Aronian Also Beats Karjakin, Close to 4th Tata Victory

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 23-01-14 11:17.

With two rounds to go Levon Aronian is very close to clinching his 4th victory in Wijk aan Zee. In the 9th round of the Tata Steel tournament's Masters Group the Armenian grandmaster beat Sergey Karjakin with the white pieces and increased his lead to 1.5 points. Aronian might also improve upon his all-time highest rating of 2825 this month - in the live ratings he is now on 2828.4. In today's round Pentala Harikrishna quickly beat Arkadij Naiditsch and Wesley So won against Loek van Wely. Nakamura-Caruana, Rapport-Giri and Gelfand-Dominguez were drawn. The players of the Challengers Group enjoyed a rest day.

The players of the Masters Group will play their last two rounds in Wijk aan Zee on Saturday and Sunday, and it can hardly go wrong for world #2 Levon Aronian, who is simply in top shape. On Thursday he beat his closest rival Sergey Karjakin, and because Caruana, Dominguez and Giri all drew their game, they are also trailing by 1.5 points. 

In a Queen's Indian, Aronian ended up with better development and more active pieces. At some point Karjakin decided to sacrifice a pawn so that he could trade the minor pieces and activate one of his rooks, but White managed to liquidate to a rook ending with an extra pawn on the queenside. With his rook behind the pawn, his advantage was very big from the start and Aronian converted the point after 61 moves.

Levon Aronian

The round started with a strange game. Completely out of form, Arkadij Naiditsch decided to do something completely different and played 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bf4. This setup just lacks any punch in the center and Pentala Harikrishna got a better position quickly when he found moves such as 6...Nc6! and 7...Bg6!. Around move 11 White was already lost!

Arkadij Naiditsch

Whereas Naiditsch played it on move 3, Richard Rapport moved his bishop to f4 right away. Normally this leads to a London System, but when he answered Anish Giri's 2...c5 with 3.dxc5!? Rapport yet again left theory early on. Right out of the opening some wild tactics arose, and after the dust had settled Rapport had only a slight edge in a rook ending.

Boris Gelfand and Leinier Dominguez played a very correct draw. The Cuban came up with a new move in the Grünfeld that looked very solid; he got clear compensation for a pawn and was never in danger. The players reached an ending but soon realized that there was little to play for.

In the winning mood, Van Wely returns to his old love, the King's Indian. He must have been prepared for Wesley So's 13.g4 but maybe not for the strange-looking 22.fxg4. We all learnt that one should take back toward the center, but sometimes it takes a 2700 GM to find an exception in chess! The game developed like a typical King's Indian where White crashes through on the queenside while Black hopes to find a checkmate somewhere. Giving an exchange on f4 was a good practical choice, and in timetrouble Van Wely lost the thread.

Wesley So

The last game to finish was the one between Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana. It was a Fianchetto King's Indian and the players played a fashionable line where White accepts an isolated c-pawn in return for pressure on the queenside. Caruana sacrificed his b-pawn and got some threats, but it seems that White still had the better chances. When the queens were traded the ending was about equal.

This 9th round was not played in Wijk aan Zee but in Eindhoven, at the High Tech Campus - dubbed as "the smartest square km in the Netherlands". After the fourth round was played in the Rijksmuseum, this was the second "away game" for the grandmasters. Friday is a rest day; the last two rounds will be played over the weekend. On Saturday Garry Kasparov will visit the tournament and join the live commentary.

Tata Steel 2014 | Masters | Round 9 Standings

# Name Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Aronian,L 2812 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 7.0/9
2 Giri,A 2734 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5.5/9 23.00
3 Caruana,F 2782 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 5.5/9 22.50
4 Dominguez Perez,L 2754 ½ 1 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 5.5/9 22.50
5 Karjakin,Sergey 2759 0 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 5.5/9 18.25
6 Harikrishna,P 2706 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 1 5.0/9 21.50
7 So,W 2719 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 5.0/9 18.00
8 Van Wely,L 2672 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 4.0/9
9 Rapport,R 2691 ½ ½ 0 0 0 1 0 ½ 1 3.5/9 15.75
10 Nakamura,Hi 2789 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 3.5/9 13.50
11 Gelfand,B 2777 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ 2.5/9
12 Naiditsch,A 2718 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1.5/9

The Tata Steel tournament runs 11-26 January and is held in Wijk aan Zee, Amsterdam and Eindhoven. You can find the official website here and the live games here. The live streaming commentary can also be found here on

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  • 3 jaar geleden


    nakumara is preety good but i dont think he stands a chance against aronian

  • 3 jaar geleden


    The most surprising thing is Nakamura screwed up to be at top three, being champ in London chess classic!.Giri & dominguez have the potential to  run after Aronian to be the title holder.I bet on these three guys.who do you think gonna be champion?

  • 3 jaar geleden


    I have to agree with the majority here. Aronian will be huge favourite for the candidates tournament now. That'll make for a very interesting Worls Championship match.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Aronian will enter the Candidates matches as big a favorite to win them as Carlsen was last year.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Nice @Derived

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Wow looks like Aronian will win the tournament..he is on a hot streak

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Rapport may not be theoretically "correct" but he is loads of fun to follow.  Regardless of his results his play is very entertaining.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    raport game was a beauty

  • 3 jaar geleden



    great live commentary!!Laughing. keep it up.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    So glad to see Aronian really becoming the powerhouse now, when this year is a great opportunity for him to take on Carlsen in the world championship. With Carlsen fooling around with Bill Gates, Aronian just might catch him off guard.

    Also, great performance by Harikrishna. I think we will be seeing more of him in the coming years.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Hari can be Vishy's successsor..

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Aronian, Rapport and Van wely  have balls. These kind of chessplayers are tournament maker.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    If Aronian keeps this up I am worried for Carlsen. 

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Aronian makes thrilling moves and unfolds the most unbelievable paths to the victory, as if the there is even higher goals than just simply mating.    

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Oh, Levon! Buddy, you are really going for it, aren't you?

    Can't wait to see him play Carlsen again. Last time they played Magnus escaped in the last moment. I believe he has ran out of his luck and next time Aronian is gonna get a full revenge; especially given his current form.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Taken from!topic/it.hobby.scacchi/zcMCIPeljJ4 

    “Aronian is in a period of exceptional form!

    After the defeat of 15 september 2013 by Carlsen in Sinquefield Cup, he hasn’t lost more.

    Since that time he has played - including in progress - in four events (I speak of those in classical cadence), making today a great percentage points/game by 71,875%.

    The matches played in the period - including that of today - have been 32.

    The result is 14 wins, 18 draws and 0 defeats.

    Getting in more details, Levon in october won the Masters in Bilbao (four players), in november won the bronze medal in European Club Championship in first board and between late november and early december won the gold medal in the first board in World Club Championship.

    Okay, that “Tata” has practically already won but will be able to tick even in the Zurich Challenge which will begin next week and that we will also King Magnus?”

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Carlsen likes juice while Aronian prefers coffee. I'm a coffee fan myself!

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Wow! Coffee seems to help a lot. 

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Derived yes, but if they play a 7 hour game do you want to be at the board the entire time. probably not. I have watch Gelfand and he always fools around with his piece (the captured ones lol) despite drinking almost poison lol (coffee). he still won his game.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Aronian is amazing. He's probably my favourite player.

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