Ian Nepomniachtchi wins Tal Memorial

by Albert Silver
10/7/2016 – After a power rush in the early rounds with 4.5/6, Ian Nepomniachtchi was unable to maintain the momentum as he finished with three draws. This allowed other players to make their move and try to change their fate, but it never worked out. Anish Giri, who trailed by only half a point, had a golden opportunity as he held a completely winning position, but a slip on move 41 cost him his advantage, and a drew ensued. Mamedyarov was the only win as he beat Kramnik. Report, games, and GM analysis.

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X Jubilee Tal Memorial is taking place from 25 September to 6 October 2016 in the Moscow Museum of Russian Impressionism. The tournament will be a continuation of the program "Chess in Museums", which is being implemented by the Russian Chess Federation together with the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko. The General Partner of the Russian Chess Federation for the X Tal Memorial is the state company "Russian Highways" ("Avtodor").

The prize fund for the event is 200 thousand USD.

The tournament is a round-robin over nine rounds played at 100 minutes for 40 moves plus 50 minutes for 20 moves and 15 minutes until the end of the game with 30 seconds for each move starting from the first. The chief arbiter is International Arbiter Anatoly Bykhovsky.

Round nine

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili

Round 9 - Oct 6 - 12h CET
1
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B
½-½
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
3
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan
½-½
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
4
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris
½-½
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
5
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
½-½
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1

The final round of the Tal Memorial saw Ian Nepomniachtchi crowned victor for what is probably his greatest tournament result to date, taking sole first in an elite field. That said, the small list of results, showing four draws and a loss by Kramnik, do little to convey the drama of the day, and the number of bullets Ian had to dodge to secure gold.

The player who was in the worst form against the player in the best. The result should be clear, no?

Never count out Boris Gelfand and his huge heart

It started with his game against Boris Gelfand. One could never underestimate the great Israeli, who just a few years ago qualified for a match against World Champion Vishy Anand against all expectations, outdoing other wishfuls such as Grischuk, Aronian, and more, and tying the main title match before succumbing in the rapid tiebreaks. Still, the Israeli was having one of his worst tournaments in years, unable to get a break, in sharp contrast with the Russian leader, so all should fine, right?

Boris Gelfand - Ian Nepomniachtchi

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.10.06"] [Round "9"] [White "Gelfand, B."] [Black "Nepomniachtchi, I."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A32"] [WhiteElo "2743"] [BlackElo "2740"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2016.09.25"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 d5 6. e3 Be7 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bb5+ Bd7 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. O-O Nc6 11. Ne2 a6 12. Ba4 Bg4 13. Bb3 Na5 14. Ba4+ b5 15. Bc2 O-O 16. Qd3 g6 17. Nd4 Bf6 18. Bd1 Qd7 19. Bd2 Nc4 20. Bxg4 Qxg4 21. Bc3 Bg7 22. b3 Ne5 23. Qd2 Rac8 24. Rac1 Rc7 25. f4 Nd7 26. h3 Qh5 27. Nf3 $2 ( {White misses a chance to win a pawn, by exploiting the very poorly placed black queen. Notice how it doesn't have a single square it can go to other than h6 and back.} 27. Bb4 $1 Rfc8 28. Rxc7 Rxc7 29. Bd6 Rc8 (29... Rb7 { loses material heavily after} 30. Qc3 {or Qc2. The queen on the c-file is the key, threatening Qc8+.} Rb6 31. Qc8+ Nf8 32. Bc5 Rf6 33. Qd8 $1 {and the rook is trapped. The threat is Bxf8 Bxf8 and Qxf6.}) (29... Ra7 30. Nc6 Ra8 31. f5 d4 32. Ne7+ Kh8 33. Qc2) 30. Qa5 Re8 31. Qxa6 Rxe3 32. Qa8+ Nf8 33. Kh2 Qh4 34. Nf3 Qf6 35. Qxd5 {White is up a pawn and has all the chances in the world to win.}) 27... Bxc3 28. Rxc3 Rxc3 29. Qxc3 Qf5 30. Qc6 Nb8 31. Qd6 Rc8 32. Rd1 Qe4 33. Rxd5 Qxe3+ 34. Kh2 Nc6 35. Rc5 Qe8 36. f5 Na7 37. Ne5 Rxc5 38. Qxc5 gxf5 39. Nf3 Nc6 40. Qxf5 Qb8+ 41. Kh1 Qd6 42. Qg4+ Kf8 43. Ng5 h6 44. Ne4 Qd5 45. Qf4 Kg7 46. Nd6 Qe6 47. Nf5+ Kh7 48. Qf2 Ne7 1/2-1/2

After shaking hands and getting up, Nepomniachtchi took a deep breath knowing that his tournament luck had shone strongly to see him through this. The only person left who could truly threaten him was Anish Giri, whose son Daniel was born just days ago.

Anish Giri had had a great tournament so far. Would he be able to pull off an upset in the 11th hour?

Anish Giri certainly had more than his fair share of things on his mind. Aside from wanting to return home to see his newborn son, the fate of the Tal Memorial also lay in his hands. The game between the leader Nepomniachtchi and Gelfand had ended in a draw, but his game was well underway and he held a serious advantage with black against the Chinese player Li Chao. If he managed to win it, he would draw level with Nepomniachtchi and force a blitz tiebreaker.

Provided Nepo didn't win, this game could be decisive for the gold

Li Chao - Anish Giri (annotations by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

A tough draw for obvious reasons, but the young Dutchman can take solace in his clear second place and for the overall excellent tournament he had.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov managed to return to 50% at Kramnik's expense

The round was not entirely winless, in spite of the close-calls by the leaders. Vladimir Kramnik, who may have felt he missed a chance in his game against Tomashevsky, lost to Mamedyarov after a quick series of mistakes that sent his position spiraling.

S. Mamedyarov - Vladimir Kramnik

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.10.06"] [Round "9"] [White "Mamedyarov, S."] [Black "Kramnik, V."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2761"] [BlackElo "2808"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2016.09.25"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. a3 c5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. dxc5 Nxc5 11. Be5 Bf5 12. Be2 Bf6 13. O-O Bxe5 14. Nxe5 Qf6 15. b4 Qxe5 16. bxc5 Rac8 17. Rc1 Rfd8 18. Qd4 f6 19. g4 Bg6 20. Rc3 Rc7 21. Rfc1 Re7 22. Rd1 Qg5 23. Qb4 Re4 24. Rd4 Rde8 25. Rcd3 Kh8 $2 {A strange mistake that leads to all kinds of back-rank nastiness.} (25... R8e7 {was correct.}) 26. Rd2 h5 ({Now if Black tries to cover the b-pawn with} 26... R8e7 {White has the cute shot} 27. c6 $1 bxc6 28. Rxe4 $1 Rxe4 (28... Bxe4 29. Qxe7) 29. Qf8#) ({Alternately,} 26... R4e7 {also fails to} 27. Rxd5 {and now the queen is looking bad.} f5 28. R2d4 $18) 27. Qxb7 hxg4 28. Rxd5 f5 29. Bf1 Rxe3 30. c6 $1 ({Taking with} 30. fxe3 {would let Black back into the game.} Qxe3+ 31. Rf2 f4 {followed by ...g3 winning back the rook with threats to follow.}) 30... Rc3 31. c7 Qf4 32. Rd7 Rg8 33. R2d4 Qc1 34. Qb8 Kh7 35. Rd8 Bf7 36. Rxg8 Bxg8 37. Rd8 Be6 38. Rh8+ Kg6 39. Qe8+ Kf6 40. Qf8+ Kg6 41. Qd6 Rc6 42. c8=Q 1-0

Kramnik's event was certainly not without excitement as he finished on 50%, with two wins and two losses

Both Anand and Aronian, here being wished a happy birthday, drew their game and finished on 5.0/9

Tomashevsky had a difficult event himself, but showed his technique and grit in his epic defense against Kramnik in round eight

Peter Svidler drew his game with Tomashevsky and finished on 50% with one loss and one win

The three winners: Levon Aronian in third, Anish Giri in second, and the winner Ian Nepomniachtchi

Replay today's games (with times per move)

Select games from the list below the board

Standings after round nine

Schedule and pairings

Round 1 - Sept. 26 - 14h CET
Bo.
No.
Rtg
 
Name
Result
 
Name
Rtg
No.
1
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
½-½
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
1-0
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
3
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
½-½ 
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
4
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
½-½
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
5
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
½-½
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
Round 2 - Sept. 27 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
½-½
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
2
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
3
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris
0-1 
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
4
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
½-½
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
5
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
½-½
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
Rest day
Round 3 - Sept. 29 - 14h CET
1
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
1-0
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
½-½
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1
3
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
1-0
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
4
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
5
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B
½-½
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
Round 4 - Sept. 30 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
1-0
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
2
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris
0-1
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
3
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
½-½
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
4
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
0-1
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
5
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
½-½
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
Round 5 - Oct. 1 - 14h CET
1
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
½-½
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
½-½
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
3
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
½-½
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1
4
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B
½-½
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
5
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
Round 6 - Oct. 2 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
1-0
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
2
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
½-½
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
3
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
1-0
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
4
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
1-0
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
5
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
1-0
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
Rest day
Round 7 - Oct. 4 - 14h CET
1
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
½-½
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
½-½
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
3
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B
½-½
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
4
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan
½-½
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1
5
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris
½-½
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
Round 8 - Oct. 5 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
½-½
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
2
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
½-½
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
3
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
½-½
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
4
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
½-½
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
5
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
½-½
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
Round 9 - Oct 6 - 12h CET
1
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B
½-½
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
3
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan
½-½
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
4
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris
½-½
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
5
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
½-½
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1

Links

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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Resistance Resistance 10/11/2016 03:53
Great tournament, great games. My congratulations to Ian, and the rest of the players, because they gave us great, beautiful fighting games to enjoy. Good coverage by Chessbase, too. I really enjoyed seeing Vladimir picking up the e-pawn again, fighting his way through (he is so talented; great win against Gelfand in Round 6); loved Vishy's fighting spirit (beautiful game against Gelfand, too, in Round 5), and I would've loved seeing Anish winning the whole thing, cause I enjoyed his beautiful, complex conceptions on the board, and because he's trying, he's taking risks, and you gotta applaud that. Keep it on, man!
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 10/8/2016 07:04
vishy's rating performance is better than aronian's ; but he is worse in the tie break ; how is this???
Denix Denix 10/7/2016 10:59
Ian Nepo is in great form. He also peformed well in the olympiad.
CostaMaison3 CostaMaison3 10/7/2016 09:51
Giri has performed very well in this tournament. I think staying away from his wife while she is in her labour has paid off. He has gained 10.8 Elo rating in the live rating list and scored the second place in this tournament after finishing the last in his last two classical tournaments.
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