Tal Memorial Opened; Nakamura Wins the Blitz

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  • on 6/12/13, 1:53 PM.

The 8th Tal Memorial was opened officially on Wednesday with a brief opening ceremony and a spectacular blitz tournament, won by Hikaru Nakamura (USA). Reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand (India) and 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) came second and third, while world number one Magnus Carlsen only managed to score 4.5/9.

Nakamura, who announced a sponsorship deal via Twitter earlier today, was the leader after three rounds; he beat Alexander Morozevich, drew with Boris Gelfand and then won against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. In rounds 4, 5 and 6 he drew his games with Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand, and then the American won all three remaining games, against Dmitry Andreikin, Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin.

Especially with White, Nakamura played a very specific, non-theoretical setup. Except for a King's Indian Attack against Morozevich (which we skip here) he played the rare Veresov Opening three times, and a Trompovsky Attack once:

The winner, Hikaru Nakamura, with his new trainer GM Arthur Kogan | Photo Eteri Kublashvili

2013 Tal Memorial Blitz | Final standings

# Player Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Points SB
1 Nakamura,H 2784 * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 7.0/9
2 Anand,V 2786 ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 6.5/9
3 Kramnik,V 2803 ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 1 5.5/9
4 Gelfand,B 2755 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 0 1 1 ½ 0 4.5/9 20.75
5 Carlsen,M 2864 ½ ½ ½ ½ * 0 ½ 1 0 1 4.5/9 19.75
6 Mamedyarov,S 2753 0 0 ½ 1 1 * 0 ½ 0 1 4.0/9 16.00
7 Andreikin,D 2713 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 * ½ 1 1 4.0/9 13.50
8 Karjakin,S 2782 0 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ * ½ 1 3.5/9
9 Morozevich,A 2760 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 0 ½ * 0 3.0/9
10 Caruana,F 2774 0 ½ 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 * 2.5/9

Last year the organizers of the Tal Memorial introduced their idea to hold a blitz tournament on the opening day, and it was a great success. The players' places in the final standings became their lot numbers and this was how the pairings for the main tournament came about. Players finishing in the top 5 got lot numbers 1-5 and so five white games in the main event; the others got five black games.

In May of this year, the Norway Chess tournament copied this concept, but had the winner choose his lot number himself. Sergey Karjakin won the blitz, obviously went for a lot number that ensured five white games, but also arranged for himself that he could start and finish with a white game! (Eventually the Russian GM would also win the main tournament.)

Today the Russian organizers went a bit further: all players could choose their lot number, one by one, in ranking order of the final standings of the blitz. As the winner, Nakamura chose first and picked lot number 5. Like Karjakin in Norway, the American will have white in the first and the last round.

Anand then chose chose 2 (five whites) and, interestingly, Kramnik then chose number 7, so the Russian will have five blacks! His reason was the first rule in case of a tiebreak: number of black games.

2013 Tal Memorial | Pairings

Round 1 15:00 MSK 13.06.13   Round 2 15:00 MSK 14.06.13
Andreikin - Morozevich   Morozevich - Mamedyarov
Anand - Caruana   Kramnik - Nakamura
Gelfand - Karjakin   Karjakin - Carlsen
Carlsen - Kramnik   Caruana - Gelfand
Nakamura - Mamedyarov   Andreikin - Anand
Round 3 15:00 MSK 15.06.13   Round 4 15:00 MSK 17.06.13
Anand - Morozevich   Morozevich - Kramnik
Gelfand - Andreikin   Karjakin - Mamedyarov
Carlsen - Caruana   Caruana - Nakamura
Nakamura - Karjakin   Andreikin - Carlsen
Mamedyarov - Kramnik   Anand - 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        

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 will provide live games, streaming video and commentary by GMs Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Sergey Rublevsky and Sergey Shipov. The games start each day at 15:00 local time which is 16:00 CET, 10:00 EDT and 07:00 PDT.

Update 13 June: unfortunately, for non-Russian speakers, it turns out that the commentary is in Russian only.

15230 reads 55 comments
5 votes


  • 3 years ago


    Because I don't know any better, I play the Dutch against the Veresov.

  • 3 years ago


    Caruana is very close to a 2800 rating.

    YOU GO MAN!!!

  • 3 years ago



    This may help:

    Anand- Caruana    0:1

    Andreikin- Morozevich    1/2- 1/2

    Carlsen- Kramnik    1:0

    Gelfand- Karjakin    1/2- 1/2

    Nakamura- Mamedyarov    0:1

  • 3 years ago


    The official website could be a little more user friendly indeed.  

  • 3 years ago


    Russianchess.org, Worst chess website ever

  • 3 years ago


    HOW MUCH IS 100000 EUROS IN American money?

  • 3 years ago


    you can see the live video on chess.com or in chesstv.com the live game are in chesstv.com now 

  • 3 years ago


    Naka lost his first game, I am wondering what his excuse will be this time

  • 3 years ago


    Not very nice that is russian only..Tal was a great player for all of the world,not for soviets only.I would like to understand the comentaries

  • 3 years ago


    "The games start each day at 15:00 local time which is 16:00 CET, 10:00 EDT and 07:00 PDT."

    15:00 Moscow time is not 16:00 CET or 10:00 EDT.

  • 3 years ago


    Here you can follow the games live with commentary in Russian:


  • 3 years ago


    very nice victory by Nakamura, unexpected result from Carlsen...

  • 3 years ago


    Does anybody reckon that there is the option to switch from Russia to English on the official website? I can't seem to find it, but then again, my russian navigation skills are a bit rusty.


    Looking forward to this tournament!

  • 3 years ago


    I notice that in the real "classic control" tournament Kramnik will be playing all his games against the "top opponents" (so to speak, even though everyone is top in this tournament) with black, whereas Carlsen will be playing all such games with white.  Given the reasonable probability of a draw in such games, that seems like a plus for Kramnik just based on the starting position (coupled with the tie-break criteria).

    But of course the games and their results are what will determine the actual outcome.

  • 3 years ago


    Maybe we all forgot that this is just a warm up blitz tournament... the real deal is the standard tournament and GMs may want to experiment with some ideas and test out their competition... $15,000 for the the first prize is great but I doubt history will remember you as "Mr X was the winner of the warm up blitz tournament of the Tal Memorial, he finished 8th in the real tournament but boy was he a great warm up blitz player"

    Playing 5 games for white is a big advantage UNTIL it was nulified by the tie break rules... so there is really no major advantage in winning the blitz.

  • 3 years ago


    Just a suggestion. Please give games of all players perhaps next time and I agree with albertrosses

  • 3 years ago


    will there be a commentary(in english) for first round? where?

  • 3 years ago


    I don't understand Nakamura's 16 Bxf5+ against Kramnik. I would have left that g6-bishop entombed for life. Why didn't GM Nakamura?

  • 3 years ago


    I've been noticing this pattern with Carlsen where he plays very well against the elite, but falters with the lower parts of the field. I think his image of this "no mistakes" "Mack daddy of chess" have caught up with him. Now when he sits down, he figures he should have no problem taking care of the lower half of the field, instead of buckling down like he should. It's a psychological problem that he should take care of pretty soon.

  • 3 years ago



    I don't think its necessarily bad theory, the doubled pawn on f6 can be pushed to f5 to create a beautiful bind on the e5 square... maybe the timing of that push wasn't right, I don't see the purpose of h5?!... sometimes GMs experiment in these blitz games... I don't think Mamedyarov could be caught by surprise so early in the opening even in a rare opening... maybe later on move 11,12 or so but not move 3,4...

    Remember the real thing is the tournament and it doesn't hurt to hold back and experiment a little. Yes top 5 get 5 white games but more games with black wins the tie break which cancels out any advantage of playing more with white.

    Thats my take.

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