Tal Memorial R9: all games drawn, Kramnik triumphs

by ChessBase
11/19/2007 – We knew the result already yesterday, and with all final round games drawn nothing basically changed. Vladimir Kramnik stayed 1.5 points ahead of the field, and ended with a 2901 performance, one of the finest of his career. Only one other player had a plus score: Alexei Shirov, who won three and lost two games. The drawing average was high, but most games were hard-fought. Final report.

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The second Mikhail Tal Memorial Tournament was held in Moscow from November 9 to 23, 2007 at the historic Moscow Central Chess Club, with ten players in the main event (average Elo 2740, Category 20). Play started each day at 15.00h Moscow time (13.00 European time). The games were broadcast live on Playchess.com.

Round nine summary

Round 9: Monday, November 19th, 2007
Boris Gelfand 
 Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen 
 Gata Kamsky
Dmitry Jakovenko 
 Alexei Shirov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
 Vladimir Kramnik
Shak. Mamedyarov 
 Evgeny Alekseev

Videos by Europe Echecs

Impressions from round nine – ©Europe Echecs

Interview by Robert Fontaine with Vladimir Kramnik – ©Europe Echecs

Final standings

In Daily Dirt Mig Greengard wrote (after round eight): "In his best tournament performance in many years, Vladimir Kramnik has dominated the Tal Memorial in Moscow. The quality of his technique was on an entirely different level. The rest of the field were relegated to spectator status by battering each other out of contention. There is only one other player with a plus score – Shirov with two losses! He's a point and a half behind Kramnik and a half-point ahead of a big pack on even: Carlsen, Jakovenko, Leko, and Gelfand, who has drawn all eight of his games. If you remove Kramnik from his lofty perch on top of the crosstable it looks like a very balanced, hard-fought event with a high percentage of draws. Only a handful of those draws were under 25 moves and even those were almost all of the scorched earth variety. Only Kramnik and Gelfand have gone undefeated and only 1.5 points separate the field not including the winner."

This is what the tournament would look like without Kramnik:

Draw statistics

At the end of the event the draw average had climbed to 73%. But here we must caution that this can in no way lead to the conclusion that the event was unfought or boring.

The bottom graph shows the number of drawn games (1, 2 or 3) that were played with how many moves. The shortest draw was the round nine 16-mover played by the two disconsolate GMs Mamedyarov (lost to Kramnik yesterday) and Alekseev (been at the bottom of the table throughout the tournament), one 18-mover Alekseev-Jakovenko in round eight and just four more games in under 25 moves. All other draws were fairly or intensely well fought out. Of course the titanic 93-move battle between Ivanchuk and Carlsen stands out.


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