Two chess young players reach 2700 FIDE ELO after a great Tata Steel Tournament

Jorden Van Foreest and Andrey Esipenko, increases his ELO rating more than 20 points, they reached the select club of players with more than 2700 ELO.

Tata Steel tournament winners
Tata Steel Tournament players podium, from left to right Anish Giri, tournament winner Jorden van Foreest and Andrey Esipenko | Photo credit: Jurriaan Hoefsmit, Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021.

Jorden van Foreest was the champion of the Tata Steel Masters 2021 after beating Anish Giri in the tiebreak. He became the first local player to win the Dutch tournament since 1985, when the classic player Jan Timman get the same achievement. Van Foreest break the 2700 ELO rating barrier for the first time and, after achieve 30 ELO points, has reached 2701 ELO rating. Also the Russian player, Andrey Esipenko, third in the tournament, has reached 2701 after improving his rating by 24 points.

The Tata Steel Masters was the first elite live tournament in 2021. The event, which took place in the Dutch town of Wijk aan Zee, is one of the most classic in the chess calendar, as it has been held since 1938. Precisely its tradition and its line-up of players make it one of the most important festivals of the year, although due to the pandemic it has not been possible to develop the whole line-up of events that are usually held.

The list of players included Magnus Carlsen (world chess champion), Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Pentala Harikrishna, Alireza Firouzja, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, all above 2700; along with the likes of David Anton (who win his place after winning the Challengers tournament in 2020), Alexander Donchenko, Aryan Tari, Nils Grandelius and the aforementioned Jorden Van Foreest and Andrey Esipenko. The tournament average reached no less than 2724 ELO points. It is therefore surprising the outstanding role played by the players who started, respectively, as tenth and eleventh favorite.

Van Foreest was not defeated

Van Foreest, with only 21 years old, stood out remarkably in the tournament as he was able to not lose a single chess game during the tournament. The young chess Grandmaster alternated brilliant victories, especially the last round against Grandeluis, with good defenses in chess games where the half-point draw was in danger, as against Carlsen or Caruana. The final score of 8 and a half points (+4 =9) placed him tied for first place against his compatriot Giri.

When you miss an opportunity, the cost is huge

It has not been a bad tournament for Anish Giri either, although he has once again come very close to winning his first title in an elite event. His four wins and nine draws have allowed him to get 12 ELO points increase and reach 2776 ELO rating, placing him seventh in the world ranking. However, he let slip a very advantageous position against Firouzja that would have made him champion although, it is also true that in the last round Anton came very close to finishing him off. His second place, after losing in a tiebreak where he also let slip seemingly simple victories for a player of his level, was completely deserved.

Surprising Esipenko

The 18-year-old Russian made his intentions clear after his resounding victory against Carlsen, which put him on +2 in the eighth round. His final score was 8 points, tied with Caruana and Firouzja but with a better tiebreak, having only lost to Tari (coincidentally the only game the young Norwegian won). Esipenko, who won in the last round against Donchenko with the black pieces, was favored by the only black spot of the organization during the event.

Serious Caruana and Firouzja

This black mark had to do with the promising 17-year-old Iranian, Alireza Firouzja. When he was playing his last game against Wojtaszek in a promising position, the organization informed him that he would not be eligible to win the tournament (despite being one point off the lead) because the rules only provided for a tiebreak between two people. After that, they were asked to relocate their game to a distant board to make room for the match between Giri and Van Foreest. Clearly, the continued discomfort could have taken its toll on a player who, as we have seen on other occasions, has quite a strong character.

Still, his tournament was quite acceptable, despite falling to Carlsen in the most anticipated first round in a long time. The 10 ELO points he moved up has allowed him to get to 13th in the world rankings, with 2759 ELO points.

For his part, Fabiano Caruana also made 8 points in the tournament with 3 wins (against the last three qualifiers) and 10 draws. He dropped 3 points in his ELO (2820). However, he left signs of his quality in games like the one he played against Duda, where he left an exceptional move that you can see in the following board.

Tablero de partida Caruana Duda en jugada 21 con Rh8
Chess Board after move 21.... Kh8 where the best move made in the game and the only winning move is Bd4.

Improvable Carlsen and poor Maxime Vachier-Lagrave performance

Finally Carlsen finished with a +2 after winning two of his last 5 games. In this way he was able to make up for his tournament and "only" lower his ELO rating by 15 points (2847). It is noticeable that the world champion is not at his best, as he acknowledged in the press conference after the tournament. However, let's hope that he can recover his best level in the face of the confrontation for the world championship that will take place at the end of the year in Dubai.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who started the tournament in 5th place in the world ranking, dropped 26 points (2758) after a lousy tournament where he lost four games and could only win one. More was expected from the current co-leader of the Candidates who we will see in future tournaments if he can reach his maximum level to try to get the place as challenger in the world championship.

Eleventh place for David Antón

The young Spanish chess player was not able to win any game despite the many options he had to do so. The Spanish chess player, who lost three games and drew the remaining 10, was able to put Caruana and Giri in trouble with great preparations. However, time constraints or the complexity of small details in certain positions did not allow him to get more out of the games and, in the end, he dropped his ELO 6 points (2673).

Final ranking

Top 10 Chess Players in 2021

Finally the ranking of players according to classic ELO Fide rating is as follows, you can find the ranking by country, chess control time or gender in our players section.

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