There was a lot of action today in Wijk aan Zee, complete with a surprisingly large number of errors and even blunders. We begin with Radoslaw Wojtaszek's remarkably one-sided defeat of the world champion, Magnus Carlsen. Wojtaszek struck a powerful blow for his "boss" - he has long been one of Viswanathan Anand's seconds - defeating Carlsen with surprising ease on the white side of an unusual Leningrad Dutch. Rather than opting for the traditional kingside fianchetto Wojtaszek expanded on the queenside with an early b4. Carlsen prevented White from consolidating his extra space on that flank by pushing his a-pawn all the way to a3, where it was soon lost. Carlsen may have had some compensation for this, but objectively speaking that went out the window after 28...Qe6. Whether it was a blunder or a case of unnecessarily desperate action is unclear, but what does seem clear is that White was winning after this move if he played well, and Wojtaszek did. One might have wondered how Wojtaszek would feel after escaping from seriously lost positions in the first two rounds; it seems the answer could be that he felt revitalized.
While one can wonder if Carlsen blundered in his game there's no question that Levon Aronian did in his, against Wesley So. After 20...Nd7 White can win an exchange, but Black will have at least enough activity to make up for the material. After Aronian's 20...Ng8?? 21.Bh5 g6 22.fxg6!, however, he was simply lost. Aronian fought for another 32 moves, but against So's accurate play he never had a chance to save the game.
Baadur Jobava also lost disastrously, but it wasn't so much due to any one move (though there were some clear errors) as it was to an overly risky strategy. Sometimes Jobava's provocative play backfires, and against Ding Liren he had to resign after just 22 moves.
The final winner of the day was Vassily Ivanchuk, whose victory over Loek van Wely was more to his credit than to any particular egregious move or plan by the Dutchman. Ivanchuk just played well and overwhelmed his opponent.
Ivanchuk caught Fabiano Caruana in first place with 2.5/3, as Caruana only managed a draw against Anish Giri. That may not be the best way of putting it, as it suggests that he had some chances to win. He didn't, but had to suffer for 97 long moves with the black pieces before escaping with half a point.
The games Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. Teimour Radjabov and Ivan Saric vs. Hou Yifan were also drawn, and in both cases one player missed a likely win. In the first game it was Vachier-Lagrave who missed a great chance with the subtle 32.Nc7!!, while in the second it was Hou Yifan who could have had her opponent on the ropes had she played the obvious and banal 18...Rxa4.
The games, with my notes, are here. These are tomorrow's pairings for round 4:
- van Wely (1) - Carlsen (1)
- Aronian (1) - Wojtaszek (2)
- Caruana (2.5) - So (2)
- Hou Yifan (.5) - Giri (1.5)
- Jobava (.5) - Saric (1)
- Radjabov (1.5) - Ding Liren (2)
- Ivanchuk (2.5) - Vachier-Lagrave (2)
In the B-group, David Klein beat Bart Michiels, Vladimir Potkin beat Valentina Gunina and Anne Haast upset Jan Timman. Klein, Robin van Kampen, Wei Yi and David Navara lead with 2/3.