Five more draws in second round Tal Memorial

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Tal Memorial: Live CommentaryThe same story as yesterday reaches us from Moscow, Russia: five more draws in round 2 of the Tal Memorial kept everyone together in first and last place, but also today we saw a number of interesting games.

The Tal Memorial takes place November 4-18 in Moscow, Russia. The category 21 round-robin has Viswanathan Anand (India, 2788), Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2786), Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2801), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2772), Peter Leko (Hungary, 2752), Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2758), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2739) Alexander Morozevich (Russia, 2750), Peter Svidler (Russia, 2754) and Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2739).

The first four rounds of the round-robin are held in hotel "National" on November 5, 6, 7 and 8. Rounds 5-9 take place in the Main Department Store GUM on Red Square. The time control is the classic 40 moves in 2 hours, then 20 moves in 1 hour and then 15 minutes plus 30 seconds increment to finish the game. The rounds begin daily at 15:00 Moscow time which is 13:00 CET.

Round 2

Who would have thought? Okay, the players are all enormously strong, and their ratings quite close to each other, but it's still surprising that after two rounds there hasn't been a decisive game yet in Moscow. At least it means that nobody is really out of shape, which promises a great last seven rounds of the tournament.

After about an hour of play all five boards saw highly interesting positions, but unfortunately this time most of the games petered out into draws quickly. The first to finish were Anand and Kramnik; the World Champion followed the current Grünfeld rage and proved to be very well prepared in the theoretical jungle of the 8.Rb1 line.


Ivanchuk seemed to have a nice advantage out of the opening with attacking chanches on Svidler's king, but the grandmaster from St Petersburg played a few very accurate moves to hold the balance. By then Leko and Gelfand had already quickly reached a very drawish ending in a Petroff; the two started thinking only after 28...a5 but it was clear that White had nothing.

Ponomariov had the better chances against Aronian in yet another Grünfeld, but Black's prophylactic rook manoeuvre along the seventh rank held everything together. Carlsen tried the 4.f3 against Morozevich's Nimzo and did win a pawn, but from the start it looked a bit ugly positionally, and therefore not very dangerous for Black.

Today we had GM Sipke Ernst giving live commentary at our special live page Throughout the day people joined the chat, which is still visible. Tomorrow we'll have IM Robert Ris, so feel free to come and watch!


Anand commenting on the game afterwards

Photos © Mark Gluhovsky

Games round 2 [GM Sipke Ernst]

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tal Memorial 2009 | Round 2 Standings

Tal Memorial 2009

Tal Memorial 2009 | Schedule and results

Following an excellent idea of Georg in the comments, we try to write something about Mikhail Tal every day.

As we know, Mikhail Tal suffered from health problems throughout his life and had to be hospitalized frequently throughout his career. In this respect it didn't really help that Tal was a chain smoker and a heavy drinker. The eigth world champion mainly suffered from kidney problems; eventually one of his diseased kidneys was removed.

Before the 1962 Candidates Tournament Tal had to be operated because he was suffering of kidney colic. In The Life and Games he writes:

"When we were talking before the operation I asked [the doctor] to bear in mind that fact that within two months I had to travel to Curacao, and that it would be good if he could repeat the 'miracle' of 1959, when after the removal of my appendix I won the Candidates Tournament. The professor listened to my request, and operated most carefully, but, alas, history did not repeat itself."

At the end of round 21 of the Curacao Candidates Tournament, after recurring attacks of his illness, Tal had to retire from the tournament. He had scored eight draws and three victories, but the rest of his games were cancelled.

The famous photo below shows Bobby Fischer (who finished 4th and would later accuse the Russian players of fixing games) visiting Tal at the hospital in Curacao. It shows clearly how well the two went along and how much they enjoyed the game.

Tal and Fischer

On June 28, 1992, Tal died in a Moscow hospital, officially of kidney failure. The same cause was given to Fischer's death, on January 17, 2008.


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