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10th Tal Memorial 2016 (6)

Nepomniachtchi takes the lead in the Tal Memorial after 6 rounds

Ian Nepomniachtchi leads the Tal Memorial going into the final rest day on Monday. Nepomniachtchi beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a topical Giuoco Pianissimo. Nepomniachtchi sacrificed a pawn for sharp play and more than enough compensation. Mamedyarov's position gradually went downhill and he was eventually tried to create a fortress in a rook and pawns vs queen and pawns endgame but it proved impossible.

The former leader Anish Giri was beaten by Levon Aronian in an English. The players put their finger on 10...Qd7? as the start of Giri's troubles and black's position was thoroughly unpleasant very quickly. Giri thought he should have resisted better but good suggestions for him are hard to come by.

Boris Gelfand lost his 5th game in a row. Vladimir Kramnik took him on in a sharp Najdorf with the white pieces and was able to execute powerful preparation as far as 21.Qf2 (Kramnik said he thought 11...Rc8 was not the best choice of variation for black and 17...b4 was a mistake). Kramnik quickly took the game into a winning endgame. There has been plenty of sympathy from follow players for Gelfand's plight, but of course no mercy.

Peter Svidler played a reversed Blumenfeld Gambit against Li Chao and onto new territory very quickly. Li Chao should have strongly considered 7...c5 and his 8...c6 (rather than 8...e5 with complications) proved to be a serious error which left him very short of development. After 19.Rb7 Svidler expected a quick win but he was taken all the way to an endgame without really surrendering his huge advantage. Svidler won on move 42.

Evgeny Tomashevsky maybe got a small edge against Viswanathan Anand but it was far too little to turn into a win. Draw in 49 moves.

Round 6 standings: Nepomniachtchi 4.5pts/6, Giri 4pts, Aronian, Kramnik, Anand 3.5pts, Svidler, Li Chao 3pts, Mamedyarov 2.5pts, Tomashevsky 2pts, Gelfand 0.5pts

Rest day Monday.

Round 7 pairings Tuesday 4th Oct 2016: Giri-Kramnik, Mamedyarov-Aronian, Li Chao-Nepomniachtchi, Anand-Svidler, Gelfand-Tomashevsky.

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