Alireza Firouzja is not just a fierce attacker with a love for high stakes. If anyone doubted it, the 17-year-old Iranian reconfirmed it today with a fine positional effort of almost six hours to knock down the Spanish David Antón in the 3rd round of the Tata tournament, which 14 chess players play in Wijk aan Zee (Netherlands ). The world champion, Magnus Carlsen, was only able to draw with fellow Norwegian Aryan Giri, and shares the lead with four players; Firouzja, who started with a loss to Carlsen, is halfway through.
The antecedents between Firouzja and Antón are peculiar: of the five games between the two to date, the Iranian had won all three in fast modalities, and the two slow ones ended in a draw. But the Spanish was better, much better or with a winning position at some point in all of them, succumbing later to the enormous talent of his rival. Particularly painful must have been the draw in the last round of the Prague 2020 tournament, where the victory that Antón had so close would have given him the first prize. And impressive was what happened two months ago in the fast Skilling Open tournament: Firouzja won after launching a kamikaze attack, in an amazing way.
On the contrary, today’s fight was very calm in its opening. To make sure that the Asian, who lives in France, was not going to screw him up again this time, Antón led to the change of ladies. But that gave Firouzja a slight edge, who then emulated former champion Anatoli Karpov – or Carlsen’s version prior to being influenced by the show. AlphaZero- and he began to squeeze the juices from the position without any haste and with great courage, as if that had been his usual style. And he did it flawlessly, until Antón gave up, after five hours and 51 minutes, added at six hours to tie with Carlsen on Sunday.
Apparently, the long fight yesterday also took its toll on the world champion, unable to break the fierce resistance of his compatriot Tari. The surprising starting leader, Nils Grandelius (Sweden), fell to the Indian Pentala Harikrishna. The most vibrant game of the day was that of the 2nd in the world, the American Fabiano Caruana, who in time trouble lost what could have been a masterpiece and had to settle for the distribution of the point.
Results (3rd round): Yesipenko – Vachier Lagrave, tables; Grandelius 0 – Harikrishna 1; Caruana – Doubt, tables; Giri – Donchenko, tables; Wojtaszek-J. Van Foreest, tables; Carlsen – Tari, tables; Firouzja 1 – Anton 0.
Pairings (4th round, Tuesday): Vachier Lagrave – Antón; Tari – Firouzja; J. Van Foreest – Carlsen; Donchenko – Wojtaszek; Duda – Giri; Harikrishna – Caruana; Yesipenko – Grandelius.
Classification: 1º-5º Caruana, Carlsen, Giri, Harikrishna and Grandelius 2; 6th-10th Firouzja, Vachier-Lagrave, Wojtaszek, J. Van Foreest and Yesipenko 1,5; 11th-13th Duda, Antón and Tari 1; 14th Donchenko 0.5.
Official portal (with live broadcast): https://tatasteelchess.com/