na3 with Vidit replying with 8…Bxa3 and the a-pawns were doubled. With 21.Rxb7!! Dubov was getting the compensation and also the open b-file.
But Vidit came up with a nice solution starting with 21…Rf6!!. It was an easy draw after that but the Russian GM wanted more out of that. The greed proved costly for Dubov hence gaining nothing from the match.
Vidit Gujrathi: “I thought that I was pretty lost, that’s what my feeling was, but now when I checked the game with a weak engine it says I played all the best moves so I’m very happy about that,” said Vidit. “If all these moves were good, then I would definitely say it’s one of my most memorable games. But if they’re not good, then I’ll pick something else!”
Richard Rapport was another guy with a win. His opponent GM Nils Grandelius has been struggling thus far in the tournament. With two losses and a draw, he sits last in the standing.
A Sicilian defense was awoken from Rapport. Nils missed a chance to turn the game with 28.fxe6! and it would have evoked some great opportunities for both parties. However, it didn’t happen as that and Nils resigned on the verge of being checkmated.
The defending champion rose from that unfortunate loss and defeated Praggnanandhaa. The game was very interesting. Prag tried his hands on Sicilian Defense but some creative prep from Jorden van Foreest caught him off guard.
Van Foreest turned it into a pawn sacrifice on move 11 and the compensation was clear: Black’s horrible doubled c-pawns, which soon got company on the e-file with another set of doubled pawns, dubbed “goal-post pawns” by our commentators.
Van Foreest: “I had been planning to play this line for a long time already, especially in classical chess, but I never got the chance,” said Van Foreest. “The theory is evolving rapidly and you’re trying to catch your opponent off-guard. These days people to try to do that as soon as possible, basically.”
“It’s a little bit easier to play as White, it’s maybe not all that much, but definitely long-term White has very good prospects of finally taking all the pawns. Basically, that’s what happened.”
32-year-old GM Sergey Karjakin faced his second compatriot straight, and again it didn’t go so well. After failing to get an opening advantage vs. Dubov yesterday, the 2016 world championship candidate lost to 19-year-old Esipenko today, a result that feels like a changing of the guard. That’s a bit premature though because Karjakin is one of the 2022 candidates and Esipenko isn’t.
Magnus Carlsen was up against Jan-Krzysztof Duda who is the rising star to watch out for. The Pole held the World Chess Champion in an Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez. It was the line from the World Championship and Duda followed Nepomniachtchi’s approach.
22…Rb2! was clever from the world champion, on his turn, and trading the rooks was too tempting for Duda. Carlsen thought that was where White lost his advantage.
Magnus Carlsen: “I kind of conceded the theoretical battle by going 13…h6 instead of 13…d5,” said Carlsen. “I basically just wanted to play some relatively quiet position and gradually equalize, but I think he played it very cleverly with 16.Qc2 and 18.d4, which I had kind of underestimated. He got a little more pressure than I had hoped he would.”
GM Anish Giri drew his white game with GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, which was a bit disappointing for him after he had won a pawn in the opening. In the all-American clash, GM Fabiano Caruana was pushing for a long time vs. GM Sam Shankland but couldn’t convert and even had to be careful himself at the end.