Boris Gelfand Takes the Trophy in Moscow

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  • on 6/23/13, 12:16 PM.

Tomorrow he turns 45, and today he got himself a great birthday present. Boris Gelfand won the 8th Tal Memorial on Sunday in Moscow, and with it the golden trophy and the € 30,000 (US $39,420) first prize. Gelfand, who was the oldest participant, finished on 6/9 and a performance rating of exactly 2900. Magnus Carlsen finished second and took home € 20,000 (US $26,280) after drawing his game with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. In the last round Hikaru Nakamura suffered his third straight loss, to Alexander Morozevich.

Going into the last round, Gelfand was half a point ahead of Carlsen. Facing Vladimir Kramnik with the black pieces - a man he had never beaten with black in classical chess - Gelfand was probably happy with a draw. He got it, easier than expected. The opening was a (very) Symmetrical English, and Black's important 12...Qb6 was in fact a move Kramnik had once played himself, in a rapid game with Vassily Ivanchuk. It looks like White has nothing better there than swapping everything, and that's what happened.

Boris Gelfand after his press conference

Magnus Carlsen now needed to beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to finish equal with Gelfand. In that case the Norwegian would have won the tournament on the second tiebreak rule: number of wins. (Yes, the same infamous tiebreak as the Candidates Tournament in London had.) However, Gelfand never really needed to worry, because if anyone would win that game it was Mamedyarov.

In a Fianchetto King's Indian with ...Bf5, the Azeri sacrificed a pawn in the opening and Carlsen didn't react well to it. Then, instead of Mamedyarov's automatic 17.Kg2, the move 17.Bb2! looks winning, and so both players had reasons to be disappointed at the press conference. Carlsen:

"I was looking for ways to complicate the game but probably it is much more dangerous for Black than it is for White. Certainly I underestimated the idea of the pawn sacrifice. I missed a number of things (...) Obvjectively, I was lucky to survive."

Mamedyarov & Carlsen after their game

Hikaru Nakamura's tournament finished horribly: the American also lost his last game, the third in a row. After round six he was still the proud leader, but eventually he finished on sixth place. On Sunday the American went down against Alexander Morozevich in a sideline of the Queen's Gambit Declined, after he had his chances in the middlegame. Black kept a passed pawn on c3, but weakened his kingside with ...h6 and ...g5. Nakamura tried to break it apart with h4 and Rg4, but soon his own king got into trouble. Trading the queens didn't help either; White lost an exchange and then the game.

Hikaru Nakamura finished on 4.5/9

Nakamura tweeted:

Some openings guarantee spectacle, and the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf is one of them. But, as it goes these days with sharp openings, the computer engines have analyzed many lines to equality. For top players who have the Najdorf on their repertoire, it's mainly a matter of remembering everything. This was certainly the case with the game Sergey Karjakin versus Viswanathan Anand. About the position after 16...Kxf7, the World Champion said:

"Here I reflected that this was one of the most ridiculous positions I can imagine. I mean, Black is not even sligthy lost looking, he looks completely busted! Castling with check, king g8, light squares, queen coming to g4, it looked completely busted except I happened to know it's drawn!"

The next time Vishy Anand plays chess is in November in Chennai

Fabiano Caruana and Dmitry Andreikin finished their tournament with a draw. The Russian grandmaster played the Deferred Steinitz and completed his development using only three ranks. Because Black threatened ...d6-d5, Caruana decided to push d4-d5 himself, when the game started to look like a King's Indian. Caruana missed Andreikin's 18...Nh5! (reminiscent of Spassky-Fischer, Reykjavik 1972) and was on the defensive side from that moment. When a pair of rooks went off the board, the worse was over for the Italian, who finished third in the tournament.

Tal Memorial prize winners: 1. Gelfand, 2. Carlsen, 3. Caruana
Boris Gelfand cashed € 30,000 (US $39,420)

2013 Tal Memorial | Results & pairings

Round 1 15:00 MSK 13.06.13   Round 2 15:00 MSK 14.06.13
Andreikin ½-½ Morozevich   Morozevich ½-½ Mamedyarov
Anand 0-1 Caruana   Kramnik 0-1 Nakamura
Gelfand ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin ½-½ Carlsen
Carlsen 1-0 Kramnik   Caruana 0-1 Gelfand
Nakamura 0-1 Mamedyarov   Andreikin ½-½ Anand
Round 3 15:00 MSK 15.06.13   Round 4 15:00 MSK 17.06.13
Anand 1-0 Morozevich   Morozevich ½-½ Kramnik
Gelfand ½-½ Andreikin   Karjakin ½-½ Mamedyarov
Carlsen 0-1 Caruana   Caruana 0-1 Nakamura
Nakamura 1-0 Karjakin   Andreikin ½-½ Carlsen
Mamedyarov ½-½ Kramnik   Anand ½-½ Gelfand
Round 5 15:00 MSK 18.06.13   Round 6 15:00 MSK 19.06.13
Gelfand 1-0 Morozevich   Morozevich ½-½ Karjakin
Carlsen 1-0 Anand   Caruana ½-½ Kramnik
Nakamura ½-½ Andreikin   Andreikin ½-½ Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov ½-½ Caruana   Anand 0-1 Nakamura
Kramnik ½-½ Karjakin   Gelfand ½-½ Carlsen
Round 7 15:00 MSK 21.06.13   Round 8 15:00 MSK 22.06.13
Carlsen ½-½ Morozevich   Morozevich 0-1 Caruana
Nakamura 0-1 Gelfand   Andreikin ½-½ Karjakin
Mamedyarov ½-½ Anand   Anand ½-½ Kramnik
Kramnik 0-1 Andreikin   Gelfand ½-½ Mamedyarov
Karjakin ½-½ Caruana   Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura
Round 9 13:00 MSK 23.06.13        
Nakamura 0-1 Morozevich        
Mamedyarov ½-½ Carlsen        
Kramnik ½-½ Gelfand        
Karjakin ½-½ Anand        
Caruana ½-½ Andreikin        

2013 Tal Memorial | Final standings

# Player Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Points SB
1 Gelfand,B 2755 * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 6.0/9
2 Carlsen,M 2864 ½ * ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 1 1 5.5/9
3 Mamedyarov,S 2753 ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 5.0/9 22.25
4 Andreikin,D 2713 ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5.0/9 21.50
5 Caruana,F 2774 0 1 ½ ½ * 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 5.0/9 21.00
6 Nakamura,H 2784 0 0 0 ½ 1 * 1 0 1 1 4.5/9
7 Karjakin,S 2782 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 * ½ ½ ½ 4.0/9
8 Morozevich,A 2760 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ * 0 ½ 3.5/9 15.75
9 Anand,V 2786 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 * ½ 3.5/9 15.00
10 Kramnik,V 2803 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ * 3.0/9

The 8th Tal Memorial took place June 12-23, 2013 at the technology center Digital October in Moscow, Russia. The total prize fund was 100,000 EUR. The official website provided live games, streaming video and commentary in Russian by GMs Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Sergey Rublevsky, Sergey Shipov, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Maxim Dlugy. Photos © Eteri Kublashvili courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation. Games via TWIC.

14056 reads 85 comments
6 votes


  • 3 years ago


    >>Things appeared as I suspected: Gelfand wins. The aged shark did it with safety first in mind. "Happy Birthday" Gelfand and good luck the rest of the way. There is no need for Carlsen fans to cry, as he stated "Objectively, I was lucky to survive." Reason: He was chess gang mobbed. Carlsen was a marked man at the Tal Memorial Tournament. Hats off to Mamedyarov for the final blow to the head. It started early for Carlsen with his first drawn game, and down hill with continued blows from Gelfands draw and others who joined the assault. His only reprisal was against Anand and Naka. Poor Carlsen, they just beat his brains out. I would not be surprised if he sees a doctor before November. His cry for help was not heard this time as in Norway, when Ivanchuk (Chucky) saved him. One thing is for sure, he'll need a good rest after licking his wounds. The man is in trouble and he knows it. Perhaps, he'll come to his senses soon and realize that he's not invincible as he would have us believe he is. <<

    chessdoggblack, where do get that shit you're smoking from? Please let me know, I must try that too.

  • 3 years ago


    Well done Boris.

  • 3 years ago


    Great work Boris! Take some R&R and back to the Battlefield!

  • 3 years ago


    Experience wins over Youth in Tal Memorial; this time!!

  • 3 years ago


    Yes indeed...the long , very long era of Carlsen is about to commence.

  • 3 years ago


    Am I the only one who missed Aronian here? Not to mention Topalov...

  • 3 years ago


    welldone gelfand  gratulationgs-great win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ewell dPlease be relevant, helpful & nice!

  • 3 years ago


    Kramnik and Anand standings are looking like Capas and Alechins in AVRO 1938 

  • 3 years ago


    Maybe you should take the anger somewhere else have been banned from a number of sites, I seem to remember over ' Age Issues '..

    This site is about chess......respect it man.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand really knows the draw lines

  • 3 years ago


    @chessdoggblack said

    Second place is like second rated or equal to a used car. Sorry, I'am high class and for me first place is always my option of driving in style. Good night Carlsen and have a good sleep - on getting your head kicked in.

    My dear brother I don't care if you are Iranian, Arab or Indian immigrant (I forget which one you wrote), but your beef with your newly adopted country has nothing to do with a nice Norwegian kid who plays chess very well. Norway has very little to do with the fact that you face racism or discrimination in America. While I do sympathise with your pain (I am Kenyan-Italian) this is a chess blog not a political forum.

  • 3 years ago


    Great job Gelfand... I have to admit I used to be one of those Carlsen haters... BUT you have to admit that Magnus Carlsen is the most consistent top GM there is, he is always there top 3 in every tournament and I think he was unlucky not to tie Gelfand on this one. You gotta give the Norwegian GM his due... He is the best in the world with a PR that was eeirily close to his Live Rating... GOOD JOB MAGNUS... you deserve to be world champion soon.

  • 3 years ago


    when is the next big tournament?

  • 3 years ago


    Happy for Delfand! He desires victory! Anand obviosly is waiting for World Championship, but Kramnik??

  • 3 years ago


    Nice Tropies....But why although Mamedyarov and Andreikin are winning by Tie -break, but why Caruana is in 3rd place instead of 5th?

  • 3 years ago


    Really Happy for Gelfand. He's not the 'rockstar' like the others but he goes about his job with great hardwork and work ethics.

  • 3 years ago


    I am happy for Gelfand.

  • 3 years ago


    @Ruzzell said...

    Good job Gelfand! This proves that classical players are still (even Kramnik, my favourite player, and Anand) sharp and shining enough to equalise the glamour of the newly rising players (Carlsen, Caruana and Karjakin)!

    The word classical is thrown around in chess blogspheres a bit too frivolously, Gelfand may be 45 (he is 5yrs younger than Kasparov), but he is a master of modern chess theory... and together with Svidler and Ivanchuk have created intricate novelties over the years.

  • 3 years ago


    Good job Gelfand! This proves that classical players are still (even Kramnik, my favourite player, and Anand) sharp and shining enough to equalise the glamour of the newly rising players (Carlsen, Caruana and Karjakin)!

  • 3 years ago


    Congratulations Gelfand! Great job!

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