Tal Round 1: Nepo crushes

by Alejandro Ramirez
9/26/2016 – The first round of the Tal Memorial had absolute dominance by Ian Nepomniachtchi in a Scotch against his compatriot Evgeny Tomashevsky. After only 23 moves and less than two hours of play, Black was forced to resign in a hopeless position. Svidler almost toppled Kramnik, but was unable to put the finishing touch. All other games were solid draws to kick off the event.

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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 One

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili

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

Before the games started, a moment of silence was observed in honor of Mark Dvoretsky

Round one in Moscow started out with a bang: within the hour it was clear that one of the games was going to be decisive.

Svidler, Peter ½-½ Kramnik, Vladimir
A bit of a heartbreak from the hero from Saint Petersburg:

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.09.26"] [Round "1"] [White "Svidler, P."] [Black "Kramnik, V."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A30"] [WhiteElo "2745"] [BlackElo "2808"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "131"] [EventDate "2016.09.25"] 1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 c5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 O-O 9. Rd1 d6 10. Bg5 Nc6 11. Qd2 Qb8 12. Rac1 Rd8 13. b3 h6 14. Bf4 Ne5 15. Nd4 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Qb7+ 17. f3 g5 $6 {This weakening of the position is a bit too ambitious.} (17... Ng6 $1 18. Be3 {what else?} d5 {was a better way to achieve the break that Kramnik wanted. Black is slightly better already, as White has some problems down the d-file and with Ba3 coming.}) 18. Be3 d5 19. Bxg5 $1 {Svidler is quick to pick up the gauntlet. This is the only reaction that White truly has against the break in the center.} hxg5 20. Qxg5+ Ng6 21. Nxe6 {The point, really. White has netted three pawns for the piece, but also Black's king is a bit loose and his coordination has suffered because of it.} Rd6 22. Nf4 Ne4 23. Qg4 Nxc3 (23... Nf6 24. Qf5 {allows White to keep up the pressure.}) 24. Rxc3 d4 25. Rcd3 Rad8 $6 (25... Qc8 {it was probably time to trade the queens. Black will lose d4 anyway.}) 26. Nd5 Bf8 27. Rxd4 Bg7 28. R4d2 (28. Nf6+ $6 Bxf6 29. Rxd6 Rxd6 30. Rxd6 Qe7 31. Rd2 Qe3 32. Rc2 Bd4 { looks like it gives Black enough counterplay to hold the game.}) 28... b5 29. Qe4 Qb8 30. c5 Re8 31. Qg4 (31. Qxe8+ $1 Qxe8 32. cxd6 Qd7 33. Nc7 $1 {In time pressure it is difficult ot assess a position like this, but Black should be lost here. The rooks are dangerously close to coordinating in such a way to kick the blockader from d7 and push the pawn, while Black has no real counterplay.}) 31... Rde6 32. e4 Qc8 33. Rc2 Ne5 34. Qf5 Qb7 35. f4 {Perhaps not a bad move, but very committal in a time trouble situation.} (35. h4 $1 $16 ) 35... Nc6 36. e5 Nb4 37. Rcd2 f6 {Risky, but in time trouble it makes sense to make the position explode.} 38. Qe4 (38. Kh3 $1 {A crazy move to play in time trouble, but the point is that after the forced} Nxd5 39. Rxd5 {Black cannot play fxe5} fxe5 40. Rd7 {with Qf7+ winning. The Rh6+ does little after Kg4.}) 38... Nxd5 39. Rxd5 fxe5 40. f5 Ra6 41. R1d2 $16 {Things are not so easy anymore, but we have crossed the 40th move and time control was reached.} Kh8 42. h4 Rh6 43. Kf3 $2 (43. b4) 43... Rh5 $1 44. Qg4 $6 (44. Rxe5 Qxe4+ 45. Rxe4 Rxf5+ 46. Kg4 Rfe5 $1 {is close to a draw.}) 44... Rxf5+ $1 45. Qxf5 Rf8 46. Qxf8+ Bxf8 {With White's queen off the board, perhaps Black can even think of winning the game. That being said, it's still a lot of pawns and the rooks can coordinate well against the king even now.} 47. b4 Qf7+ 48. Kg2 e4 49. Re5 $1 {After the mistakes, Svidler plays well again to not allow winning chances.} Qf3+ 50. Kh2 Qc3 51. Rdd5 e3 52. Re8 Kg7 53. Kh3 Qe1 54. Rde5 Qxb4 55. Rg5+ Kf7 56. Rxe3 Bxc5 57. Rf3+ Ke6 58. Rg6+ Ke7 59. Rg7+ Ke6 60. Rg6+ Kd7 61. Rg7+ Be7 62. Re3 a5 63. h5 (63. Rexe7+ Qxe7 64. Rxe7+ Kxe7 65. h5 Kf6 $19 {Black stops the pawns and queens on the queenside.}) 63... Kd8 (63... a4 64. h6 {is winning as Black now can't stop Rxe7.}) 64. Rg8+ Kd7 65. Rg7 Kd8 66. Rg8+ { An interesting draw that surely leaves Svidler with a sour taste.} 1/2-1/2

Peter Svidler let big Vlad go in a long struggle

Nepomniachtchi, Ian 1-0 Tomashevsky, Evgeny

Tomashevsky thinking about things to come...

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.09.26"] [Round "1"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, I."] [Black "Tomashevsky, E."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2740"] [BlackElo "2731"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "45"] [EventDate "2016.09.25"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 {Nepo has been using the Scotch lately, including two victories against Chinese players in Danzhou and being held to a draw by Brunello in the Olympiad. It must not have come as a surprise to Tomashevsky.} Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. c4 Ba6 {Even though this was played almost exclusively for some time, the move 8...Nb6 has become more popular in recent years. Both should be perfectly playable for black.} 9. b3 g6 10. f4 (10. g3 {is the other idea in the position and leads to entirely different lines.}) 10... Bg7 $2 {Is this a mistake? It is the most popular move, as it has been played over 200 times, and by a couple strong players. The computers hate this move, and it has a very bad score on the database (61% for White). Not only that, but all the top grandmasters choose something else (Kasparov chose f6, while Jakovenko chose g5). Perhaps it is this early that we can point out where things started to go wrong for Tomashevsky.} 11. Qf2 Nf6 (11... Nb6 12. Ba3 Qe6 13. Nd2 $6 d6 14. O-O-O O-O 15. Ne4 dxe5 $1 {Gave Black compensation for the exchange (though he eventually lost) in Macieja-Kryvoruchko, 2012. That being said, White can improve on Nd2?!}) 12. Ba3 (12. Be2 {also looks quite annoying for black.}) 12... d6 $6 (12... Ng4 $1 {is probably Black's best, as in Shabalov-Granda Zuniga from 2005.}) 13. Nc3 { Already Black has huge problems. The threat of 0-0-0 with pressure on d6 is not easy to handle.} O-O (13... Qe6 14. Be2 dxe5 15. O-O {looks extremely risky. Black's king is completely stuck in the center.}) 14. O-O-O Ne8 15. g3 { simple chess is strong. Notice that due to the pin on a3-e7, there is no way that Black can break the bind in the center. The simple threat of Bg2 is hard to parry already. Black doesn't have the luxury of playing c5 either.} Bb7 ( 15... c5 16. Bg2 Rb8 17. Rhe1 {and e5 is still untouchable.}) (15... Qe6 16. Bg2 Bb7 17. Rhe1 {is miserable.}) 16. Bg2 f6 17. exd6 $1 Nxd6 (17... cxd6 18. Rhe1 Qd8 19. f5 $18 {is surprisingly less disastrous than the game.}) 18. c5 { The knight has no good squares to go to.} Nf5 (18... Nb5 19. Nxb5 {is winning due to the pin.}) (18... Nf7 19. Rhe1 {immediately traps the queen.}) (18... Ne8 19. Rhe1 Qf7 20. Bf1 {is the same as the game.}) 19. Rhe1 Qf7 20. Bf1 { The game is over. There is no way to prevent Bc4 - not only is it a pin, but it just traps the queen on that square!} Rfd8 21. Rxd8+ Rxd8 22. Bc4 Rd5 23. Qe2 {Black loses the exchange and his position is still bad. Absolutely demolition.} 1-0

Nepomniachtchi in the Russian press conference

Aronian, Levon ½-½ Gelfand, Boris
Aronian's first white of this tournament was used up in a quiet English variation, with a very high draw rate. His novelty of Ne5 is unlikely to put this variation back on the map, as Gelfand was easily able to equalize and reach an endgame without any kind of life in it. The game was drawn early in the day.

A quiet start for Levon in the Tal Memorial

Giri, Anish ½-½ Anand, Viswanathan
The symmetrical pawn structure system that arose in this game always favors white: better pieces and slightly better structure give real chances to press. However Black was super solid, and the lack of weaknesses made it hard for Giri to make progress. Anand use his usual clever methods of defending and his timely advance of central/kingside pawns allowed him to simplify into a very drawish endgame. Giri kept trying, but had to concede the draw at some point.

Giri will never say no to pushing with a slight advantage, even if it doesn't translate into bucketloads of wins

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar ½-½ Li Chao
Another symmetrical pawn structure game. Li Chao's 12...Bg4 was a slight improvement over his 12...Qa5 that he played against Carlsen and lost with in Norway, though that was a blitz game. Even though Mamedyarov won a pawn, the resulting pressure that Black obtained was worth maybe even more than the material. After some simplifications the game simply fizzled out to a draw.

Mamedyarov isn't in a hot start like in the blitz, but a draw with Li Chao is ok

Replay today's games

Select games from the list below the board

Standings after Round One

Final blitz standings

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  
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
2
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan  
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
3
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris  
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
4
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny  
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
5
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter  
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
Rest day
Round 3 - Sept. 29 - 14h CET
1
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian  
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon  
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1
3
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish  
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
4
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar  
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
5
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B  
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
Round 4 - Sept. 30 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir  
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
2
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris  
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
3
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny  
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
4
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter  
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
5
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian  
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
Round 5 - Oct. 1 - 14h CET
1
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon  
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish  
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
3
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar  
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1
4
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B  
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
5
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan  
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
Round 6 - Oct. 2 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir  
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
2
9
2731
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny  
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
3
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter  
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
4
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian  
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2761
5
5
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon  
GM
Giri Anish
2755
4
Rest day
Round 7 - Oct. 4 - 14h CET
1
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish  
GM
Kramnik Vladimir
2808
10
2
5
2761
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar  
GM
Aronian Levon
2795
3
3
6
2746
GM
Li Chao B  
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2740
2
4
7
2776
GM
Anand Viswanathan  
GM
Svidler Peter
2745
1
5
8
2743
GM
Gelfand Boris  
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
Round 8 - Oct. 5 - 14h CET
1
10
2808
GM
Kramnik Vladimir  
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2731
9
2
1
2745
GM
Svidler Peter  
GM
Gelfand Boris
2743
8
3
2
2740
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian  
GM
Anand Viswanathan
2776
7
4
3
2795
GM
Aronian Levon  
GM
Li Chao B
2746
6
5
4
2755
GM
Giri Anish  
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

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 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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nokia x nokia x 9/26/2016 10:00
i like this scotch opening :)
1