Tata Steel Chess 2022: Vidit Gujrathi is playing his best chess right now leading the tournament. Mamedyarov and Rapport however co-lead him with Round 5 victories.
Magnus Carlsen was on the verge of a win himself but Nils Grandelius resisted for a draw. Every game was interesting for the Masters and coming from a rest day some new ideas were cooked. However, only two games had a decisive result though.
It was a game of chess with sharp tactics between the world champion and Nils Grandelius. Both Kings were just one step away from trouble.
Although, Magnus Carlsen was the one pushing Nils played quality chess. The Norwegian opened the center on the 18th move. The Swedish GM took a long think and finally decided to take the pawn.
After another 17-minute think, the Swedish grandmaster then moved his bishop to a4 on the next move to overprotect the c2-square, where the maneuver Qd2-b4(+)-b3 could have netted White the d5-pawn without much risk, and engines gave him an advantage of at least two pawns.
Although a pawn down, Magnus Carlsen’s structure was better and had a nice pressure upon the White’s king. What was positive for white was that he can easily afford to draw by repetitions.
After the queens were traded, Nils played a move that gave Magnus a chance to conquer. But Grandelius held him nicely. “Mainly I am quite lucky to have survived that game,” said a relieved Grandelius afterward.
The defending champion had a day to forget quickly. Playing after three years, Mamedyarov was solid all along. Jorden van Foreest started with his creative opening 9.a4 but it didn’t get his way.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov said afterward that he saw this move for the time but his reaction was satisfied. Mamedyarov: “I tried to play quickly because when you start to think, you can make big mistakes.”
In the early middle game, Van Foreest then started to take risks and basically overpressed. Eventually, the 2021 winner ended up a “small exchange” (a rook for two minor pieces) down. In the long run, that meant a technical win for Mamedyarov.
The Indian prodigy Praggnanadhaa was facing Richard Rapport for the first time. The game didn’t disappoint. It was a 4.Qc2 Nimzo-Indian and the line which the players chose to play was quite sharp.
Black was doing OK in a complex position when a natural knight maneuver on move 19 allowed Rapport to win a key tempo and gain control over the a-file. That helped White, especially when more trades followed so that the white king could walk toward the lovely d4-square risk-free.
Rapport reported afterward that he wasn’t happy with the opening as he was out-prepared.
“A friend(ly) battle” was incoming between Vidit Gujrathi and Anish Giri. It was a Petroff and was following one of the games between Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi till the 10th move.
In what was one of the quieter middlegames of the round, Vidit suddenly unleashed his pawns in front of his king. As the queens were later quickly traded, Vidit equalized and even looked a bit more comfortable at the end.
Andrey Esipenko and Fabiano Caruana were playing their second encounter. Hoping to get a decisive result as the first one was a draw. The Russian blasted with Shirov-Shabalov Gambit while Caruana’s replied with Semi-Slav.
Fabiano was playing quickly showing his preparation, however, with Esipenko’s 9.Rg1!? Caruana’s speed play was halted for sometime. Caruana said he was impressed with this idea.
White became slightly more active and a few moves later also “won” the bishop pair as compensation, but it still seemed Black had the better chances. This game always tough to win for Black, but if there was one moment Caruana should perhaps have tried something different, it was on move 33.
Caruana: “I felt like I was close to winning in the endgame. Somewhere he got a huge amount of counterplay.”
GMs Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Sergey Karjakin met for their first classical game since playing the final of the 2021 FIDE World Cup. The Russian GM was quite successful with a sideline in the Queen’s Gambit Accepted and was better for most of the game. Duda did manage to create enough counterplay on the kingside and in slight time trouble, the players repeated moves, completely missing that White was winning in that sequence.