Today is a rest day at the Tata Steel Chess Masters Tournament. After four rounds the early leader, Pavel Eljanov, has maintained his position at the head of the field with three wins and a draw. The heavyweights are breathing down his neck, however, and he has so far avoided some of the bigger names. These are early days and there are still another nine rounds to go. So what do top grandmasters do on their day off? Answer: they play football. Magnus Carlsen and Loek van Wely captained the two teams in a friendly played at Telstar F.C. this afternoon. This appears to have become an annual event as a similar match was played last year with van Wely’s team winning 14-9 – not sure who was playing in defence but perhaps Pep Guardiola was the manager. And what of the match, you may ask? Well, over to our on the spot reporter, Rook van Zugzwang, who filed this report for the Tata Steel Chess Masters website:

“Carlsen picked his assistant Peter Heine Nielsen, Ian Nepomniachtchi and his assistant Alexander Motylev, Vladimir Dobrov and Lu Shanglei. Grandmasters Benjamin Bok, Jorden van Forreest, Aryan Tari and two of Loek’s chess friends, Ard van Beek and Rob Duijn were on team Van Wely. Both teams were supplemented by players from Telstar. Telstar player Calvin Valies opened the score for Team Carlsen. Benjamin Bok scored the next two goals, bringing the score to 1-2. Carlsen scored 2-2, followed by Telstar players Stefano Lilipaly and Liban Abulahi taking Carlsen’s team to 4-2. Chinese grandmaster Lu Shanglei increased the advantage to 5-2 and Carlsen himself scored a wonderful goal half a minute before the end of the match, making it a 6-2 victory for his team and taking revenge for last year’s match.”    

Meanwhile, back at the chess Wei Yi has made a solid start although he came a cropper with the black pieces against Carlsen in Round 4 after what appeared an equal game on move 29 suddenly became ‘White is much better’ next move to ‘White is winning’ and defeat by move 33. However, his current total of 2/4 keeps him in the middle of the pack and he can take credit with this win in Round 3.

White:   Wei Yi (2706)   Black:  Ian Nepomniachtchi (2767)       

Tata Steel Chess Masters 2017

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