Round one of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2017, begins in a couple of days time. To mark the occasion, I thought it would be rather nice to take a look back at last year’s tournament — you know, as if we needed any reminder of the kind of chess that the world’s best can produce during their two weeks in Wijk aan Zee.
Below, you will find two very contrasting games.
In the first, David Navara gets the better of Fabiano Caruana with the White pieces. In a Nimzo-Indian, things are rather close until the Czech opts to allow 25…Bg4, skewering his rooks, in return for a passed pawn. In hindsight, this may not have quite been enough, but White comes out the better. 27…f5(?) is not the best by Caruana and 49…Rxg3(?) worsens matters. Navara, having the best activity, pushes his c-pawn and coupled with his well placed bishop and advanced King, concludes the game in fine style. With Black in virtual zugzwang, 52.h5(!) is a very nice finesse, controlling the g6-square and 55.Bf7(!!) decides the day.
The second sees a triumph by Michael Adams, with Black, over Sergey Karjakin. The game sees opposite side castling, which can in itself be very sharp. In truth, White misplays the game and allows Black far too much on the Queenside. It is quite a rout, which sees White very inactive and under severe pressure throughout. It is a very instructive game regarding the technical aspects when it comes to castling on opposite wings (not a decision to be taken lightly!), when very often the game is all about opening lines towards the King. Black does this seemingly effortlessly, while White barely even gets started.