Chess  · 

Live from Tata Steel 2024: The Optiver Chess Team debut

Dive into the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2024 with Optiver’s daily coverage, spotlighting a landmark moment as our Chess Team makes its first major tournament appearance. In the Masters section, Anish Giri will defend his title, while Eline Roebers will showcase her talent in the Challengers group for the second year running. More than a test of skill and strategy, this event reflects Optiver’s commitment to supporting diverse talent, embracing both seasoned professionals and rising stars in the industry.

Join us as we bring you updates, game analysis and a behind-the-scenes glimpse from both ranks.

Daily updates

Master rank: Anish Giri

Sponsored by Optiver since 2016, Anish Giri is a chess grandmaster and the winner of Tata Steel 2023. This year, he returns to defend his title against a strong field of fourteen Masters, including world champion Ding Liren.

  • Round 1 (13/1/2024): In the much anticipated opening round of the Tata Steel Masters, Anish played against Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun with the black pieces. It was an extremely close match, appearing balanced almost throughout, even though Anish was down the exchange. The game was long and tense, lasting 80 moves and about 7 hours, but eventually, Anish emerged victorious following a tricky rook and pawn endgame.

  • Round 2 (14/1/2023): Anish drew against his good friend Vidit Gujrathi in Round 2, leaving him tied for second in the tournament with a score of 1.5/2

  • Round 3 (15/1/2023): Again playing a lower rated opponent with black, Anish managed to put the pressure on Alexander Donchenko (winner of the 2023 Challengers section) and with his deep prep managed to come out on top with another win. On 2.5/3 Anish is now jointly leading with Alireza Firouzja.

  • Round 4 (16/1/2023): It was another long day for Anish, being the last board left playing once again in a 72 move game vs Indian prodigy Gukesh Dommaraju. Anish managed to build a positional advantage in the middlegame and a well converted endgame gave Anish the win and leaves him clear first on 3.5/4.

  • Round 5 (18/1/2023):  Today’s game wasn’t a comfortable one for Anish. Praggnananda as India’s newly top rated GM opened well and maintained a small advantage the whole game. Anish was resourceful in his defense though and managed to simmer the game down to an even position with the two eventually agreeing to a draw. With Firouzja losing to Ju Wenjun this now leaves Anish on 4/5 in clear first a full point ahead of 2nd place.

  • Round 7 (20/1/2023): Today, Anish was playing Nodirbek Abdusattorov, the person with whom he fought for the 2023 title, snatching it on the final day last year. The game was balanced early on, but a slightly inaccurate defense from Anish was capitalised on by Nodirbek leading to Anish’s first loss of the tournament. Anish remains on top, but now jointly so with Nodirbek and Gukesh.

  • Round 8 (21/1/2023): A quick and borderline perfect game from both sides today with both Anish and Wei Yi grabbing half a point. A win for Alireza and a loss for Abdusattorov now leaves again a 3-way tie for first with Anish, Gukesh and Alireza in the lead on 5/8.
  • Round 9 (23/1/2023): Today was a big day for Tata as it was the “chess on tour” day, where a special location in the Netherlands is chosen to host the masters section that day. This year it was Anish’s hometown of Den Haag, so would the home advantage help Anish get a result as black vs current World Champion Ding Liren? Anish seemed to be very well prepared for the game blitzing out his initial moves, with still almost his full initial time left after 17 moves. Ding on the other hand seemed to be less sure what to do, finding himself down over 35 minutes on the clock by this point. Whilst Anish was up on the clock, Ding played accurately meaning it was a game where no side ever had a substantial advantage and eventually resulted in a draw by 3-fold repetition after 34 moves in a difficult to evaluate position.

  • Round 10 (24/1/2023):Today Anish played the last minute candidate qualifier Alireza Firouzja as black. Going to keep this one simple. Both sides played a 51 move game with 99% accuracy which ended in a draw. With both Gukesh and Nodirbeck scoring wins, Anish now sits joint 2nd half a point behind the leaders with 3 rounds to go.

  • Round 11 (26/1/2023):Today Anish played Ian Nepomniachtchi, this round was crucial for the stadings and added to the excitement and competitiveness of the tournament as it neared its conclusion. The match ended in a draw.

  • Round 12 (27/1/2023): Today Anish played against Jorden van Foreest. Anish won this round which allowed him to climb back to the top of the leaderboard, setting the stage for an exciting tournament finale.

  • Round 13 (28/1/2023): The final round Anish played Max Warmerdam. Giri played exceptionally, securing a win that propelled him into a tie for first place, finishing the tournament with 8.5/13 score. In the tiebreak playoffs, Anish competed fiercely but eventually shared a winning position with Gukesh D and Nodirbek Abdusattorov, as Wei Yi clinched the championship title.

Challengers rank: Eline Roebers

Eline Roebers, the latest chess talent to be sponsored by Optiver since 2023, is the reigning Dutch Women’s Champion. After her strong showing at Tata Steel 2023, she’s set to challenge a field of top global players again this year in the Challengers rank.

  • Round 1 (13/1/2024): For Eline playing in the Challengers section, it has been a tougher start to the tournament. The field has an average strength of 2570, so rated 2381 it’s always going to be a tough fight. In Round 1, she lost to a strong Indian grandmaster, Leon Luka Mendonca.

  • Round 2 (14/1/2023): In Round 2, Eline’s opponent executed two brilliant moves, including a rook sacrifice, to open up the position and leave her king too vulnerable to survive in the end. This result leaves Eline on 0/2, but there are still many rounds to go!

  • Round 3 (15/1/2023): Despite managing to build an early advantage, Eline unfortunately declined a queen trade that would have won her a pawn and lost her advantage from there. Her position then slowly weakened in the end lost to Anton Korobov.

  • Round 4 (16/1/2023):  It was another tough day for Eline, playing with the black pieces against a grandmaster opponent. White built an early space advantage, leaving Black cramped and in a challenging position to defend, which eventually led to a loss. With a rest day now, we look forward to what Eline will bring to the next stretch.

  • Round 5 (18/1/2023):  Playing the top seed Hans Niemann rated 2692 over 300 points over Eline was never going to be easy. ELO calculations give only a 4% chance of a win, but there couldn’t have been a better moment for Eline to find her form. It was a back and forth game, but in the end she managed to fully capitalise on her opponents mistakes and drove it home for her first win of the tournament!

  • Round 6 (19/1/2023): Going up against another top seed challenger, Eline displayed her strong attacking abilities and, after a six-hour marathon and a difficult endgame, defeated Mustafa Yilmaz for a consecutive win!

  • Round 7 (20/1/2023): Eline was playing another strong GM today Saleh Salem. Eline opened well, maintaining a small advantage until move 14, but from there the small inaccuracies built up and her opponent responded accurately driving the game home with Eline resigning after move 30.

  • Round 8 (21/1/2023): Today was always going to be an interesting one, Eline playing black against a fellow female IM Divya Deshmukh. The game was accurate and balanced early on, but then her opponent played a brilliant knight move in what on face value appeared to be a sacrifice for two pawns. Unfortunately Eline took the knight and after a few moves it turned out to be much more, leaving Eline’s King too vulnerable in the end with the game ending 7 moves later.

  • Round 9 (23/1/2023): Today was a turbulent game. Eline played the King’s gambit as white, an opening almost never played by top players in the modern era. Her opponent accurately defended the opening and some inaccuracies by Eline combined with aggressive play from her opponent found her in a borderline lost position in the early middlegame. From here though the game flipped back to neutral with Eline finding all the right defensive resources and her opponent not being able to convert the advantage into a win. The game was balanced for a while until unfortunately Eline made a complete oversight, losing her rook with no compensation and resigning shortly after.

  • Round 10 (24/1/2023): Today’s game was a lot more standard compared to yesterday with an advanced Caro-Kann on the board in the opening. The first 27ish moves were a balanced game with a lot of pieces being traded off. From here Eline went on an attack that eventually left her king too open and her opponent fully capitalised on taking the win.

  • Round 11 (26/1/2023): Today Eline experienced a challenging game against Daniel Dardha. This match resulted in a shift in the leaderboard, reflecting the competitive nature of the Challengers section.

  • Round 12 (27/1/2023): The challenges continued for Eline in this round, where she encountered strong opponents, Eriwn L’Ami, and experienced difficulties in achieving a favorable outcome.

  • Round 13 (28/1/2023): In the last round, Eline faced off against a strong opponent Harika Dronavalli in the Challengers section. Her performance reflected her determination and learning experiences from the previous rounds, although it was challenging to convert these into a win.

Learn more about the Optiver Chess Team

Discover the stories behind our team’s passion for chess. Learn about their journeys, the challenges they’ve overcome and the parallels between chess and trading.


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