5th Tal Memorial: Round 3 and 4 – Aronian takes the lead

11/8/2010 – The third round saw Aronian rise to the top after a fine win over Gelfand, while Shirov and Eljanov made it zero for three. Don't miss Shirov's game against Mamedyarov (you never saw such a Breyer). Aronian has even leapt to second in the Provisional Ratings as a result. The fourth round was all drawn, though Nakamura and Kramnik had a lively battle. Report for rounds three and four.

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The 5th Tal Memorial takes place from November 5th to November 14th, in Moscow, Russia. It is a nine-round round-robin event.

Time control: 40 moves in 100 minutes followed by 20 moves in 50 minutes followed by the game in 15 minutes with a 30 second increment as of move one.

Game start: 3 PM local time (5 AM Pacific daylight / 8 AM New York / 1 PM Paris) - rest day on November 9th (Mikhail Tal's birthday)

Video coverage: The Russian Federation is providing exceptional daily coverage, with full replays available at the right of the page.


The stage, the ever full audience, and the camera crew

Round three

Round 3: Sunday, November 7th, 2009
A. Shirov 
0-1
 S. Mamedyarov 
S. Karjakin 
½-½
 H. Nakamura
L. Aronian 
1-0
 B. Gelfand
A. Grischuk 
½-½
 Wang Hao
P. Eljanov 
0-1
 V. Kramnik

The third round raised some players even higher, and sunk a couple deeper than one would believe. Although there is no denying Aronian is in the best phase of his life, as he just broke the 2800 barrier, and even started the tournament with a win agianst the two-time winner, Vladimir Kramnik, the truth is that he was quite fortunate in that victory. Thus questions remained as to just how well he was feeling for this event. This powerful win over Boris Gelfand, who himself had just boucned back in the second-round with a confident win over Shirov, shut the Doubting Thomases up.

Aronian,L (2801) - Gelfand,B (2741) [D43]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (3), 07.11.2010

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Qd3 Nbd7 6.g3 Bd6 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Qxc4 e5 10.Rd1 Qe7 11.Bg5 h6








12.Nh4! Nb6. 12...hxg5 13.Nf5 Qe8 (13...Qe6 14.Qxe6 fxe6 15.Nxd6 exd4 16.Rxd4 Ne5 and White has a nice edge.) 14.Nxd6 Qd8








15.Nxf7!! Rxf7 16.dxe5! and White wins back his piece, since if the f6 knight moves, there follows e6 forking the knight and rook. 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qb3 Bc7 15.d5 cxd5 16.Bxd5 Kh8 17.Rac1 Qe7 18.Qc2 Rb8 19.a4 Bh3 20.Bg2 Be6 21.a5 Na8 22.Nd5 Bxd5 23.Rxd5 Qe6 24.b4 Bd8 25.Nf5 g6 26.Nd6 Nc7 27.Rdd1 b6








28.Nb7! Threatening Nxd8 followed by Qxc7. 28...Na6. 28...Rc8? 29.Nxd8 Rfxd8 30.Rxd8+ Rxd8 31.Qxc7+- 29.Rd6 Qg4 30.Qb2 Qxb4 31.Qxe5+ Kh7 32.Rd7 Bg5 33.Rcd1 Nc5 34.Nxc5 Qxc5 35.Qxc5 bxc5 36.Rxa7 c4 37.a6 c3 38.Rc7 Rbc8 39.Rxc8 Rxc8 40.e3 Be7 41.Rc1 and after Rc7 42.Bb7 c2 43.Kg2 (43.a7? Rxb7 44.a8Q Rb1 and the position is unclear.) 43...Ba3 44.Rxc2! Rxc2 45.a7+- 1-0. [Click to replay]

Hikaru Nakamura played a Ruy Lopez Berlin against Sergey Karjakin, and eventually found himself with the worse endgame. Karjakin pressured for a long time, in the rook endgame, but was unable to break through the American's defense and a draw was agreed after 70 moves.


How does that theory go again?

Take an ultra classic and positional Ruy Lopez Breyer, and you would think that even two of the most creative players alive in the topmost echelons, would be hard-pressed to really break the mold, but that is just what they did. Breyer? Pfff... Bother me not with such accolades.

Shirov,A (2735) - Mamedyarov,S (2763) [C95]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (3), 07.11.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Ng3 g6 15.a4 Bg7 16.Bd3 d5. An extremely rare continuation that has only been played once in grandmaster practice, in 1970 between Karpov, before even Fischer was World Champion, and the first Belgium grandmaster, O'Kelly de Galway!! 17.Bg5 b4. 17...dxe4 18.Bxe4 Bxe4 19.Nxe4 exd4 20.Nxd4 c5 21.Bxf6 Nxf6 22.Nxc5 1-0 Karpov,A-O'Kelly de Galway,A/Caracas 1970/MCD (41) 18.cxb4 h6 19.Bxf6 Qxf6 20.Rc1 Qd6 21.b5 axb5 22.Bxb5 c6 23.Bf1 exd4 24.Nxd4 Rab8 25.b3 Ba8 26.Nf3 Nc5 27.Rb1 Ne6 28.Qd2 Rb4 29.exd5 cxd5 30.Bb5 Rd8 31.Red1 Rf4 32.Ne1?








One can only presume that he was actually planning on Nd3 and forgot that after 33.Nd3?








is met forcefully by 33...Rxf2!! 34.Nxf2 Qxg3 and the threat of Nf4 followed by Qxg2 mate is fatal. 35.Qe2 (35.Bf1 Protecting g2 from mate, but...out of the pan and into the fire! 35...Ng5 Threatening Nf3+ with Qh2 mate. 36.Kh1 (36.Qxd4 Nf3+ 37.Kh1 Qh2#) 36...Bxf2-+) 35...Nf4 36.Qf3 Bxf2+ 37.Qxf2 Nxh3+-+ 32...Bd4 33.Nh1 Ba7 34.Nd3 Rh4 35.Re1 Ng5 36.Qe2 Ne4








All one can say is that this is not exactly a typical Ruy Lopez Breyer position!

37.Rbc1 Bb8 38.f4 g5? 38...Rxf4! 39.Nxf4 Qxf4 40.g3 (The threat is 40.-- Qh2+ 41.Kf1 Qxh1#) 40...Nxg3 And Black has a winning attack.


Guess who's game they are watching

39.g3 Rxh3 40.Qg4 Qe6 41.Qxe6 fxe6 42.Bd7 Kf7 43.Kg2 Rh5 44.f5 exf5 45.Bxf5 Nf6 46.Nhf2 d4+ 47.Kg1 Bxg3 48.Ne5+ Bxe5 49.Rxe5 g4 50.Be6+ Kg6 51.Rcc5 g3 52.Nh3 Rxe5 53.Rxe5 Ne4 54.Bg4 Rf8 55.Re6+ Kg7 56.Re7+ Kh8 57.Be2 Nd2 58.Nf4 Rxf4 59.Re8+ Kg7 60.Rxa8 Rf2 61.Bh5 Rh2 62.Bd1 Ne4 63.Bf3 Ng5 64.Bg2 h5! 65.Rd8 Ne6 66.Rd7+ Kf6 67.a5 Nf4 68.Bf1 d3!








69.Rd6+. 69.Bxd3? Nh3+ 70.Kf1 g2+ 71.Ke2 g1Q+ 69...Ke5 70.Rd8 g2 71.Re8+ 71.Kxh2 gxf1Q 71...Kd6 0-1. [Click to replay]


An irate Shirov as he finalizes his game

While a very fun game to watch, and perfectly forgivable for losing, this still brings the grand tally after three games to zero for Shirov, and his confidence has to be utterly shot at this point. However he is not alone, for Eljanov also lost to a swinging and punching Kramnik, bringing the Russian back to 50%, but also sinking Pavel down to the same place as Shirov. Seeing one player have a bad tournament and start with three losses is hardly unheard of, but it is a rare sight indeed to have two top players start with such a dreadful run. As to Grischuk, he has been suffering from a very unpleasant cold, which has put a dampener on his play, thus his fairly quick draw against Wang Hao was not terribly surprising.

Round four

Round 4: Monday, November 8th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 L. Aronian
S. Karjakin 
½-½
 A. Shirov
B. Gelfand 
½-½
 A. Grischuk
Wang Hao 
½-½
 P. Eljanov
H. Nakamura 
½-½
 V. Kramnik

In this round, all the games were drawn, though not all in the same manner. Mamedyarov-Aronian and Gelfand-Grischuk were played, but after a few pyrotechnics the ashes settled and hands were shaken. Wang Hao tried to break past ELjanov, but was unable to and eventually they too drew, while Karjakin and Shirov debated the relative strengths of the pair of rooks versus the pair of bishops in a simplified middlegame: a 'nuckie', as coined by GM Flear in his masterpiece, "Practical Endgame Play - Beyond the Basics". 'Nuckie' is from NQE, or Not Quite an Endgame, by the way. Digressions apart, the game of the round was without a doubt the battle between top American GM Nakamura, who has performed extremely well so far, and top Russian Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik took up the same Petroff that has given Gelfand trouble (three losses this year), and challenged Nakamura to give him a hard time. Hikaru was up to the task.


Kramnik during his game against Nakamura

Nakamura,Hi (2741) - Kramnik,V (2791) [C42]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (4), 08.11.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nd7 9.0-0-0 Re8








In spite of the fact that Gelfand has played this more than once and got nothing but misery for his insistence, Kramnik decides to try his hand at this line and see whether he cannot do better. 10.h4 c6 11.Bd3 Nf6 12.Rde1 d5 13.Bd4 c5 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Qf4 Be6 16.Ng5 g6 17.Bb5 Rf8 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Rxe6 Bxc3 20.Qg4 Bg7








21.h5! Hardly encouraging for Black. 21...c4 A computer might coldly analyze this to a clear evaluation, but a human will unquestionably worry about a6-b5 capturing the bishop. 22.hxg6 h6 23.Rd1. 23.Rhe1! was stronger, threatening Re7. 23...a6 no longer works due to 24.Be8 and Bf7+ 23...Qa5 [23...a6? 24.Bxc4!] 24.Rxd5 Qxa2 25.Bxc4 Qxb2+ 26.Kd1 Kh8 27.f3 a5 28.Rd7 a4








The engines affirm this is clearly better for white, but let's face it, this position could EASILY go sour. 29.Qh4 Qb1+ 30.Kd2 Qb4+ 31.Kd1 Qb1+ 32.Kd2 Qb4+ 33.Kd1 Qb1+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Pictures by Anna Burtasova (Russian Chess Federation)

Standings and Crosstable

Watching the games from Moscow

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We would also suggest you see the exceptional live video coverage at the site, that can be replayed from links on the right side. The numbers represent the date of the coverage.

Schedule and results

Round 1: Friday, November 5th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 H. Nakamura
S. Karjakin 
1-0
 B. Gelfand
A. Shirov 
0-1
 Wang Hao 
L. Aronian 
1-0
 V. Kramnik 
A. Grischuk 
1-0
 P. Eljanov
Round 2: Saturday, November 6th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 S. Karjakin
B. Gelfand 
1-0
 A. Shirov
Wang Hao 
½-½  L. Aronian
V. Kramnik 
½-½
 A. Grischuk
 H. Nakamura 
1-0
 P. Eljanov
Round 3: Sunday, November 7th, 2009
A. Shirov 
0-1
 S. Mamedyarov 
S. Karjakin 
½-½
 H. Nakamura
L. Aronian 
1-0
 B. Gelfand
A. Grischuk 
½-½
 Wang Hao
P. Eljanov 
0-1
 V. Kramnik
Round 4: Monday, November 8th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 L. Aronian
S. Karjakin 
½-½
 A. Shirov
B. Gelfand 
½-½
 A. Grischuk
Wang Hao 
½-½
 P. Eljanov
H. Nakamura 
½-½
 V. Kramnik
Round 5: Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
A. Grischuk 
 
 S. Mamedyarov 
L. Aronian 
   S. Karjakin
A. Shirov 
   H. Nakamura
P.Eljanov 
   B. Gelfand
V. Kramnik 
   Wang Hao
Games – Report
Round 6: Thursday, November 11th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
   P. Eljanov
S. Karjakin 
   A. Grischuk
A. Shirov 
   L. Aronian
B. Gelfand 
   V. Kramnik
H. Nakamura 
   Wang Hao
Games – Report
Round 7: Friday, November 12th, 2010
V. Kramnik 
 
 S. Mamedyarov 
P. Eljanov 
   S. Karjakin
A. Grischuk 
   A. Shirov
L. Aronian 
   H. Nakamura
Wang Hao 
   B. Gelfand
Games – Report
Round 8: Saturday, November 13th, 2010
S. Mamedyarov 
   Wang Hao
S. Karjakin 
   V. Kramnik
A. Shirov 
   P. Eljanov
L. Aronian 
   A. Grischuk
H. Nakamura 
   B. Gelfand
Games – Report
Round 9: Sunday, November 14th, 2010
B. Gelfand 
 
 S. Mamedyarov 
Wang Hao 
   S. Karjakin
V. Kramnik 
   A. Shirov
P. Eljanov 
   L. Aronian
A. Grischuk 
   H. Nakamura
Games – Report

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