Greetings Chess Players. My name is Chris Torres and this is my daily chess musing for January 17, 2021.

Today was another great day for chess and especially so for Nils Grandelius who is off to a perfect start in the 2021 Tata Steel Chess Tournament. The grandmaster who hales from Sweden is the only player to score two wins in the first two rounds in Wijk aan Zee. Next in the standings is a fearsome trio consisting of Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana and Anish Giri who all are just a half point behind the leader. The only victors from round 2 were Grandelius and Caruana and they both won in exciting fashion with the black piece. Let’s examine the key moments from both games.

All the pictures of played games and the pairings and standings are from the Tata Steel Chess Website: https://tatasteelchess.com/

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[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.17”]
[Round “2.1”]
[White “Anton Guijarro, David”]
[Black “Carlsen, Magnus”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2862”]
[BlackFideId “1503014”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “B30”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Sicilian”]
[Variation “accelerated fianchetto, modern variation”]
[WhiteElo “2679”]
[WhiteFideId “2285525”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nb3 d6 8.f3 Be6
9.Qd2 d5 10.Bb5 dxe4 11.Qxd8+ Rxd8 12.fxe4 Bd7 13.O-O-O Ng4 14.Bc5 Bxc3
15.bxc3 b6 16.Bg1 Nce5 17.Bd3 Ba4 18.Bd4 Nxd3+ 19.cxd3 Rxd4 20.cxd4 Nf2
21.Kd2 Nxh1 22.Rxh1 e6 23.Nc1 Ke7 24.Ne2 Bd7 25.a4 Rc8 26.Nc3 f5 27.Rb1 fxe4
28.dxe4 e5 29.Kd3 exd4 30.Kxd4 Rc5 31.Nd5+ Kf7 32.Rf1+ Kg7 33.Nc3 Be6 34.Nb5
Rc2 35.Ke5 Bg8 36.Rg1 a5 37.Nd6 Bb3 38.Rb1 Bxa4 39.Rxb6 Rxg2 40.h4 Rh2 41.Ra6
Rxh4 42.Rxa5 Bd1 43.Ra1 Rh1 44.Ne8+ Kh6 45.Nf6 Kg5 46.Ra7 h5 47.Nh7+ Kh6
48.Nf8 Rf1 49.Rh7+ Kg5 50.Ne6+ Kh4 51.Rg7 Rg1 52.Nd4 g5 53.Nf5+ Kh3 54.Ne3
Bf3 55.Kf5 Kh4 56.Ke5 Bg4 57.Kd4 Bh3 58.e5 Ra1 59.Rg6 Ra4+ 60.Kd5 Ra5+ 61.Kd4
Ra8 62.e6 Re8 63.Ke5 Bg4 64.Kd6 Rxe6+ 65.Rxe6 Bxe6 66.Kxe6 Kg3 67.Kf5 Kf3
68.Kxg5 Kxe3 69.Kxh5 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.17”]
[Round “2.2”]
[White “Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime”]
[Black “Firouzja, Alireza”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2749”]
[BlackFideId “12573981”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “B12”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Caro-Kann”]
[Variation “advance variation”]
[WhiteElo “2784”]
[WhiteFideId “623539”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Ne7 6.O-O c5 7.c4 Nbc6 8.dxc5 dxc4
9.Bxc4 Ng6 10.Be3 Be7 11.Bb5 O-O 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.Na3 Qb8 14.Nc4 Be4 15.Nd6
Bd5 16.b3 f6 17.exf6 Bxf6 18.Rc1 Qb4 19.Nc4 Be7 20.Ne1 Rad8 21.Qe2 Qb8 22.Nd3
Rf5 23.f3 Nh4 24.Rf2 Kh8 25.f4 Ng6 26.Nce5 Nxe5 27.Nxe5 Qb4 28.Qc2 Kg8 29.Rd1
Bf6 30.Nc4 Bxc4 31.bxc4 Rxd1+ 32.Qxd1 Be7 33.Qb3 Qe1+ 34.Rf1 Qxe3+ 35.Qxe3
Bxc5 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.17”]
[Round “2.3”]
[White “Donchenko, Alexander”]
[Black “Caruana, Fabiano”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “2823”]
[BlackFideId “2020009”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “D12”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “QGD Slav”]
[Variation “4.e3 Bf5”]
[WhiteElo “2668”]
[WhiteFideId “24603295”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Be4 7.f3 Bg6 8.Bd2 Be7
9.Nxg6 hxg6 10.Qc2 Nbd7 11.O-O-O a6 12.g4 dxc4 13.Bxc4 b5 14.Be2 c5 15.d5
Nxd5 16.Nxd5 exd5 17.f4 b4 18.e4 d4 19.e5
{ [%cal Ge5e6]Donchenko plays e5 with the intention of moving it to e6 to attack black’s king. }
19…Nb6 20.e6 Qd5 { [%cal Gd5a2]Threatening Qxa2. } 21.exf7+ Kf8
{ Caruana’s king should be safe here for at least a few moves. } 22.h4
{ Donchenko advances more pawns into the attack. But such pawn attacks take
time to develop and Donchenko does not have time. Alternatively, he could
have tried defending with: } ( 22.b3 { but Caruana would have found: }
{ [%cal Gh3b3,Ga6a5,Ga5a4,Gd5a2,Ga8a2,Gb6a4,Gb6c4,Ge7a3,Gd4d3,Gc5c4] and Fabiano would have all the ingrediesnts necessary for a tasty attack. }
) 22…Qxa2 23.Qxg6
{ both sides are simultaneously attacking eachother’s kings. White’s king,
however, is clearly in way more danger as black’s king can use the white’s
own pawn on f7 as a most effective shield. } 23…b3
{ seals in Donchenko’s king. } 24.Be1 c4 25.Rxd4 Na4
{ [%csl Gb2]Knights on the rim are said to be grim, but not this knight. Caruana is threatening Qxb2 }
{ [%csl Gb2]white must defend and now I will give you 1 minute to spot Caruana’s next move. }
{ [%cal Ga4b2,Ga3b2,Ga2b2] Caruana is using overpowering force on b2. }
27.Qxa2 { Donchenko acquiesces. } 27…bxa2
{ and now Caruana’s pawn is threatening to promote to a queen on a1. } 28.Kc2
Rb8 { certainly not } ( 28…a1=Q 29.Bb4+ Bxb4 30.Rxa1 ) 29.Rd8+
{ stops the pawn from promoting and avoids the mate: } ( 29.bxa3 Rb2+ 30.Kc1
a1=Q# ) 29…Rxd8 30.bxa3 c3 { beautiful technique. } 31.Bg3 Rd2+
{ a nice little fork and Caruana will go another piece ahead. } 32.Kb3 Nc5+
{ Donchecnko has had enough and resigns given the fact that: } 33.Kxc3 Ne4+
34.Kb4 Nxg3 35.Ra1 Nxe2 { is painful. } 0-1

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.17”]
[Round “2.4”]
[White “Duda, Jan-Krzysztof”]
[Black “Grandelius, Nils”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “2663”]
[BlackFideId “1710400”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “A30”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “English”]
[Variation “symmetrical variation”]
[WhiteElo “2743”]
[WhiteFideId “1170546”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.b3 e5 4.Bb2 d6 5.Nc3 g6 6.g3 Bg7 7.Bg2 Nge7 8.O-O O-O
9.d3 Rb8 10.Ne1 Be6 11.Nd5 Qd7 12.Nc2 Bh3 13.Qd2 Bxg2 14.Kxg2 f5 15.b4 f4
16.bxc5 dxc5 17.e4 f3+ 18.Kh1 Nd4 19.Nxe7+ Qxe7 20.Ne3 Qd7 21.Bxd4 exd4
22.Nd5 Rbe8 23.Rg1 Qg4
{ [%cal Ge8e5,Ge5h5,Gh5h2,Gh1h2,Gg4h5] Black’s queen is now perfectly placed to be a part of an attack using Re5, followed by Rh5 and then possibly even Rxh2, Kxh2 and then Qh5#. }
{ [%cal Gd5f4,Gd1f1,Gh2h3]Duda can either play Nf4 or Qf1 be able to support an h3 push to put a stop to black’s evil plans. However, both of these plans, as we will see, have major drawbacks. A better defense would have been: }
( 24.Qa5 Re5 25.Nf4 Bh6 ( 25…g5
{ removing the guard with g5 doesn’t work now because of } 26.Qc7
{ white’s knight can plan on moving to d5 and the b7 pawn is a liability
for black. } ) 26.Qxa7 Bxf4 27.gxf4 Qxf4 28.Rg3
{ with an even position [%cal Ge5g5,Ge5h5] } ) 24…Re5
{ [%cal Ge5h5]If allowed to, this rook will move to h5. } 25.Nf4
{ So Duda chooses the Nf4 path as queen to f1 doesn’t stop Rh5. } ( 25.Qf1
Rh5 26.Rb1 Rh6
{ a clever way to form an a rook and queen battery in a closed file. }
27.Rxb7 Qh5
{ and now white’s defenses are overwhelmed. Every defensive measure is
insufficient including the natural looking: } 28.h4 Qxh4+ 29.gxh4 Rxh4+
30.Qh3 Rxh3# ) 25…g5 { Removing the guard one way or another. } 26.h3 (
26.Nd5 Re6 27.Qf1 Rh6 28.Ne7+ Kh8 29.Nf5 Rxf5 30.exf5 Qh5
{ and white must sacrifice the either rook or queen on g2 to survive a
little longer. } ) 26…Qd7
{ [%cal Gf4h3,Gg5f4,Gd7h3]but still threatening mate on h3 if the knight were to move. }
{ If given the choice between stopping a checkmate or losing the knight,
you chose losing the knight. } 27…Re7
{ [%cal Gf8f3]obviously, the knight on f4 isn’t moving anywhere on account of the pin. }
{ a reasonable alternative would be h4 which moves white’s weak pawn
forward to engage black’s troublesome g5 pawn. } ( 28.h4 h6 29.Rg2 Qc7
30.Rag1 gxf4 31.g4 Bf6 { and Black still would have white on the ropes. } )
28…Qc7 { adds more pressure to the pin. } 29.Qh5
{ Duda hits the eject button. } 29…gxf4
{ and Grandelius finally makes his decisive capture. } 30.gxf4 Qxf4 31.Qxc5
{ Duda plays on hoping for a miracle. } 31…Qh4 32.Rg3 Kh8 33.Rag1 b6 34.Qd5
Qf4 { but Grandelius’ technique is infallable. } 35.c5 bxc5 36.Qxc5 Qe5
37.Qc6 Ref7 38.Rg5 Qf4 39.e5 Qxf2 40.Qe4 Re7
{ Duda realises there will not be a miracle today and resigns. } 0-1

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.17”]
[Round “2.5”]
[White “Van Foreest, Jorden”]
[Black “Giri, Anish”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2764”]
[BlackFideId “24116068”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “C42”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Petrov”]
[Variation “Nimzovich attack”]
[WhiteElo “2671”]
[WhiteFideId “1039784”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Bf4 Nc6 8.Bc4
Bf5 9.Qd2 Qd7 10.O-O-O Be6 11.Bxe6 Qxe6 12.Kb1 O-O-O 13.Nd4 Qd7 14.Nxc6 Qxc6
15.Qe3 Bf6 16.Qxa7 Qxg2 17.Qa8+ Kd7 18.Qa4+ Kc8 19.Qa8+ Kd7 20.Qa4+ Kc8
21.Rhe1 Qc6 22.Qxc6 bxc6 23.c4 Kb7 24.c3 c5 25.Kc2 Ra8 26.Ra1 g5 27.Bd2 Rhg8
28.Re3 g4 29.h3 h5 30.hxg4 hxg4 31.Rg3 Be5 32.f4 gxf3 33.Rxf3 f6 34.a3 Rg4
35.Kd3 c6 36.Raf1 d5 37.Bf4 dxc4+ 38.Kc2 Rd8 39.Bxe5 fxe5 40.Rf7+ Kb6 41.Re7
Rf4 42.Rxf4 exf4 43.Rf7 Rh8 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.17”]
[Round “2.6”]
[White “Harikrishna, Pentala”]
[Black “Esipenko, Andrey”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2677”]
[BlackFideId “24175439”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “B12”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Caro-Kann”]
[Variation “advance variation”]
[WhiteElo “2732”]
[WhiteFideId “5007003”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.c4 e6 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.Be2 Nge7
9.O-O dxc4 10.Nxc6 Qxd1 11.Rxd1 Nxc6 12.Nb5 O-O 13.Bf4 a6 14.Nc3 Bc5 15.Bf3
Rb8 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Rd2 Be7 18.Rad1 a5 19.Be3 f6 20.exf6 gxf6 21.Rd4 Rxb2
22.Rxc4 Rd8 23.Rxd8+ Bxd8 24.Rxc6 Bd7 25.Rd6 Rb7 26.h3 f5 27.Rd1 Be7 28.Bd4
Kf7 29.Be5 Bc6 30.Ne2 Bd5 31.Nc3 Bc6 32.Ne2 a4 33.Rc1 Bd5 34.Nc3 Ba3 35.Rd1
Bc6 36.Rd8 Bf8 37.Rc8 Bd7 38.Ra8 a3 39.Ra6 Bb5 40.Nxb5 Rxb5 41.f4 h5 42.Ra7+
Kg6 43.Kh2 Rd5 44.Ra6 Kf7 45.Ra7+ Kg6 46.Ra6 Kf7 47.Ra7+ Kg6 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.17”]
[Round “2.7”]
[White “Tari, Aryan”]
[Black “Wojtaszek, Radoslaw”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2705”]
[BlackFideId “1118358”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “B51”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Sicilian”]
[Variation “Canal-Sokolsky (Nimzovich-Rossolimo, Moscow) attack”]
[WhiteElo “2625”]
[WhiteFideId “1510045”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.a4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 b6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 e5
9.Qe3 Bb7 10.O-O Be7 11.Nd2 O-O 12.Rd1 Qc7 13.b3 Nc5 14.Bb2 h6 15.b4 Ne6
16.Nc4 Nd7 17.a5 b5 18.Nb6 Nxb6 19.axb6 Qb8 20.Qg3 Kh8 21.Bc1 Bc6 22.Be3 Nf4
23.Bxf4 exf4 24.Qxf4 Qxb6 25.Nd5 Bxd5 26.Rxd5 Qc6 27.Bd3 Qc3 28.Rb1 a5
29.bxa5 Rxa5 30.g3 Kg8 31.Rdxb5 Rxb5 32.Rxb5 Qc7 33.h4 Bf6 34.Qf5 Be5 35.h5
Rb8 36.Rxb8+ Qxb8 37.Bc4 Qc7 38.Bd5 Bf6 39.c4 Bd4 40.Kg2 Bc3 41.f4 Bd4 42.Kh3
Kf8 43.g4 Qa7 44.g5 hxg5 45.fxg5 Be5 46.Kh4 Ke8 47.c5 Qxc5 48.Qxf7+ Kd8
49.Be6 Qc6 50.Bf5 Qb5 51.h6 gxh6 52.gxh6 Qe8 53.Qc4 Ke7 54.h7 Qf7 55.Qc1 Qf6+
56.Kh3 Qg7 57.Qc7+ Ke8 58.Qc8+ Ke7 59.Qd7+ Kf8 60.Qd8+ Kf7 61.Qg8+ Ke7
62.Qe6+ Kf8 63.Qc8+ Ke7 64.Qc7+ Ke8 65.Qb8+ Ke7 66.Qa7+ Kf8 67.Qf2 Qh6+
68.Kg4 Kg7 1/2-1/2

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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