Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

7th Mikhail Tal Memorial 2012 (1)

Four wins for white in Tal Memorial Round 1

Magnus Carlsen in action during round 1. Photo ©

Magnus Carlsen in action during round 1. Photo © |

The first round of the 7th Tal Memorial saw four wins for white and a draw in a position that had probably been winning. Morozevich 1-0 Caruana (was unclear for a long time but Caruana's 47...Bf7 stopping his own threatened Qxe3 from working in key lines was the decisive error), Carlsen 1/2 Kramnik (Carlsen missed something trivial with white in the opening, played a sharp but probably losing continuation which led to Kramnik time trouble and an eventual draw by repetition), Grischuk 1-0 McShane (Grischuk made McShane struggle right from the opening), Radjabov 1-0 Tomashevsky (blunder from Tomshevsky in a difficult position), Aronian 1-0 Nakamura (Aronian was maybe better until 16.Bh3 but Nakamura made a more serious error with 21...g5? which was punished with 22.Bd7 after which Aronian made no mistake). There were both Russian and English (with Ian Rogers) commentaries available. Report finished. Some comments from the players, notes, photos, games and tables. Round 2 Sat June 9th 2012 12pm BST: Kramnik-Grischuk, Caruana-Nakamura, Morozevich-Carlsen, Tomashevsky-Aronian, McShane-Radjabov.

Levon Aronian 1-0 Hikaru Nakamura

Aronian against Nakamura

Aronian against Nakamura.

Hikaru Nakamura: It's funny, I'm pretty sure Levon thought he was better during the game right around move 15 or so and then he promtly blundered with 16.Bh3 [Aronian "Yeah"] and then when I thought I was much better, maybe winning I decided to return the favour and blunder right back. It's just my blunder was a lot worse.

Aronian,Levon - Nakamura,Hikaru [A29]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1.2), 08.06.2012

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.0-0 Be7 8.d3 0-0 9.Be3 f5 10.Rc1 Kh8 11.a3 Bf6 12.Bc5 Re8 13.b4 Be6 14.Re1 Qd7 15.e4 a6 16.Bh3?

Hikaru Nakamura


Levon Aronian

Position after 16.Bh3?

I'm pretty sure Levon thought he was better around move 15 then he promtly blundered with 16.Bh3?

16...g6 17.Be3

[17.a4 a5 18.b5 Nb4 19.d4 exd4 20.Nxd4 Rad8 21.exf5 Bxf5 22.Nxf5 Rxe1+ 23.Qxe1 Nd3 was an interesting line given by Aronian.]

17...Qg7 18.Ng5

Hikaru Nakamura


Levon Aronian

Position after 18.Ng5


[18...Bxg5 19.Bxg5 Nd4 20.Bg2 was an alternate line given by Aronian. 20...f4 21.gxf4 h6 22.Bh4 exf4 23.f3 "I'm not sure black is better at the end of this line." - Nakamura.]

19.Nf3 f4 20.Bxb6 cxb6 21.Nd5

Hikaru Nakamura


Levon Aronian

Position after 21.Nd5


"Then when I thought I was much better, maybe winning I returned the favour with 21...g5?" - Nakamura.

[21...Rad8 "After the simple Rd8 black is fine." - Aronian. 22.d4 fxg3 23.hxg3 exd4 "Black has control of the centre, white's trying to survive." - Aronian. 24.Qd3 "with some drawing chances." - Aronian.]


Hikaru Nakamura


Levon Aronian

Position after 22...Bd7!


"White has a clear-cut way to win." - Aronian.

[22...g4 23.Bxg4 was Aronian's suggestion as to a better way for Nakamura to try to play on.]

23.Bxe6 Bxe6 24.Nxf6 Qxf6 25.Rxc6!!

Hikaru Nakamura


Levon Aronian

Position after 25.Rxc6

Both sides were short of time. Aronian liquidates into a winning endgame.

25...bxc6 26.Qa1!

Hikaru Nakamura


Levon Aronian

Position after 26.Qa1! It's over.

The point of white's sacrifice. Suddenly from a strategically worse position white is winning. The rest is easy.

26...a5 27.Qxe5 Qxe5 28.Nxe5 axb4 29.axb4 c5 30.bxc5 bxc5 31.gxf4 gxf4 32.Kg2 Ra3 33.Kf3 c4 34.Kxf4 cxd3 35.Rd1 Ra2 36.Nxd3 Bc4 37.f3 Rxh2 38.Ne5 Ba2 39.Rd7 Rh6 40.Nf7+ Bxf7 41.Rxf7 Kg8 42.Rf5 Rh1 43.e5 h5 44.Rg5+ Kf8 45.Kf5 h4 46.Rh5 Kg7 47.f4 h3 48.Ke6 Kg6 49.Rg5+ Kh6 50.Kf5 Rh2 51.Rg8 Rh1 52.e6 h2 53.Rg2 1-0

Carlsen against Kramnik

Kramnik and Carlsen at their press conference

Kramnik and Carlsen at their press conference.

Magnus Carlsen was very lucky to draw with white in a Nimzo Indian against Vladimir Kramnik. The players followed their game from last year but Kramnik hadn't expected this variation this time. He did remember 8.... exd5 as being acceptable for black. Carlsen admitted he got ambitious with 14.Qxd4?! but missed a trivial point that after 14...Nc5 15.Qd1 Qa6! castling costs him a pawn. Kramnik thought he should still sacrifice it for play but Carlsen "played Nf4 which is ridiculously risky". Kramnik was undoubtably winning at some point and 17...Nd5! a suggestion from the computers looks like one, but Carlsen's decision was justified as he avoided tricks and traps to force Kramnik into time trouble after which Kramnik decided to repeat for a draw.

I certainly had more fun than I would have had at a normal opening ceremony.

Magnus Carlsen on the blitz to decide the draw to the tournament.

Carlsen on the Blitz: It was fun. I think as normally happens in blitz, at least from my point of view, I played quite well at the start and then it got out of hand as the tournament went on but nevertheless I certainly had more fun than I would have had at a normal opening ceremony. So that was good. It was a way for me to get rid of some rust after not playing for a few months. Obviously that didn't prevent me from missing something simple today but in general I feel that it's useful.

Carlsen on the game today: With such a position you can't be unhappy with a draw.

Carlsen,Magnus - Kramnik,Vladimir [E36]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1.1), 08.06.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d5 7.e3 b6 8.cxd5 exd5

Kramnik hadn't prepared this variation for this game. He couldn't remember a lot about last year's game against Carlsen only the conclusion that 8...exd5 was OK.

[8...Nxd5 9.Qc2 Ba6 10.Bxa6 Nxa6 11.e4 Ne7 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Qc6 e5 15.Qb5 exd4 16.Qxa6 Qxe4+ 17.Kf1 Rfe8 18.Rd1 b5 19.Qxb5 Rab8 20.Qd3 Rxb2 21.Qxe4 Rxe4 22.g3 c5 23.Kg2 c4 24.Nf3 d3 25.Rd2 Rb3 26.a4 g5 27.Rc1 a5 28.Rdd1 Rb2 29.Rd2 Rxd2 30.Nxd2 Re2 31.Nb1 Rc2 32.Rd1 c3 33.Kf3 d2 34.Ke4 Rc1 35.Nxc3 1/2-1/2 Carlsen,M (2823)-Kramnik,V (2791)/Moscow RUS 2011/The Week in Chess 878]

9.Bd3 Ba6 10.Bxa6 Nxa6 11.Qd3 Qc8 12.Ne2 c5 13.b3 cxd4

The "principled" decision although by no means "obligatory" according to Kramnik.


Vladimir Kramnik


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 14.Qd4?!

[14.exd4 was the sensible decision when white is perhaps a tiny bit better but nothing too much. Here Carlsen "got more ambitious and thought why not take with the queen, I looked at the position after 14...Nc5 15.Qd1 and although white is behind in development I could not see anything dangerous for white".]

14...Nc5 15.Qd1 Qa6

Vladimir Kramnik


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 16.Qa6!?

"And then when he played Qa6 it dawned on me that I cannot castle because of simply losing a pawn with 16...Nxb3 and then I was of course upset." - Carlsen. "After Qa6 I was of course very happy with my position. I was worried I must be missing something because it just seemed like a very nice position." - Kramnik.


"I played Nf4 which is ridiculously risky of course but I couldn't see a clear refutation so I thought it was better to try this than just to be a clear pawn down. " - Carlsen. "I expected Magnus to castle and give up the pawn and then use the weak d-pawn and the bishop as compensation. Although black is of course the only one trying to win that position. I didn't think he would risk 16.Nf4 because in that way the game may end before move 25." - Kramnik.


Vladimir Kramnik


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 16...d4!

"I thought d4 was the most principled move although of course there are many possibilites." - Kramnik.


is forced.

[17.exd4 Rfe8+ 18.Be3 g5 white has big issues with his knight.]


[17...Nd5 was Houdini's suggestion which is quite a remarkable move that may well be the way to discombobulate white.]

18.bxc5 Qa5+

[18...g5 19.fxe3 gxf4 20.Rf1 "I didn't see a concrete advantage for black." - Kramnik. ]

19.Kf1 Rad8 20.Qc2 Qb5+ 21.Ke1 Qa5+

[21...exf2+ 22.Kxf2 Rfe8 23.Rf1 Ng4+ 24.Kg1 Nxh2 25.Rf2 Ng4 is equal.]

22.Kf1 Qb5+ 23.Ke1 Qa5+

"I was behind on time and so I thought it was a good finish to the game." - Kramnik.


Vladimir Kramnik


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 22.Qa5+. Draw by repetition.

Kramnik at the press conference translated by GM Maxim Dlugy

Kramnik at the press conference translated by GM Maxim Dlugy.

Teimour Rajdabov beat Evgeny Tomashevsky.

The stage during round 2

The stage during round 2.

Evgeny Tomashevsky emerged with a perfectly satisfactory position against Teimour Radjabov's Scotch but then started to get his pieces in a tangle and dropped material after failing to find the only move 28...Re6.

Radjabov,Teimour - Tomashevsky,Evgeny [C45]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1.3), 08.06.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nb3 Bb6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Qe2 Nge7 8.Be3 0-0 9.0-0-0 f5 10.exf5 Bxf5 11.h3 Bd7 12.Qd2 Bxe3 13.Qxe3 Kh8 14.Bd3 Qe8 15.f4 Qf7 16.Rhf1 Rae8 17.Qd2 Nb4 18.Be4 Bc6 19.Rde1 Bxe4 20.Nxe4 Qc4 21.a3 Nbc6 22.Qc3 Qd5 23.Nbd2 Nf5 24.g4 Nfd4 25.Qd3 b5 26.Kb1 b4 27.a4 h6 28.Nb3

Evgeny Tomashevsky


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 28.Nb3


Black has got his pieces in a bit of a tangle but he still has one move to continue playing. After 28...Re7? he loses immediately.


29.Ned2 Rxe1+ 30.Rxe1 g5 31.f5 1-0

Alexander Morozevich 1-0 Fabiano Caruana

Alexander Morozevich

Alexander Morozevich.

Morozevich's press conference was all in Russian so I don't know what he thought about the game. This was a tactically and strategically complex Ruy Lopez which remained extremely tense until Caruana blundered with 47...Bf7? which rather surprisingly overloads black's rook on f3 and so stops the threat Qxe3 in key lines. Morozevich didn't play the best follow-up according to the computer but won soon enough anyway.

Morozevich,Alexander - Caruana,Fabiano [C81]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1.5), 08.06.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Qe2 Be7 10.Rd1 Na5 11.c3 Nxb3 12.axb3 0-0 13.Nd4 Qe8 14.f3 Nc5 15.b4 Nb7

[15...Nd7 16.Nc6 f6 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7 18.exf6 Qxf6 19.Be3 Qg6 20.Bd4 Rae8]

16.Be3 Bd7 17.Na3 c6 18.Nac2 a5 19.f4 Qc8 20.h3 Re8 21.Bf2 Bf8 22.Qf3 Ra6 23.Ne3

[23.Re1 c5 24.bxc5 Nxc5 25.Qxd5 Nd3]

23...Qa8 24.Ndc2 Qd8 25.bxa5 Nc5 26.b4 Ne4 27.Rd3 f6 28.Bh4 g5 29.fxg5 fxg5 30.Bg3 Bg7 31.Bh2 Rf8 32.Qe2 Rf2 33.Qe1 g4 34.Rd4 Rf8 35.Rad1 Qe8 36.Nxg4 Bf5 37.Nce3 Bg6 38.Nf1 h5 39.Nge3 Ra7 40.Ng3 Bxe5 41.Nxe4 Bxd4 42.cxd4 Qxe4 43.Be5 Kh7 44.Rc1 Raf7 45.Kh2 Rf2 46.Rxc6 R8f3 47.Rc7+

Fabiano Caruana


Alexander Morozevich

Position after 47.Rc7+


After a long and fluctuating struggle Caruana blunders, the point is that Qxe3 is now stopped in some lines.

[47...Kh6 and the game goes on, more or less equal. 48.a6 failing to 48...Qe3]


[48.a6 is even better. 48...Qxe3 49.Rxf7+ Kg8 50.Qxe3 Rxe3 51.Rxf2 is the reason that 47...Bf7 is a blunder.]

48...Rf1+ 49.Qxf1 Rxf1+ 50.Nxf1 Kg6 51.Rc6+ Kh7 52.Ng3 Qb1+ 53.Kh2 h4 54.Ne2 Qxb4 55.Rc7 Kg8 56.a6 1-0

Alexander Grischuk 1-0 Luke McShane

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk.

Luke McShane got a disadvantage right out of the opening against Alexander Grischuk. Grischuk thought 9...Rb8?! was already a mis-step with 9...Bf5 being better. After 11.b3 he already thought himself substantially better. McShane then played the astonishing 20...Re7?! "I got a very unpleasant position and then I found a reasonable practical chance it's the best chance because I don't lose any pawns [Grischuk laughed]". Whilst not losing straight away as Grischuk thought it might it condemned McShane to a large amount of suffering that very few players would be prepared to take and it didn't succeed in saving the game either. It might be that 31...Bxe3 was a practical chance but after that Grischuk just ground away until he won.

Grischuk,Alexander - McShane,Luke J [A29]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (1.4), 08.06.2012

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 0-0 7.e3

[7.d3 Grischuk had seen a McShane review of a Marin book that mentioned d3 so he went a different way.]

7...a6 8.d4 Ba7 9.h3 Rb8?!

Luke McShane


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 9...Rb8

McShane didn't know where he went wrong in the opening but Grischuk didn't like this move.

[9...Bf5 10.b3 with a normal game.]

10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.b3

Grischuk thought for a long time here and the more he looked the more he liked his position.

11...Nxf3+ 12.Qxf3 b5 13.Qe2 bxc4 14.Qxc4 a5 15.Bb2 Bd7 16.Rac1 Bc5 17.Rfd1 Re8 18.Na4 Bxa4

[18...Rb4 19.Bxf6 Qxf6 20.Nxc5 Rxc4 21.Nxd7 Qe7 22.Rxc4 Qxd7 23.Bc6 is a very nice line given by Grischuk.]

19.Qxa4 Bb6 20.Bc6 Re7

Luke McShane


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 20...Re7

Was a move that shocked Grischuk.


21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Qg4+

"This is quite easily winning somehow." - Grischuk. "Not quite easy, completely totally. .. I'm so sure it's winning but it is not as simple as...."

22...Kh8 23.Rc4 Re5 24.Rd5 Qe7 25.Qf3 Rg8 26.Kg2 Rg6 27.b4 axb4 28.Rxb4 Kg7 29.a4 Qe6 30.h4 f5 31.Rf4 Rf6

[31...Bxe3!? is an amazing move Grischuk showed after the game and maybe it was worth a punt as neither rook capture is immediately decisive. 32.Rxe5 "I thought your idea was this." - McShane (32.Rxf5 was Grischuk's intention.) ]

32.Kh2 h6 33.h5 Kf8

[33...Bxe3 34.fxe3 Rxe3 35.Qg2 refutes now. (35.Qd1 Rc3 with maybe some practical chances, or perhaps not.) ]

34.Kg2 Kg7 35.Kh2 Kf8 36.Kg2 Kg7 37.Qd1 Kf8 38.Kf1 Qc8 39.Qd3 Kg7 40.Kg2 Rxd5

This has been horrible for a long time and there was mutual time pressure to take care of too. Grischuk thought this move an error and that there were better practical chances in not exchanging rooks here but I'm not sure it makes any difference.

[40...Qe6 41.Qb5 Bxe3 was Grischuk's suggestion but it really doesn't work.]


Luke McShane


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 41....Bxd5

"Here I overestimated my position. Here I thought just resign for black. - The world of illusions." - Grischuk. The position is winning but it takes technique and longer than he thought.


[41...c6 42.Qc3]

42.Rxf5 Rxf5 43.Qxf5 Qe7 44.Bb3

[44.Bc4 c6 45.a5 Bxa5 46.Qxa5 Qe4+ is equal.]

44...Qf6 45.Qd5 c5 46.Bc4 Ba5 47.f4 Qe7 48.Kf2 Bc3 49.Ke2 Bb4 50.g4 Qd7 51.Kd3 Qe7 52.g5 hxg5 53.fxg5

Luke McShane


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 53...fxg5

"Here the ending without queens is already winning, but also the attack wins." - Grischuk.

53...Be1 54.g6 fxg6 55.Qg8+ Kf6 56.Qxg6+ Ke5 57.h6 d5 58.Qg7+ Qf6 59.Bxd5 Bh4 60.Kc4 Kd6 61.Qxf6+ Bxf6 62.a5 Kc7 63.h7 1-0

7th Mikhail Tal Mem Moscow (RUS), 7-19 vi 2012 cat. XXII (2776)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2825 * . . . . . 1 . . . 1
2. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2784 . * . . . . . . 1 . 1
3. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2761 . . * . . . . . . 1 1
4. Morozevich, Alexander g RUS 2769 . . . * . . . 1 . . 1
5. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2835 . . . . * ½ . . . . ½ 2801
6. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2801 . . . . ½ * . . . . ½ 2835
7. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2775 0 . . . . . * . . . 0
8. Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2770 . . . 0 . . . * . . 0
9. Tomashevsky, Evgeny g RUS 2738 . 0 . . . . . . * . 0
10. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2706 . . 0 . . . . . . * 0
Round 1 (June 8, 2012)
Aronian, Levon - Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0 53 A29 English Four Knights
Radjabov, Teimour - Tomashevsky, Evgeny 1-0 31 C45 Scotch Game
Grischuk, Alexander - McShane, Luke J 1-0 63 A29 English Four Knights
Morozevich, Alexander - Caruana, Fabiano 1-0 56 C81 Ruy Lopez Open Keres Variation
Carlsen, Magnus - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 23 E32 Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2

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