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Ding and Abdusattorov win in Round 1 of the Tata Steel Masters 2023

Round 1 of the Tata Steel Masters 2023 is over with Ding Liren and Nodirbek Abdusattorov scoring the only points of the day against Gukesh and Richard Rapport respectively, while Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, and Vincent Keymer missed their chances to join the lead.

Photos: Ding Liren by Jurriaan Hoefsmit | Nodirbek Abdusattorov by Lennart Ootes – Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

World No.2. and 2023 Challenger Ding Liren seems to be in an excellent form on his way to the World Championship match against Ian Nepomniachtchi. In Round 1 of the Tata Steel Masters, the Chinese GM faced the 16-year-old Indian prodigy D. Gukesh and got him thinking already on move 7. As Ding explained: “I think he was out of his comfort zone after the opening since he spent a lot of time to find a plan, but I think his play was not that strong, he did not give me enough pressure.” Move 33...Bd3 was a killer tactic from Ding which led Gukesh to resignation before reaching the time control.

The second and last win of the day was Abdusattorov’s against Rapport, a game which grabbed the audience’s attention from early on.

Rapport spent more than 37 minutes over 15.Nf4!? to soon meet 15...g5! with 16.Nxe6 Qxe6 17.Rb5!?, eyeing the d5-square, but 17…Nb8! was a strong and less than obvious response according to the commentators. Later the 18-year-old GM forced aa superior endgame which he managed to win at no risk.

The Carlsen-Aronian game was an anticipated one with Carlsen initiating the main line of the Catalan. After a series of tactics Aronian found himself in an unpleasant position on which he commented afterwards: “It felt that humanly I should make a draw somehow, but there are many practical problems”. Even though Carlsen pushed, his old rival defended efficiently with the game to end in a draw. “A bit disappointing. I am not happy with my form, but hopefully that will improve later.” Carlsen told TV 2 after the game.

The All-Indian clash between Arjun Erigaisi and Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa ended peacefully in a draw, with Arjun playing what Peter Svidler noted was an important Grünfeld novelty. Even though Arjun was a pawn up for some time, the players repeated moves in an equal position.

The 2021 Tata Steel Masters winner, GM Jorden van Foreest, totally missed 20.Nf4 against Wesley So who didn’t manage to exploit the advantage and was held to a draw. “I just blundered this Nf4 completely. Immediately when I made my move I saw it, but it’s always like that. After that it was an uphill battle. Actually I was kind of fortunate not to lose on the spot, so I kind of tried to look at the positive side of things, but of course it was definitely a bit of a bummer.” Jorden said at the post-game interview.

The Caruana-Giri game was “God-level” according to Anish comparing to their last year’s game, but still had lots of mistakes. “The computer gives Black a very big advantage, I guess because computers now see the long-term potential. I think for a human you have to make a call there.” Giri explains after drawing his first game at the 2023 Tata Steel Masters.

Last but not least was the Maghsoodloo-Keymer game. Maghsoodloo confessed after the game that it was his dream from when he was 10 to play at the Tata Steel Masters but as he was a last minute replacement of Jan-Krzysztof Duda, he didn’t have so much time to prepare.

Keymer gained an early advantage but let the point slip through his fingers after missing a couple of right moves. The game ended in a draw with Keymer being very close to cross 2700 again.

Watch Round 2

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