Wijk Aan Zee: Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by Russian Grandmaster Vladislav Artemiev in the first round of Tata Steel Masters on Sunday.
Anand, playing the major event for the 18th time, faced the Caro Kann defense by Artemiev. Going for the ultra-sharp Advance Anand made his intentions clear but Artemiev was quite up to the task in the opening as he gave little away.
In the ensuing middle game, Anand temporarily won a pawn and later decided to force equality through an exchange sacrifice. On move thirty one, the draw was agreed with neither player having any real chance.
Reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway played against one of his arch-rival Anish Giri of Holland and the result was another draw. Carlsen has never beaten Giri in Wijk Aan Zee in eight meetings now and in fact Giri was the one calling the shots.
Carlsen criticized himself for his computer-like play in the opening and conceded that he was worse after just 11 moves with white pieces. However the Norwegian made amends to maintain parity in the end.
The biggest headline of the day was 16-year old Iranian Firouza Alireza who made a superb start to his maiden campaign in a super tournament. On the receiving end was Vladislav Kovalev who apparently missed the thread in the opening itself and ended much worse.
For the records it was a Ruy Lopez wherein Kovalev misplayed early and lost a couple of pawns. Firouza was resourceful enough thereafter to score a clean victory. Firouza is currently playing under FIDE flag and not representing his home country Iran since last World Rapid and Blitz Championship in late December.
Local hopeful Jorden Van Foreest was the other winner of the opening day at the expense of Yu Yangyi of China. The Dutchman did well to gain an early advantage but Yangyi kept hanging in till the rook and pawns endgame that should have been drawn with correct play.
However, one mistake by the Chinese proved too costly as Van Foreest was able to promote his queen first. Several Zugzwang later, it was a well-earned victory.
After the first round, van Foreest and Firouza Alireza are the two leaders with 12 rounds still to come in the 14-player round-robin tournament.
Meanwhile in the Challengers section being organized simultaneously, Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly scored a fine victory over Max Warmerdam of Holland while another Indian talent Nihal Sareen played out a draw with Nils Grandelius of Sweden.
Results Masters Round 1: Jeffery Xiong (Usa) drew with Daniil Dubov (Rus); Jorden Van Foreest (Ned) beat Yu Yangyi (Chn); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) drew with Anish Giri (Ned); Fabiano Caruana (Usa) drew with Wesley So (Usa); V Anand (Ind) drew with Vladislav Artemiev (Rus); Nikita Vitiugov (Rus) drew with Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol); Firouzja, Alireza (Fid) beat Vladislav Kovalev (Blr).
Challengers: Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz) drew with Rauf Mamedov (Aze); David Anton Guijarro (Esp) drew with Abdusattorov Nodirbek (Uzb); Jan Smeets (Ned) drew with Lucas Van Foreest (Ned); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (Ind) beat Max Warmerdam (Ned); Erwin L'Ami (Ned) beat Anton Smirnov (Can); Vincent Keymer (ger) lost to Pavel Eljanov (Ukr); Nihal Sarin (Ind) drew with Nils Grandelius (Swe).
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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2020 20:01:41 IST