Nakamura Wins Again and Seizes Lead of Tata Steel Chess Tournament

Game Replays

In an exceptional performance that combined spirited attack and defense, Hikaru Nakamura beat Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia on Friday in Round 11 of the Tata Steel chess tournament in the Netherlands.

Nakamura’s co-leader after Round 10 (and 8 and 6 and 4), Viswanathan Anand of India, the world champion, only drew against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France. That allowed Nakamura to once again take control of the elite section, with two rounds to play.

Nakamura’s victory was his sixth of the tournament. He now has 8 points, followed by Anand, with 7.5, Levon Aronian of Armenia, who also drew Friday, who has 7, and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Magnus Carlsen of Norway, each with 6.5.

Carlsen was the only player in the top section, aside from Nakamura, to win Friday. He beat Kramnik after a long endgame. It was a victory more typical of Kramnik’s style and it was made possible when Kramnik inexplicably blundered on Move 17 by taking a pawn that, after a forced sequence of moves, led to an endgame in which Carlsen was up a pawn. Carlsen then used impeccable technique to grind Kramnik down.

The B section remained wide open as the co-leaders after Round 10, Wesley So of the Philippines and Zahar Efimenko of Ukraine, both drew. That allowed David Navara of the Czech Republic and Luke McShane to catch them after they defeated Vladislav Tkachiev of France and Surya Ganguly of India, respectively. All four players have 7 points each.

Lurking only a half point behind are Le Quang Liem of Vietnam and Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia. After a rough start, Le Quang has surged with three consecutive victories, including a win over Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway on Friday.

The fight for the title in the C section was all but decided on Friday as Daniele Vocaturo of Italy beat Kateryna Lahno of Ukraine, his closest pursuer after Round 10. Vocaturo now has 8.5 points, 1.5 points ahead of Ilya Nyzhnyk, the 14-year-old Ukrainian grandmaster, who beat Benjamin Bok, a Dutch international master, on Friday. Lahno is now tied for third with Ivan Ivanisevic of Serbia. They each have 6.5 points.