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Tal R04: Kramnik beats Svidler, leads in Moscow

11/8/2009 – All games were drawn, except one: Vladimir Kramnik beat Peter Svidler in an Exchange Grünfeld that looked quite effortless on the part of the former World Champion. Magnus Carlsen, it was revealed, is suffering from a throat infection and has played his last three games with A fever. The Norwegian is now on antibiotics. Full report to follow, but here are the games and results.
 

Tal Memorial 2009

The Tal Memorial, which is taking place from November 4th to 19th, is the strongest tournament of the year, and at category 21 (average Elo 2764) one of the strongest of all time. It is a ten-player round robin with classical time controls – 40 moves in two hours, then 20 moves in one hour and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with 30 seconds increment per move in this phase. The first four games take place in the National Hotel (Mokhovaya Street D15), the last five in the mall GUM (Red Square 3). The games start at 15:00h local Moscow time, which is 13:00h EST (Berlin, Paris), 12:00h London, 7:00 a.m. New York, 5:30 p.m. New Delhi, 11:00 p.m. Sydney. You can find the exact starting time at your location here. The World Blitz Championship (see below) will be staged after the main event, from November 16-18 2009 in GUM.

Round four report

Round 4: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Peter Svidler
Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Alex. Morozevich 
½-½
 Boris Gelfand

Carlsen-Aronian
Following the text of Volkov-Romanov (2008) up until Black's ninth move, Carlsen deviated with 10.Nce4, ultimately concluding with a fairly straightforward 32-move draw. After 14.dxc5, Carlsen was materially ahead for a short while; however, after a series of exchanges a few moves later, garnering the return of the pawn, Aronian proved the material imbalance to be no more than temporary. With four draws in as many games, one can only imagine the newest face in the exclusive 2800+ club will be out for blood in the rounds to follow. Unfortunately, rumours are swirling that Carlsen is in poor health, so his supporters may need to exercise some patience as he recovers. Meanwhile, Aronian has shown good form to date, and currently sits in joint second at 2.5/4.

Carlsen,M (2801) - Aronian,L (2786) [D47]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (4), 08.11.2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bd6 9.Nd2 Bb7 10.Nce4 Be7 11.Nxf6+ Nxf6 12.0-0 0-0 13.Nb3

13...c5 14.dxc5 Qd5 15.f3 Rfd8 16.Be2 Qe5 17.Qe1 Bd5 18.Qc3 Qxc3 19.bxc3 Bxb3 20.axb3 Nd5 21.b4 Nxc3 22.Kf2 a5 23.Rxa5 Rxa5 24.bxa5 Bxc5 25.Bb2 Nxe2 26.Kxe2 Bb4 27.Ra1 Rd2+ 28.Kf1 Rxb2 29.a6 Bc5 30.Rc1 g6 31.Rxc5 Ra2 32.Rxb5 Rxa6 draw.

Ponomariov-Anand
The clash of the former FIDE World Champion and the incumbent followed Laylo-Li (2008), a 70-move slugfest, which saw Black emerge victorious. Flash forward a little over one year later, and with 15.f4, Ponomariov decided to attempt to further contribute to theory. Though the game was somewhat tactical, with the cute move 16...Nc4 making an appearance, the end result was a rapid liquidation of pieces which could hardly be expected to finish in anything other than a draw. As the position dictated, that is exactly what occurred. As the lowest rated player in this super tournament, alongside Ivanchuk, Ponomariov's undefeated 2.0/4 can certainly be considered an indication that he is in good form. With a performance rating of 2846, and currently sitting in joint second with 2.5/4, Anand can't be complaining either.

Ponomariov,R (2739) - Anand,V (2788) [D71]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (4), 08.11.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Nf3 Nb6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.e3 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Re1 Bd7 11.b3 e5 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Bxe5 14.Bb2 c6 15.f4 Bg7 16.e4

16...Nc4 17.bxc4 Qb6+ 18.Kh1 Qxb2 19.Rb1 Qxc3 20.Qxd7 Rab8 21.Rec1 Qa3 22.Rd1 Re7 23.Qd6 Qxd6 24.Rxd6 Rbe8 25.Bf3 Bf8 26.e5 Rc7 27.Rd3 f6 28.exf6 Re6 29.Bg4 Rxf6 30.Rd7 Rxd7 31.Bxd7 b6 32.Rd1 Rd6 33.Rxd6 Bxd6 34.Bxc6 draw.

Morozevich-Gelfand
With their chosen line today, one might wonder whether Morozevich and Gelfand were paying tribute to the past. The text was that of Schmidt-Grabczewski from the Polish Championship of 1972. To the credit of today's game, it lasted much longer than the 13-move draw of its predecessor. Despite 41 moves of poking and prodding, the end result was the same as the game referenced, with neither player ever facing any real danger. Morozevich must have been hoping to put his white to good use; however, like most of the players in this tournament, Gelfand is in excellent form, and now sits at four draws so far. With 1.5/4, Alexander is not yet eliminated from contention either.

Kramnik-Svidler
Whatever Kramnik's drinking, it must be caffeinated. As of late, his play has evidenced the wide-eyed alertness of a man hooked up to a coffee drip. Solid play and stellar results have followed, with this tournament currently serving as no exception. Until Black's 11th move, the game followed Grischuk-Morozevich from last year's World Blitz Championship, where Grischuk cruised to a rather bruising 29-move victory. Kramnik, however, blazed his own path to victory with 12.h4, where Grischuk had preferred giving 12.Ng5 a try. Svidler's problems began when Kramnik went up a pawn with 22.Rxg6+. The position was relatively balanced, but Svidler went awry in his attempts to regain the material. Instead, he ended up with an unsalvageable position, in which his knight on a6 was corralled. This game served as an excellent example of the axiom "a knight on the rim is dim." After coming to a6 on Black's 11th move, the piece never moved again, proving his ultimate undoing. At some point, Svidler should have endeavoured to repost the knight. As it stands, he now sits as the sole player in the basement with 1.0/4, after two consecutive losses. In contrast, Kramnik now enjoys a +2 3.0/4 with a 2966 performance rating to boot. This is good enough for sole first at the moment, but it remains to be seen whether Kramnik will hold on to the finish line.

Kramnik,V (2772) - Svidler,P (2754) [D85]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (4), 08.11.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Be3 c5 8.Rc1 Qa5 9.Qd2 0-0 10.Nf3 Bg4 11.d5 Na6 12.h4 f5 13.exf5 Bxf5 14.h5 Rad8 15.hxg6 Bxg6 16.Bh6 Bxh6 17.Rxh6 Rf6 18.Ne5 Qa4

19.Qe3 Qf4 20.Qxf4 Rxf4 21.Nxg6 hxg6 22.Rxg6+ Kf7 23.Rg5 Re4+ 24.Be2 Kf6 25.Rh5 Kg6 26.g4 Rf8 27.Rd1 Rf6 28.Rh8 Kg7 29.Rd8 Rb6 30.f3 Re3 31.Rd3 Re5 32.Kf2 Rh6 33.Bf1

33...Rh2+ 34.Kg3 Rxa2 35.d6 exd6 36.R3xd6 Re7 37.R6d7 1-0.

Leko-Ivanchuk
Today's showing between Leko and Ivanchuk saw a transposition of the game Calistri-Roeder (2002), a hard-fought 43-move draw between two French masters. Ivanchuk took his fate into his own hands, opting for the series of exchanges resulting from 17...Nxf4. For a short while, Leko enjoyed a fairly tangible advantage; however, it quickly fizzled, and the two players agreed to a draw on Black's 27th move. With the result, Ivanchuk maintains his undefeated 2.0/4, leaving him in joint 4th-7th, while Leko, after taking a shelling at the hands of Aronian yesterday, is sitting at -1 with 1.5/4.

Michael von Keitz

Standings after four rounds


Carlsen playing with fever, playing with antibiotics

The Nowegian news portal Nettavisen reports that Magnus Carlsen is ill and has had to consult a doctor. He was put on antibiotics. This was confirmed by his sponsorship manager Espen Agdestein.

We would like to stress that Magnus has not, as was reported by some chess blogs and/or speculated on discussion forums, contracted the flu, possible the H1N1 variety. He is suffering from a throat infection.


Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, November 5, 2009
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Alex. Morozevich 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Round 2: Friday, November 6, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Peter Svidler 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Boris Gelfand
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Alex. Morozevich
Round 3: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Alex. Morozevich 
0-1
 Vladimir Kramnik
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Vishy Anand 
1-0
 Peter Svidler
Round 4: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Peter Svidler
Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Alex. Morozevich 
½-½
 Boris Gelfand
Monday, November 9, 2009 Free day
M T W T F S S
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 27 27 29 29
Round 5: Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Boris Gelfand 
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian 
-
 Alex. Morozevich
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
-
 Peter Leko
Peter Svidler 
-
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Games – Report
Round 6: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
-
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Peter Leko 
-
 Peter Svidler
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Vishy Anand
Alex. Morozevich 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Boris Gelfand 
-
 Levon Aronian
Games – Report
Round 7: Thursday, November 12, 2009
Levon Aronian 
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Boris Gelfand
Vishy Anand 
-
 Alex. Morozevich
Peter Svidler 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Ruslan Ponomariov 
-
 Peter Leko
Games – Report
Round 8: Friday, November 13, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
-
 Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Alex. Morozevich 
-
 Peter Svidler
Boris Gelfand 
-
 Vishy Anand
Levon Aronian 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Games – Report
Round 9: Saturday, November 14, 2009
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
Vishy Anand 
-
 Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler 
-
 Boris Gelfand
Ruslan Ponomariov 
-
 Alex. Morozevich
Peter Leko 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Games – Report

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 the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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