Tal Memorial Rd7 – Both leaders lose; five lead

6/17/2012 – Round seven saw shock losses by both leaders. Morozevich took big chances against Tomashevsky, which backfired, while Kramnik saw a solid endgame go sour against McShane, and also lost in a big upset. Caruana spent his game against Radjabov hanging by his fingernails, but it turned out they were made of titanium and he drew. Five lead now. Illustrated report with GM commentary.

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Seventh Tal Memorial in Moscow

The event is a ten-player round robin event, is taking place from June 8th to 18th in the Pashkov House (Vozdvizhenka Street 3/5, p.1), Moscow, Russia. Rest days are June 11 and 15. Time control: 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves, and 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. Games start at 15:00h local time (last round 13:00h). Draw offers are not allowed until after the first time control. The participants are required to comment on their games in the press center after each round. The prize fund is 100,000 Euros.

Round 7: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
Levon Aronian
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Ev. Tomashevsky
1-0
Alex. Morozevich
Luke McShane
1-0
Vladimir Kramnik

Round seven

It is hard to imagine a more dramatic round than the seventh. It isn’t just the results that were dramatic, but how they were reached as well. Before the games started, both Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Morozevich had been in the lead with a pack of three hungry wolves, Teimour Radjabov, Fabiano Caruana, and Magnus Carlsen, all nipping at their ankles.


Hikaru Nakamura broke the trend as he kept an edge against Magnus Carlsen throughout

The first game to end was Levon Aronian-Alexander Grischuk, in which the players were booked to the hilt and correctly drew. Hikaru Nakamura against Magnus Carlsen was not the demise of the American as predicted by many due to his very poor score against the number one, and instead it was he who actually had an edge throughout, though Carlsen eventually equalized after which a draw was logical.


With superb self-control, Tomashevsky contained Morozevich and scored his first win

The first actual drama was Evgeny Tomashevsky’s win over leader Alexander Morozevich. Tomashevsky is not only the second lowest seed but had also been having a difficult event, so it was not a big shock that co-leader Morozevich declined to repeat moves, and took his usual risks to imbalance the result in his favor. Instead, Evgeny held fast, and when the smoke cleared, was completely won. It was an absolutely delighted Tomashevsky who arrived alone in the post-game conference to celebrate his first win, and spent close to half an hour analyzing for the audience.

Annotated game by GM Gilberto Milos


It had to be frustrating to see a chance at the lead squandered

The next drama /tragedy/miracle (take your pick, they all apply) was undoubtedly Teimour Radjbov-Fabiano Caruana. Radjabov seemed destined to rejoin the lead he had lost, as he accumulated a huge advantage very early on, with a massive pawn center that seemed as if they might overpopulate the board with white queens.


Caruana's resilience was amazing

Somehow he failed to find the best moves, and somehow Caruana showed the grit of champions as he fought and fought to save the game. His tenacity was finally rewarded as the game entered drawn territory, and though the Azeri refused to conform to it for many moves yet, there were no longer any doubts as to the result.


An amazing turn of events saw the shock loss of Kramnik. It was not clear what went
wrong to actually lead to the loss.

The final game, the longest, and the most dramatic of all, was the ultimate cliffhanger. Those watching Luke McShane-Vladimir Kramnik  were subject to the maximum range of emotions throughout. For most of the game, it seemed like the Russian was not only in control, but might squeeze out a win in the endgame against his English opponent. Somehow, somewhere, the tide turned ever so subtly, and just enough so that the draw point was skipped. It is the nature of rook and queen endgames that the king’s safety weighs heavier than nearly all factors, and as he advanced his pawns, it was Kramnik’s king that was exposed.


After having been under pressure for so long, there was doubt whether he could make
the switch and start the long fight for the win, but McShane showed his fighting spirit.

Suddenly Luke was spending a great deal of time, and it became clear he too had sensed the change, and was resolved to play for the win. In the video, it was fascinating to see Vladimir’s poker ability come to the fore, since he was  clearly aware of the turn, and he put on the most bored, non-chalant expression possible, possibly hoping to lull his opponent into agreeing to peace. Due to the extreme tension both players eroded their clocks to the limit, and huge swings took place with saving chances missed by Kramnik, and clear wins missed by McShane. Well over six hours after the start of the game, the leader threw in the towel, and resigned.

It is assuredly a strange tournament, in which five of the players lead after seven rounds, with 4.0/7, a modest plus one score, but contrary to most events where this usually means a gigantic drawfest where none make an effort to break away, here nothing could be further from the truth, and instead, every single player on the board has notched a win. In fact, McShane, who his still second-last, now has wins over the world number two and number three, Aronian and Kramnik.

The last two rounds promise to be sizzling.

Complete round seven games

Pictures by Eteri Kublashvili

Standings after seven rounds

 

Once again the Russian organisers are providing unprecedented coverage,
with HD video stream of the action and commentary by grandmasters.
In addition there is excellent commentary by GM Ian Rogers from Sydney.

Schedule and Results

Round 1: Friday, June 8, 2012
Alex. Morozevich
1-0
Fabiano Caruana
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 
Alexander Grischuk
1-0
Luke McShane
Teimour Radjabov
1-0
Ev. Tomashevsky
Levon Aronian
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura
Round 2: Saturday, June 9, 2012
Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
Ev. Tomashevsky
½-½
Levon Aronian
Luke McShane
0-1
Teimour Radjabov
Vladimir Kramnik
1-0
Alexander Grischuk
Alex. Morozevich
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Round 3: Sunday, June 10, 2012
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
Alexander Grischuk
0-1
Alex. Morozevich
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian
0-1
Luke McShane
Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
Ev. Tomashevsky
Round 4: Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Fabiano Caruana
1-0
Ev. Tomashevsky
Luke McShane
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Levon Aronian
Alex. Morozevich
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Round 5: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
Teimour Radjabov
0-1
Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian
0-1
Alex. Morozevich
Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Ev. Tomashevsky
½-½
Luke McShane
Round 6: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Fabiano Caruana
1-0
Luke McShane
Vladimir Kramnik
1-0
Ev. Tomashevsky
Alex. Morozevich
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Levon Aronian
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Round 7: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
Levon Aronian
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Ev. Tomashevsky
1-0
Alex. Morozevich
Luke McShane
1-0
Vladimir Kramnik
Round 8: Sunday, June 17, 2012
Fabiano Caruana
  Vladimir Kramnik
Alex. Morozevich
  Luke McShane
Magnus Carlsen
  Ev. Tomashevsky
Alexander Grischuk
  Hikaru Nakamura
Teimour Radjabov
  Levon Aronian
Round 9: Monday, June 18, 2012
Levon Aronian
  Fabiano Caruana
Hikaru Nakamura
  Teimour Radjabov
Ev. Tomashevsky
  Alexander Grischuk
Luke McShane
  Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik
  Alex. Morozevich

Playchess live commentary plan for the Tal Memorial 2012

17.06.2012 Round 8 Daniel King
18.06.2012 Round 9 Yasser Seirawan

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 a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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