Exciting finish to the Tata Steel Chess Tournament

Daily musing “Exciting finish to the Tata Steel Chess tournament and my favorite move of the event.

Greetings Chess Players. My name is Chris Torres and this is my daily chess musing for February 1, 2021

Hat’s off to the organizers of the 83rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk Aan Zee. They did a great job just to hold the Tata Steel Masters during a pandemic and chess enthusiasts around the world are very grateful for their achievement.

Now let’s talk about the controversial conclusion to the 2021 Tata Steel Chess Tournament.

After thirteen rounds of classical chess, the 2021 edition of the Tata Steel Masters came down to blitz tiebreaker games between Jorden van Foreest and Anish Giri (who both scored an impressive 8.5/13) to determine the tournament champion. 

The all-Dutch playoff was set to begin two tables away from Alireza Firouzja and Radoslaw Wojtaszek, who were still playing their final round game. So the arbiters decided it would be best to, when  Firouzja and Wojtaszek reached the time control, ask them to relocate to another table so that they wouldn’t be distracted by the excitement of the Giri vs Van Foreest playoff. At the time of the request, Alireza Firouzja was doing quite well in his game and it seemed like he was destined to win which would place him in a tie with Van Foreest and Giri. However, his Sonneborn-Berger tiebreak score was not as high so even if Firouzja finished tied for first place, he, per the tournament rules, wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the playoffs to determine the tournament champion. 

Firouzja was understandably upset about the fairness of the playoff process and being asked to move out of the way so a player he would likely finish tied with could battle for the championship so he declined the arbiter’s request to change tables. Being angry and distracted by the neighboring playoff game, likely were factors in Firouzja sadly allowing his winning position to fall apart, and after his game finished, he shouted at the tournament organizers which was an unfortunate way to finish an otherwise historic chess event in the pandemic era.

The playoff match between Jorden van Foreest and Anish Giri was captivating to watch. Van Foreest and Anish Giri drew the two blitz tie-break games. The final Armageddon tie-break had an intense time pressure scramble where blunders were played and pieces were being knocked over. When the dust settled, Jorden van Foreest won when Anish Giri’s flag fell. In doing so, the 21 year old became the first player from the Netherlands to win the Tata Steel Masters super-tournament in Wijk aan Zee since Jan Timman took first place in 1985.

So after 13 rounds in Wijk aan Zee, the final standings are: 

1st place: Jorden Van Foreest 8.5pts

2nd place: Anish Giri 8.5pts

3rd place: Andrey Esipenko 8pts

4th place: Fabiano Caruana 8pts

5th place: Alireza Firouzja 8pts

6th place: Magnus Carlsen 7.5pts

7th place: Pentala Harikrishna 6.5pts

8th place: Aryan Tari 6pts

9th place: Nils Grandelius 6pts

10th place: Jan-Krzysztof Duda 5.5pts 

11th place: David Anton Guijarro 5pts

12th place: Radoslaw Wojtaszek 5pts

13th place: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 5pts

and 14th place: Alexander Donchenko 3.5pts

Now that we recapped the event, let’s take a look at my favorite move of the 83rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament

Photos from © Jurriaan Hoefsmit – Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021

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[Event “Tata Steel Masters”]

[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]

[Date “2021.01.27”]

[EventDate “?”]

[Round “10”]

[Result “1-0”]

[White “Anish Giri”]

[Black “Radoslaw Wojtaszek”]

[ECO “D02”]

[WhiteElo “2764”]

[BlackElo “2705”]

[PlyCount “97”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 d5 3. e3 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Nbd2 Bg4 6. c3 e6

7. Qb3 Qc8 8. h3 Bh5 9. Be2 Be7 10. O-O O-O 11. Qd1 Nd7

12. Re1 Qd8 13. dxc5 Nxc5 14. b4 Nd7 15. a3 Nb6 16. Rc1 f6

17. e4 e5 18. Be3 Bf7 19. Bxb6 axb6 20. exd5 Bxd5 21. a4 f5

22. b5 e4 23. bxc6 exf3 24. Bxf3 bxc6 25. Bxd5+ cxd5 26. Nf3

Bf6 27. Re6 Kh8 28. Qb3 Qd7 29. Rxb6 Rxa4 30. Rd1 Raa8

31. Rxd5 Qc7 32. g3 Qxc3 33. Qxc3 Bxc3 34. h4 Kg8 35. Rb7 Rad8

36. Rc5 Rc8 37. Rd5 Rcd8 38. Rdb5 Rd6 39. Rc7 Ba1 40. Kg2 Ra6

41. h5 Ra2 42. Rd5 Ra6 43. Nh4 g6 44. h6 f4 45. g4 f3+ 46. Kg3

Rb6 47. Rcd7 Rb3 48. g5 Bb2 49. Rxh7 1-0

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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