Aronian grabs the lead in Moscow

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Aronian grabs the lead in MoscowAt the Tal Memorial in Moscow Levon Aronian is in sole first place after three rounds. Today the Armenian beat Boris Gelfand to reach 2.5/3, and spot number 2 in the live ratings. He is followed by five players who have half a point less. Both Pavel Eljanov and Alexei Shirov lost their third game on Sunday.

General info

The traditional Tal Memorial tournament takes place 4-14 November in the GUM Exhibition Hall on Red Square, Moscow. Aronian (ARM, 2801), Kramnik (RUS, 2791), Alexander Grischuk (RUS 2771), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 2763), Sergey Karjakin (RUS, 2760), Pavel Eljanov (UKR, 2742), Boris Gelfand (ISR, 2741), Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2741), Alexei Shirov (ESP, 2735) and Wang Hao (CHN, 2727) play a single round-robin. More info here.

Round 3 report

Impeccably styled, wearing a dark grey suit and a milk white shirt, hands in the pockets of his pants, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov kept on pacing, just in front of his board. Every now and then he would cough, suggesting he's not a hundred per cent fit. But the about twentyfive spectators that could still be seen in the playing hall after so many hours had no doubt about the situation on the board. Alexei Shirov was looking at a lost position. Among them were GM Mikhail Rychagov and WIM Olga Dolgova, second and wife of Shirov. Supporting their man in good times and bad times, it's hard to imagine more faithful supporters in chess. They were the first to stand up, a split second after Shirov resigned, for the third time already here in Moscow.


Shirov vs Mamedyarov

Mamedyarov had used an impressive idea in the Breyer Ruy Lopez, which he had found about a year ago. It involved a pawn sacrifice and then a rook switch over the squares a8-b8-b4-f4-h4. In time trouble both players made some errors, but eventually the grandmaster from Sumgayit, Azerbaijan reached a winning endgame.

Mamedyarov interviewed by Maria Fominykh

Mamedyarov interviewed by WIM Maria Fominykh (2309)

It reminded us of a remarkable story that is connected to this website, when it was still quite small and not even called ChessVibes yet. In Hoogeveen 2006 Mameyarov played a Breyer against Judit Polgar, and I filmed (and published) their post-mortem - something I rarely do these days. A month later, exactly four years ago at the Tal Memorial, Mamedyarov played the same line against Shirov and drew easily. As it turned out, the way he drew was a new idea which... was shown in the video I filmed in Hoogeveen. Mamedyarov had shown the idea to Polgar, and then used it against Shirov. In a big Dutch newspaper Hans Ree wrote that these days top GMs also need to check YouTube while preparing...

Preparation was the story of the day. Nakamura went for the Berlin Wall against Karjakin, but soon forgot about the theory! The American had to suffer, but managed to draw a difficult rook ending.


Nakamura playing the Berlin Wall against Karjakin

Pavel Eljanov, who had started with two losses, seemed to be happy with a draw with White against Kramnik. He played a quiet line in the Nimzo but at some point he changed his mind and started to play for a win. This backfired, and Kramnik outplayed the Ukrainian in the ending.

Audio clip Kramnik: [audio:]


Eljanov vs Kramnik

The same Kramnik had shocked Grischuk just after the start of the round. After 12.e4 in Grischuk-Wang Hao, Kramnik said to his compatriot: "It's good that you didn't play this at the Olympiad, because if he takes on e4 you can resign." Grischuk returned to the board and saw that Wang Hao had played 12...Bg6 quickly. He started calculating 12...Nxe4 a bit, but didn't understand Kramnik's idea. Later, but still during the game, Kramnik admitted to Grischuk that he had mixed up some positions...

Grischuk agreed that it was wrong to talk to another player about his position. "But I don't think it's unethical. I mean, if I had quickly lost the game it wouldn't matter, and because he didn't take it made no difference either." Still, chief arbiter Geurt Gijssen is planning to speak with Grischuk and Kramnik about it...

The game ended in a draw quickly. Audio clip Wang Hao: [audio:]

Grischuk-Wang Hao

Grischuk and Wang Hao doing a post-mortem on the press room's demo board

Last but not least: Aronian-Gelfand. The Armenian "managed to trick" his opponent, as he said himself. 12.Nh4 was a nasty move indeed, but perhaps it's not that bad for Black if he goes 14...Be6. In the game Gelfand didn't respond and soon he was facing a horrible position. Against Aronian this means suffering big time.


Concentration: Aronian vs Gelfand

Audio clip Aronian: [audio:]

With this win Aronan passed Viswanathan Anand on the live ratings list. He's just three points behind Magnus Carlsen, and so suddenly the 'world's number one' status is just one win away. Grischuk passed Topalov in the list, and Nakamura entered the top 10 for the first time. These are exciting times at the top!

Aronian grabs the lead in Moscow

Levon Aronian, now virtually the world's number 2 player

Games round 3

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tal Memorial 2010 | Schedule and results
Tal Memorial 2010 | Schedule and pairings

Tal Memorial 2010 | Round 3 standings
Tal Memorial 2010 | Schedule and pairings


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