CHESS#1337

 
Round 10 of The Tata Steel Masters saw Magnus Carlsen moving into the lead with a win over one of his nearest rivals, Viswanathan Anand. Carlsen now has seven points. Anish Giri is on 6.5 and Anand is sharing third-fifth on 6 points with Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren. The other Indian in the Masters, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi is on 5, after a spectacular win versus Vladimir Kramnik. Giri meets Carlsen in the last round. That could decide the title but the trio in 3rd-5th have chances as well. 

If Carlsen does win, it would be his seventh title here. Anand has five. Their personal encounter followed an old Carlsen pattern. The world champion ground out a win in an objectively drawn endgame where he kept pressure. Carlsen’s other wins include a tactical demolition of Richárd Rapport and a delicate endgame against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Giri has an odd record, with all his wins from black. 

Anand has also played well, with good wins versus Mamedyarov (4) and Kramnik (2.5). Incidentally those two worthies are in second-last, and last place respectively, which doesn’t happen often to the world #3 and world #7. 

The Challengers is also wide-open with Maksim Chigaev (7.5) leading after ten rounds. Vladislav Kovalev and Andrey Esipenko share second (7 each) and Parham Maghsoodloo (6) has momentum with wins in his last two games. Russian GM, Chigaev, is positively elderly at 22 and he’s under-exposed because he is from Russia. Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (4) has not had a great tournament. 

The Gibraltar Masters is a marque open with high prize money, nice arrangements and special prizes for women players. There are 14 players rated over 2700 playing this year, led by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian, Wesley So, Yu Yangyi and Hikaru Nakamura. As usual, there’s a big Indian contingent with 25 players. 

After three rounds, the lead is shared by David Navara, Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, Rinat Jumabayev, Bogdan-Daniel Deac and Gabor Papp who all have perfect scores. The 16-year-old Khademalsharieh is confirming that she’s another extraordinary talent after her superb performance at the World Blitz and Rapids. 

At the Diagram, White to play (White: Anand Vs Black : Mamedyarov, Tata Steel Masters, 2019) , White has an edge because of the crippled Bd7. But how does he exploit this? He has to open the centre.

Anand played 20. c4!! Rxc4 21. Rxd5! Rf7 This is already winning. But black makes it easy with 22. Rd3 g4? 23. Nfd2 Rb4 24. hxg4 Ne7 25. Nf3 Nd5 26. Nbd4 Rf4 27. Nc2 Rbe4? This time around, the killer is easier to find. White repeats the sacrifice with 28. Rxd5! exd5 29. Qxd5+ (1-0). Black can try 29. — Kf8  but 30. Rd1 is just horrible. 

 
Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player


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