Tal-Mem Blitz: Anand wins with two point lead

11/19/2006 – Everyone knows that Indian superstar Vishy Anand is one of the world's strongest rapid chess players. This was driven home forcefully by a magnificent start-to-finish victory at the Tal Memorial blitz final, where 18 players, all rated 2650 or higher, played a double round robin on two days. Anand did not lose a single mini-match and won the event two points ahead of his nearest rival.

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The Tal Memorial chess festival took place in Moscow from November 5th to 19th, 2006. It was a round-robin super-tournament of Category 20, with participants from seven countries. It was won by Peter Leko, Ruslan Ponomariov and Levon Aronian. At the end of the main event there was a very strong blitz tournament, with nine players from the main tournament, three special invitees and six top finishers from a blitz qualifier.

Before we get to the blitz tournament we would like to mention that there were no tiebreaks in the main event. All three players, Leko, Ponomariov and Aronian, were declared joint winners and, according to Ruslan Ponomariov, each received 33% of the fame.


Winner of the Tal Memorial Blitz: Vishy Anand

The blitz tournament was Vishy Anand, from start to finish. The Indian superstar has been recognised, already in his teenage days, as a truly exceptional rapid chess player, one who sees everything that occurs in a game just very much faster than any of his opponents.

Anand has won countless rapid chess events, and most blitz tournaments as well. The Tal Memorial 2006 was a genuine challenge, with 18 players, all over 2650, 11 in fact over 2700. Anand took the lead at a very early stage, and ended the tournament with a victory with a round to spare. In the end he had not lost a single mini-match, i.e. in the two games he played against each player. The following table gives the results of all the mini-matches in this tournament.

No. Name Fed. FIDE
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total
1
Anand IND 2779   1.0 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 1.0 1.5 1.5 2.0 23.0
2
Aronian ARM 2741 1.0   1.5 0.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 2.0 21.0
3
Radjabov AZE 2729 0.5 0.5   1.0 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.0 2.0 2.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 2.0 1.5 20.5
4
Svidler RUS 2750 0.5 1.5 1.0   0.0 0.5 0.0 2.0 1.5 1.5 0.5 2.0 0.5 1.5 2.0 1.5 2.0 2.0 20.5
5
Ponomariov UKR 2703 0.5 0.0 1.5 2.0   1.0 0.5 1.0 2.0 0.5 1.5 1.0 1.5 1.0 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.0 19.5
6
Morozevich RUS 2747 0.5 0.5 1.0 1.5 1.0   1.5 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 0.5 1.5 0.0 1.5 1.0 18.0
7
Grischuk RUS 2710 0.5 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.5 0.5   1.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 0.5 1.5 1.0 2.0 2.0 18.0
8
Gelfand ISR 2733 1.0 0.0 0.5 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.0   1.0 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 2.0 2.0 18.0
9
Carlsen NOR 2698 1.0 0.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 1.0 2.0 1.0   1.0 0.5 0.5 2.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 0.5 2.0 17.5
10 Karpov RUS 2668 0.5 1.0 0.0 0.5 1.5 0.0 2.0 0.5 1.0   0.5 2.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 17.5
11 Karjakin UKR 2672 1.0 2.0 0.0 1.5 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.5   0.0 0.5 2.0 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.0 17.0
12 Mamedyarov AZE 2728 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 0.0 2.0   1.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.0 0.5 17.0
13 Polgar HUN 2710 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.0 0.0 1.0 1.5 1.0   1.0 1.0 2.0 2.0 1.0 17.0
14 Leko HUN 2741 0.5 1.0 1.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.0 1.0 1.0   1.0 1.5 1.0 1.0 16.5
15 Jakovenko RUS 2671 1.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.0   2.0 1.5 2.0 15.5
16 Bologan MDA 2659 0.5 1.0 0.5 0.5 0.5 2.0 1.0 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0   0.5 1.0 10.5
17 Timofeev RUS 2662 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 0.0 0.0 1.5 0.5 1.0 1.0 0.0 1.0 0.5 1.5   1.5 10.0
18 Jobava GEO 2650 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0 1.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 1.0 1.0 0.0 1.0 0.5  
9.0 

It is interesting to see how the expectations, based on the ratings of the players, compared to the results actually achieved in the blitz tournament.

Rank Res. Player Elo Pts

1

1

Anand

2779

23.0

2

4

Svidler

2750

20.5

3

6

Morozevich

2747

18.0

4

2

Aronian

2741

21.0

5

14

Leko

2741

16.5

6

8

Gelfand

2733

18.0

7

3

Radjabov

2729

20.5

8

12

Mamedyarov

2728

17.0

9

7

Grischuk

2710

18.0

 
Rank Res. Player Elo Pts

10

13

Polgar

2710

17.0

11

5

Ponomariov

2703

19.5

12

9

Carlsen

2698

17.5

13

11

Karjakin

2672

17.0

14

15

Jakovenko

2671

15.5

15

10

Karpov

2668

17.5

16

17

Timofeev

2662

10.0

17

16

Bologan

2659

10.5

18

18

Jobava

2650

9.0 

As you can see the highest ranked player won the event, and the lowest ranked player finished at the bottom. Aronian, Radjabov, Grischuk, Ponomariov and Carlsen all played better than their OTB rating, while especially Peter Leko played well below his rating.

Pictures

  • There are a lot of (uncaptioned) pictures of the blitz tournament on the web site of the Russian chess magazine "64". Those of the final rounds can be found here and here. There are also two videos you can watch, if the host server will hold up: the links are located just above the table on the report page.

  • The Official web site also has two pages of pictures, smaller in size but captioned. You can find them here and here.



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