Aronian & Karjakin share win at Tal Memorial

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Unofficial: Aronian & Karjakin share win at Tal MemorialAt the Tal Memorial in Moscow Mamedyarov lost to Gelfand today, allowing Aronian and Karjakin to catch him in the standings. It still has to be communicated officially, but we can safely say that Aronian and Karjakin are sharing the win at this year's Tal Memorial according to the tiebreak rules. Update: these results have now been confirmed at the closing ceremony.

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 9 report

This year's Tal Memorial saw one of the craziest last rounds we've ever witnessed at a tournament. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who had played such fine games so far, lost to Boris Gelfand, who wasn't exactly in his best form here. Vladimir Kramnik, known as a solid player, sacrificed a piece and then another exchange against Alexei Shirov, and won. Sergey Karjakin was completely lost against Wang Hao, but somehow didn't lose. And Hikaru Nakamura reached a winning position against Alexander Grischuk, then let it slip away, then was winning again, and then blew it a second time, in the last (and longest) game of the tournament.

Mamedyarov's handling of the Grünfeld looked suspicious, but in fact Black was probably alright after the opening. He even got some initiative on the kingside but then the Azeri was too optimistic - or he just played for a win too long, however you want to put it. An unsound pawn sacrifice suddenly led to nothing, except for a rook ending a pawn down, which Mamedyarov soon resigned.

Boris Gelfand

We have audio clips with both players.

Gelfand: [audio:]

Mamedyarov: [audio:]

From this moment the calculating started. Who would win the tournament in case of a tie? What ties exactly were possible? What were the tiebreak rules? Nothing was written down anywhere, and so we checked one more time with chief arbiter Geurt Gijssen, who had announced them at the start of the first round:

Tiebreak rules, in descending order 1. Direct encounter 2. Koya-system (the number of points achieved against all opponents who have achieved 50% or more) 3. SB 4. Number of won games

Levon Aronian never had a serious chance to play for a win against Pavel Eljanov, but in the end finished shared first anyway. Here's a brief comment from Armenia's number one: [audio:]


The third to end on 5.5/9, or "plus two", was Sergei Karjakin, who survived a completely lost position against Wang Hao. Here's his comment on a crazy game:


Wang Hao & Karjakin

Vladimir Kramnik managed to finish a disappointing tournament with a victory. In a Cambridge Springs the board caught fire just after the twentieth move, where according to the Russian it was his opponent who could play for a win, until 22...g5. Soon after, it seemed Kramnik was paying tribute to Mikhail Tal, as for a moment he was a full rook down. The complications proved too difficult for Shirov to defend. Audio clip with Kramnik: [audio:]


Hikaru Nakamura needed a few drinks after his game with Alexander Grischuk. Before the game the American had decided to go all or nothing, and went for the Leningrad Dutch again. However, not once but twice did he threw away a winning position - the second time with only a few pieces and pawns left on the board - finally allowing his opponent to escape with a draw in a queen ending. This dramatic moment can still be seen on the offical site's video feed, by the way (scroll to 21:52).


The tiebreak rules led to a shared victory for Aronian and Karjakin. The direct encounter rule saw all draws between Aronian, Karjakin and Mamedyarov and the Koya system also gave the same results for all three. Aronian and Karjakin had the same number of SB points, but more than Mamedyarov, so he fell off. Because the number of wins was the same too for Aronian and Karjakin (they both beat Kramnik and Gelfand) the tiebreak couldn't point out a winner. So, although it hasn't officially been announced yet, the 2010 Tal Memorial ended in a joint victory for Aronian and Karjakin (the 1st-3rd prizes were split by the three players on 5.5 points). Update: these results have now been confirmed at the closing ceremony.

From Tuesday till Thursday all participants except for Shirov will play in the World Blitz Championship, where they will be joined by Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov, Ruslan Ponomariov, Peter Svidler, Sergei Movsesian, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Dmitry Andreikin, Rauf Mamedov, Boris Grachev and Boris Savchenko.

Games round 9

Game viewer by ChessTempo

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

Tal Memorial 2010 | Round 9 (Final) Standings
Tal Memorial 2010 | Schedule and pairings


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