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.

14308 reads 85 comments
6 votes


  • 3 years ago


    Fascinating games and great coverage of the entire Tal Memorial tournament by webmaster. Well done.

  • 3 years ago


    bigbikefan: The table is listed in order of Sonneborn-Berger tiebreaks (to calculate this, sum the final scores of all opponents you have defeated plus half the final scores of the opponents you drew). The tournament's tiebreaks were: 1.Most Blacks 2.Most victories 3.Result of direct encounter 4.Sonneborn-Berger. Caruana had the most victories among those tied for third place, so he gets the trophy.

    Number of victories is a really stupid tiebreak, IMHO. I agree that "most Blacks" should be first, but then I would go with "direct encounter," Sonneborn-Berger, and if still tied the prize should be shared.

  • 3 years ago


    Congrats Gelfand! Nice to see him win as he is a super player at highest level.

  • 3 years ago


    Caruana a.k.a Mr. Personality.

  • 3 years ago


    Nak ran out of gas. Not enough down time.

  • 3 years ago


    That is one classy photo of Naka! lol

  • 3 years ago


    From the table above it looks like Mamedyarov won the thrid place, but on the picture of three players with Gelfand and Carlsen present Caruana's holding some sort of a trophy as the winner and the runner-up are.

  • 3 years ago


    Great going Gelfand!

  • 3 years ago


    2nd place isn't too bad for someone who was chess gang mobbed.

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    Gelfand next WC he beats Carlsen next...Anand is lost

  • 3 years ago


    Dilijan Woman Grand Prix is rounds have been played...just saying!

  • 3 years ago


    Congratulations for Boris, Magnus and Fabiano for a great tournament!!!!

  • 3 years ago


    There are still some countries for old mans!!!(Did you see the film?) Congratulation great Gelfand!

  • 3 years ago


    Gelfand the great!  Nice to see the veteran beat out all the top players in the world.  Have to feel sorry for my fellow American who was so close and the totally collpased over the last three rounds.  And I'm troubled to see the current world champion and the former world champion finish in the bottom two.

  • 3 years ago


    A great result for Gelfand, another near-the-top-of-the-table finish for Carlsen and just look out for Caruana! Cool

  • 3 years ago


    Kudos to Boris.  Magnus already has a bunch of laurels and will no doubt garner plenty more, so it's good to see a veteran get a victory at the highest level.

  • 3 years ago


    Awesome! Poor Naka 3 loss in a row. he deserve a brake now.

  • 3 years ago


    How good to see Gelfand win....he has been playing some great chess this year and not forgetting how close he took Anand in 2012.

    and what is happening with Anand, he seems to have a continual worried look about him??.....hope he regains his composure for November.

    Think we all want to see a great match then............

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