Tal Memorial Rd8 – Aronian takes lead with brilliant win

11/24/2011 – After no fewer than nineteen draws in the last twenty games, the first draws of round eight had spectators antsy, wondering when the genius, the players are obviously capable of, would start to shine through. The answer came from Aronian, who held an endgame advantage against Svidler, only to uncork a brilliant knight sacrifice, and won in style. Illustrated report with GM analysis.

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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 8: Thursday, November 24, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
½ ½
Ian Nepomniachtchi
Levon Aronian
1-0
Peter Svidler
Vladimir Kramnik
½ ½
Sergey Karjakin
Vassily Ivanchuk
½ ½
Boris Gelfand
Vishy Anand
½ ½
Hikaru Nakamura

Round eight

The first game to finish was between Anand and Nakamura, but it was not the least eventful by any means. Anand chose the Saemisch to fight Nakamura's King's Indian, and things seemed balanced for the first 20-odd move except a quirk in Black's position.


Both played a nervy game but interesting

Hikaru had advanced a c-pawn to presumably free the c5-square for his knight, or support it with a b5-thrust, but somehow neither happened and it got cut off from its siblings. After 21...Qd8? and the next couple of moves, the pawn was up for grabs, but the World Champion missed the window and balance was soon restored before they shook hands on move 33.


During the post-mortem, Nepomniachtchi alternated between English and Russian
with ease.Carlsen was also relaxed as he dropped comments such as, "I planned
on playing this and just hope for the best."

Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi played a Sicilian Moscow in which neither player was truly able to achieve anything special. When the pieces finally managed to open lines to break through, it led to simplifications and a draw.


Lost in thought, Ivanchuk could be seen mumbling lines in the void

Ivanchuk and Gelfand had a nice tussle in which Ivanchuk's more active position was constantly held in check by Gelfand's pressure on the queenside. This ultimately decided the result and the called it a day.


Karjakin and Kramnik discuss the game shortly after agreeing to a draw

The two top Russian players (though Morozevich may have something to say about this next year), Kramnik and Karjakin played an interesting game in which the ex-world champion seemed on the verge of winning due to his pressure against a fractured pawn structure, and better piece activity, but Sergey managed to douse the fires in time and avoid disaster.


The game started quietly, not betraying the conclusion that was to come

The game of the round was unquestionably between Aronian and Svidler. Though Aronian managed some nice space advantage, it came at the cost of the coordination of his pieces and it seemed as if this would also end in a draw. The Russian champion played passively precisely when he could least afford to, and this allowed a brilliant knight sacrifice by Aronian, deciding the game.


Faced with the critical position, Aronian went into deep thought.


To their credit, the Russian commentators were analyzing the knight sac when
Aronian played it.


Despair!

GM Alejandro Ramirez annotates:

With his victory, Aronian takes the sole lead with 5.0/8, a half point ahead of the pack, and is virtually assured of tied first at worst. More than this, on the temporary ratings list, his rating is at 2816, placing him in clear second and only nine Elo behind Carlsen. Impressive.

Round eight games:

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 eight rounds

Remaining Playchess commentator schedule

Date
Commentator
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
½ ½
Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura
0-1
Vassily Ivanchuk
Boris Gelfand
½ ½
Vladimir Kramnik
Sergey Karjakin
½ ½
Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler
½ ½
Ian Nepomniachtchi
Round 8: Thursday, November 24, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
½ ½
Ian Nepomniachtchi
Levon Aronian
1-0
Peter Svidler
Vladimir Kramnik
½ ½
Sergey Karjakin
Vassily Ivanchuk
½ ½
Boris Gelfand
Vishy Anand
½ ½
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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