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Tata Steel Challengers 2023: Big success for Eline Roebers, Tabatabaei blunders a piece on move 6 but still wins

Round 2 of the Tata Steel Challengers 2023 shook the waters with Tabatabaei blundering a piece on move 6 but still winning against Pechac, 16-year-old Eline Roebers taking down the reigning Dutch Champion Erwin l’Ami, and Vaishali Ramesbabu losing on time against Alexander Donchenko.

Photos: Jurriaan Hoefsmit – Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

Two games were the showtoppers of the day; Jergus Pechac against Amin Tabatabaei, and Eline Roebers against Erwin l’Ami.

Tabatabaei blundered a whole piece on move 6 of the King’s Gambit against Pechac with Peter Svidler commenting “We resign, no?”. The Iranian GM said: “I never expect anyone to play the King’s Gambit against me, so I was not really prepared against it. It’s one of those scary lines that you’re like, ‘ok, come on, nobody’s going to play it against me’.”. Later he explained that he had remembered a Carlsen-Ding Liren King’s Gambit from the 2020 Magnus Carlsen Invitational but totally overlooked that he had already played d6 so White had Qb5+, and then QxNh5.

“I was feeling so embarrassed, in this tournament to blunder in this way. I could remember Magnus’ game against Gawain Jones in the same tournament, so it’s possible to turn a game.” said Tabatabaei and this is what he did! The pressure was on Pechac to win the game with this huge starting advantage but he left room for compensation and the game didn’t took much to change path. By move 45 Amin had ultimately copied Ding and won the game to join the leaders.

The next surprise was the 16-year-old IM Eline Roebers, who took down the reigning Dutch Champion Erwin l’Ami. “I’m so happy, it’s unbelievable, honestly,‘ Eline said at the post-game interview.

It wasn’t until Erwin made a terrible strategic mistake by closing down the queenside, and Eline created a well-calculated kindside attack to win the game beautifully!

Another unfortunate loss was Vaishali’s who had a difficult – not losing – position against Donchenko but she lost on time on move 31. That was the first game that Donchenko has won in a Tata Steel event, as in 2021 he scored 3.5/13 in the Masters with no wins.

The day finished with a quadruple tie – just like the Masters – among Abhimanyu Mishra, Alexander Donchenko, Amin Tabatabaei, and Max Warmerdam, who all have a 1.5/2 score.

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