Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Tata Steel Chess 2018 Highlights: Part 2

In Part 1, we analyzed the games of two veterans: Anand and Kramnik. What happens when the two of them clash swords with each other? Between the Tiger of Madras’s tactical prowess and cold Russian positional grinding, who would prevail?

Cold, Russian Steel rolling down the board

Here is Round 7’s encounter by the two former world champions, where Anand’s weakening of his pawn structure lead to an instructive strategic win for Kramnik:

In the same round, Mamedyarov won his third game in a row to become the sole leader of the tournament. An impressive feat, but one that was short-lived: Giri proceeded to end Mamedyarov’s streak in the next round with a classic strong knight vs weak bishop situation:

Giri (foreground) vs Mamedyarov (Image from

The final game we will look at is by the tournament winner, Magnus Carlsen. While Giri was outplaying Mamedyarov, Carlsen experienced a very lucky escape against Gawain Jones. First, the Norwegian blundered horribly in a Sicilian Dragon, before nerves got the better of Jones, who allowed his advantage to slip and even lose the game altogether:

Has the Sicilian Dragon claimed another victim? (Image from

With that I wrap up my analysis of Tata Steel 2018 highlights. Congrats to Magnus Carlsen for winning the tournament a record sixth time, and here’s to more exciting tournaments in the future!

Part 1:


Friday, February 16, 2018

February 2018 Tactical Training: Part 1

Happy Lunar New Year to all, and hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Tata Steel Chess 2018 Highlights: Part 1

Yet another major tournament ended last month: The Tata Steel Chess 2018. World Champion Magnus Carlsen won the tournament for a record sixth time. The event also marked the resurgence of Anish Giri, who had a plus 5 score—something one would not have expected from a player who was infamous for his “drawing” tendencies!

With 13 rounds and many decisive games, there was no shortage of interesting battles for me to choose from, so I can’t possibly fit all my choices into a single article. For today, we will look at 3 games from the early stages of the tournament.

The first game was from the very first round, where GM Wei Yi got onto the bad side of a Catalan against Vladimir Kramnik. The game is a magnificent display of what Kramnik excels at: Slow accumulation of positional advantages such as the open file and centre, before converting them into a crushing win. Karpov would have been proud!

Kramnik (left) vs Wei Yi (Image from

If our first game was a positional classic, then the next one was an exciting tactical battle where another former World Champion prevailed: Vishy Anand. His opponent, Caruana, tried an interesting knight sacrifice, but slipped up and paid the price for it.

What a way to end the game! It seems that both Anand and Kramnik are still going strong, even as their generation slowly gets displaced by upcoming stars like Carlsen and Giri!

If you thought endgames were boring, wait till you see our final game, which was a sharp endgame battle with both sides advancing passed pawns of their own. While Mamedyarov and Adhiban are not as well-known as the names mentioned earlier, the following game shows that both players are not to be messed around with:

Adhiban (left) and Mamedyarov at the start of the round (Image from

This was Mamedyarov’s second win in a row, and he later on won his third consecutive game to lead the tournament in Round 7; definitely something he can be proud of!

In Part 2, we will look at more highlights from the second half of the tournament.

To be continued…

Part 2: