2019 Wijk aan Zee, Round 2: The Dutch Giveth, the Dutch Taketh Away
Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 11:30PM
Dennis Monokroussos in 2019 Wijk aan Zee, Anish Giri, Jorden Van Foreest

In round 1, the two Dutch participants in this year's Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Anish Giri and Jorden Van Foreest, lost with the white pieces. No problem: they promptly won with the black pieces in round 2. Giri took advantage of Vladimir Kramnik's crazy all-in approach. Kramnik barely got away with it in round 1, surviving, as he likes to say, by a "miracle" against Teimour Radjabov, but Giri was unforgiving today. As for Van Foreest, his game with Duda was balanced for quite a while, with Duda's kingside play sufficing for equality against VF's positional pluses. Duda was slightly outplayed as the game went on, but the real damage didn't happen until the last few moves of the time control. Duda made several serious errors in a row - and this continued after the time control as well, though it was already too late by then.

Other games were mirrors of what happened in round 1. For instance, Sam Shankland again managed to outplay his opponent - Richard Rapport in this case - and once again faltered near the finish line. After playing a great grinding game and finally getting a winning position against Rapport, he gave it away with one sloppy move, 74...h5. Alas!

Magnus Carlsen's second round game also bore some resemblance to what he did in round 1. It was again a short draw if one just counts the moves, but as in round 1 it was a wild game, full of content. Another repeated idea is that he once again sacrificed an exchange; in fact, in this game (against Ian Nepomniachtchi) he upped the ante and made it a full rook sacrifice. It wasn't enough for an advantage, but it made for an exciting game in any case.

The remaining games weren't so interesting. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Teimour Radjabov played a quick, short (32 moves) draw, as they often do, and no one was remotely close to being in danger. This makes 22 drawn games in a row between them going back to 2012, many of them in under 20 moves. Draw your own conclusions (pun intended). Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Fedoseev's game had a little more life, but not much: Fedoseev's Petroff did what the Petroff was designed to do and they called it a day after 34 moves. Finally, Ding Liren obtained an advantage against Santosh Viidt Gujrathi, but couldn't maintain it, and they split the point after move 33. (Games here, but this time without annotations.)

The tournament leaders are thus the same as the leaders after yesterday's games: Anand and Nepomniachtchi. The caboose is brought up by today's victims, Kramnik and Duda, and everyone else has one point. Here are the pairings for tomorrow's (Monday's) round 3:

A question in parting: why is Carlsen given as board 1 every round, just as at the last two World Rapid & Blitz Championships? He isn't pairing number 1 (as I understand it, he would have had the white pieces in round 1 if he were) and the board numbers aren't determined by rating. Is this another Norwegian TV thing? Can they really not set up their cameras on a different board? Not even Garry Kasparov ever received such treatment. Hopefully players, sponsors, and the media won't have to start referring to him with honorifics and be forced to retreat from his presence by walking backwards and always facing him.

Article originally appeared on The Chess Mind (http://www.thechessmind.net/).
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