Tal R06: Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Gelfand win

11/11/2009 – And Vladimir Kramnik has once again taken the sole lead, with plus three and a 2955 performance. In a remarkable game against former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov, Kramnik pressed for 81 moves until the Ukrainian's succumbed to zugzwang. Gelfand laid Aronian's Meran System to waste, Morozevich-Ivanchuk ended in a black victory by the masked chessplayer!

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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 six report

Round 6: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Alex. Morozevich 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Boris Gelfand 
1-0
 Levon Aronian

Carlsen-Anand: draw
Today's encounter between the current world champion and his soon-to-be successor saw the employment of the Ragozin Defence in the Queen's Gambit Declined, with 5.Bg5. Until Black's 11th move, the game was a transposition of Olesen-Hvid (1992) – a rather tame 24-move draw. Where Olesen opted for 12.g3, leaving his kingside pawns intact, Carlsen chose the much more daring 12.g4, with the idea of a kingside pawn storm. Unfortunately, for fans of the ill prodigy, Carlsen was ultimately forced to enter into a perpetual, which was much preferred to facing the wrath of Anand's connected passers on the queenside. After 36 moves, the players sealed it with a handshake.

Leko-Svidler: draw
Tied for a share of last place, these players chose to employ the Sicilian-Kan in an effort to shake things up. Until White's ninth move, Kogan-Meier (2007) was followed, where Kogan outplayed his significantly weaker opponent in 33 moves. With Svidler's 9...d5, the game promised to be a dynamic struggle. Unfortunately, it steered its way into an opposite-coloured bishops ending, with no hope for progress. So, after 41 moves, the players found themselves calling it a day.

Those were the undecided games of the day. Now to the more violent stuff.

Kramnik-Ponomariov: 1-0
It looks like Vladimir Kramnik has found a new his brand of Kryptonite in his chess strategy: get an lone pawn to the sixth or seventh rank and chances are good you will win the game.

R1: Carlsen-Kramnik (draw)
R2: Kramnik-Anand (draw)
R3 Morozevich-Kramnik (0-1)
R4: Kramnik-Svidler (1-0)
R5: Gelfand-Kramnik (draw)
R6: Kramnik-Ponomariov (1-0)

This sounds like voodoo, but hey, if you haven't tried it, don't knock it. Kramnik has plus three in six rounds, and an Elo performance of 2955 – you can argue with that if you like.

Anyway: round six was another day at the office for Kramnik, as he took Ponomariov to task in the second Ragozin Defence of the day. On Black's 15th move, the game deviated from a transposition of Novikov-Serper from the Soviet Championship of 1991, in which a well-played game led to a 40-move draw. The game in question saw 15...Bg4, where, today, Ponomariov went for the somewhat misguided 15...b5. 17...Qa3 proved painful, as it allowed an unhindered c7 advance only a couple of moves later, which proved a thorn for some time. Ponomariov ultimately fought his way back to a fairly even game, however, only to let it slip again with 37...f5, allowing the defender of the queening square to be removed without a fight. A complicated endgame ensued, in which Kramnik put his edge to good use in grinding down the fresh-faced Ukrainian.

There is a lot more to say about the round six game against Ponomariov, but that will have to wait for the experts of ChessBase Magazine, who will have a field day. We only want to show you the final moments of this exciting encounter:

Kramnik,V (2772) - Ponomariov,R (2739) [D38]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (6), 11.11.2009
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 c5 8.dxc5 Qa5 9.Rc1 Ne4 10.Qxd5 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Bxc3+ 12.Kd1 0-0 13.Bc4 Nf6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Ke2 b5 16.c6 Ba6 17.Qf5 Qa3 18.Bd3 Rfd8 19.c7 Qxa2+ 20.Nd2 Rxd3 21.Qxd3 b4 22.Kf3 Bb7+ 23.Kg3 h5 24.h3 Qa5 25.f4 Rc8 26.Nc4 Qa6 27.Ne5 Qxd3 28.Nxd3 Bc3 29.Rhd1 a5 30.Nc5 Rxc7 31.Na4 Be4 32.Rd6 Kh7 33.Ra6 h4+ 34.Kh2 Rd7 35.Nc5 Re7 36.Rxa5 Bd2 37.Rc4 f5 38.Nxe4 fxe4 39.Rh5+ Kg6 40.Rg5+ Kf6 41.Rc6+ Kf7 42.Rf5+ Kg8 43.g4 Re8 44.Re5 Rb8 45.g5 Kh7 46.Re7 Bxe3 47.Rh6+ Kg8 48.Rg6 Bd4 49.Rge6 Kh7 50.f5 Bc5 51.Re8 Rxe8 52.Rxe8 b3 53.Kg2 Be3 54.Rxe4 Bxg5 55.Rb4 g6 56.Rb7+ Kh6 57.fxg6 Kxg6 58.Kf3 Bd2 59.Kg4 Be1 60.Rxb3 Bg3 61.Rf3 Be1 62.Re3 Bf2 63.Re6+ Kf7 64.Kf5 Bg3 65.Re4 Bf2 66.Kg5 Bg3 67.Re2 Kg7 68.Re7+ Kf8 69.Kf6 Bf2 70.Re6 Bg3 71.Kg6 Bh2 72.Re4 Bg3 73.Kf6 Bf2 74.Kg6 Bg3 75.Re2 Bd6 76.Kg5 Bg3 77.Kf6 Bf4 78.Re4 Bd6? 78...Bc7 would have continued the resistance.

79.Rd4 [not, of course, 79.Rxh4 Be7+=] 79...Bc7 80.Kg6 Bg3 81.Re4

At last: zugzwang (or "volkswagen", as Jon Speelman calls it). Black is lost – Fritz tells us it it mate in 20 – because it is his turn to play. He cannot defend the pawn directly or indirectly, and so the only move is to resign. 1-0.

Gelfand-Aronian: 1-0
Today's struggle between age and beauty saw Aronian's Meran System in the Semi-Slav laid to waste. The chosen opening has been heavily explored in the past, though they finally deviated from reference games – most prominent amongst them, a 61-move white victory for Bruzon over Dominguez in the 2004 Cuban Championship – with 24...Nb6. Historically, the particular line chosen by these players pays dividends to White, so one can only imagine what was running through Aronian's mind as he pondered his options. The Armenian's experiment volunteered a pawn to Gelfand, which was readily accepted. Thereafter, the Israeli steered towards a pawn-up ending, which he ground out for a 66-move victory. After becoming the newest victim on the black side of this line, Aronian's perpetual smile must have lost some of its shine, though we can be sure his play will entertain again tomorrow.

Morozevich-Ivanchuk: 0-1
This game saw the welcome union of two of the most unpredictable players in the world's elite, indicating to the audience that they were in for some fireworks. Until 11...a6, the game followed Ouakhir-Lecoq (2005), entering new territory with 12.Bg5. Though Ivanchuk enjoyed an edge, life was tolerable for Morozevich, until things derailed for him after 30.Bd3. Soon, Ivanchuk, who is playing with a surgical mask to ward off the H1N1 virus, deftly arranged the exchange of the f2-bishop, clearing the way for a punishing queenside pawn storm. In the face of imminent disaster, Morozevich raised the white flag on his 49th move; thus, entering into a three-way tie for last on the most current crosstable.

Michael von Keitz

Standings after six rounds

Video impressions

People are ill at the Tal Memorial, people are in fact ill all over the world, with the H1N1 flu being given a derogatory porcine name that really turns the public off. In view of all this one person is taking a stand: Vassily Ivanchuk has started to play his games wearing a surgical mask. It is a loose gauze mask and would seem more appropriate for keeping out flies, not viruses, which are just microns in size. However, it is the thought that counts, and the entertainment value, which Vasl has always been good to provide in copious amounts.

You will want to fast forward to 1 min. 20 sec., where Magnus Carlsen takes his seat, spots Ivanchuk and then shares his mirth with first Levon Aronian and then Peter Svidler. We love to see chess players having fun.


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 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Peter Svidler 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Boris Gelfand
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Alex. Morozevich
Round 3: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Alex. Morozevich 
0-1
 Vladimir Kramnik
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Vishy Anand 
1-0
 Peter Svidler
Round 4: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Peter Svidler
Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Alex. Morozevich 
½-½
 Boris Gelfand
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 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Alex. Morozevich
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Peter Svidler 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Round 6: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Alex. Morozevich 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Boris Gelfand 
1-0
 Levon Aronian
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

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