It was not surprising to see the world’s top two rated players, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Levon Aronian of Armenia, sharing a lead at the 74th Tata Steel Chess Tournament at the Dutch coastal town of Wijk aan Zee. They amassed a 5.5-2.5 score and with five rounds to go, we can expect a dramatic finish.
But it was one single move that drew the attention away from the world’s finest players. Since it created so many holes in white’s position, the move could only have been invented by a chipmunk.
Six moves into the game Hikaru Nakamura-David Navara, the top-rated American grandmaster dented his position with a strange pawn move. He didn’t create a crater, but the gap was big enough for a little chipmunk. You see these holes in the lawn and you never know how many chipmunks there are digging until the house collapses.
How to deal with chipmunk holes? You can plug them up, but the beasts usually pop them up somewhere else. Navara, the Czech grandmaster, chose the wait-and-see approach. After all, he controlled most of the central squares. But Nakamura’s hibernation was short-lived. He opened the f-file, fixed his weaknesses and engaged in the modern tactical warfare, threatening Navara from a distance. His bishops were reaching far on the long diagonals and his heavy pieces settled on the only open file on the kingside. By move 17, he finally crossed the Rubicon into Navara’s territory. The Czech made one mistake and by move 25 his position went downhill. Nakamura finished the game with a knight sacrifice.
Full article with analysis here.
Sign up for my free email chess course for Beginners and Club Players. In this free course, I focus on helping beginner chess players see the entire board. You will learn how to attack your opponent from move 1 and create a new threat with every single move! I’ve created this series of lessons designed to help beginner and club level players understand the game at a deeper level so that you can start beating higher rated players immediately. Start getting free tips from me directly to your inbox!
– GM Susan Polgar