Tata Steel Masters 2022

Published in Chess - 2 mins to read

Round eight of this year’s edition of the Tata Steel Masters in Wijk an Zee, Netherlands is just about wrapping up, and so far this tournament has already had its fair share of thrills and spills. Last year’s surprise winner, Jorden Van Foreest has played six decisive games, something virtually unheard of at this level, Fabiano Caruana one-move blundered an entire rook to Anish Giri, something similarly unfathomable in elite chess, and Daniil Dubov has forfeited a game for refusing to wear a mask in his game against Giri after being in close contact with a covid case but testing negative himself. The games themselves have also been immensely entertaining with the players seemingly excited to try out some of the more dubious lines in their opening repertoires - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov went for the particularly memorable 1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g4?! with white against Andrey Esipenko, Daniil Dubov attempted to up the volume in the so-called “Giucco Piano” with the optimistic 8. Na3, and Van Foreest showed that some “bad” lines might not be as bad as they really seem, beating Indian youngster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa with the speculative 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4?!. After having recently complained about the low standards of chess commentary, I have been really impressed with the pairing of Fiona Steil-Antoni and Robert Hess and have enjoyed actually not having to mute the broadcast in order to enjoy it.

It almost makes me want to play in a chess tournament myself…