Jan Willem De Jong
Viswanathan Anand of India, the world champion, steamrolled his opponent on Tuesday at the Tata Steet tournament in the Netherlands. It was his second win of the tournament and put him into a tie for the lead of the top section of the event with Hikaru Nakamura of the United States. Nakamura drew on Tuesday against Anish Giri of the Netherlands.
Anand and Nakamura each have 3 points. Giri, Levon Aronian of Armenia and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are tied for third with 2.5 points each.
Anand had White against Wang Hao of China and he unveiled a knight sacrifice on move 16 that gave him an overwhelming center. In a difficult position, Wang soon went astray and resigned after 33 moves, well behind in material and facing two powerful passed pawns. Anand said afterward that the idea for the sacrifice had been developed while preparing for one of his world championship matches.
Aronian and Vachier-Lagrave both won on Tuesday, though in Aronian’s case his victory was more of a gift than a contest. His opponent, Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, started sacrificing pieces almost from the start of the game, and for no apparent reason. Aronian did give up his queen, but he was so far ahead in material, it made no difference. Nepomniachtchi resigned after 26 moves, in a hopeless position.
Vachier-Lagrave, who had Black, had to work a bit harder in his win against Alexei Shirov of Spain. The players followed a well-known variation in the Grunfeld Defense which often yields White an attack, in return for a pawn. Somehow, that attack never really materialized and Shirov soon found himself on the defensive, trying to stop a powerful passed pawn. He was unable to do so and resigned after 32 moves as he was down a queen.
So far, the tournament has been a disaster for Shirov. He has three losses and only one draw and is in last place with half a point, just behind Wang, who has 1 point.
In the B section, Friso Nijboer, a Dutch grandmaster, finally found a way to slow down Luke McShane of England, who had won his first three games. Nijboer, who had White, drew with McShane, though, in the final position, he actually had a better position. McShane, who has 3.5 points, still leads his nearest competitors by a full point.
In the C section, Kateryna Lahno of Ukraine, a co-leader after Round 3, lost after making an elementary mistake against Mark van der Werf, a Dutch international master.
Daniele Vocaturo of Italy, Lahno’s co-leader, won to stay in the lead, but Vocaturo was definitely lucky (if such a term can ever be applied to a chess player). He was losing to Jan Willem de Jong, another Dutch international master, but de Jong blundered horribly, turning a winning position into a losing one in one move (26 Ng7??; instead 26 Rd1 would have just about clinched the game for White).
Wednesday is a rest day. The tournament resumes on Thursday.