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Giri beats Gukesh with a double sacrifice in Round 2 of the Tata Steel Masters 2023

Round 2 of the Tata Steel Masters 2023 is over with a quadruple tie at the top among Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, Ding Liren, and Nodirbek Abdusattorov with 1.5/2. The game of the day was definitely Giri-Gukesh after a knight and two rooks sacrifice for a queen by the Dutch GM.

Photos: Lennart Ootes – Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Round 2 of the Tata Steel Masters had two decisive games, with Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri beating Vincent Keymer and D. Gukesh respectively to join the lead among Ding Liren and Nodirbek Abdusattorov who both drew against Parham Maghsoodloo and Fabiano Caruana respectively.

A great preparation and a precise execution were the keys to Giri’s stunning double sacrifice against the 16-year-old Indian prodigy D. Gukesh who suffered his second loss in the first two rounds of the Tata Steel Masters 2023. “It’s a great feeling to win this way, [...] it looks pretty nice and I think it was a very nice idea. I was very happy with this Rc2 idea, it’s a very cunning one and it’s really not on the surface, and I was really happy not only to show it but that it led to a nice victory.”

Peter Svidler commented: “Amazingly this is somehow mate. You have to realize that this is lost for black. The way I realised it is because I can read my screen! I have the engine running on my 3rd screen somewhere”.

Anish himself pointed out that the attack was “very thematic”, saying: “Tal has copyrighted all sacrifices, so as long as you sacrifice something you feel like Tal, but again, in my defence, I prepared these things, and I followed up with the sacrifices that are very thematic in this position, so it’s not like it’s a stroke of genius or anything. The whole position is about Neg5, Rxe6, because he has the bishop pair, he has a better pawn structure, and I’m up in development and have some attacking prospects, so the position demands this kind of play and I was prepared for it. Neg5 I didn’t prepare, because Kh8 is very bad, but maybe just before Kh8 I had this position prepared as well, and then it’s clear Kh8 is screaming for some sort of punishment.”

The second win of the day was Carlsen’s who chose a less-theoretical line in Grünfeld with 7...c6 against Keymer. It was a long game with an intuitive rook endgame for Magnus which granted him the first win in the tournament and a place at the top with a 1.5/2 score.

The Round 1 leaders, Ding Liren and Nodirbek Abdusattorov, both drew against Parham Maghsoodloo and Fabiano Caruana respectively, but Liren actually missed a great chance for a second win in a row.

Abdusattorov surprised Caruana with the novelty in the opening to gain a risk-free advantage and end up in a 4 vs. 3 pawns rook endgame where the doubled f-pawns made an easy draw.

On the other hand the Liren-Maghsoodloo game was a tricky and a 6.5-hour encounter, with 79 moves. The opening got Parham hoping as Ding started with the unusual for him 1.e4 and he was well prepared. After the later pawn break 24.e5 though, Parham found himself in an inferior endgame with Liren spending more than 50 minutes on move 42 to try and calculate a win. Even though the 2023 Challenger had 2 winning moves, he failed to find them and Parham pulled off a brilliant escape.

Elsewhere Aronian-Praggnanandhaa was the first game to finish, with Levon taking a quick draw in a position with lots of potential for White. The 5-time World Champion Vishy Anand joined the after-game short analysis and explained his ideas to the players.

Richard Rapport easily drew against the 2021 Tata Steel Masters winner Jorden van Foreest, while Arjun Erigaisi defended excellently against Wesley So to “steal” half a point.

Round 3 starts today at 13:00 UTC with the World Champion Magnus Carlsen facing the 2023 Challenger Ding Liren.

Watch Round 3

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