Tal Round 6: White bloodbath

by Alejandro Ramirez
10/2/2016 – What an exciting and powerful round we had in Moscow! Four white wins, which blast the tournament wide open! The most important ones for the top standings were Aronian's win against Giri, finishing with a flourish, and Nepo's positional domination against Mamedyarov: the Russian now regains sole lead. Svidler blew Li Chao off the board while Kramnik beat Gelfand, who suffered his fifth loss in a row.

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 Six

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili

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

Kramnik, Vladimir 1-0 Gelfand, Boris
Gelfand essayed a sharp Najdorf Sicilian against Kramnik's 1.e4, but it paid no dividends. I personally believe the line Gelfand chose is not promising for Black, and Kramnik's positional advantages grew and grew. Eventually, the endgame was simply hopeless.

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.10.02"] [Round "6.4"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Gelfand, Boris"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B96"] [WhiteElo "2808"] [BlackElo "2743"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2016.09.26"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Nbd7 8. Qe2 Qc7 9. O-O-O b5 10. a3 Bb7 (10... Be7 {was what MVL played against Wei Yi last year, and in the Najdorf I just believe whatever the Frenchman decides is best. }) 11. g4 Rc8 12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. h4 Qb6 (13... Nb6 {was Grischuk-Wang Hao from 2013, a game in which White also won. The computers hate this line for Black overall though.}) 14. Rh3 h5 15. f5 e5 16. Nb3 hxg4 17. Qxg4 b4 18. axb4 Qxb4 { Black's structural problems will persist well into an endgame. The question is how much counterplay he can muster with his pair of bishops and some open files on the queenside. Black's king, at least for now, is not in danger.} 19. Kb1 Nb6 20. Qe2 Bh6 21. Qf2 Rc6 $6 (21... Na4 22. Nxa4 Qxa4 {was a strong possiblity, weakening the e4 pawn} 23. Rxd6 $8 Bxe4 24. Bd3 $1 {but White seems to have the better part of this endgame too. Just imagine a knight installed on e4 after the trade of bishops...}) 22. Na2 $1 Qa4 23. Rc3 $1 { A good positional idea. White exchanged the rook on c6, both a powerful attacked an important defender.} Ke7 24. Rxc6 Qxc6 25. Na5 Qc7 26. Nxb7 Qxb7 27. Nb4 Rb8 28. Qxb6 (28. Bxa6 Qxe4 29. Nd5+ Kf8 30. Nxf6 Qc6 {is winning according to the engines, but it certainly allows Black counterplay.}) 28... Qxb6 29. Nd5+ Kf8 30. Nxb6 Rxb6 31. c3 {The human solution. This endgame is simply lost: White's bishop is too powerful, the a-pawn is too weak, the h-pawn is a big problem, f7 is a permanent target.} Be3 32. Kc2 Kg7 33. b4 Kh6 34. Bc4 Bf2 35. Rh1 Rc6 36. Kb3 Rb6 37. Kc2 Rc6 38. Kd3 Rc7 39. Bxa6 Kh5 40. Bc4 Ra7 41. Bd5 Kh6 42. h5 Bb6 43. Kc4 Be3 44. Kb3 Bb6 45. Rh2 Be3 46. Re2 Bb6 47. Ra2 {It doesn't take Kramnik to calculate that the bishop endgame is winning.} Rxa2 48. Kxa2 Kxh5 49. Kb3 Bf2 50. Ka4 Kh6 51. Kb5 Kg7 52. Kc6 Kf8 53. b5 Ke7 54. Kc7 1-0

Simply put, Boris hasn't caught a single break this event

Tomashevsky, Evgeny ½-½ Anand, Viswanathan
Tomashevsky's play against the isolated pawn secured him a small advantage, but it was truly slight as Black's defense in the endgame did not seem that complicated. In a position where White got pretty much as good of a bishop endgame as he could get, it was clear that with only one weakness there was nothing that Tomashevsky could do to make progress.

Svidler, Peter 1-0 Li Chao
Peter must have liked his position yesterday against Shakhriyar so much that he played something along those lines with colors reversed!

Caissa listened today to one of her prodigal sons

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.10.02"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Li, Chao b"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A09"] [WhiteElo "2745"] [BlackElo "2746"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2016.09.26"] {It was truly surprising how easily Li Chao got in trouble today against Svidler.} 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 d4 3. b4 Bg4 4. Qb3 Nf6 5. g3 a5 6. b5 a4 7. Qd3 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 c6 {Over the past few moves, Black has foced White to play b4-b5 and threaten the structure on the queenside, while giving up his bishop on the light squares. This seems very unnatural to me, he is not even going to be able to exploit the c5 square properly.} 9. Bg2 e5 10. O-O Be7 11. d3 O-O 12. Nd2 h5 13. h3 g6 14. Rb1 {Svidler has only made natural moves. Now his pressure on the queenside is very considerable. Black has problems even developing.} Nh7 15. e3 {Black was threatening Ng5 trapping the queen, and the break on the center seems natural.} Re8 16. exd4 exd4 17. Re1 h4 18. bxc6 bxc6 19. Rb7 {White's advantage might already be winning. Notice the difference in power between both sides.} hxg3 20. fxg3 {Black has opened up the kingside, but perhaps this only helped White! Now the f-file is open.} Bf6 (20... Nd7 $1 21. Qxc6 (21. Ne4 $1 $16) 21... Nc5 22. Qxe8+ Qxe8 23. Rbxe7 Qb8 {is not 100% clear yet}) 21. Ne4 Nd7 22. Rf1 {The game is just over from now. Svidler soon collects the c6 pawn and his superior activity, his pair of bishops and simple technique reel in the point home.} Rxe4 23. Qxe4 Nc5 24. Qxc6 Rc8 25. Qb5 Nxb7 26. Bxb7 Rc7 27. Bf4 Re7 28. Be4 Nf8 29. c5 Be5 30. Bg5 Bxg3 31. Qb6 Qxb6 32. cxb6 Re5 33. Bf6 Rb5 34. b7 Ne6 35. Rc1 Nc7 36. Kg2 Bf4 37. Rc4 Kh7 38. Kf3 Bh2 39. Rc5 Kg8 40. Rxb5 Nxb5 41. Bc6 Nc3 42. Bh4 1-0

Li Chao's secret weapon had no effect today

Nepomniachtchi, Ian 1-0 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
Nepomniacthchi regains the tournament lead with this important victory. His Italian game continues to be dangerous, as the idea of 7.a4 gains more and more popularity. Mamedyarov at no point had full equality, and the pawn that White achieved on e5 by move 24 truly cramped Black's position. Shakhriyar tried to shed material to remove the pressure, but it simply did not work out. First with an exchange, and then trying to set up a fortress with rook and pawns against a queen. However, it was clear that due to zugzwang the enemy king was going to invade, so the Azerbaijani player conceded the full point.

Ian is the new leader going into the second rest day

Also important: not only did Nepo pass Giri in the tournament standings, he is also now ahead of Giri in rating! Temporarily, according to 2700chess.com, Nepomniachtchi is 10th in the world, relegating Giri to 11th.

Aronian, Levon 1-0 Giri, Anish
This game blows the tournament wide open, as somebody has finally stopped Giri. More than that, Aronian did it with an excellent finishing flourish:

Anish was finally halted in Moscow, and even surpassed by Ian!

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.10.02"] [Round "6.5"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A20"] [WhiteElo "2795"] [BlackElo "2755"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2016.09.26"] 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. O-O Nb6 7. d3 Be7 8. Be3 O-O 9. Nbd2 Be6 10. Rc1 Qd7 11. a3 Bh3 12. Bxh3 Qxh3 13. b4 Bd6 14. Qb3 Ne7 15. d4 exd4 16. Bxd4 Nc6 17. Ne4 Nxd4 18. Nxd4 Qd7 19. Rfd1 Be5 20. Nc6 Qe8 21. Na5 Rb8 22. Nc5 Qc8 23. Qf3 c6 24. b5 $1 {The start of an excellent sequence. White sacrifices the exchange, but his passed pawn on b7 will be enormous.} Bb2 (24... cxb5 25. Nd7 Qxd7 26. Rxd7 Nxd7 27. Nxb7 {loses without a fight.}) 25. bxc6 (25. Rc2 cxb5 {is not yet so clear. White retains an advantage but things are not so easy due to the pin.}) 25... Bxc1 (25... bxc6 26. Rc2 {is simply winning for White.}) 26. Rxc1 Qc7 (26... bxc6 27. Nxc6 {regains the exchange and White emerges up a pawn (Black cannot defend the rook on b7 and the threat of the fork on e7 at the same time). Perhaps, however, this was the best chance.}) 27. cxb7 Na4 28. Ncb3 $1 Qe7 29. Nd4 Qg5 30. Qf4 $1 {A fantastic move.} Qxa5 (30... Qxf4 31. gxf4 {Black has no defense against Ndc6 and easily winning.}) 31. Qxb8 Rxb8 32. Rc8+ Qd8 33. Rxd8+ Rxd8 34. Nc6 {Black loses the entire rook. A nice geometrical sequence.} (34. Nc6 Re8 (34... Rd1+ 35. Kg2 Rb1 36. Nb4 {again, White queens.}) (34... Rb8 35. Nxb8 Nc5 36. Nc6 Nxb7 37. Nxa7 { is completely hopeless. White's up two pawns and one is a difficult to stop passed a-pawn.}) 35. Ne7+ Kf8 36. Nc8 {and White queens.}) 1-0

Levon is now tied for third with +1

Tomorrow is a rest day in Moscow

Replay today's games

Select games from the list below the board

Standings after Round Six

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  
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.


Topics Tal Memorial

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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MortalWombat MortalWombat 10/4/2016 07:23
Poor Boris. What does he do now, crawl under his blanket every night and cry?
Resistance Resistance 10/10/2016 11:09
Great Tournament! Great games in Round 6. My personal favorite, Svidler fantastic win against Li Chao...
1