Article by GM Ronen Har-Zvi
Same same same – Magnus winning one other Tata tournament making it his 8th!!
The title says it all – another tournament, another fantastic and straightforward performance by the world champ: 8.5/12 (not counting the technical win against Dubov in the last round – as Dubov had Covid and did not play round 7 and then left the tournament from rounds 11-13) - 5 wins and 7 draws not being worse pretty much at any moment during any of the games.
Mamedyarov shared the second spot and played very well, creating fun chess – and his game against Magnus where he pushed maybe too much with the unnecessary exchange sacrifice was vital for the entire tournament. But Mame did show creative chess, some incredible fun openings played against Esipenko and Pragga.
Rapport, who started with a loss to Duda in round 1, recovered amazingly after with 8/12 ( ok 7/11 as he won against Dubov technically in round 11) – still creative fun chess and overall a nice tournament.
The same can be said about Giri. After his horrible game against Magnus in round 2, it looked like he was already thinking about the next tournament. But with Caruana's big help in round 6, Dubov not showing in round 7, then impressive wins in round 8 against Esipenko and round 9 against Shankland, it seemed possible for Anish to threaten Magnus' leadership. But the loss to Van Foreest in round 11 killed such chances.
Last year's tournament winner had a very decent performance; the local dutchman Van Foreest finished with 7 out of 13.
The young Indian prodigy Pragga started very slow but had a decent finish – 5.5 out of 13, not bad for his first participation. I am sure we will see him in many more top tournaments.
Three players can be quite disappointed with their overall final result – starting with Vidit, who was leading the tournament for many rounds and then simply collapsed – ending the event with a reasonable score but an overall big disappointment for him, losing a few critical games by blundering.
As for Caruana – his chess is not as it used to be, and he needs an energy boost!
Duda – pretty much at the pick of his chess after winning the world cup had a weak tournament.
As for the rest of the players, nothing dramatic but HEY – let's not forget Dubov, who tested positive to covid, left the tournament not playing rounds 11-13. Also, refused to wear a mask (as someone close to him had tested positive) and did not show up for round 7. Daniil did not have a great tournament, but I feel that Covid already somewhat affected his play.
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