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Tal Memorial Opened; Nakamura Wins the Blitz

  • webmaster
  • on 6/12/13, 1:53 PM.

The 8th Tal Memorial was opened officially on Wednesday with a brief opening ceremony and a spectacular blitz tournament, won by Hikaru Nakamura (USA). Reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand (India) and 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) came second and third, while world number one Magnus Carlsen only managed to score 4.5/9.

Nakamura, who announced a sponsorship deal via Twitter earlier today, was the leader after three rounds; he beat Alexander Morozevich, drew with Boris Gelfand and then won against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. In rounds 4, 5 and 6 he drew his games with Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand, and then the American won all three remaining games, against Dmitry Andreikin, Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin.

Especially with White, Nakamura played a very specific, non-theoretical setup. Except for a King's Indian Attack against Morozevich (which we skip here) he played the rare Veresov Opening three times, and a Trompovsky Attack once:

The winner, Hikaru Nakamura, with his new trainer GM Arthur Kogan | Photo Eteri Kublashvili

2013 Tal Memorial Blitz | Final standings

# Player Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Points SB
1 Nakamura,H 2784 * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 7.0/9
2 Anand,V 2786 ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 6.5/9
3 Kramnik,V 2803 ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 1 5.5/9
4 Gelfand,B 2755 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 0 1 1 ½ 0 4.5/9 20.75
5 Carlsen,M 2864 ½ ½ ½ ½ * 0 ½ 1 0 1 4.5/9 19.75
6 Mamedyarov,S 2753 0 0 ½ 1 1 * 0 ½ 0 1 4.0/9 16.00
7 Andreikin,D 2713 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 * ½ 1 1 4.0/9 13.50
8 Karjakin,S 2782 0 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ * ½ 1 3.5/9
9 Morozevich,A 2760 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 0 ½ * 0 3.0/9
10 Caruana,F 2774 0 ½ 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 * 2.5/9

Last year the organizers of the Tal Memorial introduced their idea to hold a blitz tournament on the opening day, and it was a great success. The players' places in the final standings became their lot numbers and this was how the pairings for the main tournament came about. Players finishing in the top 5 got lot numbers 1-5 and so five white games in the main event; the others got five black games.

In May of this year, the Norway Chess tournament copied this concept, but had the winner choose his lot number himself. Sergey Karjakin won the blitz, obviously went for a lot number that ensured five white games, but also arranged for himself that he could start and finish with a white game! (Eventually the Russian GM would also win the main tournament.)

Today the Russian organizers went a bit further: all players could choose their lot number, one by one, in ranking order of the final standings of the blitz. As the winner, Nakamura chose first and picked lot number 5. Like Karjakin in Norway, the American will have white in the first and the last round.

Anand then chose chose 2 (five whites) and, interestingly, Kramnik then chose number 7, so the Russian will have five blacks! His reason was the first rule in case of a tiebreak: number of black games.

2013 Tal Memorial | Pairings

Round 1 15:00 MSK 13.06.13   Round 2 15:00 MSK 14.06.13
Andreikin - Morozevich   Morozevich - Mamedyarov
Anand - Caruana   Kramnik - Nakamura
Gelfand - Karjakin   Karjakin - Carlsen
Carlsen - Kramnik   Caruana - Gelfand
Nakamura - Mamedyarov   Andreikin - Anand
Round 3 15:00 MSK 15.06.13   Round 4 15:00 MSK 17.06.13
Anand - Morozevich   Morozevich - Kramnik
Gelfand - Andreikin   Karjakin - Mamedyarov
Carlsen - Caruana   Caruana - Nakamura
Nakamura - Karjakin   Andreikin - Carlsen
Mamedyarov - Kramnik   Anand - Gelfand
Round 5 15:00 MSK 18.06.13   Round 6 15:00 MSK 19.06.13
Gelfand - Morozevich   Morozevich - Karjakin
Carlsen - Anand   Caruana - Kramnik
Nakamura - Andreikin   Andreikin - Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov - Caruana   Anand - Nakamura
Kramnik - Karjakin   Gelfand - Carlsen
Round 7 15:00 MSK 21.06.13   Round 8 15:00 MSK 22.06.13
Carlsen - Morozevich   Morozevich - Caruana
Nakamura - Gelfand   Andreikin - Karjakin
Mamedyarov - Anand   Anand - Kramnik
Kramnik - Andreikin   Gelfand - Mamedyarov
Karjakin - Caruana   Carlsen - Nakamura
Round 9 13:00 MSK 23.06.13        
Nakamura - Morozevich        
Mamedyarov - Carlsen        
Kramnik - Gelfand        
Karjakin - Anand        
Caruana - Andreikin        

The 8th Tal Memorial takes place June 12-23, 2013 at the technology center Digital October in Moscow, Russia. The total prize fund is 100,000 EUR. The official website will provide live games, streaming video and commentary by GMs Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Sergey Rublevsky and Sergey Shipov. The games start each day at 15:00 local time which is 16:00 CET, 10:00 EDT and 07:00 PDT.

Update 13 June: unfortunately, for non-Russian speakers, it turns out that the commentary is in Russian only.

11368 reads 55 comments
5 votes


  • 15 months ago



    I don't think its necessarily bad theory, the doubled pawn on f6 can be pushed to f5 to create a beautiful bind on the e5 square... maybe the timing of that push wasn't right, I don't see the purpose of h5?!... sometimes GMs experiment in these blitz games... I don't think Mamedyarov could be caught by surprise so early in the opening even in a rare opening... maybe later on move 11,12 or so but not move 3,4...

    Remember the real thing is the tournament and it doesn't hurt to hold back and experiment a little. Yes top 5 get 5 white games but more games with black wins the tie break which cancels out any advantage of playing more with white.

    Thats my take.

  • 15 months ago



    "Looking at the 2 first games in this article, I got a question about the Richter Veresov attack: why doesn't black answer 3.Bg5 with ...Nbd7? It seems to me it's the only way to avoid the awkward double pawn. I know this is some complicated chess we see here, but it looks way simplier just to defend the knight with the other knight and a better option for development."

    You are absolutely correct. Although technically ..c6 is considered acceptable, the opponents here were likely caught off-guard. This opening becomes inferior if played correctly by black. It works in blitz as a surprise weapon.

  • 15 months ago


    Nakamura must be cheating, Lolilov Lolipov did an analysis and fund out that 99%of his moves correspond to the chess engine "Who din it"... they should strip search him, anal search, eye ball search, take out his ears and x-ray them... and make sure the only audience members are bikini clad models who think "chess" is a lingerie brand.

    And ban "Who din it"

  • 15 months ago


    Wow.  I wonder if Nakamura will overtake Karjakin in FIDE blitz ratings--Karjakin (at 2873) had like 30 points on him.  Caruana's blitz is 2718.
    Poor Morozevich--he had a great win against Carlsen, but is way too inconsistent.  Naka's interesting opening scheme was awesome...wonder if he got it from the new coach, or developed it with help from computers or what.

  • 15 months ago


    @subhadra123... said

    if you observe the matrix...the games between top 5 players are all draws...their standings decided on their performance against bottom 5 players.....interesting.

    That is a tautological argument my friend... its like saying "how interesting that the top 5 runners in the olympic final beat the bottom 5 runners in the Olympic final". Ofcourse. The nature of the final standings is inherently related to the performance of the competitors.

    Maybe what you should have said is that "non of the bottom 5 had wins against the top 5"... which is also a tautological argument although not as absurd. If they had wins against the top 5 then the top 5 wouldn't be the top 5... capisce?

  • 15 months ago


    Looking at the 2 first games in this article, I got a question about the Richter Veresov attack: why doesn't black answer 3.Bg5 with ...Nbd7? It seems to me it's the only way to avoid the awkward double pawn. I know this is some complicated chess we see here, but it looks way simplier just to defend the knight with the other knight and a better option for development.

  • 15 months ago


    From what I've seen players focus only on certain tournaments. If they are playing weak in one tourney they usually play strong in the next and vise-versa. 

  • 15 months ago


    Anand is showing some signs he won't lose by a landslide against Carlsen.

  • 15 months ago


    Glad Hikaru won it. Hope he continues to be on fire in the main tournament. 

  • 15 months ago


    Wow Nakamura, awesome games. He is on fire.

  • 15 months ago


    No english on the official Tal Memorial website?

  • 15 months ago


    nice wins by Naka

  • 15 months ago


    I wish Anand would have won his last game!

  • 15 months ago


    july's list should be nakamura on 1st and carlsen on 2nd :)

  • 15 months ago


    but i wonder why levon missed this

  • 15 months ago


    Sergey K! Now he has 5 blacks but not easy to beat

  • 15 months ago


    Wait for the Anti-Carlsen comments...

  • 15 months ago


    Caruana come on!

  • 15 months ago


    The death match didn't help Caruana much did it?

  • 15 months ago


    go nakamura!!

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