Games from Tata Steel Masters

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

81st Tata Steel Masters
Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands
Jan. 22-31, 2019

Final Standings (all GMs)

1. Magnus Carlsen NOR 2835, 9.0/13

2. Anish Giri NED 2783, 8.5/13

3-5. Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2763, Ding Liren CHN 2813, Viswanathan Anand IND 2773, 7.5/13

6. Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2695, 7.0/13

7-9. Teimour Radjabov AZE 2757, Samuel Shankland USA 2725, Richard Rapport HUN 2731, 6.5/13

10. Jan-Krzysztof Duda POL 2738, 5.5/13

11-12. Vladimir Fedoseev RUS 2724, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE 2817, 5.0/13

13-14. Jorden Van Foreest NED 2612, Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2777, 4.5/13

Average Rating 2753 Category 21

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 time after every move starting move 1

GM Teimour Radjabov (born March 12, 1987 in Baku, Azerbaijan) was a child prodigy he attained the international grandmaster title in 2001 at the age of 14, making him the second youngest grandmaster in history at the time. This record has since been broken multiple times, but is rise to the top was faster than anybody with perhaps the sole exception of Magnus Carlsen.

In 2013 he was already competing for the world title in the Candidates Tournament in London. He single-handedly revived the popularity of the King’s Indian Defense for Black and his play became known for creative and imaginative play.

Radjabov has not been very active in recent years but every once in a while gives us a glimpse of his wonderful attacking instinct.

Radjabov, Teimour (2757) — Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi (2695) [D38]
Tata Steel Masters 2019 Wijk aan Zee (7.6), 19.01.2019

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qa4+ Nc6

If you are still relying on your old Fred Reinfeld or Al Horowitz opening books you will say that Black has a bad position because the c6–knight blocks his own c-pawn. But the openings have evolved and this particular formation is part of Ragozin System. Black will go for a pawn break on e5.

6.e3 0–0 7.Qc2

For example, after 7.Bd2 Black will go 7…dxc4! 8.Bxc4 Bd6 9.0–0 e5 and there is nothing wrong with his position. In fact, Black scores well with this in actual tournament play.

7…Re8 8.Bd2 Bd6 9.h3

Can’t White play 9.c5 forcing back the bishop? Yes, but that’s the point of Black’s earlier …Re8. Now, after 9…Bf8 White cannot prevent …e6–e5.

9…a6 10.a3 Bd7 11.Be2 dxc4 12.Bxc4 h6 13.g4!

Previously White had automatically castled here. Radjabov has a different idea.


Yup! That’s what they teach us, right? A flank attack is met by a central advance.

14.g5 b5 15.Ba2 exd4

Looks like Black has refuted White’s rash attacking attempts. But …


Take note that White is threatening to follow-up with Qg6!

16…dxc3 17.Bxc3 Be6 18.Bxe6 Rxe6 19.Rg1 Ne8 20.Bxg7 Nxg7 21.Rxg7+ Kf8 22.Qh7

With the idea of Qg8+ followed by Rxf7 mate.


[22…Rf6 23.Rg8+ Ke7 24.Rxd8]

23.Ng5 Rxe3+! 24.Kf1!

Not 24.fxe3?? which allows Black to draw with 24…Bg3+ 25.Kd1 Qf1+ 26.Kc2 Qc4+ 27.Kb1 Qf1+ with perpetual check.

24…Nd8 25.Qg8+ Ke7 26.h7 Bg3 27.Ne4!

The fact that Radjabov had to see this beautiful counter several moves ahead is what is impressive.

27…Rxe4 28.Rxg3 Rh4 29.Rd1 Rxh7 30.Re3+ Ne6 31.Qxa8 Rh8 32.Qc6 Kf8

White is not yet done sacrificing.

33.Rxe6! Qxe6

[Or 33…fxe6 34.Rd7 followed by Qa8+]

34.Rd8+ Kg7 35.Qc3+ f6 36.Qxc7+ 1–0

A beautiful game.

Now we look at another fighter — Vladimir Vasilyevich Fedoseev (born Feb. 16, 1995) learned chess from his father at the age of seven and rapidly gained in strength, soon becoming a Russian and European Under 18 champion. His big year was 2017, at the age of 22, when he won the super-strong Aeroflot Open, which qualified him for the Dortmund super-tournament later that year. He went on to cross 2700 for the first time and surprised the chess world even more when he finished 2nd in Dortmund.

In June of that year he tied for first in the European Championship. Later on in that same month Fedoseev won the silver medal with the Russian team in the World Team Championship. He was not yet done. In September 2017 he reached the quarterfinals of the Tbilisi World Cup in the process knocking out Hikaru Nakamura before being eliminated by Wesley So.

Fedoseev wasn’t able to keep up that pace in 2018, sometimes his hyper-aggressive play and unwillingness to take a draw backfired on him, but, as GM Alex Yermolinsky noted, only he could have won the following game against Radjabov. You can jump straight to the diagram after move 41.

Radjabov, Teimour (2757) — Fedoseev, Vladimir (2724) [D15]
Tata Steel Masters 2019 Wijk aan Zee (9.7), 22.01.2019

1.c4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 Bf5 6.Qb3 Ra7 7.Nh4 Bc8 8.Bd2 e6 9.c5 Nbd7

GM (Grandmaster) Daniel Fernandez pointed out here that 9…e5 is already possible and if 10.dxe5 Nfd7. However, instead of taking the e5-pawn White can play 10.Nf3 e4 11.Ne5 Be7 12.0-0-0 where both sides have chances but White’s pieces are more aggressively placed. Fedoseev prefers to be the one to do the attacking.

10.Nf3 e5!? 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.dxe5 Nd7 13.Na4 Bxc5 14.Nxc5 Nxc5 15.Qc2 Ne4 16.Bd3 Nxd2 17.Qxd2 0–0 18.0–0 f6 19.exf6 Qxf6 20.e4 dxe4 21.Bxe4 Be6 22.b3 Raa8 23.Qc2 g6 24.Rad1 Rad8 25.Rfe1 Kg7 26.Rd2 Rxd2 27.Qxd2 Rd8 28.Qc2 Qd4 29.h3 Qb4 30.Re2 Bf7 31.Bf3 Rd4 32.g3 Qd6 33.Kg2 Kg8 34.h4 a5 35.Qb2 b6 36.Qc3 c5 37.Qe3 Qf6 38.Qc3 Qd8 39.Qe3 Qd6 40.Qg5 Kg7 41.Qe7 <D>

Position after 41.Qe7

Time to shake hands? Fedoseev wants to keep on playing.]

41…Rd3 42.Qb7 Qf6

[42…Rxf3 43.Qxf3 Bd5 44.Re7+ Kh6 45.Re4!= the position is equal]

43.Bc6 Kf8 44.Qb8+

[44.Qxb6?? Bd5+ wins the bishop]

44…Rd8 45.Qb7 Rd6 46.Bf3 h5 47.Qa8+ Kg7 48.Qb7 Kf8 49.Qa8+ Qd8 50.Qb7 Rd7 51.Qc6 Kg7 52.Qe4 Rd3 53.Qb7 Qd7

Radjabov still cannot take the b6–pawn. There will follow 54.Qxb6? Rxf3! 55.Kxf3 Qg4+ 56.Ke3 Qd4+ 57.Kf3 Bd5+ and then there is checkmate.

54.Re7 Qxb7 55.Rxb7 Rd6 56.Be4

Time to shake hands? Fedoseev does not agree.

56…Kf6 57.Kf3 c4 58.bxc4 Bxc4 59.a3 Ke5 60.Ke3 Bd5 61.f4+!

Radjabov will be exchanging bishops but if he does so now Black will have a more active king. He maneuvers it so that after the exchange his own king is in position.

61…Ke6 62.Rb8 Bxe4 63.Kxe4

Go back to my comment on move 61. It is small things like this which distinguish a grandmaster from a master.

63…Rc6 64.a4 Rc4+ 65.Kf3 Rc3+ 66.Ke4 Rb3 67.Rg8 Kf7 68.Rb8 Kf6 69.Rf8+ Ke7 70.Rg8 Rxg3 71.Ke5 Re3+ 72.Kd4 Rg3 73.Ke5 Kf7 74.Rb8 Re3+ 75.Kd4 Re6 76.Kd5 Ke7 77.Rg8 Rd6+ 78.Ke5 Kd7 79.Rg7+?

The mistake. 79.Rb8 Kc7 80.Re8 Black cannot make any headway, if he tries to go after White’s a-pawn then 80…Kc6 81.Rc8+ forces the king back.


See? Fedoseev goes after the a4–pawn and White does not have any backrank checks.

80.Rg8 Kc5! 81.Rc8+ Rc6 82.Rxc6+ Kxc6 83.Kf6

It’s still a draw, right? After 83…b5 84.axb5+ Kxb5 85.Kxg6 a4 86.f5 a3 87.f6 a2 88.f7 a1Q 89.f8Q Black is the one who has to be careful here, but anyway 89…Qe5 90.Qf5 Qxf5+ 91.Kxf5 Kc5 92.Kg5 Kd6 93.Kxh5 Ke7 94.Kg6 Kf8 is a clear book draw.


83…b5 84.axb5+ Kd6!! 0–1

Radjabov resigns. The point is that after 84…Kd6 85.Kxg6 a4 86.f5 a3 87.f6 a2 88.f7 Ke7! 89.Kg7 a1Q+ is with check and Black wins.


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