Tal Memorial blitz won by Mamedyarov

by Albert Silver
11/19/2014 – After the Petrosian Memorial ended in Moscow, a number of the elite players who took part in it, came to Sochi on a double mission: the first was obviously to see first hand the World Championship match, but the second was to play in the Tal Memorial Blitz, a fitting tribute to one of its most passionate aficionados. Mamedyarov took clear first and is now world no.3.

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As it stood, the organizers of the Petroisan Memorial had explained that the event itself was meant to pay tribute to former giants at the time of Russia and the Soviet Union, and for a few years now had been dedicated solely to Mikhail Tal.

This year it was decided the great Armenian Tigran Petrosian would have the honor, however to not seem to overlook Mikhail Tal a special Memorial was organized in his name, dedicated to his great passion: blitz chess. The idea had been for all the players to join, but for various reasons this was not possible, and some had schedule conflicts while others had visa issues.

Vladimir Kramnik finished in the middle of the field with 10.5/22

Boris Gelfand tied for 3rd-5th with 12.5/22, including a whitewash of 2.0/2 against Kramnik

In the end, the roster was Grischuk, Kramnik, Gelfand, Leko, Inarkiev and Morozevich joined by Nepomniachtchi, Karjakin, Mamedyarov and Tomashevsky. Completing the lineup were Alexandra Kosteniuk, who has provided live commentary with Sergey Shipov in Russian for visiting spectators, and Peter Svidler, who has been the official site's commentator with Sopiko Guramashvili.

The spectators were able to watch quite closely, though some could not bear to watch

A fan sneaks in a request for an autograph from Ernesto Inarkiev

Split over two days, it was a 22-round blitz bonanza, played at four minutes and two seconds increment, that could be followed on a live video feed.

Thanks to his imperial start, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov took the title with 16.0/22 and moved
to world no.3 in the FIDE Blitz lists with 2866

On the first day, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was utterly untouchable as he stormed to a 10.0/11 start, followed by Alexander Grischuk a distant 8.0/11, and Alexander Morozevich third with 7.0/11. The second day, Mamedyarov was unable to repeat his performance  and had a lackluster 6.0/11, but his enormous lead served as a buffer and a key win against Sergey Karjakin in the very last round, secured first for him.

A position from Kosteniuk-Tomashevsky. White to play and win.

It wasn't all roses for Kosteniuk (right) who only managed two wins in 22 games, though
one of those scalps was Vladimir Kramnik no less. Alexander Grischuk (left) was extremely
consistent and won 95 FIDE Blitz Elo.

Final standings

Solution to position: White played 1.Bxh7+! and won after 1...Nxh7 2.Rg6! capturing the queen.

Video of day one


The live video also included English comments by GM Khalifman and WGM Sopiko Guramashvili

Video of day two


The video is in high definition and enjoys the same high quality of the World Championship broadcasts


You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server Playchess.com.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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