Tal Memorial Rd8: Five draws, and Nepo leads

by Albert Silver
10/5/2016 – In a sense, the event was both uneventful in that it ended with five draws, yet not quite so, as it leaves Ian Nepomniachtchi in the driver’s seat going to the last round, with Anish Giri right behind. Of the five games, the two hardest fought were Levon Aronian against Li Chao, and Kramnik’s 7-plus hour battle with Tomashevsky as he tried his hardest to convert a material advantage. Report with analysis by GM Moradiabadi.

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X Jubilee Tal Memorial is taking place from 25 September to 6 October 2016 in the Moscow Museum of Russian Impressionism. The tournament will be a continuation of the program "Chess in Museums", which is being implemented by the Russian Chess Federation together with the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko. The General Partner of the Russian Chess Federation for the X Tal Memorial is the state company "Russian Highways" ("Avtodor").

The prize fund for the event is 200 thousand USD.

The tournament is a round-robin over nine rounds played at 100 minutes for 40 moves plus 50 minutes for 20 moves and 15 minutes until the end of the game with 30 seconds for each move starting from the first. The chief arbiter is International Arbiter Anatoly Bykhovsky.

Round eight

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili

Round 8 - Oct. 5 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
½-½
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
2
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
½-½
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
3
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
½-½
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
4
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
½-½
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
5
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
½-½
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5

Since Ian Nepomniachtchi was the leader, his game against five-time World Champion Vishy Anand was also the center stage of the round at first. The opening promised plenty of action in spite of a fairly early queen exchange as an English Opening left an unusually exposed white king that Nepomniachtchi carefully handled to avoid trouble. Though the game never really lost balance, it is unlikely to be an opening White will voluntarily repeat unless a more promising path can be found.

Ian Nepomniachtchi played a queenless but nervy game against...

...Vishy Anand, who tried his best to knock down the leader.

Boris Gelfand, whose tournament has been anything but inspiring, repeated the same ill-fated Rossolimo he challenged Anand with in the fifth round (and lost), but this time with an improvement that gave him full compensation for the sacrificed pawn, though not more. Svidler took up the gauntlet, but was unable to make a dent and they shook hands after 29 moves.

Peter Svidler did not shy away from Gelfand's attempt to repeat the opening from round five, even though he had to know the Israeli had prepared something very specific. He was right of course, but it was only good for equality.

Peter Svidler - Boris Gelfand

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.10.05"] [Round "8.4"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Gelfand, Boris"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2745"] [BlackElo "2743"] [PlyCount "58"] [EventDate "2016.09.26"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. O-O Bg7 6. Re1 Nh6 7. c3 O-O 8. h3 d5 9. d3 c4 10. dxc4 dxe4 11. Qxd8 Rxd8 12. Rxe4 Nf5 {The novelty.} ({ In round five, Gelfand chose} 12... e5 {but the plan never really worked and he soon got into an ugly bind and lost.} 13. Re1 f6 14. Nbd2 Nf7 15. Ne4 f5 16. Neg5 e4 17. Nxf7 Kxf7 18. Bg5 Rd3 19. Nd4 Ba6 20. b3 c5 21. Ne2 h6 22. Be3 Rc8 23. h4 {1-0 (58) Anand,V (2776)-Gelfand,B (2743) Moscow RUS 2016}) 13. Re1 c5 14. Nbd2 Bb7 15. Ne4 Rac8 16. Ng3 Nd6 17. Rxe7 Bxf3 18. gxf3 Nxc4 19. Bg5 Nxb2 20. Rxa7 Ra8 {Black has achieved full equality and the game soon ends.} 21. Rb7 Rd1+ 22. Rxd1 Nxd1 23. Ne4 Nxc3 24. Nxc5 h6 25. Be3 Rxa2 26. Rb8+ Kh7 27. Rb7 Kg8 28. Rb8+ Kh7 29. Rb7 Kg8 1/2-1/2

Anish Giri and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played a quiet Italian in which equality was reached fairly soon and ended with little ado about nothing

Levon Aronian’s game against Li Chao was one of the most interesting of the round, as an unusual position arose from a Queen’s Gambit Declined. Neither side castled and it was quite an open position in spite of the usual closed ones one expects out of this opening.

Levon Aronian has been about par with a plus one score so far

Levon Aronian - Li Chao

The final game was also the longest by far. Vladimir Kramnik came out of the middlegame against Evgeny Tomashevsky with an extra pawn and proceeded to try to grind down his opponent through attrition. Tomashevksy put in a no less stubborn effort to stay alive as they fought for over seven hours.

Vladimir Kramnik showed a relentless will to win, matched by Tomashevsky's stubborn refusal to wilt

Vladimir Kramnik - Evgeny Tomashevsky (annotations by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

[Event "10th Tal Memorial"] [Site "Playchess.com"] [Date "2016.10.05"] [Round "8.3"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2808"] [BlackElo "2731"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "215"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] [WhiteClock "0:01:53"] [BlackClock "0:02:33"] {Here we are at Round 8 of the Tal Memorial. In this encounter we have former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik with a healthy +1 score, on the white side, and an out-of-shape but solid and strong Evgeny Tomashevsky on the black side. A few years ago, I used to consider Tomashevksy as "der Klein Kramnik" (a small Kramnik). However, his later developments and changes in style, plus Kramnik's own adjustments in style in recent years now seperate the two players' similarities.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 {Tomashevsky has no intention to check Kramnik's depth of knowledge in more trendy Bf5.} (3... Bf5 4. O-O c6 5. d3 e6 6. Nh4 $5 Bg4 7. h3 Bh5 8. Qe1 Be7 9. f4 {1-0 (46) Kramnik,V (2808)-Adhiban,B (2671) Baku 2016 was Kramnik's offbeat choice at the Olympiad.}) 4. O-O Bg4 5. d3 Nbd7 6. h3 Bxf3 {The most solid.} ({Kramnik has faced} 6... Bh5 {with success} 7. Qe1 e5 8. e4 dxe4 9. dxe4 Bc5 10. a4 O-O 11. Nh4 Re8 12. Na3 Nf8 13. b4 Be7 14. Nf5 Ne6 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. Be3 Bg6 17. f3 Nd7 18. Nc4 f5 19. Rd1 f4 20. Rxd7 Qxd7 21. Nxe5 Qc7 22. gxf4 Nxf4 23. Bxf4 Rxe5 24. Qe3 Rd8 25. Qxa7 Qe7 26. Bxe5 Qxe5 27. Qe3 Qb2 28. Qc5 h6 29. b5 cxb5 30. Qb6 Rd2 31. Qxg6 bxa4 32. h4 Qd4+ 33. Kh1 Qd8 34. Bh3 Qxh4 35. Qe6+ Kh8 36. Rg1 g5 37. Qc8+ Kg7 38. Rb1 {1-0 (38) Kramnik,V (2783)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2765) Shamkir 2015}) 7. Bxf3 e5 8. e4 dxe4 9. dxe4 Bc5 10. Nd2 Qe7 11. a4 a5 12. Qe2 O-O 13. Nc4 {(#) Judgement time: White has a pair of bishops out of the opening. However, the closed and fixed nature of the center and his misplaced bishop on f3 do not give him much out of the opening. Just imagine what White could do if he had his bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal.} Qe6 14. Kg2 Nb6 15. Ne3 Rfd8 16. b3 Nc8 17. Bb2 Bd4 $6 {a small tactical inaccuracy.} 18. Rad1 {Yep, you cannot take on b2, sir!} Nd6 $5 {An interesting approach to solve his problem. Tomashevsky decides to go through a number of exchanges which will result in a slightly worse, but possibly manageable endgame.} (18... Nb6 19. Bc1 g6 20. Ng4 {and White's pair of bishops slowly start to show their value.}) 19. Bxd4 exd4 20. Rxd4 Ndxe4 21. Rxd8+ Rxd8 22. Nc4 b5 23. axb5 cxb5 24. Nxa5 Rd2 25. Qxb5 h6 26. Nc4 Rxc2 27. Qb8+ Kh7 28. Qe5 Qxe5 29. Nxe5 Rb2 {(#) After a series of more or less forced moves, we have reached an endgame in which White is a pawn up alloowing him to secure a long-term advantage by exchanging the b3 pawn for f7. Nevertheless, due to the drawish nature of these three-against-two pawn endings, Kramnik decides to shake up the game just a little bit.} 30. Bd1 Nd5 $6 {Tomashevsky plays with fire.} 31. Nc4 Ra2 32. Bf3 Ndc3 33. h4 $6 (33. Bxe4+ {This was probably Kramnik's best chance in the entire game.} Nxe4 34. Kf3 f5 ( 34... Nc5 35. Rb1 Nd3 36. Ke3 Nxf2 37. b4 Nxh3 38. b5 {and Black's pieces are far too disorganized to stop the b-pawn.}) 35. Ke3 {Now g4 is a threat.} Ra8 36. Nd2 $1 {and White gets his rook behind his b-pawn which gives him very good winning chances.}) 33... g5 34. h5 $1 {Kramnik is planning to win the h6 pawn.} Kg7 35. b4 Ra4 36. Bxe4 Nxe4 37. Rb1 Nc3 38. Rc1 Ne2 39. Rc2 Nd4 40. Rd2 Nc6 41. Ne3 Rxb4 42. Nf5+ Kh7 43. Rd6 {(#) After a series of good forced "threat and parry" moves, the b-pawn is exchanged for h6 and we finally avoid one of those typical 3 vs 2 endgames! Good work Mr. Kramnik!} Ne5 44. Rxh6+ Kg8 45. Ra6 Ng4 46. Ra8+ Kh7 47. Ra7 Nh6 $1 {Good defense by Tomashevsky, yet it does not solve his problems.} 48. Nd6 Kg7 49. Kf3 $2 {This lets all possible winning chances slip away.} (49. Kh3 {(#) This is the only move which keeps White's hopes alive. White moves his king in vain but the idea is in fact to keep the king out it! The rook and knight will take care of the material advantage but it is not clear whether that is enough either.} g4+ (49...Rb2 50. f3 Rb3 51. Ra5 Rxf3 52. Rxg5+ Kh8 53. Rc5 Kg7) 50. Kh4 {and White's king becomes active, though ensuing endgame is drawish.} Rb2 51. Ne8+ Kh7 52. Nf6+ Kg7 53. Nxg4 Nxg4 54. Kxg4 Rxf2 55. Kg5 Rb2 56. g4 Rb5+ 57. Kh4 Rb4) 49... g4+ 50. Kg2 Rb6 $1 {Careful defense by Tomashevksy. From now on, he does not give Kramnik even the slightest winning chances.} 51. Ne8+ Kh7 52. Ra5 Re6 53. Nc7 Rf6 54. Kf1 Rf5 55. Rd5 Rf6 (55... Rxd5 56. Nxd5 Nf5 57. Nf6+ Kh6 58. Nxg4+ Kxh5 {is another primitive drawish position that could have arisen.}) 56. Rd7 Rf5 57. Nd5 Kg7 58. Nf4 Re5 59. Rd5 Re4 60. Ng2 Kf6 {White cannot really improve much. Black has created a fortress with his king and knight and by keeping his rooks active, he has simplified his defensive tasks.} 61. Ne3 Ra4 62. Ke2 Ra3 63. Rc5 Rb3 64. Nd5+ Kg7 65. Nc3 Rb6 66. Rg5+ Kf8 67. Re5 Kg7 68. Ke3 Rb3 69. Rc5 Rb2 70. Rg5+ Kf8 71. Rb5 Rc2 72. Ne4 Kg7 73. Rg5+ Kf8 74. Nf6 Rc3+ 75. Ke4 Rc4+ 76. Kd3 Ra4 77. Nh7+ Ke7 78. Re5+ Kd6 79. Rb5 Kc6 80. Rb8 Ra2 81. Ke3 Ra5 82. Nf6 Rf5 83. Ne4 Rxh5 84. Rd8 Kc7 85. Re8 Rf5 86. Rh8 Rf3+ 87. Kd4 Nf5+ 88. Ke5 Ne7 89. Rh7 Ng6+ 90. Kd4 Kd8 91. Ng5 Rxf2 92. Nxf7+ Ke8 93. Ng5 Rf5 94. Ne6 Rf7 95. Rh6 Ne7 96. Rh8+ Kd7 97. Nc5+ Kc7 {Kramnik is not ready to shake hands yet! But playing with just a few seconds left on his clock, he soon decides to call it a day.} 98. Ra8 Nc6+ 99. Kc4 Rf1 100. Ne4 Rd1 101. Re8 Re1 102. Kd5 Rd1+ 103. Ke6 Rd8 104. Rxd8 Kxd8 105. Nc3 Nd4+ 106. Ke5 Nf3+ 107. Kf4 Nh2 108. Nd5 {To summarize: Tomashevsky missed some small tactics here and there but the drawish tendency of these positions let him escape with a draw despite Kramnik's efforts.} 1/2-1/2

The final round will see Ian Nepomniachtchi still nursing his sole leadership with 5.5/8 as the others try to challenge him. He faces Boris Gelfand with black, and though Gelfand is as tough as nails, it has been a difficult event for him. Still, should Gelfand win by any chance, the podium will lie wide open. Anish Giri is only a half-point behind with 5.0/8 and also plays black, though against Li Chao, and he too has a mountain to climb if he wishes to produce a miracle. Finally, Aronian, Kramnik and Anand are all tied one point behind with 4.5/8, with Kramnik playing black against Mamedyarov, and Anand with white against Aronian.

Replay today's games (with times per move)

Select games from the list below the board

Standings after round eight

Schedule and pairings

Round 1 - Sept. 26 - 14h CET
Bo.
No.
Rtg
 
Name
Result
 
Name
Rtg
No.
1
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
½-½
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
1-0
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
3
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
½-½ 
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
4
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
½-½
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
5
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
½-½
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
Round 2 - Sept. 27 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
½-½
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
2
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
3
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris
0-1 
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
4
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
½-½
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
5
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
½-½
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
Rest day
Round 3 - Sept. 29 - 14h CET
1
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
1-0
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
½-½
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1
3
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
1-0
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
4
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
5
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B
½-½
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
Round 4 - Sept. 30 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
1-0
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
2
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris
0-1
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
3
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
½-½
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
4
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
0-1
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
5
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
½-½
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
Round 5 - Oct. 1 - 14h CET
1
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
½-½
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
½-½
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
3
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
½-½
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1
4
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B
½-½
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
5
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
Round 6 - Oct. 2 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
1-0
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
2
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
½-½
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
3
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
1-0
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
4
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
1-0
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
5
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
1-0
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
Rest day
Round 7 - Oct. 4 - 14h CET
1
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
½-½
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
½-½
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
3
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B
½-½
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
4
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan
½-½
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1
5
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris
½-½
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
Round 8 - Oct. 5 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
½-½
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
2
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter
½-½
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
3
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
½-½
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
4
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon
½-½
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
5
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish
½-½
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
Round 9 - Oct 6 - 12h CET
1
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
 
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B
 
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
3
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan
 
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
4
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris
 
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
5
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
 
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1

Links

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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.
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Daniel Quigley Daniel Quigley 10/6/2016 08:38
Of course you have five draws this round. There are no American GMs in the tournament.
1