Tata Steel R11: Van Forest kills Giri

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Free points for Carlsen and Rapport

As announced by the organizers before the start of Round 11, Daniil Dubov withdrew from the Tata Steel Masters tournament after testing positive for Covid-19. As the Russian has played more than half of his matches, the results he achieved will be included in the final ranking table, while the Russian’s last three opponents will get forfeit wins, namely Richard Rapport, Praggnanandhaa and Magnus Carlsen.

Looking back, in terms of pure competition, it’s ‘lucky’ that Dubov also lost his match against Anish Giri, as the current three main contenders for first place will all get the same ‘free point’ at the end. For Carlsen in particular, who was paired against Dubov in the final round, that means holding on to his half-point advantage in the next round will grant him the tournament victory with one round to spare.

Despite this twist of fate, however, Giri is all but out of contention for the tournament win, as he was beaten by defending champion Jorden van Foreest in round 11. Giri is now one point behind Carlsen, which means that the Dutchman should win. his two games and hopes Fabiano Caruana will beat the world champion on Saturday.

Caruana, by the way, won his round 11 match, getting the better of Praggnanandhaa with the black pieces.

Fabien Caruana

Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Jurrian Hoefsmit

The crucial encounter of the round, which was a repeat of last year’s decisive playoff, saw Van Foreest enter a questionable Nimzo-Indian line with the white pieces. The defending champion was willing to take risks after his loss to Andrey Esipenko, and his approach paid off in the end.

White here went for 16.Rxf6, giving up a rally to take the initiative on the kingside. It was a tough spot for Giri, who couldn’t counter his compatriot’s excellent play. Soon, White found the material while keeping his massive initiative on the kingside.

He followed 28…Bd7 29.Bxg6 fxg6 30.Bxf6+, and Black is in big trouble. Giri kept playing until move 42, but his rival was clearly in good shape and didn’t falter until he got the full point.

Anish Giri

Jorden van Foreest also beat Anish Giri in last year’s Armageddon decided for the tournament victory | Photo: Jurrian Hoefsmit

Later, Carlsen missed a great – but hard to find – chance to defeat Vidit Gujrathi in a round ending.

Round 11 Results

Ranking after the 11th round

All matches – Round 11

Replay all Masters games at Live.ChessBase.com

Nguyen and Bjerre both win in Challengers

The two players chasing sole leader Arjun Erigaisi in the Challengers group, albeit two points behind, won their round 11 matches. Thai Dai Van Nguyen beat Roven Vogel, while Jonas Buhl Bjerre took the top on Volodar Murzin.

In the penultimate round, Nguyen faces Arjun in a very important encounter, while Bjerre will look to capitalize on a potential Nguyen victory in his match against Zhu Jiner.

Round 11 also saw Marc’Andria Maurizzi pick up his second victory of the event, and once again he did it in style, beating Daniel Dardha in a 23-stroke encounter.

Black has resigned in this position – watch out for long-range pieces indicating your vulnerable king!

Marc'Andria Maurizzi, Daniel Dardha

Marc’Andria Maurizzi against Daniel Dardha | Photo: Jurrian Hoefsmit

Round 11 Results

Ranking after the 11th round

All matches – Round 11

Replay all Challengers games at Live.ChessBase.com

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