Wednesday, 22 May 2024
WorldThe first major tournament of the year: Tata Steel 2024

The first major tournament of the year: Tata Steel 2024

MEXICO CITY (–The first chess tournament is the Tata Steel tournament, sponsored by the Indian steel company and played in Wijk aan Zee, in the Netherlands. This is a tournament that has changed sponsors over the years and that, for different reasons (for example, the pandemic), has reduced the roster of players (before that three groups played and now only two). However, in all these years the best players in the world have paraded through this incredible championship, which has been won by Magnus Carlsen – the best player on the planet – on several occasions. It is also an opportunity for the best Dutch talents, as they can face the strongest chess players on the international circuit.

On this occasion, curiously, Magnus Carlsen has decided not to accept the invitation to this tournament, which is initially a bit strange, but knowing the Norwegian, perhaps he is a little fed up with classical chess, which is played at a slow pace. It seems that their game is chess at 15 minutes per game (with an increment of 10 seconds per move made), or blitz (at 3 minutes for the entire game per player, with an increment of 2 seconds per move made). Despite this, we see back the new World Champion, Ding Liren, who after winning a tough match against Nepomniachtchi, went into confinement in his country without appearing in any championship. It seems that the Chinese felt overwhelmed and exhausted by the effort of having won the world title and that he did not want to know anything about chess. However, he is already back.

We can also see the star Firouzja, an Iranian who plays extraordinary chess and who promises to achieve great success in the future. But of course, no one can anticipate the future and success in the chess elite depends on many factors (even some external ones, which have nothing to do with the activity of chess), which may well truncate the most brilliant of careers.

On the other hand, we have the presence of three players from India: Praggnanandha, Vidit and Gukesh. These three very strong grandmasters will give the tournament a shine and to start, “Pragg” would already defeat the World Champion, Ding Liren, in a great game. Gukesh already lost with Ding Lien and Vidit continues playing solid chess. This last player is the most “veteran” of the 3 Indians and perhaps his weak point is how he deals with defeats. There are videos (on YouTube) of Vidit about to abandon a game showing a distress that almost brought him to tears. And perhaps for many this is absurd, but it is not for those who have dedicated their life to the art of chess. The list is completed by Giri, Nepomniachtchi, Abdusattorov, Wei, Warmerdam, Van Foreest J., Donchenko, Ju and Maghsooldloo.

It must be said that after the fourth round, Giri (Netherlands) is in first place with 3.5 points out of a possible 4. He has drawn with Vidit and beaten Gukesh, Ju and Donchenko. It seems that he is in good shape and could be a viable candidate to win the title. However, it is a long tournament and we will have to wait. Fioruzja has 3 points, is alone in second place and is followed with 2.5 points by Pragg, Nepo, Abdusattorov and Wei. With two points are Vidit, Warrmerdam and Ding. For their part, Gukesh and Van Foreest have 1.5 points followed by Donchenko and Ju with half a point less. Maghsoodloo, the former Junior World Champion, has only half a point and it is clear that he is not in good shape. It should be noted that this player says he studies many hours a day to challenge Magnus Carlsen at some point. It clearly takes a lot of personal commitment to work on chess for so long each day.

In the “Challengers” group we have as a highlight the presence of Hans Niemann, who was accused by Carlsen of cheating. The latter could not prove the alleged cheating but he left the record and it is clear that now the accused plays with an ugly stigma. By the way, the winner of the Challengers will be promoted to the main tournament. Let’s see if Niemann makes it. For now he has 3 points, tied with Korobov and L’Ami. Again, there is still a lot of tournament to go.

Games can be viewed on (search broadcasts) or, for free. This tournament is worth following.

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