Tal Memorial: Four spectacular wins in round three

11/12/2007 – Round two was disappointing – all games were (hard-fought) draws, bringing the drawing percentage to ominous 90% for the first two rounds. But then round three made up for everything: no less than four decided games, with two wins for Black. Especially exciting the deadly tactical strike by Shak Mamedyarov against Vassily Ivanchuk. Big report with video interviews by Europe Echecs.

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The second Mikhail Tal Memorial Tournament is being held in Moscow from November 9 to 23, 2007 at the historic Moscow Central Chess Club, with ten players in the main event (average Elo 2740, Category 20). Play starts each day at 15.00h Moscow time (13.00 European time). Games are being broadcast live on Playchess.com.

Round two summary

Round two produced five draws, resulting in the draw percentage after two rounds being an ominously high 90%. Not exactly the sort of thing Tal was famous for, but to be fair to the players, all five games were hard-fought efforts.

Round 2: Sunday, November 11th, 2007
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Gata Kamsky
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Dmitry Jakovenko
Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Shak. Mamedyarov
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Evgeny Alekseev

For the second day running, Mamedyarov showed that the Marshall is not the only reasonable way to defend the Spanish. His favourite 3...a6 4.Ba4 d6 again yielded half a point, after a highly interesting struggle against Shirov. Black's position looked rather dangerous for a long period, and Fritz's 21.Qg2 may have given White a clear advantage. As it was, Shirov won queen for two rooks, but Black was able to evacuate his king from the danger zone and hold without great problems.

Shirov,A (2739) - Mamedyarov,S (2752) [C72]
Tal Mem Moscow RUS (2), 11.11.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.0-0 Bd7 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 b5 8.Nxc6 Bxc6 9.Bb3 Nf6 10.c4 Be7 11.Nc3 0-0 12.Re1 Re8 13.Qf3 b4 14.Nd5 a5 15.a4 Nd7 16.Be3 Bf6 17.Nxf6+ Nxf6 18.Bd4 Nxe4 19.Bc2 Qh4 20.g3 Qe7

21.Qf4 g5 22.Qe3 g4 23.Qf4 Qe6 24.h3 h5 25.hxg4 hxg4 26.Rxe4 Bxe4 27.Re1 Bxc2 28.Rxe6 Rxe6 29.Qxg4+ Kf8 30.Qh4 Ke8 31.f3 Kd7 32.Qh5 f5 33.g4 Rf8 34.c5 Kc6 35.cxd6 Rxd6 36.Bg7 Rfd8 37.gxf5 Rd5 38.Qh6+ Kb7 39.f6 Bb3 40.Qe3 Rd1+ 41.Kf2 R8d3 42.Qc5 Rd5 43.Qe3 R5d3 44.Qc5 Rd5 45.Qe3 ½-½. [Click to replay]

Carlsen's quiet QGD treatment yielded a typical minority attack position, with Black having no problems. Indeed, it was Carlsen who lost/sacrificed a pawn for nebulous compensation, and had to defend with care. Even in the final position, Fritz is very optimistic about Black's chances after the exchange offer 43...Qe8.

Carlsen,M (2714) - Alekseev,Evgeny (2716) [D37]
Tal Mem Moscow RUS (2), 11.11.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Nxd5 exd5 9.Be2 Bb4+ 10.Nd2 Nf6 11.0-0 Bd6 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bh4 c6 14.Qc2 Re8 15.Rab1 g6 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.b4 a6 18.a4 h5 19.b5 Bf5 20.Bd3 Bxd3 21.Qxd3 cxb5 22.axb5 a5 23.Qb3 Qf5 24.Qa4 Rec8 25.b6 Qc2 26.Nb3 Qc6 27.Qa1 Bb4 28.Nc5 Qxb6 29.Nd3 Qd6 30.Qa2 Ra6 31.g3 Rc3 32.Rb3 Rxb3 33.Qxb3 Rc6 34.Qa4 Kg7 35.Rb1 Rc4 36.Ne5 Rc7 37.Nd3 Qc6 38.Qa2 Qb5 39.Qb3 Rc6 40.Kg2 Qc4 41.Qd1 Qb5 42.Qb3 Rc4 43.Ne5

43...Rc7 44.Nd3 Rc4 45.Ne5 Rc7 ½-½. [Click to replay]

Gelfand-Kramnik saw a quiet-looking Slav tranformed into some interesting complications after move 15. Gelfand's rook on a7 appeared perilously placed, but the game eventually simplified to a balanced heavy piece ending.

Gelfand,B (2736) - Kramnik,V (2785) [D12]
Tal Mem Moscow RUS (2), 11.11.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.0-0 Bd6 9.g3 0-0 10.Nxg6 hxg6 11.b3 Qe7 12.Bf3 Rac8 13.Bg2 Rfd8 14.Bd2 Bb4 15.a3 Bxa3 16.c5 Bb2 17.Rxa7

17...Nxc5 18.Nb1 Na6 19.Qc2 Ba3 20.Nxa3 Qxa3 21.b4 b5 22.Rb1 Ne4 23.Bxe4 dxe4 24.h4 e5 25.Bc1 Nxb4 26.Qc5 Qd3 27.Rxb4 Rd5 28.Qe7 Rf8 29.Ba3 c5 30.Rb2 b4 31.Bxb4 ½-½. [Click to replay]

Ivanchuk's 9.d4 against the Marshall led to an Open Spanish type structure, where White looked to have some advantage. However, Jakovenko's position proved solid and the draw was agreed at move 31, after some unproductive manoeuvering.

Ivanchuk,V (2787) - Jakovenko,D (2710) [C89]
Tal Mem Moscow RUS (2), 11.11.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.d4 exd4 10.e5 Ne4 11.cxd4 Bg4 12.Nc3 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Nxc3 14.bxc3 f5 15.Kh1 Na5 16.Bc2 Kh8 17.Rg1 Qd7 18.Bg5 Bxg5 19.Rxg5 Nc6 20.Qc1 Qe6

21.f4 Ne7 22.a4 c6 23.Bd3 Rac8 24.Qe3 Rb8 25.Be2 Rb7 26.Rag1 Rg8 27.Bd3 a5 28.Ra1 b4 29.cxb4 Rxb4 30.Rgg1 Qh6 31.Rgb1 ½-½. [Click to replay]

Finally, Kamsky met Leko's 1.e4 with the Pirc-Modern Defence, recently described by Nigel Short as "not really an opening for grown-ups". Kamsky proved otherwise today, never really having any serious problems, and eventually simplifying to a drawn rook ending.

Leko,P (2755) - Kamsky,G (2714) [B06]
Tal Mem Moscow RUS (2), 11.11.2007
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.h3 d6 5.Be3 Nd7 6.Nf3 Qa5 7.Qd2 Ngf6 8.Bd3 0-0 9.0-0 e5 10.a4 exd4 11.Nxd4 Re8 12.Nb3 Qc7 13.Rad1 a6 14.Bh6 Bxh6 15.Qxh6 b5 16.axb5 axb5 17.Nd2 b4 18.Ne2 Ne5 19.Ng3 Ra5 20.Rfe1 Qe7

21.Bf1 Be6 22.Qe3 Ra2 23.Rb1 Qa7 24.Qxa7 Rxa7 25.f4 Ned7 26.Nf3 Nc5 27.Rbd1 d5 28.e5 Nfe4 29.Nxe4 Nxe4 30.Nd4 Bd7 31.Nb3 g5 32.Bd3 gxf4 33.Bxe4 dxe4 34.Rxe4 Bf5 35.Rxb4 Bxc2 36.Rf1 Bxb3 37.Rxb3 Rxe5 38.Rxf4 Re6 39.Rc4 ½-½. [Click to replay]


Round three summary

After the slow start, with only one decisive result in the first two rounds, the players served up no less than four today, with only Alekseev-Gelfand drawing a fairly quiet game.

Round 3: Monday, November 12th, 2007
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Shak. Mamedyarov 
1-0
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Evgeny Alekseev 
½-½
 Boris Gelfand
Gata Kamsky 
0-1
 Alexei Shirov
Dmitry Jakovenko 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen

Mamedyarov's kingside attack overcame Ivanchuk, although it was far from clear that White has anything after 32...Bf6. Instead, Ivanchuk's choice allowed an immediately deadly tactical strike, which Fritz naturally spots instantly.


Vanquished Ivanchuk: Shak Mamedyarov [Photo Europe Echecs]

Mamedyarov,S (2752) - Ivanchuk,V (2787) [D43]
Tal Mem Moscow RUS (3), 12.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e3 Nd7 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 g6 10.0-0 Bg7 11.Qc2 0-0 12.Bb3 Qe7 13.Ne4 e5 14.Nc3 a5 15.a3 Kh7 16.Rfe1 b6 17.Rad1 Bb7 18.d5 Rac8 19.d6 Qe8 20.h4 f5 21.e4 f4 22.Na4 Bf6 23.g3 Bd8 24.Kg2 Rf6 25.g4 Ba6 26.g5 Rf8 27.gxh6 Kxh6 28.Rg1 c5 29.Bd5 b5 30.Nc3 b4 31.Ne2 Nb6 32.Kh2 Rh8?

33.Bf7! Qxf7 34.Nxe5 Qe8 35.Nxg6 Nd7 36.Nexf4 Ne5 37.d7 Nxd7 38.e5 Qxe5 39.Nxe5 1-0. [Click to replay]


End of the game Mamedyarov-Ivanchuk [Video Europe Echecs]


Interview with Mamedyarov (Russian, translated into French)

Kamsky-Shirov was a nightmare for the former. His original opening yielded a dangerous-looking position, but he drifted downhill, first sacrificing a pawn for unclear compensation, then short-circuiting completely to leave a whole piece en prise.

Kamsky,G (2714) - Shirov,A (2739) [D00]
Tal Mem Moscow RUS (3), 12.11.2007
1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 c5 4.dxc5 g5 5.Bg3 Bg7 6.c3 Na6 7.Qa4+ Bd7 8.Qa3 Qc8 9.c6 Bxc6 10.Nd2 e5 11.e4 Ne7 12.Ngf3 f6 13.exd5 Bxd5 14.Bb5+ Kf7 15.c4 Bc6 16.0-0 Rd8 17.Rad1 Qd7 18.h4 g4 19.Nh2 Qd4 20.Rfe1 h5 21.Nhf1 Qc5 22.Qa4 Bxb5 23.cxb5 Qb4 24.Qc2 Qxb5 25.Nc4 Qc6 26.Qb3 Kf8 27.Na5 Qc7 28.Qb5 Qc5

29.Qb3?? 0-1. [Click to replay]

Kramnik won the longest game of the day, repeating his Catalan victory over Leko in Mexico. Black almost fully equalized, but Kramnik managed to secure what Mark Hebden would call "a nibble". Once he reached an ending with the queenside majority and active rook, Black was always suffering, and Leko was ground down.


Start of the game Vladimir Kramnik vs Peter Leko [Photo Europe Echecs]

Kramnik,V (2785) - Leko,P (2755) [E05]
Tal Mem Moscow RUS (3), 12.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Ra7 11.Rc1 Be4 12.Qb3 Nc6 13.e3 Qa8 14.Qd1 b4 15.Qf1 Bd5 16.Be1 Rc8 17.Nbd2 Na5 18.Ne5 c5 19.dxc5 Bxc5 20.Nd3 Bf8 21.Bxd5 Nxd5 22.e4 Nb6 23.Rxc8 Qxc8 24.Nf3 Qb7 25.Nxb4 Qxe4 26.Qd3 Qxd3 27.Nxd3 Nac4 28.b3 Nd6 29.Rc1 Nd5 30.Rc6 Nf5

31.Ba5 Ra8 32.Nfe5 Nfe7 33.Rd6 Nf6 34.b4 Ned5 35.Rc6 Be7 36.a4 g6 37.Nc4 Kf8 38.Nc5 Bxc5 39.bxc5 Ke8 40.f3 Ng8 41.Nb6 Nge7 42.Rd6 Rb8 43.Nxd5 Nxd5 44.Rxa6 Rc8 45.Bb6 Nb4 46.Ra7 Nc6 47.Rb7 Ra8 48.Rc7 Nd4 49.a5 Nxf3+ 50.Kf2 Nxh2 51.c6 Ng4+ 52.Kf3 Nf6 53.Rb7 Nd5 54.Ke4 Nb4 55.c7 Rc8 56.Kd4 Kd7 57.Kc5 Nc6 58.a6 h5 59.a7 f5

60.a8Q Rxa8 61.c8Q+ Kxc8 62.Kxc6 1-0. [Click to replay]

Carlsen beat Jakovenko with Black, after the latter misplayed an equal position and got his bishop into trouble on f4. The resultant enforced weakening of his king position soon proved decisive, and Carlsen despatched him with the nice sacrifice 32...Bxc4!

Jakovenko,D (2710) - Carlsen,M (2714) [E20]
Tal Mem Moscow RUS (3), 12.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 c5 5.g3 cxd4 6.Nxd4 0-0 7.Bg2 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Qb3 Qa5 10.Bd2 Nc6 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.0-0 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Ba6 14.Rfd1 Qc5 15.e4 Bc4 16.Qa4 Nb6 17.Qb4 Qh5 18.Bf4 c5 19.Qb2 Rad8 20.Re1 Rd7 21.h3 h6 22.a4 Ba6 23.Qa2 Rfd8 24.a5 Nc4 25.Bf1 e5 26.g4 Qg6 27.Bxc4 exf4 28.Bd5 f3 29.c4 h5 30.Kh2 Qf6 31.Rg1 hxg4 32.Rab1

32...Bxc4 33.Qxc4 Qf4+ 34.Rg3 Rxd5 35.Qxd5 Rxd5 36.exd5 c4 37.Rd1 c3 38.d6 c2 39.Rd3 Qc4 40.Re3 Qc6 41.Rd3 Qc5 0-1. [Click to replay]


Interview with Magnus Carlsen [Europe Echecs]

Game summaries by Steve Giddins

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