Nakamura Also Beats Caruana, Leads at Tal Memorial
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Hikaru Nakamura scored his third straight win at the Tal Memorial to become the sole leader after four rounds. On Monday he beat Fabiano Caruana from the black side of a Sicilian Najdorf. Because Andreikin-Carlsen, Anand-Gelfand, Morozevich-Kramnik and Karjakin-Mamedyarov were all draws, the American grandmaster is now half a point ahead of Gelfand and Mamedyarov.
When Nakamura finished explaining his victory over Caruana to the Russian spectators, a journalist asked him about his new second, the Israeli grandmaster Arthur Kogan. The reporter remarked that he had seen Kogan during the first round, but not since. Nakamura, realizing the pattern, smiled and replied:
"He actually decided not to come to the second round. I don't know why this was; maybe he wanted to change luck or something. It seems to be working."
It's definitely working! After losing his first game, Nakamura won three good games in a row against the #3, #4 and #8 of the current live rankings where, because of his loss, Caruana dropped back from #3 to #4 again, behind Kramnik.
Nakamura chose the Sicilian Najdorf because "Fabiano lost about four or five games in a row against the Najdorf". It was clear that the American knew exactly what he was doing, while Caruana was struggling. The Italian couldn't find good squares for his pieces and also used too much time on the clock. With about five minutes for his last twelve moves, things went from bad to worse.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was one of the other players with two points. The Azeri drew an amazing Pirc Defence with Sergey Karjakin after playing a pawn sacrfice that "looked like it could have been played by a 1300 player", as IM Lawrence Trent put, it during the Chess.com/TV live show! The sequence ...c5, dxc5 ...Nbd7!? definitely belongs to the "don't try this at home" category, as Black leaves himself with a backward, isolated d-pawn. On top of that, Mamedyarov duly sac'ed another pawn right after! The game is a really nice example of the chess term "compensation".
The Scotch Four Knights is quite fashionable, basically since Vladimir Kramnik introduced the subtle 10.h3 exactly one year ago at the same tournament, against Levon Aronian. In today's round the 14th World Champion faced this opening with Black, but Alexander Morozevich preferred the more traditional 10.Bg5. After a series of exchanges, White kept a slight edge, but with his queen behind the rook Kramnik could create just enough counterplay.
Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand played many Rossolimo Sicilians last year in their World Championship match, and they added one more today. Thanks to his queenside majority White was slightly better in the ending, but trading the black-squared bishops was a "mistake" according to Anand. After that, Black didn't have much to worry about.
Magnus Carlsen drew his black game with Dmitry Andreikin in a Symmetrical English. At the press conference the players only looked at the opening phase, which was very interesting indeed. Even though it threatened mate in one, White's 8th move might not have been the best in the position but Andreikin had missed 9...Bxb5! which solved most of the problems for Black.
Nakamura tops the standings with 3/4, followed by Gelfand and Mamedyarov on 2.5/4. Kramnik is still last, with 1/4. Right after his opponent in last year's match, the World Champion will face his opponent in the next title match tomorrow: in round 5 it's Carlsen-Anand!
2013 Tal Memorial | Results & pairings
|Round 1||15:00 MSK||13.06.13||Round 2||15:00 MSK||14.06.13|
|Round 3||15:00 MSK||15.06.13||Round 4||15:00 MSK||17.06.13|
|Round 5||15:00 MSK||18.06.13||Round 6||15:00 MSK||19.06.13|
|Round 7||15:00 MSK||21.06.13||Round 8||15:00 MSK||22.06.13|
|Round 9||13:00 MSK||23.06.13|
2013 Tal Memorial | Round 4 standings
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 is providing live games, streaming video and commentary in Russian by GMs Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Sergey Rublevsky and Sergey Shipov. The games start each day at 15:00 local time which is 13:00 CET, 10:00 EDT and 07:00 PDT. The last round starts two hours earlier. Photos © Eteri Kublashvili courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation. Games via TWIC.