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10th Tal Memorial 2016 (2)

Tal Memorial Round 2: Anand and Giri win

Viswanathan Anand and Anish Giri joined Ian Nepomniachtchi in the lead of the Tal Memorial on 1.5 points after two rounds.

Anand defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a Zaitsev Ruy Lopez. Anand admitted that this variation hadn't been on his radar before the game so he was reliant on his memory. After 23.g3 it became obvious that Mamedyarov was going to have to sacrifice a piece but Anand was critical of Mamedyarov's 23...a4 believing that it was advantageous to him to be able to open the queenside with a3 later. Anand's 27.Nf1 was forced and he was surprised that Mamedyarov took queens off with 29...Qg4+. While the game remained difficult it seems Anand had a winning position which he eventually converted.

Boris Gelfand against Giri was a strategically and tactically complicated game almost from the start. Gelfand tried to avoid a straight Gruenfeld with 3.g3 and Gelfand looked to have a small pull out of the opening. 23.Nxd5 accepted a very hot pawn and soon Gelfand was facing problems with an isolated bishop on h6 combined with an open king. After very sharp play 34.gxf5 was the losing error (maybe 34.Ng5 or Qh6) maybe missing 36...Be5! ending the game immediately.

Vladimir Kramnik played for the tiniest of advantages against Li Chao in a symmetrical Petroff. Kramnik tested his opponent for a very long time but it was in the end not enough to beat the Chinese player.

The remaining games were drawn. Peter Svidler was white in a topical Gruenfeld against Ian Nepomniachtchi and they drew by repetiion in a dynamically equal position. Evgeny Tomashevsky couldn't find anything against Levon Aronian's Lasker Variation of the Queen's Gambit and this too ended in a repetition.

Round 2 standings: Anand, Giri, Nepomniachtchi 1.5pts, Svidler, Kramnik, Li Chao, Aronian 1pt, Tomashevsky, Gelfand, Nepomnitachtchi 0.5pts.

Round 3 Wednesday 28th Sept 1pm UK time pairings: Nepomniachtchi-Kramnik, Aronian-Svidler, Giri-Tomashevsky, Mamedyarov-Gelfand and Li Chao-Anand

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