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7th Mikhail Tal Memorial 2012 (3)

Radjabov and Morozevich share Tal Memorial lead on 2.5/3 McShane beats Aronian

Luke McShane moving in for the kill against Levon Aronian in the game of the day. Photo ©

Luke McShane moving in for the kill against Levon Aronian in the game of the day. Photo © |

The 7th Tal Memorial Round 3 took place on 10th June 2012. Alexander Morozevich joined Teimour Rajdabov in the lead. Luke McShane shocked Levon Aronian by winning with black after sacrificing the exchange..
Aronian 0-1 McShane (a6 Slav. McShane ate up tonnes of time early on, sacrificed the exchange in an idea he got from Topalov. Aronian was playing for complications after 14...Nc6 when he realised he was worse. McShane defied time trouble to bring home the point)
Carlsen 1/2 Caruana (Gruenfeld sideline from Carlsen that didn't go well. Caruana liquidated into a completely drawn opposite coloured endgame. 30 moves)
Radjabov 1/2 Kramnik (A heavyweight Ruy Lopez Berlin, Kramnik solved his problems with an exchange sacrifice and Radjabov took a repetition that was available)
Grischuk 0-1 Morozevich (Reti/Slav - messy position where Grischuk sacrificed on move 46 but had only a minute to make it to move 60 plus increment. Morozevich with about half an hour on the clock found a defence and beat him)
Nakamura 1/2 Tomashevsky (A King's Gambit from Nakamura and he had to find tactical compensation for the two bishops. In the end they traded to a drawn ending)
The two decisive games now annotated. Rest day Monday. Round 4 Tues June 12th 3pm Moscow time: Carlsen-Grischuk, Kramnik-Aronian, Caruana-Tomashevsky, Morozevich-Radjabov, McShane-Nakamura.

Levon Aronian 0-1 Luke McShane

Levon Aronian and Luke McShane

Levon Aronian and Luke McShane. Photo ©

In these elite tournaments the players soon smell blood in the water. Having started with 0/2 Luke McShane was in severe danger (still not over) of being targeted by everyone as someone to beat. Levon Aronian started with a nice win and an easy draw and would have been looking for a win today. Possibly seduced into playing too fast to take advantage of McShane's habitual time trouble Aronian got a bad opening, something that he said he suddenly understood after 14...Nc6. Aronian still seemed to have practical chances to hold because of the huge time advantage he had but objectively he was pretty much lost. McShane took all his chances and after repeating a few times to gain time on the clock played the winning idea. Aronian had seen enough after 38....Qf3+

Aronian,Levon - McShane,Luke J [D15]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (3.3), 10.06.2012

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 a6 5.Bg5

This move came as a surprise to McShane who sank into the first of several long thinks.

5...dxc4 6.a4 h6

Again after a long think from McShane, this move sets up the exchange sacrifice to follow.

7.Bh4 b5 8.axb5 cxb5 9.Nxb5 axb5 10.Rxa8 Bb7 11.Ra1

Luke McShane


Levon Aronian

Position after 11.Ra1

[11.Ra7 Qb6 12.Rxb7 Qxb7 13.e3 e6 14.Bxf6 Bb4+ 15.Ke2 gxf6 16.g3 Nd7 17.Bg2 0-0 18.Qc2 Qa6 19.Rc1 Rc8 20.Kf1 c3 21.Nd2 cxd2 22.Qxc8+ Nf8 0-1 San Segundo Carrillo,P (2523)-Luther,T (2538) - Bled 2002.]


Again decision time. Does black play with or without g5.

[11...e5 12.e3 Bb4+ 13.Ke2 exd4 14.Qxd4 Qe7 15.Rd1 0-0 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Qg4+ Kh7 18.Qf5+ Kg7 19.Rd4 Bc8 20.Qc2 Nc6 21.Rd1 Qc5 22.g4 c3 23.b3 Ba3 24.Rd3 Bb2 25.Rd4 Nxd4+ 26.Nxd4 Re8 27.Kd1 Bxg4+ 28.Be2 Bxe2+ 29.Qxe2 Ra8 30.Rg1+ Kh8 31.Kc2 b4 32.Qf3 Ra6 33.Qb7 1-0 Duncan,C (2314)-Aranaz Murillo,A (2164)/Malaga ESP 2011/The Week in Chess 861]

12.Bg3 e6

[12...e5 was another serious alternative.]

13.e3 Bb4+ 14.Ke2

Luke McShane


Levon Aronian

Position after 14.Ke2

The theme is set. white's king will be misplaced for a long time.


"To be honest I once I remembered the position after 14...Nc6 and knew that I was worse I was trying hard to calculate complicated variations to save the game but unfortunately my assessment was confirmed by the game's result." - Aronian.

15.Ne1 Na5 16.Be5 0-0 17.h4

Luke McShane


Levon Aronian

Position after 17.h4

[17.f3 "Well I thought f3 was the only move." - McShane. ; 17.Nc2 "Possibly first playing 17.Nc2." - McShane. 17...Be7 18.f3 Nb3 19.Ra2 Nd7 (19...Nd5 "I was actually more concerned about Nd5." - Aronian. 20.Kf2 f6 21.Bg3 f5) ]

17...g4 18.Nc2 Be7 19.Ke1 Nb3 20.Ra2

[20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Qxg4+ Kh8 22.Ra2 e5 23.Be2 exd4 and black breaks through.]

20...h5 21.Be2 Bd6 22.f3

Luke McShane


Levon Aronian

Position after 22.f3

Aronian could stay passive but he thought "I have to activate my pieces somehow."

[22.Kf1 is possible but black is much better.]

22...Nd5 23.fxg4 Bxe5 24.dxe5 Qb6!

Luke McShane


Levon Aronian

Position after 24...Qb6

This seems best and now apart from his huge advantage on time Aronian is in desperate trouble. "Now I didn't really see a way out for you." - McShane.

[24...Qc7 "Is the other possibility I just had to choose by instinct." - McShane who was already getting short of time.]


[25.Kf2 Rd8 26.Qf1 Nf4; 25.Kf2 Rd8 26.Qf1 "Queen anywhere." - McShane. 26...Nf4! "and I think the rook comes and it's probably just decisive." - McShane.]


Luke McShane


Levon Aronian

Position after 25...Nxe3

"I thought the other line was a draw, maybe I'm mistaken." - McShane. "This is much easier." - Aronian.

[25...Rd8 26.Bxd5 Rxd5; 25...Rd8 "Actually I think this leads to a draw" - McShane about his thoughts during the game. But in fact it is probably equally as good, if a little more complicated than the game. 26.Bxd5 Rxd5 27.Qf3 Rd2 28.Qf6 Rxc2 29.Qg5+ Kf8 30.Rf1 Rc1+ to eliminate white's attack. 31.Ke2 Rxf1 32.Kxf1 (32.Qh6+ Ke8 33.Kxf1 Nd2+ 34.Ke2 Ne4 35.Qh8+ Ke7 36.Qb8 "When the [black king] is a bit less safe." - McShane. 36...Nc3+ Dlugy - winning. 37.bxc3 Bf3+ 38.Kxf3 Qxb8) 32...Nd2+ (32...Nc5 McShane.) 33.Ke2 Ne4 34.Qh6+ Kg8 was Aronian's point (no checks), missed by McShane. 35.g5 Qd8 is finish.]

26.Nxe3 Qxe3+ 27.Qe2 Qc1+ 28.Qd1 Qe3+ 29.Qe2 Qc1+ 30.Qd1 Bxf3!

Luke McShane


Levon Aronian

Position after 30...Bxf3

Here McShane uses all the repetitions he can to get himself more time and closer to the time control.

31.gxf3 Qe3+ 32.Qe2 Qc1+ 33.Qd1 Qe3+ 34.Qe2

[34.Kf1 hxg4]


Luke McShane


Levon Aronian

Position after 34...Qf4!

Of course no draw here.


[35.gxh5 "the only chance" - Aronian. 35...Rd8 36.Qg2+ Kh7! and here the game ends. (36...Kf8? 37.Qg5 and white is equal.) ; 35.Rg1]

35...Qxf3 36.Rf1 Qe4+ 37.Kf2 Nd2 38.Rg1 Qf3+

Luke McShane


Levon Aronian

Position after 38...Qf3+

and Aronian had seen enough.

[38...Qf3+ 39.Ke1 Qe3+ 40.Kd1 Nb3 41.gxh5+ Kh8 42.Ra6 Qc1+ 43.Ke2 Nd4+ 44.Kf2 Qd2+ 45.Kf1 Qd1+ 46.Kf2 Qe2+ 47.Kg3 Qf3#]


Alexander Grischuk 0-1 Alexander Morozevich

Alexander Grischuk against Alexander Morozevich

Alexander Grischuk against Alexander Morozevich. Photo ©

With two less committed players the opening 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.g3 Bg4 4.Qb3 Qb6 could have led to very dull chess indeed. Instead the players went into an extremely murky middle-game where both started to consume time on the clock. However after the first time control it was Grischuk who completely lost the plot with the clock. Grischuk is one of my favourite players but his clock handling simply holds him back. He came up with an incredibly interesting piece sacrifice but thought too long about it, he only had a minute plus increment to play the next 14 moves, compared to half an hour for his opponent. This was a sacrifice you don't see to the end, he had to decide whether he wanted to play it and then got on with it. Not surprisingly with so much time Morozevich managed to find the best defence, Grischuk was soon being asked difficult questions he couldn't answer on the increment and subsided to a loss. This put Morozevich in a tie for the lead.

Grischuk,Alexander - Morozevich,Alexander [A09]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (3.2), 10.06.2012

1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.g3 Bg4 4.Qb3 Qb6

[4...Bxf3 0-1 Wirig,A (2408)-Rublevsky,S (2649)/Izmir TUR 2004/The Week in Chess 518 (59)]

5.Ne5 Be6 6.d3 f6 7.Nf3 Bf7 8.Bh3 e5 9.0-0 Na6 10.Nc3 Ne7 11.Be3 d4 12.Ne4 Ng6 13.Bc1 Nc5 14.Nxc5 Bxc5 15.Nd2 0-0 16.Ne4 Be7 17.f4 exf4 18.gxf4 Rfe8 19.f5 Ne5 20.Bf4 Bf8 21.Bg2 Qc7 22.Qc2 Qd7 23.Bd2 b5 24.c5 a5 25.Rf4

Alexander Morozevich


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 25.Rf4

This is just a very difficult middlegame. The players looked at a few lines over the next few moves.


[25...Bd5 26.Raf1 Nf7]

26.Bb4 Rac8 27.Ng3 Kh8 28.Rh4 Bg8

[28...g5 29.fxg6 Nxg6 30.Re4]

29.Qd2 Qa7 30.Rc1 Nd7 31.Qf4

[31.Rxd4 Bxa2 32.Ne4 (32.Qc3 Re5 33.Ne4 Bd5) 32...Bd5]

31...Bxa2 32.Qxd4 Nb8

[32...Re5 33.Ne4]

33.Be1 Rcd8 34.Qc3 Na6 35.Bf2 b4 36.Qe1 Qb7

[36...Rxd3 37.exd3 (37.Bxc6 Re5 38.exd3 Rxe1+ 39.Rxe1 Bf7 40.Bxa4 Nxc5 41.Bb5 (41.Be8) ) 37...Rxe1+]

37.Ra1 Bb3 38.Qc1 Nc7 39.Bf3 Ra8 40.Bh5 Red8 41.Bg6 h6 42.Ne4 Ne8

Alexander Morozevich


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 42...Ne8

Played after a long thought by Morozevich. He can't have been happy to go so passive.

43.Be3 Bd5 44.Kf2

Opening the g-file but the king can be exposed here in some lines.

44...Bxe4 45.Rxe4

[45.dxe4 Can also be looked at with the idea of keeping the knight out of d5 for the forseeable future. 45...Rd7; 45.Bxh6 gxh6 46.Rxh6+ Kg8 47.Bh7+ Kf7 48.Bg6+ Ke7 49.Rh7+ Ng7 50.dxe4 can be investigated here.]

45...Nc7 46.Bxh6!?

Alexander Morozevich


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 46.Bxh6

Grischuk thought right down to his last minute here before trying this sacrifice which is speculative. He couldn't have worked it out so should either have played it straight away on instinct or not at all.

[46.Rh4 Nd5 47.Bd4 Qb5 48.Bf7]

46...gxh6 47.Re7 Rd4!

Alexander Morozevich


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 47...Rd4

The rook of course can't be taken because of immediate mate with Qh6+

[47...Qb5 48.Qe3 (48.Rh7+ Kg8 49.Rxc7 Qxc5+ 50.Kg2 Qd5+ 51.Kh3 Rd7; 48.Rxc7 Qxc5+ 49.Kg2 Qxc1 50.Rxc1 Bd6 51.Rh7+ Kg8 52.Rb7) 48...Re8 49.Bxe8 Nd5]



48...Kg8 49.Qe3 Rg4 50.h3 Rxg6 51.fxg6 Qc8!

Alexander Morozevich


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 51....Qc8

A great move defending e6 and threatening to attack white's king.


This is definitely bad but things are hard to keep going for white, especially with almost no time.

[52.Qf3; 52.Qe4 Nd5]

52...Qf5+ 53.Ke1 Re8 54.Qg3 Ne6 55.e4 Qxc5

Morozevich had a lot of time and played things quite safely.

56.Kd1 Bg7 57.Rg2 Qe5 58.Qe3 Rd8 59.Ke1 c5 60.Rxh6 Nf4

Alexander Morozevich


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 60...Nf4

Played straight away and Grischuk resigned almost immediately.


Magnus Carlsen drew with Fabiano Caruana

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen. Photo ©

Magnus Carlsen gave a small insight into what he's been getting up to the last months when he said that due to poor sleep patterns he wasn't even awake for the live coverage of the World Chess Championships. It looks like he just took a 5 month holiday since Wijk aan Zee, he's both rusty and his openings are really rubbish. After two lost positions from the opening in the first two games, he played an extremely insipid variation against the Gruenfeld and Caruana forced an easy draw. No doubt Carlsen is getting warmed up in the first few rounds and will be better but this hasn't been at all impressive so far.

Please tell us about today's game:

Carlsen: There isn't that much to tell and I think anyway since the other games seem to be rather interesting I shouldn't say too much. It was an unusual line in the Gruenfeld and I felt that I might be slightly better from the opening but I cannot really see how to do anything. Fabiano played accurately and at the end I have to exchange everything in order not to be worse.

Why three draws?

Carlsen: I think in the first two games I didn't even get a normal position from the opening so I'm relatively happy with three draws. Today at least I got a normal position but I didn't really get any chances to play for more. It's a tough tournament you cannot simply go through the games and count on winning every one of them.

How attentively did you watch the previous world championship match? And are you planning to participate in the next world cycle?

Carlsen: My general plan is to play in the next Candidates tournament which as far as I know I'm qualified for. Obviously I followed the match since as a professional it's very interesting to follow the games of the best tournaments especially in terms of openings ideas and such.

As for the chess content, I don't know, I thought it was very interesting opening-wise and apart from that... it was not as exciting as it could have been.

Did you watch them live or after the games?

Carlsen: Frankly at that time, in parts of the match I had such a bad sleeping rhythm that I didn't actually wake up for the games.

Carlsen,Magnus - Caruana,Fabiano [D85]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (3.4), 10.06.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Qa4+

Hardly the refutation of the Gruenfeld and a pretty disappointing effort from Carlsen.

7...Nd7 8.Nf3 0-0 9.Be3 c5 10.Rc1 Nb6 11.Qd1 Bg4 12.Be2 Bxf3 13.gxf3 cxd4 14.cxd4 Qd7 15.0-0 Rac8 16.Qd2 Rfd8 17.Rfd1 Rxc1 18.Qxc1 Rc8 19.Qa3 Na4!

Fabiano Caruana


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 19...Na4!

Carlsen is actually in danger of being worse.

20.Bf1 b5 21.Rc1 Rxc1

Black forces a draw.

22.Qxc1 Bxd4 23.Bxb5 Bxe3 24.Bxd7 Bxc1 25.Bxa4 Bf4 26.h3 Be5

Now the players engineer a draw in a prospectless position.

27.Kg2 Bf4 28.Kg1 Be5 29.Kg2 Bf4 30.Kg1 1/2-1/2

Teimour Radjabov draw Vladimir Kramnik

Kramnik and Radjabov in the press conference

Kramnik and Radjabov in the press conference Photo ©

Teimour Radjabov would have been very happy with his 2/2 start. If there is any criticism of Radjabov it is his innate lack of ambition to push for a win when there is risk involved, especially with white. Today he got a nice position which forced Kramnik to find a strong exchange sacrifice. Radjabov was slightly short of time and almost immediately allowed a repetition for a draw.

Radjabov,Teimour - Kramnik,Vladimir [C65]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (3.1), 10.06.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.0-0 d6 6.c3 0-0 7.h3 Ne7 8.Nbd2 a6 9.Ba4 Ng6 10.d4 Ba7 11.Re1 b5 12.Bc2 c5 13.d5 c4 14.Nf1 Nh5 15.Bg5 f6 16.Be3 Nhf4 17.Ng3 Ne7 18.a4 Qc7 19.axb5 axb5 20.Ra3

White is threatening to press slowly.


Fabiano Caruana


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 20...Bxe3!

Black has a lot of black squares for the exchange.

21.Rxa8 Bb6 22.Qd2 Qc5 23.Qe3

Radjabov said afterwards he couldn't think of a plan here. Hence he repeats.

23...Qc7 24.Qd2 Qc5 25.Qe3 Qc7 1/2-1/2

Hikaru Nakamura drew with Evgeny Tomashevsky

Tomashevsky against Nakamura

Tomashevsky against Nakamura. Photo ©

The King's Gambit still gives images of romantic chess and sacrifices, however at the very highest levels against an opponent who isn't surprised there is very little that is romantic about it. Tomashevsky would not have been totally surprised by the opening and even though he forgot a critical line he was never in any trouble at all. We did learn that the two had played before, in 1999 when Tomashevsky was top seed and Nakamura just behind in one of the World Youth age sections. Nakamura won.

Nakamura,Hikaru - Tomashevsky,Evgeny [C36]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (3.5), 10.06.2012

1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 exf4 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Be2 Nxd5 6.c4 Nf6 7.d4 Bd6 8.c5 Be7 9.Nc3 Be6 10.Bxf4 Nd5 11.Bg3 0-0 12.Qd2 Nd7 13.0-0 c6 14.Ne4 N7f6 15.Bd3 Nxe4 16.Bxe4 f5 17.Bc2 f4 18.Bf2 Bf5 19.Bb3 Kh8 20.Rae1 Bf6 21.Ne5 g5 22.Qd1 Qc7 23.Nc4 Bg6 24.Nd6 Ne3 25.Bxe3 fxe3 26.Rxe3 Qg7 27.Kh1 Bxd4 28.Ref3 Rxf3 29.Rxf3 Bf6 30.Qf1 Be7 31.Qe1 Bf6 32.Qf2 Bd4 33.Qd2 Bxc5

Evgeny Tomashevsky


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 33...Bxc5

White should have taken a draw earlier. Now he has to force a draw.

34.Nf7+ Bxf7 35.Rxf7 Rf8 36.Rxf8+ Bxf8 37.Qd8 Qe7 38.Qd4+ Bg7 39.Qxa7 Qe1+ 40.Qg1 Qxg1+ 41.Kxg1

The players have passed move 40 and there is nothing to play for here.


7th Mikhail Tal Memorial Moscow (RUS), 8-18 vi 2012 cat. XXII (2776)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2784 * . ½ . . 1 . 1 . . 3021
2. Morozevich, Alexander g RUS 2769 . * . ½ . . 1 . 1 . 3061
3. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2801 ½ . * ½ . . . . 1 . 2 2918
4. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2835 . ½ ½ * . . ½ . . . 2780
5. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2825 . . . . * 0 . ½ . 1 2739
6. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2706 0 . . . 1 * . . 0 . 1 2665
7. Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2770 . 0 . ½ . . * . . ½ 1 2668
8. Tomashevsky, Evgeny g RUS 2738 0 . . . ½ . . * . ½ 1 2669
9. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2761 . 0 0 . . 1 . . * . 1 2633
10. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2775 . . . . 0 . ½ ½ . * 1 2652
Round 3 (June 10, 2012)
Radjabov, Teimour - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 25 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Carlsen, Magnus - Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ 30 D85 Gruenfeld Defence
Aronian, Levon - McShane, Luke J 0-1 38 D15 Slav Defence
Grischuk, Alexander - Morozevich, Alexander 0-1 60 A09 Reti Opening
Nakamura, Hikaru - Tomashevsky, Evgeny ½-½ 41 C36 Kings Gambit Modern Variation

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