Yasser Seirawan's grandmasterly commentary of round 3 of the TATA Steel Chess tournament
After four rounds So has proven he belongs among the world’s elite with a win against top 10 player Levon Aronian and draws against Carlsen and Caruana with Black. The world champion started with two draws while world #2 Fabiano Caruana started with two wins. Carlsen then overpressed in round three against Radoslaw Wojtaszek and lost. Perhaps Carlsen is feeling the footsteps of Caruana closing in on him not only on the live rating lists but also as the favorite of the world’s chess fans.
My predicted winner Ding Liren lost to Caruana in the first round but rebounded nicely with three straight wins to share second place with Caruana a half point behind the veteran Vasilly Ivanchuk with his round three win over Jabova being especially crushing. Hou Yifan has two draws in her first four games and now finds herself 10 rating points behind Judit Polgar for the ‘title’ of the top ranked women player in the world.
The 2015 TATA Steel tournament has been full of fighting chess. Check out Ding Liren's round 3 crush of Baadur Jobava!
Seirawan is commentating solo with an occasional interview with the winner of a game and on Tuesday interviewed 1972 world checker champion Ton Sijbrands. Sijbrands holds the blindfold simultaneous draughts record and is also a keen chess fan. There is very little in the way of silly jokes or banter – Seirawan pretty much sticks to the chess and talks about what is happening on the board without the aid of any computer analysis. Sometimes he suggests a move that immediately loses but admits to his mistakes with a good humor when corrected on Twitter by computer armed non-grandmasters. What I like most about Seirawan’s commentary is that if he finds a game particularly interesting he will focus on it with his complete attention for a half hour or more. I can hardly pay attention to a game for more than a minute but it is fascinating to watch Seirawan construct and deconstruct the possibilities as he decides what course the game will take and when he does take this time he is rarely wrong.
Ivanchuk is the leader heading into the first rest day. At 45 he is the oldest competitor (and one of only three over the age of 30) and I doubt he will be able to maintain his pace. Before the tournament I predicted Ling would win but if I had to make a bet now I might put my money on So, who has played the top three seeds and has a +1 score and could be primed to go on a long winning streak.
If live commentary isn't your thing, the tata steel website provides coverage of the games complete with computer analysis and live video.
Green Bay Packers vs Seattle Seahawks
The Packers were crushed in Seattle 36-16 in the opening game of the season. Since then, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been hobbled by a calf strain but the team will have running back Eddie Lacy (who missed the first Seattle game) available. I think this game will be closer than the week 1 encounter but I just can’t see Seattle losing so I will bet $600 to win $200 on the money line and pick Seattle to just win this game.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
When these teams met in November the Patriots broke open a close game in the fourth quarter in a 42-20 win in Indianapolis but I think the Colts have come of age and won’t fold as easily even though this game is in New England. The Ravens’Joe Flacco shredded the Patriots last week and Andrew Luck is every bit as good even if he doesn’t have as good a supporting cast as Flacco. I will bet $110 that the Colts will stay close enough to cover the 6.5 point spread and pocket $100 if they manage to.