Greetings Chess Players. My name is Chris Torres and this is my daily chess musing for January 24, 2021.

Both Jorden van Foreest and Alireza Firouzja scored wins in round 6 of the 2021 Tata Steel Chess Tournament. With all the other games finishing in draws, Firouzja and Foreest move into the group of six players tied for second a half point behind Nils Grandelius.

So the standings after 6 rounds are:

1st Grandelius with 4 points

2nd-7th Van Foreest, Carlsen, Harikrishna, Caruana, Giri, Firouzja with 3.5 points

8th-9th Esipenko, Wojtaszek with 3 points

10th-12th Tari, Vachier-Lagrave, Duda with 2.5 points

13th David Anton with 2 points

14th Donchenko with 1.5 points

Now let’s take a look at a tactical position from each of round six’s decisive games. As always, I recommend visiting the official tournament site TataSteelChess.com for more details, interviews of the participants and live broadcasts.

Photos from © Jurriaan Hoefsmit – Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021

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[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.22”]
[Round “6.1”]
[White “Duda, Jan-Krzysztof”]
[Black “Carlsen, Magnus”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2862”]
[BlackFideId “1503014”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “C50”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Giuoco Pianissimo”]
[WhiteElo “2743”]
[WhiteFideId “1170546”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.O-O d6 6.c3 a5 7.Re1 O-O 8.Nbd2 Ba7
9.Nf1 Be6 10.Bb5 Ne7 11.Ng3 Ng6 12.h3 c6 13.Ba4 d5 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.d4 exd4
16.Nxd4 Qc7 17.Qf3 Bxd4 18.cxd4 Qb6 19.Rd1 Rad8 20.Bb3 Nc7 21.Nf5 Bxb3
22.axb3 Qb5 23.h4 h5 24.Bd2 b6 25.Bg5 f6 26.Bh6 Rf7 27.Qxh5 Ne7 28.Nxe7+ Rxe7
29.Qxb5 cxb5 30.Bd2 Re4 31.d5 Nxd5 32.Be3 Rd7 33.g3 Ree7 34.Bd4 Re6 35.Rac1
Red6 36.Re1 Nb4 37.Rc8+ Kf7 38.Be3 Nd5 39.Rb8 b4 40.Kf1 Kg6 41.g4 Nxe3+
42.Rxe3 Rd4 43.g5 f5 44.Rh8 Re4 45.Ke2 Rxe3+ 46.Kxe3 Re7+ 47.Kd3 Rd7+ 48.Ke3
Re7+ 49.Kd3 Rd7+ 50.Ke3 Re7+ 51.Kd3 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.22”]
[Round “6.2”]
[White “Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime”]
[Black “Tari, Aryan”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2625”]
[BlackFideId “1510045”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “D78”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.O-O c6”]
[WhiteElo “2784”]
[WhiteFideId “623539”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d4 Nf6 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 c6 7.Qb3 a5 8.Bf4 a4 9.Qb4
dxc4 10.Qxc4 Qa5 11.Na3 Be6 12.Qc1 Bd5 13.Re1 Nbd7 14.Nc4 Qa7 15.Nce5 Nxe5
16.Bxe5 Qb6 17.h4 Rfd8 18.Bf1 Ne4 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Rd1 c5 21.dxc5 Qxc5 22.Qxc5
Nxc5 23.Nd4 Rac8 24.Nc2 e5 25.Nb4 Be6 26.e3 Bg4 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.22”]
[Round “6.3”]
[White “Van Foreest, Jorden”]
[Black “Anton Guijarro, David”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “2679”]
[BlackFideId “2285525”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “C84”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Ruy Lopez”]
[Variation “closed defence”]
[WhiteElo “2671”]
[WhiteFideId “1039784”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3
h6 10.a4 Bd7 11.Bc2 b4 12.Nbd2 Re8 13.a5 Bf8 14.Re1 Rb8 15.d4 bxc3 16.bxc3
exd4 17.cxd4 Nb4 18.Bb1 g6 19.Ra3 Bg7 20.Nf1 Rb5 21.Ng3 Nh5 22.Nxh5 Rxh5
23.d5 c5 24.Bf4 Bb2 25.Rae3 Qf6 26.Bg3 c4 27.Qe2 Bb5 28.e5 Bxe5 29.Nxe5 dxe5
30.Bxe5 Rexe5 31.Rxe5 c3 32.Qe3 c2 33.Rxh5 gxh5 34.Bxc2 Nxc2 35.Qe5 Kg7
36.Re4 Bd3 $2 { We’ll start simple. What is white’s best move? } 37.Qg3+
{ A basic fork is the final straw for David Anton Guijarro who resigns as here as there is no meaningful way to avoid losing a piece. [%cal Gg3g7,Gg3d3] }

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.22”]
[Round “6.4”]
[White “Grandelius, Nils”]
[Black “Caruana, Fabiano”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2823”]
[BlackFideId “2020009”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “B30”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Sicilian”]
[Variation “Nimzovich-Rossolimo attack (without …d6)”]
[WhiteElo “2663”]
[WhiteFideId “1710400”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e5 4.O-O Bd6 5.c3 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 Nge7 8.d4 cxd4
9.cxd4 exd4 10.Nbd2 Bb7 11.Nb3 Qc7 12.h3 Rc8 13.Nbxd4 Nxd4 14.Qxd4 O-O 15.Bb3
Nc6 16.Qd1 Ne5 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Re1 Rfe8 19.f4 Bxf4 20.Bxf7+ Kxf7 21.Bxf4 Qb6+
22.Kh2 Qe6 23.e5 Kg8 24.Bg3 Rc4 25.Rf1 a5 26.Rf2 a4 27.a3 Rec8 28.Qd6 h5
29.Raf1 h4 30.Qxe6+ dxe6 31.Bf4 b4 32.axb4 Rxb4 33.Bg5 Bd5 34.Be7 Rbc4
35.Rf8+ Rxf8 36.Rxf8+ Kh7 37.Rf2 Kg6 38.Bd8 Re4 39.Bc7 Kh5 40.Bd6 g5 41.Bc7
g4 42.hxg4+ Kxg4 43.Bd6 Bb3 44.Kg1 Bc4 45.Kh1 h3 46.Kh2 hxg2 47.Kxg2 Bd5
48.Kf1 Re3 49.Kg1 Re1+ 50.Rf1 Re2 51.Rf2 Re3 52.Rf1 Rg3+ 53.Kf2 Rb3 54.Ra1
Bc6 55.Ke2 Rxb2+ 56.Ke3 Bb5 57.Kd4 Kf4 58.Ra3 Be8 59.Kc3 Rb1 60.Kd4 Bd7
61.Rc3 Rb5 62.Rc7 Rd5+ 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.22”]
[Round “6.5”]
[White “Harikrishna, Pentala”]
[Black “Wojtaszek, Radoslaw”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2705”]
[BlackFideId “1118358”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “D38”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “QGD”]
[Variation “Ragozin variation”]
[WhiteElo “2732”]
[WhiteFideId “5007003”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 O-O 8.e3 Bf5
9.Be2 Nbd7 10.Qb3 Qe7 11.O-O c6 12.a3 Bxc3 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.bxc3 b5 15.a4 a6
16.Qa3 Qb7 17.Ra2 Rfc8 18.Ne5 Rab8 19.Rb2 Nd7 20.Nxd7 Qxd7 21.h3 Qd8 22.Ra1
Qf8 23.Qxf8+ Kxf8 24.axb5 axb5 25.Ra7 Ra8 26.Rba2 Rxa7 27.Rxa7 Rb8 28.g4 Be6
29.Bd3 b4 30.cxb4 Rxb4 31.Rc7 Rb6 32.Bf5 Bxf5 33.gxf5 Rb1+ 34.Kg2 Rc1 35.Kg3
h5 36.Kf4 f6 37.f3 Rc4 38.h4 Rc3 39.e4 dxe4 40.fxe4 Rd3 41.Rc8+ Kf7 42.Rc7+
Kf8 43.Rc8+ 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.22”]
[Round “6.6”]
[White “Esipenko, Andrey”]
[Black “Giri, Anish”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2764”]
[BlackFideId “24116068”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “D45”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “QGD semi-Slav”]
[Variation “Stoltz variation”]
[WhiteElo “2677”]
[WhiteFideId “24175439”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.b3 O-O 8.Be2 b6
9.O-O Bb7 10.Bb2 Qe7 11.Rad1 Rad8 12.Rfe1 Rfe8 13.Bf1 c5 14.cxd5 exd5 15.g3
Rc8 16.Bh3 c4 17.bxc4 Rxc4 18.Nd2 Rc7 19.Qb3 a6 20.a4 h5 21.Rc1 h4 22.Ncb1
Rec8 23.Rxc7 Rxc7 24.Rc1 Rxc1+ 25.Bxc1 hxg3 26.hxg3 Bb4 27.Nc3 Qd6 28.Ndb1
Nf8 29.Ba3 Bxa3 30.Qxa3 Qc7 31.Nd2 N8h7 32.Bg2 Ng5 33.Nf3 Nge4 34.Nxe4 Nxe4
35.Ne5 Bc8 36.Qb2 Be6 37.Kh2 a5 38.Bxe4 dxe4 39.Qb5 Kf8 40.Nc6 Bd7 41.d5 f5
42.Kg2 Bxc6 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.22”]
[Round “6.7”]
[White “Donchenko, Alexander”]
[Black “Firouzja, Alireza”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “2749”]
[BlackFideId “12573981”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “D31”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “QGD”]
[Variation “semi-Slav, Abrahams variation”]
[WhiteElo “2668”]
[WhiteFideId “24603295”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.e3 b5 6.a4 c6 7.Bd2 a5 8.axb5 Bxc3
9.Bxc3 cxb5 10.b3 Bb7 11.bxc4 b4 12.Bb2 Nf6 13.Bd3 O-O 14.O-O Nbd7 15.Nd2 e5
16.Bc2 Qc7 17.h3 Rfe8 18.Bb3 h6 19.Nf3 Ra6 20.Nxe5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Nd7 22.f4 Nc5
23.Bc2 a4 24.f5 b3 25.Bb1 Raa8 26.e6 Qg3 27.Rf2 f6 28.Bd4 Ne4 29.Bxe4 Bxe4
30.Ra3 Rec8 31.c5 Kh7 32.Qd2 b2
{ [%cal Gd4b2,Gd2b2]How should white capture the pawn on b2? With the bishop or with the queen? }
33.Qxb2 $2 { was played by Donchenko and is definately not correct. } (
33.Bxb2 Rxc5 34.Ra1 Rac8 35.Ba3 Rc2 36.Qe1 Qxg2+ { is a tricky line. }
37.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 38.Kf1 Rcc2 39.Qd1 Bxf5 40.e7 Bxh3 41.Qd3+
{ definately not promoting right away because: } ( 41.e8=Q Rg6+ 42.Ke1 Rg1# )
41…g6 42.Qxc2 Rxc2+ 43.Kg1 Bd7 44.Rd1 Bc6 { is roughly equal. } 45.Rd6 Be8
46.Rd8 Bf7 47.e8=Q Bxe8 48.Rxe8 g5 49.Re6 Kg6 { should result in a draw. } )
{ [%cal Gb8b1,Ge4b1]and now Firouzja grabs the open b-file with initiative which spells disaster for Donchenko given the fact that the black bishop is supporting Rb1+. }
34.Qa2 { the b-file now has become a cannon for black. } 34…Rb1+
{ Firouzja fires the first shot. } 35.Rf1
{ it’s either block the check with Rf1 or part with your queen. } 35…Rcb8
{ reloads } 36.Qf2 { Donchenko enters full turtle mode. } 36…Rxf1+
{ and Firouzja cracks the shell. } 37.Kxf1
{ recapturing with the queen would be even worse and not because of the
rook to b1 pin. But because of: } ( 37.Qxf1 Bxg2 38.Qxg2 ( 38.Ra2 Be4+ 39.Rg2
{ and black is threatening Rb1 mate again and now white can only throw
pieces away to stay afloat a couple moves longer. } 40.Be5 fxe5 41.Qe1 Rb1
42.Qxb1 Bxh3+ 43.Kh1 Qg2# ) 38…Rb1# ) 37…Rb1+ 38.Ke2 Qb8
{ and reloads again. } 39.Qf4 Qb5+ { fires another shot. } 40.Kd2 Qb4+
{ just a beautiful display of tactics. } 41.Bc3 Qxa3 42.Qxe4 Qc1+ 43.Kd3 Qf1+
{ and Donchenko resigns as now it is clear that he he can not escape the
inpending mate. For example: } 44.Kd4 ( 44.Kc2 Qd1# ) 44…Rd1+
{ [%csl Gc5,Gc4,Gc3,Gd3,Ge3,Ge4,Ge5,Gd5][%cal Gf1a6,Gd1d8] Donchenko’s King is boxed in. }
45.Bd2 Rxd2+ 46.Kc3 Qc1+ 47.Kb4 Rb2+ 48.Ka5 Qxc5+ 49.Kxa4 ( 49.Ka6 Qb6# )
49…Qa7# 0-1

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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