Giri Double Sacrifice Stuns Gukesh, Carlsen Grinds Down Keymer

Giri Double Sacrifice Stuns Gukesh, Carlsen Grinds Down Keymer


GMs Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri joined GM Ding Liren and GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov on 1.5/2 after scoring victories over GMs Gukesh D and Vincent Keymer in the second round of the 2023 Tata Steel Chess Tournament.

The world championship challenger Ding very nearly won his encounter with GM Parham Maghsoodloo but was held to a drew after some sublimed endgame defense, a theme which marked the remainder of the rounds draws.

In the Challengers group, 17-year-old IM Eline Roebers stunned the reigning Dutch champion GM Erwin L’ami, while GMs Alexander Donchenko and Amin Tabatabaei picked up their first victories.

Day two in Wijk Aan Zee was full of highlights and none more than Giri’s barnstorming victory over Gukesh. The Indian GM was unlucky to lose his second game in a row after coming up against the Dutchman who played inspired chess to win in 27 moves on his home soil.

Giri ponders his position before unleashing a brutal attack. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess 2023.

Battling against a typically drawish set-up in the Queen’s Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defense, the game looked tame until the erroneous 17.Kh8 by Gukesh. Smelling blood in the water, Giri found a brilliant combination, leaving his opponent with little counterplay.

Our deserving game of the day has been analyzed by GM Rafael Leitao.

Besides Giri’s win, grinding endgames were the theme of round two, and the world champion was unsurprisingly able to secure his first win on Sunday in a classic endgame over the flourishing German, Keymer. Having dodged any significant theoretical novelties by employing the Gruenfeld, Carlsen found himself in a position to liquidate into a winning rook and pawn endgame.

Smooth operator… Carlsen simplifies to yet another winning endgame. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess 2023.

Despite possessing two extra pawns, care was required to convert the point and Carlsen indicated that his “confidence waned” as it dawned on him that the endgame was trickier than he initially assumed. Fortunately, he was able to show the sufficient technique required to quash any chance of a fortress. 

At this point, the Norweigian could change his career goal to singlehandedly disproving the adage that “all rook endings are drawn”. German IM Adrian Petrisor has provided his analysis of the clash below. 

A perfect 2/2 start for Ding was marred by extraordinary endurance from Maghsoodloo who battled from a worse position for hours to steal his second draw of the event.

A 10-point rating gain from the Iranian number one in Wijk Aan Zee would see him move into the world’s top 20 for the first time in his career.

GM Fabiano Caruana showed his endgame prowess in round two, successfully drawing a rook and three pawns versus a rook and four pawns ending against Abdusattorov. Fascinatingly, the American’s doubled f-pawns seemed to assist in the defense of the endgame which can often prove a challenge at the highest levels.

Abdusattorov put plenty of pressure on Caruana in round two. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tatal Steel Chess 2023.

Regulation draws on the remaining boards made up the rest of the results of the round as four clear leaders emerged in Carlsen, Ding, Abdusattorov, and Giri. The world’s number one and two will face off in round three in their first clash since the 2019 Sinquefield Cup (Ding eventually won the tournament after beating Carlsen in a tiebreaker) in a game that, if statistics foretell, will go a long way to deciding a tournament victor.

The Challengers event piqued the interest of viewers early on Sunday, courtesy of a move six blunder from the top seed Tabatabaei. Facing the King’s Gambit Accepted against the ambitious GM Jergus Pechac, the Iranian hung a knight and immediately drew the attention of several of chess’ biggest personalities.

In a remarkable renaissance, Tabatabaei recovered from the blunder and never gave up, avenging his wayward knight by snaring White’s king in the middle of the board and eventually winning the game!

It was a miracle that Tabatabaei not only saved the game but won. Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess 2023.

Roebers win over L’ami was the other headliner of the day as the 266-point rating difference made it the greatest upset of the event so far. A picturesque queen sacrifice on move 35 was the statement piece for the Dutch women’s board one and when the dust settled the 17-year-old had managed to win back all of her material plus interest.

GM Abimanyu Mishra needed to pull out all the stops to draw his game against GM Mustafa Yilmaz and the 13-year-old GM proved his mettle with a double-piece sacrifice to secure perpetual checks.

After two rounds of play, four players lead the Challengers including; Mishra, Donchenko, Tabatabaei, and GM Max Warmerdam, after his windmill tactic in round one ironically symbolic of Dutch culture.

Results – Masters Round 2

Leaderboard – Masters Round 2

All Masters Games – Round 2 

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