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6th Tal Memorial 2011 (6)

Tal Memorial Round 6 all games drawn again

Svidler and Carlsen agree the draw. Photo ©

Svidler and Carlsen agree the draw. Photo © |

The Tal Memorial Round 6 saw heavyweight chess but no decisive results. Magnus Carlsen's decision to take on Peter Svidler's Gruenfeld, even with the novelty 12.f4 didn't work as he was quickly looking for ways to equalise. Draw in 53 moves. Vladimir Kramnik against Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian against Boris Gelfand saw small positional edges for white be blunted by good defence. Ivanchuk's biteless opening choice against Anand inevitably produced a draw. Ian Nepomniachtchi against Sergey Karjakin was an interesting game in dynamic balance. Round 7 Wed 23rd Nov 11am GMT: Anand-Carlsen, Nakamura-Ivanchuk, Gelfand-Kramnik, Karjakin-Aronian, Svidler-Nepomniachtchi.

Peter Svidler against Magnus Carlsen

Peter Svidler against Magnus Carlsen. Photo ©

Magnus Carlsen took the brave, or maybe foolhardy decision to enter a variation of the Gruenfeld used by Alexander Grischuk against Levon Aronian in the Candidates where Peter Svidler was a second. Carlsen's new 12.f4!? surprised Svidler but he was "not horribly unhappy about it," as it "did not look life-threatening". Carlsen summed up the game as "I was trying to equalise most of the game, what can I say? I didn't see anything clear for black but it was unpleasant." Carlsen either had to sacrifice a piece with the distinctly speculative 19.Bxe6 or retreat as he did into an inferior position where Svidler's minor pieces in particular looked much better than Carlsen's. Exploiting this was not so easy and some precise calculations from Carlsen held his position together on the run up to first time control after which pieces were traded to a draw.

Carlsen,M (2826) - Svidler,P (2755) [D86]
6th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (6), 22.11.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0

White is playing the Classical Gruenfeld against a great expert. What is his great twist?

10.0-0 b6 11.dxc5 Qc7 12.f4!?

Peter Svidler


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 12.f4!?

Here it is although afterwards Carlsen said "I was trying to equalise most of the game, what can I say?" - "I didn't see anything clear for black but it was unpleasant."

[12.Nd4 Ne5 13.Nb5 Qb8 14.Be2 bxc5 15.f4 Ng4 16.Bxc5 a6 17.Na3 Qc7 18.Bd4 e5 19.fxe5 Nxe5 20.Qc1 Bg4 21.Bxg4 Nxg4 22.Qf4 Qxf4 23.Rxf4 Ne5 24.Rb1 Rad8 25.Nc2 Nd3 26.Rff1 Rd7 27.Rfd1 Nf4 28.Kf2 Rc8 29.Ne3 h5 30.Rb6 Ne6 31.Bxg7 Rxd1 32.Nxd1 Kxg7 33.Ke3 Nc5 34.Rd6 a5 35.c4 a4 36.Kd4 Ne6+ 37.Kc3 Rb8 38.Rd5 Nf4 39.Rd2 Ne6 40.Rb2 Rd8 41.Nf2 a3 42.Rd2 Rb8 43.Nd3 Rb1 44.c5 Kf6 45.c6 Ke7 46.Nb4 Rc1+ 47.Kb3 Nc5+ 48.Kxa3 Nxe4 49.Rd4 Nd6 50.Ka4 Ke6 51.Ka5 Rc5+ 52.Ka6 g5 53.a4 Ke5 54.Rd2 Rc4 55.Ka5 f5 56.Rc2 Kd4 57.Rd2+ Ke5 58.Nd3+ Kf6 59.Kb6 Nc8+ 60.Kb7 Nd6+ 61.Kc7 Ne4 62.Ra2 Nc3 63.Rb2 Nxa4 64.Rb4 Rxb4 65.Nxb4 Nc5 66.Kb6 Ne6 67.Nd3 h4 68.h3 Ke7 69.Nc5 Nxc5 70.Kxc5 Kd8 1/2-1/2 Aronian,L (2808)-Grischuk,A (2747)/Kazan RUS 2011/The Week in Chess 863]

12...bxc5 13.Rb1

[13.Qd5 Na5]

13...Rd8 14.Qa4 Na5

[14...Bd7 15.Rfd1 Nd4 (15...Ne5 16.Bb5) 16.Qa6 (16.Qa3 Nb5) 16...Bc8 17.Qa3 Be6 18.Bd3]

15.Bd5 Bd7 16.Qa3 Rac8 17.f5 e6 18.Bf4 Be5

Peter Svidler


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 18...Be5


19.Bxe6 fxe6 20.fxg6 Bxf4 21.gxh7+ Kxh7 is a speculative sacrifice which is not in Carlsen's style.

19...fxe6 20.Bb3 Nxb3 21.axb3 Rf8 22.Qc1 c4

[22...Bb5 23.c4 Bc6 24.Qe3]

23.b4 Qb6+ 24.Kh1 Bg7 25.e5 Bc6


26.Nd4 Bd5 27.Ra1 Qb7 28.Qc2

[28.Qd2 Rxf4 29.Rxf4 Bh6 30.Kg1 Bxf4 31.Qxf4 Bxg2 32.Nxe6 (32.Qg4 Bd5 33.Nxe6 Qd7!) 32...Bh3]

28...Rc7 29.Bg3 Rcf7 30.Rxf7 Qxf7 31.Qe2 g5 32.h3 h5 33.Kg1

Peter Svidler


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 33.Kg1


[33...Qg6 34.Rxa7 Qb1+ 35.Be1 Rf4 (35...Be4 36.Nxe6 (36.Rxg7+ Kxg7 37.Nxe6+ Kg8 38.Nxf8 Kxf8 39.Kh2) 36...Bxe5 37.Nxf8 Bg3 38.Qxc4+) 36.Kh2 Re4 37.Qxh5 wins for white. 37...Bxe5+ 38.Bg3 Bxg3+ 39.Kxg3 Re3+ 40.Kh2]

34.Bh2 Qg6 35.Rd1 g4

"Perhaps g4 was a bit too hasty, but it's incredibly logical, and would have felt wrong not to do it frankly." - Svidler. [35...a6 36.Qg4 (36.Kh1 g4!) 36...Kh7 37.Kh1 Rf2 (37...Kh6) 38.Nf3 Bxf3 39.gxf3 Rxh2+ 40.Kxh2 Qc2+ wins.]


[36.Qxg4 Qxg4 37.hxg4 Bh6 38.Nf5 Bg5 is almost winning for black according to Svidler. (38...exf5 39.g5 Bxg5 40.Rxd5) 39.Kf2 Rf7 40.Ke2 Bxg2]


[36...Bh6 37.Nf5 exf5 38.g5 (38.Rxd5 fxg4 39.Kh1 and I'm not sure your bishop on h6 is so great - Carlsen.) 38...Bxg2; 36...Bh6 37.Nf5 Bg5 38.Rxd5 exd5 39.e6 "Might be completely unclear." - Svidler. "White is not worse here." - Carlsen.]

37.Nf5 exf5 38.Rxd5

[38.gxf5 Ba8 39.f6 Bh6 40.Qxc4+ Kh8 41.Qe2 Rg8 42.f7 Qxg2+ 43.Qxg2 Rxg2+ 44.Kf1 Kg7 (44...Rxh2 45.Rd8+ Kh7 46.Rxa8) 45.e6 Rxh2 46.Rd8 Rh1+ 47.Kf2 Rh2+ 48.Kf1 with a draw.]

38...fxg4 39.Kh1

[39.Qxc4 g3! (39...Kh8) ]


[39...g3 40.Bg1]

40.gxh3 gxh3 41.Rd4

[41.Rd1 Kh8 (41...Qf5 42.Qxc4+ Kh8 (42...Kh7 43.Qd3 (43.Qe2 Qf3+ 44.Qxf3 Rxf3 45.c4) ) 43.Qd5) ]

41...Qc1+ 42.Rd1 Qxc3 43.e6 Qb2 44.Qe4

[44.Rd2 Qb1+ 45.Rd1 (45.Bg1 c3) 45...Qxb4]

44...Qg2+ 45.Qxg2 hxg2+ 46.Kxg2 Re8 47.Rd6 Bf8 48.Rc6 Bxb4 49.Rxc4 a5 50.Rc6 Kg7 51.Kf3 Kf6 52.Ke4 Rxe6+ 53.Be5+ Kf7 1/2-1/2

Sergey Karjakin against Ian Nepomniachtchi

Sergey Karjakin against Ian Nepomniachtchi. Photo ©

Ian Nepomniachtchi brought about a rather unusual piece and pawn imbalance against Sergey Karjakin and the position reached a dynamic balance and a draw was agreed on move 40.

Nepomniachtchi,Ian - Karjakin,Sergey [E32]
6th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (6.5), 22.11.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d5 7.Bg5 c5 8.dxc5 d4 9.Qc2 e5 10.e3 h6 11.Bh4 Qe7 12.Be2

[12.0-0-0 Nc6 13.Ne2 dxe3 14.Rd6 Be6 15.fxe3 Rfd8 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.Nc3 Qg5 18.Qe4 Rxd6 19.cxd6 Rd8 20.h4 Qg3 21.c5 f5 22.Qf3 Qe1+ 23.Kc2 f4 24.Bc4 Qxh1 25.Bxe6+ Kh8 26.Bd5 Qxh4 27.Bxc6 bxc6 28.exf4 exf4 29.b4 Rf8 30.Qxc6 Qf6 31.Qd5 Rd8 32.d7 Qg6+ 33.Kb3 Qf6 34.c6 1-0 Zhu Chen (2485)-Kosintseva,T (2557)/Hangzhou CHN 2011/The Week in Chess 872]

12...Re8 13.Rd1 a5 14.Nf3 Nc6 15.0-0 d3 16.Rxd3 e4 17.Rd6 exf3 18.Bxf6 fxe2 19.Bxe7 exf1Q+ 20.Kxf1 Rxe7

In ICC commentary they thought black might be better here due to the material balance. Nepomniachtchi had played very fast to get here and it seems the position is at least fine for white if not better.


[21.Qa4 Ra6 22.b3]

21...Be6 22.Qc3 Rc7 23.e4

[23.h3 Ne7 (23...Re7 24.Kg1) 24.Qd3 (24.Kg1 Nc6 25.e4 Re7 black wouldn't play this having lost a lot of tempi. 26.g4) ]

23...Re7 24.h3 f5 25.exf5 Bxf5 26.Kg1 Be6 27.Rd3 Bf5 28.Rd6 Be6 29.Rd3

Sergey Karjakin


Ian Nepomniachtchi

Position after 29.Rd3. The players were obviously thinking carefully about whether just agreeing a draw by repetition was the right thing here.

[29.b4 axb4 30.axb4 Bf7]

29...Bf5 30.Rd5

[30.Re3 Rd7; 30.Rg3 Rd8 31.Qf6 Bc2 32.Qxh6 Bxb3 Seems level.; 30.Rf3 Rd8 31.Rxf5 Nd4 32.Qxa5]]

30...Be6 31.b4

a completely correct offer of an exchange sacrifice that is about equal.

31...axb4 32.axb4 Rae8

[32...Ra4 33.b5 Bxd5 34.cxd5 Nd4 35.Kh2 With an advantage for white probably.; 32...Bxd5 33.cxd5 Nd8 34.d6]


[33.Rd3 Bf5 34.Rg3 Kh7 35.b5 Ne5]

33...Bxd5 34.cxd5 Ne5 35.c6 bxc6 36.bxc6

[36.dxc6 Rc8]

36...Nxc6 37.Qxc6 Rd8 38.g3 Red7 39.Qe6+ Kh8 40.Kg2

and the position is just equal.


Boris Gelfand against Levon Aronian

Boris Gelfand against Levon Aronian. Photo ©

Levon Aronian put all his eggs in the basket that was his strong knight on c6. He hoped this would cause enough difficulties for Boris Gelfand to produce a favourable result. Gelfand is very experienced and he gradually equalised where other players may well have struggled. Possibly 32.Ne5 was Aronian's best chance to cause difficulties but this wasn't played and a draw was agreed on move 40.

Aronian,Levon - Gelfand,Boris [D37]
6th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (6.2), 22.11.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 dxc4 8.0-0 c5 9.dxc5 Nxc5 10.Bxc4 a6 11.Ne5

[11.a4 1/2-1/2 Khalifman,A (2658)-Zvjaginsev,V (2649)/St Petersburg RUS 2005/The Week in Chess 554]

11...Ncd7 12.Be2 Nxe5 13.Bxe5 Qa5 14.Bg3 b5 15.Bf3 Ra7 16.Ne2

[16.a3 Rd7 17.Qc2 Qb6 18.Rfd1 Rxd1+ 19.Nxd1 Bb7 20.Bxb7 1/2-1/2 Flores,D (2628)-Leitao,R (2609)/Campinas BRA 2011/The Week in Chess 846]

16...Bb7 17.Bxb7 Rxb7 18.Nd4 Rd7 19.Qc2 Bd6 20.Nc6 Qb6 21.Bxd6 Rxd6 22.Rac1 Kh8 23.Rfd1 Rxd1+ 24.Qxd1 h6 25.g3

[25.h3 Rc8 26.Ne5 Rxc1 27.Qxc1 Qb7 28.Qc6 Qxc6 29.Nxc6 and Gelfand will hold.]

25...Qc7 26.Rc2 Rc8 27.Qd3 Ng4

White has a nice knight and against a weaker opponent he might have won but any advantage he has is rather delicate and Gelfand seems to cope well.

28.Rc3 Qb7 29.Qd6 Qa8 30.e4 Nf6 31.f3 a5

Boris Gelfand


Levon Aronian

Position after 31...a5


[32.Ne5 This looks like the try and that Aronan should try for an advantage. It looks like black should survive. 32...Qa7+ 33.Kg2 Rxc3 34.bxc3 Kh7 35.Qf8 Qe3 36.Qxf7 Qe2+ 37.Kh3 Qxa2 (37...Qf1+ 38.Kh4 Qg2 39.Qg6+ Kg8 40.Ng4 (40.h3 Qxa2) 40...Qxf3 41.Nxh6+ Kh8) 38.Qg6+ (38.Ng6) 38...Kg8 39.Nf7 e5 40.Nxh6+ Kf8 41.Nf5 Qf7]

32...b4 33.Rc4 Qa6 34.b3 Kh7 35.Qd6 a4

[35...Ne8 36.Qd7 Nf6 37.Qd6 repeats. 37...e5]

36.Rc2 axb3 37.axb3 Qa1+ 38.Kg2 Qb1 39.Qd2 Qxb3

[39...Nxe4 40.Qd3 f5 41.Nxb4]

40.Nxb4 Rb8 1/2-1/2

Nakamura against Kramnik with Carlsen in the foreground

Nakamura against Kramnik with Carlsen in the foreground. Photo ©

Vladimir Kramnik got a very nice looking position against Hikaru Nakamura in an unusual Gruenfeld Defence. However this advantage proved to be very delicate and once Nakamura broke out he was at least not worse and the game was agreed drawn in 42 moves.

Kramnik,V (2800) - Nakamura,Hi (2758) [A15]
6th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (6), 22.11.2011

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qb3 Nb6 6.d4 Bg7 7.Bf4 Be6 8.Qa3 Nc6 9.e3 0-0 10.Be2 a5 11.0-0 Nb4 12.Rfc1 c6 13.Be5

[13.Ne4 1-0 Bu Xiangzhi (2675)-Gupta,A (2627)/Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2011/The Week in Chess 878 (61)]

13...Bh6 14.Ne4

[14.Na4 Nxa4 15.Qxa4 Nd5 16.Qd1 Nb6 17.Bg3 Nd7 18.Ne5 Nxe5 19.Bxe5 Qb6 20.Qc2 Rfd8 21.h3 1/2-1/2 Naumann,A (2518)-Popovic,P (2489)/Wattenscheid GER 2008/The Week in Chess 736]

14...Nd7 15.Nc5 Nxc5 16.Rxc5 Nd5 17.Bc4 Qb6 18.e4 Nf6 19.Bxe6 fxe6 20.Rc2 Qb4 21.Qd3 Rac8 22.Ne1

[22.Rc3 might have been a way of keeping more control.]

22...Nd7 23.Bg3

[23.a3 Nxe5 24.dxe5 Qa4]


Hikaru Nakamura


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 23...c5

24.d5 Nf6 25.d6 Qxe4 26.dxe7 Rfe8 27.Qb5 Qb4 28.Qf1 Rxe7 29.Nd3 Qb6 30.Ne5 Nd5 31.Qe2 Nb4 32.Rc4 Bg7

Black has at least equalised.

33.Bh4 Ree8 34.Rd1 Nc6 35.Nd7 Qxb2 36.Qxb2 Bxb2 37.Rxc5 Rc7 38.Bg3 Rcc8 39.Rb5 Bg7 40.Rxb7 Nb4 41.a4 Nd5 42.Nb6 1/2-1/2

Anand had no problem in drawing against Ivanchuk

Anand had no problem in drawing against Ivanchuk. Photo ©

Viswanathan Anand got an easy draw after Vassily Ivanchuk's opening didn't present any problems for him. "It seems the system with 9.Rc1 and 10.Qc2 is just harmless." was Anand's conclusion after the game. "Vassily is quite dangerous in harmless positions." but today Anand thought that there were too few pieces for him to get into trouble. He felt that Ivanchuk often played objectively level positions against him but any carelessness and he would wake up and play the ending very well. It was just today there were too few resources for either side for the game to be anything other than a draw.

Ivanchuk,Vassily - Anand,Viswanathan [D56]
6th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (6.3), 22.11.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3 Ne4 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Rc1 c6 10.Qc2

"It seems the system with 9.Rc1 and 10.Qc2 is just harmless." was Anand's conclusion after the game.

10...Nd7 11.a3

The point of a3 is not to lose a move with the bishop. But in fact there is nothing really happening here.

11...Nxc3 12.Qxc3 dxc4 13.Bxc4 b6

I think this position is very, very equal because I don't see any way for white to stop c5.


[14.b4 Bb7 15.0-0 c5 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.b5 a6 18.Rfd1 Nb6 19.bxa6 Bxa6 20.Bxa6 Rxa6 21.Qxc5 1/2-1/2 Lugovoi,A (2485)-Pigusov,E (2613)/Panormo GRE 2001/The Week in Chess 360]

14...Bb7 15.Be2 c5 16.Rfd1

[16.dxc5 Rfc8 was Anand's idea. (16...Nxc5 17.b4 is white's only hope for an advantage here.) ]

16...Rac8 17.dxc5 Rxc5 18.Qd2 Rfc8 19.h3

Viswanathan Anand


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 19.h3

"I think h3 is in effect a draw offer." - Anand.


I have no idea why I played this [rather than just take the draw by changing off rooks] - Anand.

[19...Rxc1 20.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 21.Qxc1 would have finished the game quicker.]

20.Rxc5 Qxc5 21.Ne1

"Now it's important to be a little bit careful because if white can get f3 and e4 potentially black can be worse." - Anand. "But it's not very difficult." [to avoid these problems]

21...Qc7 22.Qd4 Ne4 23.Bf3 Nf6

[23...Nc5 "is probably slightly more efficient." - Anand.]

24.Bxb7 Qxb7

"Essentially the position is so equal we just had to find a repetition." - Anand.

25.Nd3 Qe4 26.Qxe4 Nxe4 27.f3 Nf6 28.Rc1 Rxc1+ 29.Nxc1 Kf8 30.Nd3 Nd7 31.Kf2 Ke7 32.e4 Kd6 33.Ke3 Nc5 34.Nf4 Nd7 35.Nd3 Nc5 36.Nf4 Nd7 1/2-1/2

6th Tal Memorial 2011 Moscow (RUS), 16-25 xi 2011 cat. XXII (2776)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2826 * ½ ½ . . ½ ½ ½ . 1 2830
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2802 ½ * . . ½ 1 . ½ ½ ½ 2842
3. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2763 ½ . * ½ ½ . ½ . ½ 1 2827
4. Nepomniachtchi, Ian g RUS 2730 . . ½ * ½ ½ . 1 ½ ½ 2832
5. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2811 . ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ . . 3 2770
6. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2775 ½ 0 . ½ ½ * 1 ½ . . 3 2787
7. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2755 ½ . ½ . ½ 0 * . 1 ½ 3 2779
8. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2800 ½ ½ . 0 ½ ½ . * ½ . 2726
9. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2758 . ½ ½ ½ . . 0 ½ * ½ 2708
10. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2744 0 ½ 0 ½ . . ½ . ½ * 2 2647
Round 6 (November 22, 2011)
Carlsen, Magnus - Svidler, Peter ½-½ 53 D86 Gruenfeld Simagin
Aronian, Levon - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 40 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Nepomniachtchi, Ian - Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ 40 E32 Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2
Ivanchuk, Vassily - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 36 D56 Queens Gambit Lasker's Defence
Kramnik, Vladimir - Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 42 A15 English counter King's Fianchetto

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