5th Tal Memorial: Round 2 – Nakamura and Gelfand win

11/6/2010 – After losing owing to uncharacteristic blunders, Kramnik safely drew. However, Gelfand decided to get his tournament back on track and exploited an inaccuracy by Shirov to win with very fine technique. Nakamura, who had seemed a bit timid before the event, beat Eljanov with a fine win. For your Sunday, we bring you the round two report with analysis by GMs Nakamura and Elshan Moradiabadi.

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The 5th Tal Memorial takes place from November 5th to November 14th, in Moscow, Russia. It is a nine-round round-robin event.

Time control: 40 moves in 100 minutes followed by 20 moves in 50 minutes followed by the game in 15 minutes with a 30 second increment as of move one.

Game start: 3 PM local time (5 AM Pacific daylight / 8 AM New York / 1 PM Paris) - rest day on November 9th (Mikhail Tal's birthday)

Video coverage: The Russian Federation is providing exceptional daily coverage, with full replays available at the right of the page.


The entrance to the playing hall

Round two

Round 2: Saturday, November 6th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 S. Karjakin
B. Gelfand 
1-0
 A. Shirov
Wang Hao 
½-½  L. Aronian
V. Kramnik 
½-½
 A. Grischuk
 H. Nakamura 
1-0
 P. Eljanov

Before the start of the tournament, American GM Nakamura acknowledged he had little experience with such strong events, therefore his plan was to play solidly and if possible eke out a win or two. Perhaps for this very reason, Mamedyarov declined a repetition in an equal position in the first round, though accepted a few moves later. Here in the second round, Hikaru dropped his famed speed to apply his fullest concentration his game against Eljanov, and it paid its dividends. Here are his own comments to the game.

Nakamura,Hi (2741) - Eljanov,P (2742) [E00]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (2), 06.11.2010 [Nakamura]

Today, I had white against Eljanov. Coming off yesterday, I wanted to win, or to at least put pressure on him. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Nd2 c5. The opening was a bit unusual, and he surprised me. I wasn't expecting c5, but I played normal moves and the next five or six are pretty standard. 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.Bg2 0-0 7.Ngf3 Nc6 8.0-0 d5. This was the first position of the game where either of us had to think, and I used quite a bit of time here. 9.e3. I spent maybe 25 to 30 minutes on this move, mostly looking at variations with ...b6 and ...Ba6.


Hikaru Nakamura, top-rated American GM with 2741 Elo.

9...Qe7. The after only a minute or two of thinking he played 9....Qe7 and I was very surprised by it. It is not a mistake and is completely playable, I just don't think it is best. 10.cxd5. Here I spent another 15 to 20 minutes before taking on d5, because I couldn't find a good plan, and then I saw the plan with a4 followed by Nd4 and Qb3. 10...exd5 11.Nb3 Bb6 12.a4 a6 13.Nbd4 Bg4. Again, these moves are quite normal, and there is little to calculate. You just play the moves that feel the most natural. 14.Qb3 Ba7 15.Bd2 Ne4 16.Bc3. This was the second position where he had a decision to make and I think he made a mistake. 16...Nxc3? After this he will be worse for the rest of the game. 17.bxc3. Although his move may look fairly normal, it leaves weaknesses on d5 and b7 that I can attack. 17...Rfd8 18.Nd2. This is an imprecision, possibly even a mistake. Instead I should have played 18.Ne2 immediately and then headed to f4 as I later did in the game. 18...Na5 19.Qa2. As a matter of fact, I had miscalculated and saw too late that after 18.Nd2 Na5 19.Qb4 Qxb4 20.cxb4 Bxd4 21.exd4 Nc6 wins a pawn. 19...Qd7 20.N2f3. Pretty much I realized my whole idea was incorrect so I went back to f3 planning to play Ne2-f4. 20...Qe7. I was surprised by this, and had been expecting 20...Nc4 21.Ne2 Qf5 If this were to happen, it is unclear. I am probably still a bit better since the d5 pawn is still weak. 21.Ne2 Bf5 22.Nf4 Be4 23.Rfd1. I actually thought his maneuver of Bf5-e4 was correct here. 23...Qc5? This is a big mistake. Variations I had considered were 23...Nc4 24.Nd2 Bxg2 25.Kxg2 Bxe3 I wasn't sure about this variation. 26.Nxc4 (26.fxe3 Nxe3+ 27.Kh1 Nxd1 28.Rxd1 d4 Here too I wasn't sure what was going on in the position. Maybe I'm better, maybe I'm worse.) 26...Bxf4 27.Nb6 Rab8 28.gxf4 Rd6 with the idea of Rg6 and Qe4. It could be winning for me, but I wasn't sure. 24.Ng5 Bxg2 25.Kxg2 This looks nothing special at first. 25...h6








25...Nc4 is not possible, since after 26.Qb1 a pawn is hanging. 26.Rxd5! I actually saw this move when I played Ng5, but I spent a long time calculating it since it is very unusual.


Nakamura analyzing the game for the Russian TV audience

26...Rxd5 27.Ne4. And this is the whole point. 27...Qc4. I think Pavel played the correct move. If he had played 27...Qe7 instead, then 28.Qxd5 Rd8 29.Qf5 Nc4 30.Nd5 with a bit of an attack. 28.Qxc4 Nxc4 29.Nxd5 Re8. The correct move. 29...Rd8 seems close to winning, but it doesn't quite work after 30.Ne7+ Kf8 31.Nf5 g6 32.Nd4 (32.Nxh6 f5 33.Ng5 Rd2) 32...Re8 (32...f5? 33.Ne6+) 33.Nf6 Rd8 and White is up a pawn. Should be winning. 30.Nef6+ Completely forced. 30...gxf6 31.Nxf6+ Kf8 32.Nxe8 Kxe8 33.Rb1








The real question now is whether black should play passively, as Pavel played in the game, or actively. 33...Nd6. I think the active plan doesn't work after 33...b5 34.axb5 a5 and here I had planned 35.Rd1 with the point of preventing Kd7 (35.Ra1 Bb6 36.Kf3 Kd7 and the position is very unclear. Maybe it is winning, maybe it is losing, but it seemed very dangerous to play.) 35...a4 36.Kf3 a3 37.Ke4 followed by Kd5, winning. 34.e4. This move doesn't give Black time to bring the king to c6. If he does, the pawns supported by the king and pieces can go very fast. 34...b6?? A blunder, after which Eljanov is losing. Though things are bad even after 34...f6 35.f4 Nxe4 36.Rxb7 Bc5 37.Rb8+ Kf7 38.Ra8 35.e5 Nb7. I suspect that Pavel forgot that after 35...Ne4 36.Rb4 Nxc3 is not possible because of 37.Rc4 Nd5 38.Rc8+ Kd7 39.Ra8 and the bishop is trapped. 36.Rb4. The idea is Rh4 obviously. 36...Nc5. 36...Kf8 fails to 37.Rd4 threatening Rd7 so 37...Ke8 38.Rh4 37.Rh4 Kf8. 37...Bb8 38.f4 Nxa4 39.Rxh6 Bc7 40.Rh8+ Ke7 41.h4 and I think the h-pawn is too fast here. 38.Rxh6 Kg7 39.Rc6 Nxa4. 39...Bb8 40.f4 Nxa4 41.Rc8 Ba7 42.Ra8 Trapping the bishop once more. 40.e6 fxe6 (40...Bb8 41.e7) 41.Rc7+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

Both Gelfand and Shirov were anxious to put their first round slips behind them and get their tournament back on track. Shirov repeated the opening he lost to Kramnik in Bilbao earlier this year, but refined his play and emerged with a solid position. In the endgame he lost his way and found himself with a very difficult position to hold, and failed to do so.

Gelfand,Boris (2739) - Shirov,Alexei (2749) [D16]
5th Tal Memorial Moscow/Russia (2), 06.11.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

A tough battle for both parties. They try to bounce back after a bad start. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6. It seems that this is now Shirov's main weapon these days against d4. He played it against Vachier-Lagrave and Kramnik not long ago! 6.e3 c5 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.0-0 Be7 9.Qe2 cxd4 10.exd4 0-0 11.Rd1 Nd5 12.Bb3 Re8N Shirov does not want to repeat the opening disaster from his game against Kramnik. 13.h4! In Kramnik style! After which black is still safe! 13...Na5 14.Bc2 Nb4 15.Bg5 h6 16.Bxe7 Qxe7 17.Qe4 f5 18.Qe2 b6 19.Re1 Ba6 20.Qd1 Nxc2 21.Qxc2 Bc4 22.d5 Bb3 23.Qe2 Rad8 24.dxe6 Qxe6 25.Qb5 Bc4 26.Rxe6 Bxb5 27.Nd4 Bd7 28.Rxe8+ Rxe8 29.Rd1 Nc4 30.b3 Ne5 31.Ncb5 Bxb5 32.Nxb5 Re7 33.f3 Kf7 34.Rd5 Kg6?








After a series of flawless moves, and in the heat of the battle, Shirov goes astray. 34...a6 was mandatory. 35.Nd4 f4 36.a5 (36.Nf5 Rd7 37.Rxe5 Kf6 38.Re8 Kxf5 and the game is drawn) 36...Rd7 37.Rxe5 Rxd4 38.axb6 Rb4 39.Re4 Rxb3 40.Rxf4+ Kg8 35.Kf2 a6 36.Nd4 Nd3+ 37.Kg3 f4+ 38.Kg4 h5+ 39.Kh3 Re1 40.Kh2 Rb1? A mistake, but it is difficult to suggest a good defense for Black. 40...Nf2 41.Rg5+ Kf7 42.Rf5+ Kg6 43.Rxf4


Boris Gelfand showed very fine technique to overcome Shirov

41.Ne2! Fine technique by Gelfand! 41...Rb2 42.Rxd3 Rxe2 43.Rd6+ Kf5 44.Rxb6 Re6 45.a5 Re3 46.b4 Rb3 47.Rxa6 Rxb4 48.Rb6 Ra4 49.Rb5+ Kg6 50.Rg5+ Kh6 51.Kg1 Ra1+ 52.Kf2 g6 53.Ke2 Rh1 54.Kd2 Rxh4 55.Re5 Rh2 56.Re2 h4 57.a6 h3 58.a7 hxg2 59.a8Q g1Q








60.Qh8+ Kg5 61.Qxh2 A fine technical win by Gelfand. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Karjakin had a chance to make Mamedyarov's life miserable, but failed to make the most of his chances, possibly due to a pessimistic outlook.


Sergey Karjakin in his game against Shakriyar Mamedyarov

Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar (2761) - Karjakin,Sergey (2760) [E20]
5th Tal Memorial Moscow/Russia (2), 06.11.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

Karjakin came out of the opening, equalizing with no difficulty. The ex-chess prodigy managed to stabilize his advantages and could have made it a sad day for 'Shak', however the "Russian" failed to convince himself that he could do so without getting himself into difficulties and the game eventually ended in a draw. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 c5 5.g3 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Ne4 7.Qd3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Be7 9.Bg2 0-0 10.0-0 d6 11.Rd1 a6 12.Be4N








A new move in a line which is ok for black. 12...h6 13.Qf3 Nd7 14.Rb1. 14.Bxb7 Ne5 15.Qe4 Ra7 16.Bxc8 Qxc8 would not yield anything for white. 14...Qc7 15.Bc2?! Too optimistic. 15...Ne5. 15...Qxc4! 16.Rb4 Qc5 17.Qd3 Nf6 and what?! I hardly see any real counterplay for white. 16.Qh5 Bf6 17.Rb4?! Mamedyarov is one of the most creative players in the world but in this game he was too optimisitc about his chances 17...Rd8 18.Nf3 Bd7. 18...a5! 19.Rb5 Nxf3+ 20.Qxf3 Qxc4 21.Bd3 Qa4 and black has a material advantage with no real counterplay for white. 19.Be3 Nxf3+ 19...g6!? 20.Qxh6 Ng4 21.Qf4 e5 22.Qe4 Bf5 23.Qd5 Nxe3 24.fxe3 Bxc2 25.Rc1 Qc5 26.Rxc2 Qxe3+ 27.Kg2 b6; 19...b5! 20.Nxe5 Bxe5 21.Be4 (21.cxb5?? Qxc3) 21...Rab8 And black is still much better. I presume that Karjakin was seeking the safest way to convert his advantage. He may have been overly pessimistic about his position. 20.Qxf3 Bc6 21.Be4 Bxe4 22.Qxe4 Rd7 23.Rdb1 d5 24.Qf3








24...b5! Finally! 25.cxb5 axb5 26.Bxh6 Qxc3 27.Qg4 Rxa2 28.Rxb5 Rd8?








The final chance. Qc4 could still create lots of difficulties for white. 28...Qc4! 29.Rb8+ Kh7 30.e4 (30.Bf4 Qxe2 31.Qh3+ Kg6 32.g4 Qxf2+ 33.Kh1 Bh4 34.Rf1 Ra3 35.Bg3 Rxg3 36.hxg3 Qxg3 37.Qxg3 Bxg3 Could turn the table in Karjakin's favor) 30...Qe2! 31.Qxe2 Rxe2 29.Bg5 Ra1 30.Bxf6 Rxb1+ 31.Rxb1 Qxf6 32.e3 d4 33.exd4 Qxd4 34.Qxd4 Rxd4 35.Ra1 Rd5 36.Rb1 Rd4 37.Ra1 Rd5 38.Rb1 Rd4 39.Ra1 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Kramnik,Vladimir (2790) - Grischuk,Alexander (2760) [D55]
5th Tal Memorial Moscow/Russia (2), 06.11.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

After an unusual upset for Kramnik (The number of his blunders against Aronian are equal to the total he made over the last two years) one would expect a tough battle from Kramnik as white, however taking a rest day seems to be the norm among world champions these days! Remember Anand after his loss against Bacrot. Though Kramnik tried something, he didn't seem to be in the mood to take advantage of his opponent's errors. 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.e3 0-0 8.Qc2 Na6 9.a3 c5 10.Rd1 dxc4N








10...cxd4 11.Nxd4 Nc7 12.Be2 Qe7 is the main line but it is funny that such an obvious move has never been tried before. 11.Bxc4 cxd4 12.exd4 Bd7 13.0-0 Rc8 14.Ba2. Black is ok. 14.Bxa6 bxa6 would just have left White with the headache of the pair of bishops! 14...Bc6 15.Ne5 Bxe5 16.dxe5 Qh4 17.f4 Rcd8 18.Rd6 Nc7 19.Qd3 g6?!








This move could have cost Grischuk the game. 20.Rd1? returns the favor. Bc4 was mandatory in order to control the b5 square 20...Rxd6 21.Qxd6 Nb5 22.Nxb5 Bxb5. Now the position is 'arid'. 23.Qc5 Be2 24.g3 Qh3 25.Re1 Bf3 26.Qf2 Bc6 27.Qf1 Qxf1+ 28.Rxf1 Rd8 29.Bb3 Rd3 30.Bc2 Rd2 31.Rf2 Rd4 32.Kf1 Kf8 33.Ke2 Ke7 34.Ke3 Rc4 35.Bd3 Rc1 36.Rf1 Rc5 37.Rf2 Rc1 38.Rf1 Rc5 39.Rf2 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Aronian took up the black side of a fortress-type position from the Open Catalan which he beat Jakovenko with as white. He demonstrated how to keep it close, but was unable to do more.

Wang Hao (2724) - Aronian,Levon (2783) [E05]
5th Tal Memorial Moscow/Russia (2), 06.11.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Another Catalan. 4...Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6








This line is known as the "Open" Catalan and is considered the best continuation for black if he does not go for an early dxc4 or closed Catalan with a check on b4. 8.a4!? Wang Hao is fully aware that Aronian has recently used this move with great success with white pieces. The other sortie with Qc4 is less evil for black according to statistics. 8...Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Nc3 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 c6








This is the solidest line for black. In spite of many recent games such as Nielsen-Giri and Aronian-Jakovenko in which results favor white, this continuation should be ok. Black tries to make a fortress by taking advantage of a premature a4. At least in this game Aronian manages to do so. 14.Qb3 Qc7 15.Rfd1 a5 16.Rac1 Bg5 17.e3 Qe7 18.h4 Bf6 19.Be2 Qb4 20.Qc2 Rd8 21.h5 Nd7 22.Ne4 Be7 23.b3 Nf6 24.Nxf6+ Bxf6 25.Qc4 Be7 26.f4 Rd7 27.Bf3 Ra6 28.Qc2 Ra8 29.Kg2 Rad8 30.Qc4 Kf8 31.Be4 Ke8 32.Kf3 Rc7 33.g4 Qb6 34.Qc2 Kd7 35.Bd3 Kc8 36.Bc4 Qb4 37.Qd2 Qb6 38.Qc2 Qb4 39.Qd2 Qb6 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Pictures by Yana Melnikova

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Schedule and results

Round 1: Friday, November 5th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 H. Nakamura
S. Karjakin 
1-0
 B. Gelfand
A. Shirov 
0-1
 Wang Hao 
L. Aronian 
1-0
 V. Kramnik 
A. Grischuk 
1-0
 P. Eljanov
Round 2: Saturday, November 6th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 S. Karjakin
B. Gelfand 
1-0
 A. Shirov
Wang Hao 
½-½  L. Aronian
V. Kramnik 
½-½
 A. Grischuk
 H. Nakamura 
1-0
 P. Eljanov
Round 3: Sunday, November 7th, 2009
A. Shirov 
 
 S. Mamedyarov 
S. Karjakin 
   H. Nakamura
L. Aronian 
   B. Gelfand
A. Grischuk 
   Wang Hao
P. Eljanov 
   V. Kramnik
Games – Report
Round 4: Monday, November 8th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
   L. Aronian
S. Karjakin 
   A. Shirov
B. Gelfand 
   A. Grischuk
Wang Hao 
   P. Eljanov
H. Nakamura 
   V. Kramnik
Games – Report
Round 5: Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
A. Grischuk 
 
 S. Mamedyarov 
L. Aronian 
   S. Karjakin
A. Shirov 
   H. Nakamura
P.Eljanov 
   B. Gelfand
V. Kramnik 
   Wang Hao
Games – Report
Round 6: Thursday, November 11th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
   P. Eljanov
S. Karjakin 
   A. Grischuk
A. Shirov 
   L. Aronian
B. Gelfand 
   V. Kramnik
H. Nakamura 
   Wang Hao
Games – Report
Round 7: Friday, November 12th, 2010
V. Kramnik 
 
 S. Mamedyarov 
P. Eljanov 
   S. Karjakin
A. Grischuk 
   A. Shirov
L. Aronian 
   H. Nakamura
Wang Hao 
   B. Gelfand
Games – Report
Round 8: Saturday, November 13th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
   Wang Hao
S. Karjakin 
   V. Kramnik
A. Shirov 
   P. Eljanov
L. Aronian 
   A. Grischuk
H. Nakamura 
   B. Gelfand
Games – Report
Round 9: Sunday, November 14th, 2010
B. Gelfand 
 
 S. Mamedyarov 
Wang Hao 
   S. Karjakin
V. Kramnik 
   A. Shirov
P. Eljanov 
   L. Aronian
A. Grischuk 
   H. Nakamura
Games – Report

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