Carlsen Beats Nakamura, Moves to Second Place at Tal Memorial
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Anything is possible at the Tal Memorial where Boris Gelfand is still the leader after today's penultimate round, but with the smallest possible margin. The new runner-up is Magnus Carlsen, who defeated Hikaru Nakamura in a topsy-turvy game. In another very exciting encounter Fabiano Caruana profited from a blunder by Alexander Morozevich to reach a "plus one" score.
The games between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura are always exciting for the simple fact that both are great fighters. However, the score is much in the Norwegian's favour: including today's win, he has +6 =13 -0 against the American. At the press conerence he explained this domination as follows:
"In general I do quite well against a player of similar style, since I'm usually happy to play the kind of fighting games that he likes."
Today's game almost became a complete walk-over for Carlsen after Nakamura erred in the opening. His 13...e5 was bad ("a very poor move" - Carlsen) and this was clearly demonstrated in the game. White's beautiful knight on c4, the passed d-pawn and the active move 17.f4 introduced all kinds of tactics, and Black had nothing better than to allow a rolling pawn centre.
But, Nakamura's fighting spirit is certainly not less when he has to defend, on the contrary. He kept on playing decent moves, even when he was with his back against the wall, waiting for the final blow. Then, suddenly Carlsen started to play "too casual" (as he put it himself) and Nakamura grabbed his chance to get back into the (end)game. There White soon got a decisive advantage anyway.
Nakamura is now back to "plus one" (4.5/8), and so is Fabiano Caruana. The Italian, who defeated Alexander Morozevich, seems to have cemented his number three position in the world rankings for the July list, and can even reach 2800 if he also beats Andreikin tomorrow!
Today Caruana was a bit lucky. In a Scotch Four Knights ending he came under huge pressure when the ever-original Alexander Morozevich suddenly started moving a knight, bishop and rook towards his opponent's king. At the press conference Caruana gave some long and deep variations, which he had all seen during the game, and then duly said:
"I don't think my calculation is very good, but at the board you have no choice and you just have to calculate as much as you can."
The game was decided in mutual time trouble, when Morozevich played the inexplicable 38.g5. Caruana:
"It was a real shock to me."
The tournament leader's strategy on Saturday seemed to be "safety first". In a Ragozin, Boris Gelfand went for a slightly better ending against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, whose plan of an early ...Bd7 and ...Rc8 made a good impression. The Azerbaijani completed his development and after both players had doubled their rooks, they started repeating the moves.
Except for one game, in which Viswanathan Anand beat Vladimir Kramnik in a Petroff (Wijk aan Zee 2010), all classical games between these players have ended in draws since their World Championship match in 2008. A twelfth draw was added today, with the Indian keeping a slight advantage from the start - a Nimzo-Indian. Especially on move 13 Anand had several options; he went for an ending where White could hope for a good knight versus bad bishop advantage. However, this would only be serious if the knight could get to e5, as the World Champion explained afterwards.
Dmitry Andreikin and Sergey Karjakin played an old line from the Open Catalan which is considered to be a bit passive for Black, but in this game Black equalized surprisingly easily.
Many scenarios are possible for tomorrow's round, which starts two hours earlier. Gelfand and Carlsen play with black against Kramnik and Mamedyarov respectively. Here's a GM tweet:
I have this nagging feeling that Magnus is going to win the Tal Memorial. Even an out of form Kramnik with Black is tough for Boris.— Gawain Jones ( @GMGawain) June 22, 2013
In case of a tie the following tie-break rules are in place:
- Maximum number of games played with black pieces;
- Maximum number of wins;
- Direct encounter;
- Sonneborn-Berger score.
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 8 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, Sergey Shipov, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Maxim Dlugy. 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.