Nils Grandelius continues to lead Tata Steel 2012 with four points out of maximum of six. Van Foreest and Firouzja joined a big group of players sitting on 3 ½ points, chasing the leader.
Alexander Donchenko and Alireza Firouzja had an interesting discussion and double-edged Noteboom Variation of the Slav Defense. The German played a new move 18.Bb3 that did not change much the evaluation of a very unbalanced position.
Alireza offered a pawn sacrifice with 19…e5 which should not have been accepted. Alexander, however, snatched the pawn and Black obtained a very promising position. Then it was Firouzja’s turn to err as he missed 25…a3 and allowed the opponent to grab the initiative.
In the following complications, both youngsters did not play optimally – the evaluation changed several times – but it was Alexander who made the last mistake by capturing Black’s pawn with a wrong piece. After 33.Bxb2 White had all the chances to hold. However, Alexander opted for 33.Qxb2 which fails to 33…Rab8 and Black penetrated White’s camp.
The game between Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Magnus Carlsen saw another instance of Giuoco Pianissimo in which White opened the center but did not achieve much. Moreover after 17.Qf3 Bxd4! Black got an edge. Probably the World Champion did not use all his chances as the game was drawn in a rook endgame.
Arian Tari solved all the opening problems on the black side of Gruenfeld Defense against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and could have set a more ambitious goal than a half-point, but it seems that the Norwegian was OK with a draw.
Jorden Van Foreest outplayed David Anton in the Ruy Lopez, broke through in the center but still had some work to do. The game ended abruptly as the Spaniard blundered a piece.
Radoslaw Wojtaszek made his sixth draw in a row, this time against Pentala Harikrishna. The Indian GM emerged slightly better on the White side of the Queen’s Gambit but was unable to turn it into something substantial.
Andrey Esipenko and Anish Giri played a very solid positional game. Since neither of the players had any advantage throughout the encounter, a draw came as a logical outcome.
Fabiano Caruana was slightly better throughout the game with Nils Grandelius but the leader held his ground and scored a half-point.
Standings after Round 6: 1. Nils Grandelius – 4 2. Pentala Harikrishna, Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, Fabiano Caruana, Jorden Van Foreest and Alireza Firouzja – 3½; 8. Andrey Esipenko, Radoslaw Wojtaszek – 3; 10. Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Arian Tari, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – 2½; 13. David Anton – 2; 14. Alexander Donchenko – 1½.