Swashbuckling Chess in Wijk aan Zee

Perhaps you are following the action at the Tata Steel Chess Masters Tournament closely but did you know that the annual Tate Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee also includes a Challengers section full of exciting talent? A step below the Tata Steel Challengers is the Tata Steel Qualifiers tournament which also features high level games by an all FIDE titled field. The Tata Steel Challengers and Tata Steel Qualifiers tournaments even share the same format as their big brother meaning that all the sections are 14-player single round-robin events. Having all three sections occurring simultaneously means that the annual Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee gives chess enthusiasts plenty of games to get excited about.

GM Max Warmerdam

While perusing through the games played in the 2023 Tata Steel Challengers Chess Tournament, my jaw dropped when I saw the swashbuckling first round skirmish between GM Max Warmerdam and GM Jergus Pechac. Perhaps the players involved had extra incentive to play fighting chess as first prize in the Tata Steel Challengers is an offer to play in the 2024 Tata Steel Masters. At any rate, not only did GM Warmerdam and GM Pechac play in the style of the 19th century romantics but they did so with a variation of the Ruy Lopez frequented by the likes of Joseph Henry Blackburne, the Cozio Defense. Hats off to both young men for giving chess fans such an entertaining battle to watch.

Ruy López Opening: Cozio Defense

[Event “Tata Steel Challengers”]

[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]

[Date “2023.01.14”]

[Round “1.5”]

[White “Max Warmerdam”]

[WhiteElo “2616”]

[Black “Jergus Pechac”]

[BlackElo “2637”]

[Result “1-0”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.Nc3 Ng6 5.Bc4 Bc5 6.h4 h6 7.Nd5 Nge7 8.c3 O-O

9.Ng5 Nxd5 10.exd5 b5 11.Bb3 Na5 12.Bc2 Nb7 13.Qh5 d6 14.d4 exd4 15.O-O f5

16.Nf3 dxc3 17.Bxh6 cxb2 18.Rae1 Qf6 19.Bd2 Bd7 20.Bc3 Qh6 21.Re7 Qxh5 22.Rxg7+

Kh8 23.Rf7+ Kg8 24.Rg7+ Kh8 25.Rxd7+ Rf6 26.Bxf6+ Kg8 27.Rg7+ Kf8 28.Ng5 Bxf2+

29.Rxf2 Nc5 30.Bxb2 Qe8 31.Nh7#


View Gif here (Warmerdam vs Pechac, Tata Steel Challengers 2023, R1 1/14/2023)

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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