The traditional Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee started up last weekend, and I’ll have the highlights from the early action there. Plus a miniature from one of the most interesting players in the world.
GM Anish Giri (NED)
Anish Giri is a big story so far. The home country hero is considered to be a high volume draw-er, but he opened this tournament with two wins, over Hou Yifan and Vladimir Kramnik. Let’s take a look at the key moments from both of those games.
Kramnik had won his first game, a long technical squeeze over Wei Yi, but came up second best against Giri.
GM Vishy Anand (IND)
Vishy Anand is showing continued rejuvenation in equaling Giri’s 2.5/3 start. He beat Matlakov in round one and just knocked off Caruana in a Petroff that was anything but boring.
GM Santosh Gujrathi Vidit (IND)
We have been spoiled by three round robin groups in the past, but Tata Steel has downsized to two groups, with the B group called the Challengers. It is the province of many talented young players. I’m particularly interested in the 23-year-old Indian grandmaster Vidit, who has quietly but quickly risen through the ranks and now stands at 2713. He got on the board big-time with a crushing demolition of veteran grandmaster Michal Krasenkov, who is more than thirty years older than Vidit!
Vidit just knocked off Bassem Amin in an intricate endgame that could have been one for the tablebases.
Vidit leads with 2.5/3, tied with Anton Korobov
Magnus Carlson sits a half-point back at +1, as does Shakh Mamedyarov and Gawain Jones, who is off to a very impressive start. We live have live video recaps of the action at Tata Steel periodically through the rest of the tournament.
One other tournament I would like to touch on. Wijk aan Zee has no Rapport or Jobava this year, but those Caissic free spirits could be found relaxing in Italy at the Vergani Cup in Villorba Italy. Rapport took first at 7/9, a half-point ahead of Jobava and Berkes. While his main rivals made quick draws, Rapport notched a quick win in the last round with one of his patented offbeat openings.
GM Richard Rapport (HUN)