Tal Memorial Rd6 – All drawn again, though not all dull

11/22/2011 – One would be forgiven for bemoaning a third straight round with all draws, but those who were watching were anything but bored. Not all games were equally exciting, it is true, but the early queen sacrifice by Karjakin against Nepomniachtchi and the nerve-wracking struggle between Svidler and Carlsen were alone worth the price of entry. Round six report.

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Sixth Tal Memorial in Moscow

This event is a ten-player round robin event, is taking place from November 16th to 25th in Moscow, Russia. Time control: 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves, and 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

Results

Round 6: Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
½ ½
Peter Svidler
Ian Nepomniachtchi
½ ½
Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian
½ ½
Boris Gelfand
Vladimir Kramnik
½ ½
Hikaru Nakamura
Vassily Ivanchuk
½ ½
Vishy Anand

Round six

Much to the chagrin of the spectators, the sixth round was the third in succession with draws all-round. Much like the previous ones, it was not devoid of action, and one cannot fault the players for lack of trying.

The game Ivanchuk-Anand was the quickest to finish, and if you are tempted to fault Anand for lack of combativity, there was more to it than appeared on the surface. For one, Ivanchuk was the one who chose an unambitious and quiet line to face Anand's QGD Lasker, however as Anand explained, this was not because he sought a quick draw. "He does this very often, playing harmless positions and then concentrating heavily. If you make a small mistake he will play the ending very well. The thing is, today it was not only harmless, but also very dry. In Bilbao, for instance, he outmaneuvered me, so today I wanted to be more careful. Vassily is quite dangerous in harmless positions!"


Gelfand was calmer and more controlled after his enthusiasm got the better of him
in a couple of earlier rounds.

Aronian-Gelfand was a quiet affair, and though the Armenian managed to maintain a slight advantage throughout the game, Gelfand was less adventurous and held with ease.


Both Nakamura and Kramnik players might appear to be indifferent, however their
games are bloody affairs.

Kramnik and Nakamura have had a history of exciting hard-fought games, and this time was no exception. Nakamura chose to eschew the King's Indian as Black, preferring to surprise his opponent with a Gruenfeld instead. Although Kramnik appeared to get an attractive, albeit unusual, position, Hikaru had plenty pf play as he demonstrated, ultimately drawing.


Nepomniachtchi held back Karjakin's attempts at a brilliancy

Karjakin and Nepomniachtchi have some history together as competitors, especially after Nepomniachtchi took the Russian title in 2010 when Karjakin had seemed all but assured of victory. Their games are also interesting affairs as Nepomniachtchi tends to inject a greater dose of tactics than is usual at this level. Oddly, it was Karjakin who rocked the boat when he chose a positional queen sacrifice early in the game leading to a very unbalanced position. Perhaps because it took place so early in the game, their sense of danger was raised a little higher, and they both avoided the pitfalls that each could have fallen victim too. A fun game and a credit to both players.


Svidler put Carlsen on the spot for most of their game, but was unable to convert

The last game to end was also one of the tensest, as Svidler took on Carlsen with Black, and after a misfired novelty, was on the intitiative with serious threats against the Norwegian. The complications were fascinating, and it was certainly the center of attention as many wondered whether Carlsen would succumb to the threats.


One of the wonderful things about the high quality video coverage...


...is the moments you catch the players unawares and at their truest.


A penny for your thoughts, Magnus!

In the end, he played with great precision in a minefield and held the draw. Well worth watching.

Note: You can click on the evaluation profile below the board to jump to the corresponding position. The evaluations were collected from computers of spectators watching the game with the Fritz 13 feature "Let's Check" enabled. These computer analyses are then available to all watching it through Fritz 13.

You can relive the entire round, or follow the next, in high definition in this extraordinary broadcast page provided by the Russian Chess Federation. All the pictures above are screen grabs from this video.

Standings after six rounds

Remaining Playchess commentator schedule

Date
Commentator
23.11.2011
Robert Ris
24.11.2011
Dejan Bojkov
25.11.2011
Daniel King

Schedule and Results

Round 1: Wednesday November 16, 2011
Levon Aronian
½ ½
Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik
0-1
Ian Nepomniachtchi  
Vassily Ivanchuk
1-0
Peter Svidler
Vishy Anand
½ ½
Sergey Karjakin
Hikaru Nakamura
½ ½
Boris Gelfand
Round 2: Thursday, November 17, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Boris Gelfand
Sergey Karjakin
½ ½
Hikaru Nakamura
Peter Svidler
½ ½
Vishy Anand
Ian Nepomniachtchi
½ ½
Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian
½ ½
Vladimir Kramnik
Round 3: Friday, November 18, 2011
Vladimir Kramnik
½ ½
Magnus Carlsen
Vassily Ivanchuk
0-1
Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand
½ ½
Ian Nepomniachtchi
Hikaru Nakamura
0-1
Peter Svidler
Boris Gelfand
0-1
Sergey Karjakin
Round 4: Saturday, November 19, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
½ ½
Sergey Karjakin
Peter Svidler
½ ½
Boris Gelfand
Ian Nepomniachtchi
½ ½
Hikaru Nakamura
Levon Aronian
½ ½
Vishy Anand
Vladimir Kramnik
½ ½
Vassily Ivanchuk
Round 5: Sunday, November 20, 2011
Vassily Ivanchuk
½ ½
Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand
½ ½
Vladimir Kramnik
Hikaru Nakamura
½ ½
Levon Aronian
Boris Gelfand
½ ½
Ian Nepomniachtchi
Sergey Karjakin
½ ½
Peter Svidler
Round 6: Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
½ ½
Peter Svidler
Ian Nepomniachtchi
½ ½
Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian
½ ½
Boris Gelfand
Vladimir Kramnik
½ ½
Hikaru Nakamura
Vassily Ivanchuk
½ ½
Vishy Anand
Round 7: Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Vishy Anand
  Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Boris Gelfand
  Vladimir Kramnik
Sergey Karjakin
  Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler
  Ian Nepomniachtchi
Round 8: Thursday, November 24, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
  Ian Nepomniachtchi
Levon Aronian
  Peter Svidler
Vladimir Kramnik
  Sergey Karjakin
Vassily Ivanchuk
  Boris Gelfand
Vishy Anand
  Hikaru Nakamura
Round 9: Friday, November 25, 2011
Hikaru Nakamura
  Magnus Carlsen
Boris Gelfand
  Vishy Anand
Sergey Karjakin
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Peter Svidler
  Vladimir Kramnik
Ian Nepomniachtchi
  Levon Aronian

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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