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22 Jan

Finding NEMO

With the Netherlands being such a small country,  back in 1938, the great AVRO tournament - one of the strongest tournament of all time, with all eight of the world’s top players competing - received greater exposure than usual when one of the bright young things working in the PR department for the radio sponsor hit upon the idea of moving the venue for each round from one Dutch city to another, with the travelling circus bringing the game directly to the masses.  

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And it worked: Each round - despite the players grumbling about their peripatetic experience - they got bumper crowds and more media coverage. And in the last few years, the Tata Steel tournament has also used this idea of taking the game to the masses, by temporarily moving from its spiritual home of little Wijk aan Zee for two rounds to satellite venues - and round five saw the players and the backroom staff moving to the acclaimed Science Center NEMO in central Amsterdam. And for one player, World Champion Magnus Carlsen, the temporary move only seemed to reinvigorate him.

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The day before finding their way to NEMO was the rest day, and Carlsen’s team lost 14-9 to Loek Van Wely’s team in the annual Tata Steel football match - but the World Champion didn’t need to wait long to exert his revenge, as over-the-board he ‘hustled’ the Dutchman in a complicated position, when he had little or no time left on his clock, to score his first win of the tournament.  Carlsen now moves up to join Hou Yifan (still unbeaten!), Wesley So and Pavel Eljanov in the chasing pack, a half point behind joint-leaders Fabiano Caruana and Ding Liren.

Photo © | http://www.tatasteelchess.com/

The players will now make their way back to Wijk aan Zee for round six on Friday, with the next away-day coming in round ten, when the Tata Steel Masters circus will move to the Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht.

Round 5
Ding 1-0 Karjakin
Navara draw So
Caruana draw Hou
Wei draw Giri
Mamedyarov 1-0 Adams
Van Wely 0-1 Carlsen
Tomashevsky draw Eljanov

Round 5 standings: 1-2. Fabiano Caruana (USA), Ding Liren (China) 3.5/5; 3-6. Hou Yifan (China), Wesley So (USA), Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine) 3; 7-9. Sergey Karjakin (Russia), Wei Yi (China), Shakriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) 2.5; 10-12. Anish Giri (Netherlands), Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia), David Navara (Czech Rep.) 2; 13. Loek Van Wely (Netherlands) 1.5; 14. Michael Adams (England) 1.

Round 6: Fri 22nd Jan (13.30pm Local, 12.30pm GMT, 0.30am ET, 04.30am PT): Karjakin-Eljanov, Carlsen-Tomashevsky, Adams-Van Wely, Giri-Mamedyarov, Hou-Wei, So-Caruana, Ding-Navara.

There’s live video commentary with host GM Yasser Seirawan and his guest each round, starting at 13:30 local time (07:30 ET, 04:30 PT) by clicking here.

GM Loek Van Wely - GM Magnus Carlsen
78th Tata Steel Masters, (5)
Grünfeld Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 0-0 6.Rc1 Be6 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Nxd5 Bxd5 9.Bxc7 Qd7 10.Bg3 Bxa2 11.Ne2 It's impossible to trap the bishop with 11.b3 Qd5! 12.Bc4 Qxg2 13.Qf3 Qxf3 14.Nxf3 Nc6 15.Ra1 Nb4 16.Kd2 Rfc8 and Black is better. Also, if 11.Rc7 Qe6 12.Rxb7 Bd5 13.Rb5 (13.Rc7 Qb6!) 13...a6 14.Rc5 Nd7 15.Rc3 Qb6! 16.Qd2 Rfc8, and in all cases, for the sake of a pawn, White is seriously lagging in development as all Black's pieces are primed, ready to open the game up. 11...Bd5 12.Nc3 Bc6 13.h4 Realising that completing his development is going to be difficult, Van Wely opts to complicate matters. 13...Rd8 14.Qb3 Qf5 15.h5 e6 16.hxg6 hxg6 17.Qd1 The queen was hitting at nothing on b3 - so to his credit, at least Van Wely realised it had to retreat now to help develop his white-squared bishop. 17...Nd7 18.Bd3 Qa5 "In general, the positioned should be balanced," said Carlsen in his excellent post-game summary video. The World Champion pointed out that White was solid in the centre and he hasn't "burnt any bridges". 19.Kf1 Nf6 20.Be5 Rac8 21.Qd2 Ng4 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.f3 Qg5?! (See Diagram) "This was too much," thought Carlsen. He felt he should have just retreated with 23...Nf6. He said he initially thought ...Qg5 was a very good move, but opted to gamble with the speculative knight sacrifice, believing that it would be too complicated for his opponent to fathom when he was so low on time, and felt that with a couple of pawns and a loose position he couldn't really be losing. 24.fxg4 Rxd4 25.Ke1! Carlsen was disappointed that Van Wely found this move, especially as he hadn't seen it! But it is easy for White to go wrong here, as Carlsen noted, with 25.Qe2 losing on the spot to 25...Rxd3 followed by ...Bb5 and all the pins win for Black. 25...Qe5 What Carlsen had missed by overlooking the resource of 25.Ke1 is that now, if 25...Rxg4 26.Ne4 Qe5 27.Rc5! and he's lost. So now he admitted he "had to start hustling" by playing fast. 26.Ne2 Another option was 26.Rh3 Rxd3 27.Qxd3 Bxg2 28.e4 Bxh3 29.Qxh3 b5! and again, with Van Wely left with little or no time on his clock, the complications are such it is impossible to see how White unravels from the pin on the c-file to defend his weak pawns on e4 and b2. 26...Rxg4 27.e4! A  shot that offers a glimmer of hope for Van Wely with Qh6+ possibilities. 27...Rxg2?! This was wrong, as Carlsen admitted. On reflection, he felt that with the exchange of queens it would be just about impossible for him to lose this ending with White's remaining pawns all being isolated, weak and far apart. So he should have gone for 27...Qg5 28.Qxg5 Rxg5 29.Kf2 Rd8 30.Rcd1 f5 where White can claim to be better, but it is difficult to see how Carlsen can lose this. 28.Qh6+ Kf6 29.Rc3? Tick-tock. The time pressure now takes its toll on Van Wely, who by now was coming close to playing solely on his 30 second increment. Instead, after 29.Qh4+! g5 (Not 29...Kg7?? 30.Qh7+ Kf6 31.Rf1+ Ke7 32.Qxf7+ wins; and 29...Qg5 falls to 30.e5+ Ke7 (The alternative is no better: 30...Kg7 31.Qh7+ Kf8 32.Qh8+ Ke7 33.Qxc8) 31.Qb4+ Kd7 32.Qd6+ Ke8 33.Rh8#; 30.Qh3! and now the rook on g2 is caught short of squares. Carlsen would have to go for 30...Rxe2+ 31.Bxe2 Qxe4 32.Rh2 Qe5 33.Qh5! and White should easily win this. 29...Rd8 30.Qh3 Now, if 30.Qh4+ Carlsen said he would have just taken the ending here with 30...Qg5 31.Qxg5+ Rxg5 and thought Black could never be worse in this position. 30...Qg5 31.Rf1+ Kg7 32.Qf3 Rd7 33.Rf2 Now Van Wely was playing on fumes; namely his increment. Not the sort of complicated position you want to be in against the World Champion with no time left on your clock. 33...Rg4 34.Nf4 Qh4! More pins and complications...and there's the little matter also of the digital clock metaphorically ticking down. 35.Be2 Rg1+ 36.Bf1 Kg8! The "!" was for Carlsen playing a safe, probably unexpected retreat of his king that Van Wely certainly wouldn't have anticipated, so had to use valuable time on his clock. 37.Ne2 Rxf1+! 38.Kxf1 Rd1+ 39.Kg2 Bxe4 0-1

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