Epilogue to Tata Steel Masters

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

82nd Tata Steel Masters
Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands
January 10–26, 2020

Final Standings:

1. Fabiano Caruana USA 2822, 10.0/13

2. Magnus Carlsen NOR 2872, 8.0/13

3. Wesley So USA 2765, 7.5/13

4–5. Jorden Van Foreest NED 2644, Daniil Dubov RUS 2683, 7.0/13

6-9. Anish Giri NED 2768, Viswanathan Anand IND 2758, Jan-Krzysztof Duda POL 2758, Alireza Firouzja FIDE 2723, 6.5/13

10–11. Jeffery Xiong USA 2712, Vladislav Artemiev RUS 2731, 6.0/13

12. Nikita Vitiugov RUS 2747, 5.0/13

13. Yu Yangyi CHN 2726, 4.5/13

14. Vladislav Kovalev BLR 2660, 4.0/13

Average Rating: 2740 Category 20

Time Control: 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves followed by 15 minutes for the rest of the game with 30 seconds added to your clock after every move starting move 1

GM Jorden Van Foreest

No doubt the big winner in the Tata Steel Masters was Fabiano Caruana, but another GM who put in a good performance was the 20-year old Jorden Van Foreest, who was the lowest player by rating but started the tournament with 2 wins in the first 3 rounds, kept nipping at the heels of the tournament leaders for most of the tournament and finished with +1, tied for 4th place ahead of the other Dutchman Anish Giri.

Jorden played in last year’s Tata Steel Masters and tied for last place with Vladimir Kramnik (!) with 4.5/13 (3 wins, 3 draws, 7 losses) but came back this year full of opening surprises and seriously determined to give a better showing. His main weapon for White was the Sicilian Alapin, with which he scored two wins and a draw.

Van Foreest, Jorden (2644) — Dubov, Daniil (2683) [B22]
Tata Steel Masters Wijk aan Zee (3.6), 13.01.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 c4

The old main line is 6…d5 7.exd6 Qxd6 but lately 8.Na3 before d2–d4 or 0–0 has become popular. I do not have the space to go into the theory but no less than Evgeny Sveshnikov, who has made a lifelong study into the Sicilian c3 line, endorses it. Here in the Philippines it is Jerad Docena who plays it invariably.

7.Bc2 d5

Lately 60% of all games in this line go 7…Qc7 8.Qe2 and now 8…g5!? The one who originated this line is Vassily Ivanchuk who reeled it off against no less than Eugene Torre in the 1996 Yerevan Olympiad. The game continued 9.Nxg5 Qxe5 10.d4 (10.Qxe5? Nxe5 11.Nxh7 Bh6 12.Bf5 d5! Black is already winning a piece at least) 10…cxd3 11.Bxd3 Qxe2+ 12.Bxe2 Bg7 13.0–0 0–0 14.Rd1 d5 Chucky’s position is more than ok. Torre, E. (2535) — Ivanchuk, V. (2730) Yerevan 1996 0–1 (57)

8.exd6 Qxd6 9.0–0 g6

It looks like Dubov is intentionally avoiding the more popular lines here. More common is 9…Bg4 10.Re1 You might think that black is dominating the center here but in fact White has better prospects in the center thanks to the plan b2–b3 and then after trading opponent’s c-pawn then d2–d4. All this avoid-the-main-lines tactic does not work though, as Van Foreest revealed that up to the 17th move everything was still preparation.

10.Na3 Bg7 11.b3!

Adopting the same plan I described in the previous note.

11…cxb3 12.axb3 0–0 13.d4 Bg4 14.h3 Bxf3 15.Qxf3 e5 16.Nb5 Qd7

Van Foreest: I got my preparation on the board. His move Qd7 is not supposed to be good, even though many people play it. At least that’s what I think. I didn’t know how or why it was bad, I just remembered 17.Rd1 and then I think I played a bunch of only moves. It looked kind of tricky at first, but then when the dust settled I had a very promising position and some crazy things happened, but I think I had it more or less under control, if I’m not mistaken.

GM Igor Stohl, annotating the game Christopher Lutz versus Alexander Khalifman, suggests 16…Qd5 as a better move as it prevents d4–d5. Lutz, C. (2580) — Khalifman, A. (2645) Wijk aan Zee 1995 1/2 50.

17.Rd1! a6

One of the world’s greatest experts in this line, GM Dusko Pavasovic, has already demonstrated how strong White’s position is: 17…exd4 18.Nxd4 Nxd4 19.cxd4 f5 (of course not 19…Bxd4? 20.Be3) 20.b4 Kh8 21.Ra5 Rac8 22.Bb3 a6 23.Bf4 Nc4 24.Rc5 b5 25.d5 Nd6 26.Rdc1 Rfe8 1–0 (26) Pavasovic, D. (2568) — Grosar, A. (2470) Bled 2002.

18.d5! Nb4

[18…axb5 19.dxc6 Qxc6 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Be3! and now, surprisingly, the knight on b6 has nowhere to go and might be lost]

19.Na3 Nxc2 20.Nxc2

White has accomplished his plan initiated on move 11 of obtaining a queenside pawn majority.

20…Rac8 21.c4 f5

Winning the exchange with 21…e4 22.Qxe4 Bxa1 23.Nxa1 Rfe8 24.Qf3 Qd6 25.Nc2 looks very dangerous for Black. The White queen and bishop will form a battery on the long diagonal and the knight can also get into the action with Nc2–e3–g4–f6. Instead, Dubov pins his hopes on getting some action on the kingside.

22.Ba3 Rf7 23.Rac1 Re8 24.c5 e4 25.Qe2 Nc8 26.Qc4 Na7 27.Nd4 f4 28.Ne6 Nb5 29.Bb4 e3 30.Ng5 exf2+ 31.Kxf2 Qf5 32.Nxf7 Re4 <D>



The much simpler 33.Qc2 is also winning but chessplayers live for the day when we can play moves like this. I remember a game from my high school days when my opponent quite by accident suddenly had a queen sacrifice forcing checkmate. Instead of executing the sacrifice he pretended to be deeply absorbed in the position, got up and whispered the move to some of his friends milling around the other chessboards, and only when a small crowd had gathered did he sit down and smash down the move on the board. That’s the nature of a chessplayer.

33…Kxf7 34.cxb7 Rxc4 35.bxc4 Qe5 36.cxb5 Qb2+ 37.Kf1 Be5 38.d6 f3 39.gxf3 Qb3 40.Ke2 Qe6 41.Rc7+ Kf6 42.b8Q Bf4+ 43.Kd3 Qd5+ 44.Kc2 Qa2+ 45.Kc3 Be5+ 46.Kd3 Qb3+ 47.Ke2 1–0

Van Foreest is the name of a noble house from the 13th century. In the early modern period, the family played a role in the city councils of Haarlem, Delft and Alkmaar.

Currently Jorden is the eldest child of his family and thus carries the title of Jonkheer (“young lord”). In chess terms he is the highest rated in the family as well. Lucas (born 2001) earned the title of grandmaster in 2018, has an ELO rating of 2523 and participated in this year’s Tata Steel Challengers event — he finished in the middle of the pack. His sister, Machteld (born 2007), won the Dutch Girls’ U10 Championship at the age of 6 and shared second place in the Dutch Girls’ U20 Championship when she was 9. In 2017, she became the first girl ever to win the Dutch U12 Championship.

Jorden’s great-great-grandfather Arnold van Foreest and his brother Dirk van Foreest used to dominate chess in the Netherlands and each won the national championship three times (Arnold: 1889, 1893, 1902; Dirk: 1885, 1886, 1887). Dirk van Foreest was a medical doctor and was so strong that the 5th world champion Max Euwe once said he could have been World Champion if he had dedicated himself fully to chess. The brother Arnold van Foreest was an inspector at the Dutch postal company and held positions in the Dutch Chess Federation, including one year as President.

So, brothers Jorden and Lucas have a strong chess pedigree — let’s see how far they go.

Wesley So had two wins in the tournament. I showed you his fine victory over Alireza Firouzja. Here is how he defeated Vishy Anand.

So, Wesley (2765) — Anand, Viswanathan (2758) [C54]
Tata Steel Masters Wijk aan Zee (2.7), 12.01.2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.Nbd2 0–0 7.h3 a6 8.Bb3 Be6 9.Bc2 d5 10.Ng5!?

We all know that Wesley So had authored a chessbase DVD on the Italian Game, so he knows a lot about it. Nobody has played this move before, is it some sort of deep preparation?


[10…Nxe4 discovering an attack on the g5 knight is met by 11.Ndxe4 dxe4 12.0–0 e3 13.Bxe3 Bxe3 14.Nxe6 Bxf2+ 15.Rxf2 fxe6 16.Rxf8+ Qxf8 17.Qg4 with equality]

11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.dxe4 Bxf2+!?

The situation is begging for this sacrifice.

13.Kxf2 Ng4+ 14.Kg1!

No choice.

14.Ke1? Qh4+ 15.Ke2 Qf2+ 16.Kd3 Rad8+ 17.Kc4 Qb6 18.b4 Na5+! 19.bxa5 Qb5#;

14.Ke2? Nd4+ 15.cxd4 Qxd4 16.Nb3 Qf2+ 17.Kd3 Rad8+ wins;

14.Kg3 Ne3 15.Qe2 Nxc2 16.Rb1 is the same position as in the game with the white king on g3 instead of g1. The trapped black knight on c2 can now be rescued by 16…Qg5+ 17.Kh2 Qf4+ 18.Kg1 Qe3+ and Black emerges from the complications a pawn up.

14…Ne3 15.Qe2 Nxc2 16.Rb1

How is Black to extricate the knight on c2?


[16…Qh4 does not work: 17.Nf3 Qg3 18.h4! threatening Rh3]

17.cxd4 Qxd4+ 18.Kh2 Rf2 19.Qg4 Ne3 20.Qxe6+ Kh8 21.Rg1 Qd3!

With the deadly threat of Qe2.


So if 22…Qe2 then 23.Qg3.


Vishy wanted to win and 22…Nxg2 23.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Qe2+ 25.Kg1 Qe3+! (25…Qe1+? 26.Nf1 Rf8 is refuted by 27.Qxg7+! Kxg7 28.Bh6+) 26.Kg2 Qe2+ 27.Kg3 Rf8 leads to a draw by perpetual.

23.Qg3 Qe2 24.b4 Rxg2+ 25.Rxg2 Nxg2 26.Qg4! What Vishy overlooked. 1–0


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.