The five-way tie for first place did not change as all games in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament‘s fourth round ended in draws. There was lots of fighting chess though. Wednesday is the first rest day.
How to watch?
The Tata Steel Chess Tournament runs January 16-31, 2021. All rounds start at 14:00 CET (5 a.m. Pacific) except for the final round that starts an hour earlier. You can follow the games at chess.com/events/2021-tata-steel-masters and watch the broadcast at chess.com/tv.
At some point during the round, commentator WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni thought she had “jinxed the day” because early in the day she had said that chess players tend to give it all before a rest day. Well, the players did put in the energy, but all games were drawn.
The first game to finish was Jorden van Foreest vs. Magnus Carlsen, where the world champion was pressing in an endgame and was planning to do so for much longer. However, a blunder obstructed that plan as it allowed the Dutchman to force the draw right away.
“If I don’t blunder I probably don’t win the game but I at least get to torture him for a long time which is at least something,” said Carlsen, who also seemed to poke a bit at his opponent for playing for a draw: “Jorden played very solidly today. He didn’t really leave any doubt as to what his intentions were and, fair game, that’s his choice.”
After his win in the first round, Carlsen only got three draws. “It’s a little bit frustrating,” he said. “The annoying thing for me is that I feel I made some crucial, little mistakes in each three games, right at the end. I’ve not been able to put maximum pressure right at the end in any of the games. Having said that, I don’t think I had any objective winning chances in any of these three games so in a sense three draws are an absolutely normal result but I feel like if I’d been a little bit more precise in those games that I might have broken through in one of them.”
“An insane game, mental torture from the start,” was how GM Aryan Tari described his clash with GM Alireza Firouzja. From an advance Caro-Kann, the fireworks started when Tari chose the sharp push 11.g4 instead of taking on e5. In other words, it was the Norwegian’s fault that Firouzja got in his comfort zone.
“It’s the most stupid thing to do against Firouzja, to get a crazy, tactical position. That’s what he eats for breakfast.”
So why did he do it? “The problem was I couldn’t refute 11.g4 and I couldn’t fight my demons,” Tari put it nicely.
After more adventures, the game abruptly ended in the middle of the time trouble phase—as it turned out, Tari had offered a draw which Firouzja somewhat reluctantly accepted.
“Maybe I should have played on but I thought it could really go both ways,” said Tari. “He had one minute and I had two minutes. I was not sure what was going on. The main reason was that I thought I was just lost three moves before, so I was just so happy to get half a point.”
GM Nils Grandelius had a great chance to reclaim sole first place today. GM Andrey Esipenko’s slightly odd treatment of the 6.Be2 Najdorf didn’t work very well, and he was basically outplayed when the Swedish GM missed his chance during time trouble.
“In time-trouble, I played very poorly,” Grandelius said, before explaining what happened: he thought he could repeat moves and reach move 40 to give himself some more time for his next decision, but Esipenko wisely avoided the repetition and steered the game to a draw. Instead, Grandelius could have picked up some pawns.
After drawing his game with GM Pentala Harikrishna, GM Fabiano Caruana was asked about his almost-brilliancy of the other day. “I think it was close to being one of my best games I’ve ever played… but you also have to finish the game off,” he said.
GM Anish Giri, who drew with Jan-Krzysztof Duda, is not complaining that tomorrow is a rest day. “The rest day is very welcome,” he said. “In my last few tournaments, I usually play around three days long. Already today is the fourth day, I am feeling the heat!”
Round 4 Standings
|6||Van Foreest, Jorden||2671||2788||½||½||½||½||2.0/4||4.75|
Games round 4