Nakamura Also Beats Caruana, Leads at Tal Memorial

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  • on 6/17/13, 1:18 PM.

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."

Nakamura at the press conference | Image Chess.TV

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 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
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 - 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        

2013 Tal Memorial | Round 4 standings

# Player Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Points SB
1 Nakamura,H 2784 * 0 1 1 1 3.0/4
2 Mamedyarov,S 2753 1 * ½ ½ ½ 2.5/4 5.00
3 Gelfand,B 2755 * 1 ½ ½ ½ 2.5/4 4.75
4 Caruana,F 2774 0 0 * 1 1 2.0/4 4.00
5 Andreikin,D 2713 ½ * ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 4.00
6 Anand,V 2786 ½ 0 ½ * 1 2.0/4 3.75
7 Carlsen,M 2864 0 ½ * ½ 1 2.0/4 2.75
8 Karjakin,S 2782 0 ½ ½ ½ * 1.5/4 3.50
9 Morozevich,A 2760 ½ ½ 0 * ½ 1.5/4 2.75
10 Kramnik,V 2803 0 ½ 0 ½ * 1.0/4 x

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.

10996 reads 31 comments
3 votes


  • 3 years ago


    im impressed by nakas streak lately! job well done!

  • 3 years ago


    7....h5 by Nakamura in the naidorf, simple but so useful.

    What a great game for Niadorf beginners like myself to learn something from.

  • 3 years ago


    Keep up the good work Naka, good job beating the other american (Caruana) ;-)). #5 in live rating is great news..

  • 3 years ago


    How is it possible for a super GM to miss a move like 9...Bxb5?Surprised

  • 3 years ago


    I think there will be stark difference in the winning after Round 5 and the older big players like Kramnik and Anand will come up well after sluggish start...but finger closed

  • 3 years ago


    Goes to show that any top GM can beat any other top GM. Andreikin has been solid, though not brilliant, if he can rack at least 2 wins he can secure top 3 at least. Carlsen, well maybe he is tired, and he ain't playing no slouches, if you aren't on your A game you ain't gonna win no Cat 20 tournament. Naka is at his creative best... how does he do it?

  • 3 years ago


    Really pleased to see one of my favourite players doing so well here especially after a slightly disappointing tournament in the Grand Prix in Greece. Great enterprising play Nakamura!!

  • 3 years ago


    This is great!    =)  

  • 3 years ago


    naka is leading, FTW?!!

  • 3 years ago


    @Petrosianic: Good one!

  • 3 years ago


    Game ON !---- Anand vs Carlsen 

  • 3 years ago


    USA USA USA!!!

  • 3 years ago


    I like Nakamura because he plays decisive games. A lil bit of risk is necessary for the reward.


  • 3 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    The places for 6-10 are totally what was expected. Innocent

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    Balachandar: In that ending white cannot win because there is no avenue that he can use to break into black`s position. Black has all the entry points covered and will just keep on moving his Bishop to b8, c7, d6...

  • 3 years ago


    We're told that in a same coloured bishops ending, your pawns should be on the opposite colour squares of your bishop. Still it's surprising that Carlsen's game is a draw, where all his pawns are on dark squares and all of white's pawns are on light squares. 

  • 3 years ago


    Naka playing really strong. Great win with black today..

  • 3 years ago

    IM DanielRensch


  • 3 years ago


     Since how long Carlsen had a bad start in a closed tounament ?

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