Tal R01: All games drawn – with plenty of excitement

11/5/2009 – Organisers don't like the 'all games drawn' headline. But in round one of the very strong Tal Memorial all were more or less hard fought. Carlsen, Anand and Leko had at some stage shaky positions against Kramnik, Ivanchuk and Morozevich respectively, but all three pulled it together and held draws. On Playchess the spectators spotted some fairly prominent kibitzers. Round one report.

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Tal Memorial 2009

The Tal Memorial, which is taking place from November 4th to 19th, is the strongest tournament of the year, and at category 21 (average Elo 2764) one of the strongest of all time. It is a ten-player round robin with classical time controls – 40 moves in two hours, then 20 moves in one hour and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with 30 seconds increment per move in this phase. The first four games take place in the National Hotel (Mokhovaya Street D15), the last five in the mall GUM (Red Square 3). The games start at 15:00h local Moscow time, which is 13:00h EST (Berlin, Paris), 12:00h London, 7:00 a.m. New York, 5:30 p.m. New Delhi, 11:00 p.m. Sydney. You can find the exact starting time at your location here. The World Blitz Championship (see below) will be staged after the main event, from November 16-18 2009 in GUM.

Round one report

Round 1: Thursday, November 5, 2009
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Alex. Morozevich 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Vishy Anand

All five games were drawn in the first rond, all five after genuine fights. The final game to end was Magnus Carlsen vs Vladimir Kramnik, after six hours and 58 moves of uncompromising attacking chess, including a very deadly-looking exchange sacrifice on move 45 by Kramnik. Click on "Games" in our results table above to replay and download all games of this round.

Carlsen,M (2801) - Kramnik,V (2772) [E32]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1), 05.11.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d5 7.cxd5 Ne4 8.Qc2 exd5 9.Bf4 Nc6 10.e3. Haven't we seen this position before? Right, last Monday Anand had it against Karpov in the final game of their rapid chess match in Corsica (Anand played 10...g5 and won in 32 moves). 10...Re8N 11.Nf3 g5 (very sharp, uncompromising play by Kramnik) 12.Bg3 g4 13.Ne5 Nxe5 14.Bxe5 c5 15.Bd3 Bf5 16.Qe2

16...f6! 17.Bxe4 Bxe4 18.Bg3 Qa5+ 19.Qd2 Qxd2+. Kramnik decides to try and win the queenless game. It would have been interesting if he kept the queens (with 19...Qa6, as Fritz urges) and continued to turn the screws. 20.Kxd2 c4 21.f3 gxf3 22.gxf3 Bg6. Carlsen has neutralised the danger and can start playing for initiative himself. 23.h4 Bh5 24.Ke2 Re6 25.Be1 Kf7 26.Kf2 Rae8 27.Bd2 Rb6 28.Bc3 Rb3 29.a4 b6 30.Rhe1 Bg6 31.e4 dxe4 32.d5 a6 33.fxe4 Bxe4 34.d6 f5 35.Rg1 Ke6 36.Rg7 Kxd6 37.Rxh7 Bd3 38.Kf3 Re4 39.h5 Rh4 40.Rg1 Be4+ 41.Ke3 Rh3+ 42.Kf4 Rf3+ 43.Kg5 b5 44.axb5 axb5 45.Kf6

Just when everyone had resigned themselves to a draw Kramnik uncorks a exchange sacrifice: 45...Rbxc3 46.bxc3 Rxc3. Great excitement on the Playchess server, but the chess engines say it is a draw. Still, for humans there is a lot of sharp play left. 47.Rg8 Rh3 48.Rc8 c3 49.Rhc7 c2 50.Kg5 Rh2 51.Rc3?! 51.Rc5 was required, according to Fritz, but Carlsen seems to know what he is doing. 51...Ke6 52.Re8+ Kf7 53.Rb8 Rg2+ 54.Kf4 Ke6 55.Re8+ Kd7 56.Rb8 Ke6 57.Re8+ Kf6 58.Rf8+ Ke6 1/2-1/2.

Morozevich,A (2750) - Leko,P (2752) [C45]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1), 05.11.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qf3 bxc6 7.Nc3 d6 8.Qg3 Qg6 9.Bd2 Nf6 10.f3 0-0 11.0-0-0 Nd7 12.Qxg6 hxg6 13.h4 a5 14.h5 gxh5 15.Rxh5 g6 16.Rh2 Bg1 17.Rh1 Bd4 18.a4 Bg7 19.b3 Ne5 20.Be2 Ba6 21.Bxa6 Rxa6 22.Rh3 Re8 23.Rdh1 Nd7 24.g4 Raa8 25.g5 Nc5 26.Ne2 Ne6 27.f4 Nc5 28.f5 gxf5 29.exf5 Rxe2 30.f6 Rxd2 31.Rh7

How would you feel with black in a position like this against a player like Morozevich? He is threatening 32.Rxg7 and mate on h8. Leko keeps his cool: 31...Rxc2+ 32.Kxc2 Ne6 33.fxg7 Ra7. Nerves of steel. 34.R1h5 Rb7 35.Kc3 c5 36.Rh8+ Kxg7 37.R8h7+ Kg8 38.Rh8+ Kg7 39.R8h7+ 1/2-1/2. Nice game, well played by both sides.

Gelfand,B (2758) - Ponomariov,R (2739) [E10]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1), 05.11.2009
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bd6 6.Bg2 c6 7.0-0 Nbd7 8.Nc3 dxc4 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.Ne4 Qe7 12.Nfd2 Nb6 13.f4 0-0 14.Qc2 c5 15.Nxc4 Nxc4 16.Qxc4 cxd4 17.Nxd6 Qxd6 18.Rad1 e5 19.fxe5 Qxe5 20.Qxd4 Qxd4+ 21.Rxd4 Be6 22.Bxb7 Rab8 23.Bd5 Bxd5 24.Rxd5 Rxb2 25.Ra5 Re8 26.Rxa7 Rexe2 27.Rfxf7 Re1+ 28.Rf1 Ree2 29.Rff7 1/2-1/2.

Aronian,L (2786) - Svidler,P (2754) [D80]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1), 05.11.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 dxc4 7.e3 Be6 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.Qb1 b6 10.Be2 c5 11.0-0 0-0 12.Rd1 Nd7 13.dxc5 Qe8 14.c6 Nc5 15.Nd4 Bd5 16.Qb5 Rc8 17.Bxc4 Bxc6 18.Nxc6 Rxc6 19.Rac1 Rc7 20.Bg3 Qxb5 21.Bxb5 Rcc8 22.f3 a6 23.Be2 b5 24.Be1 Na4 25.c4 Nb2 26.Rd7 Nxc4 27.Bxc4 e6 28.Bb4 Rfe8 29.Ra7 bxc4 30.Rxa6 c3 31.Rc2 Red8 32.Rd6 Rxd6 33.Bxd6 Rd8 34.Bb4 Rd1+ 35.Kf2 Rb1 36.Bxc3 Bxc3 37.Rxc3 Rb2+ 1/2-1/2.

Ivanchuk,V (2739) - Anand,V (2788) [D94]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1), 05.11.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.e3 0-0 6.Bd2 c6 7.Qb3 e6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 Qe7 10.Na4 Re8 11.Bb4 Qd8 12.Bd6 dxc4 13.Qxc4 Nb8 14.Qc5 b5 15.Nc3 Bb7

Here Ivanchuk went into a think that was so deep that people thought the game broadcast from Moscow was frozen. A very strong player suggested on Playchess that Anand would be in trouble after 16.a4, and the more people analysed the position the clearer it became. But at very long last Ivanchuk played a less ambitious line: 16.Rac1 a5 17.Bg3 Nbd7. Our chess engines suggest that Black can play 17...e5, and some quick analysis with them show this to be a plausible conclusion. 18.Qd6 Bf8 19.Qc7 Qxc7 20.Bxc7 Rec8 21.Be5 b4 22.Na4 Nd5 23.Nc5 Nxc5 24.dxc5 f6 25.Bg3 e5 26.Rfd1 Ba6 27.Bxa6 Rxa6 28.Nd2 a4 29.e4 Nc7 30.f3

How the tides have changed – now it looks as though Ivanchuk has chances of losing. 30...Bh6. Maybe 30...a3 or 30...Nb5 would have caused more trouble for White. 31.Rb1 a3 32.Nc4 Nb5 33.Be1 axb2 34.Rxb2 Rca8 35.Bxb4 Rxa2 36.Rxa2 Rxa2 37.Kf1 Bf8 38.Nd6 Nd4 39.Be1 Rc2 40.Bf2 Nb3 41.Nb7 Nxc5 42.Nxc5 Bxc5 43.Bxc5 Rxc5 44.Rd8+ 1/2-1/2. An tense and exciting struggle.

The Boss on Playchess

Today we had the pleasure of once again welcoming "the boss" in the broadcast room of the Playchess server. Garry Kasparov, who trains Magnus Carlsen, was there following the progress of his charge – and kibitzing in the other games.

A quick look at the Playchess server statistics show over seven thousand visitors were logged in at 19:00h CET (server time). A total of 20,054 had been on the server on this day, and played 146,237 games. The total number of games played since the server was launched is now 397,426,713. Will the 400 million game mark be reached before the end of the Tal Memorial. Work on it, ladies and gentlemen! Incidentally one lady has chalked up just over 139,000 games, the fifth largest number since the launch of the server.


Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, November 5, 2009
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Alex. Morozevich 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Round 2: Friday, November 6, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
-
 Vishy Anand
Peter Svidler 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Ruslan Ponomariov 
-
 Levon Aronian
Peter Leko 
-
 Boris Gelfand
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Alex. Morozevich
Games – Report
Round 3: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Alex. Morozevich 
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
Boris Gelfand 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
-
 Peter Leko
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Vishy Anand 
-
 Peter Svidler
Games – Report
Round 4: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
-
 Peter Svidler
Ruslan Ponomariov 
-
 Vishy Anand
Peter Leko 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Levon Aronian
Alex. Morozevich 
-
 Boris Gelfand
Games – Report
Monday, November 9, 2009 Free day
M T W T F S S
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 27 27 29 29
Round 5: Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Boris Gelfand 
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian 
-
 Alex. Morozevich
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
-
 Peter Leko
Peter Svidler 
-
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Games – Report
Round 6: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
-
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Peter Leko 
-
 Peter Svidler
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Vishy Anand
Alex. Morozevich 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Boris Gelfand 
-
 Levon Aronian
Games – Report
Round 7: Thursday, November 12, 2009
Levon Aronian 
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Boris Gelfand
Vishy Anand 
-
 Alex. Morozevich
Peter Svidler 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Ruslan Ponomariov 
-
 Peter Leko
Games – Report
Round 8: Friday, November 13, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
-
 Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Alex. Morozevich 
-
 Peter Svidler
Boris Gelfand 
-
 Vishy Anand
Levon Aronian 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Games – Report
Round 9: Saturday, November 14, 2009
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
Vishy Anand 
-
 Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler 
-
 Boris Gelfand
Ruslan Ponomariov 
-
 Alex. Morozevich
Peter Leko 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Games – Report

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 the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!


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