Good Wins By Anand, Giri In Tal Memorial's Round 2

Good Wins By Anand, Giri In Tal Memorial's Round 2

| 12 | Chess Event Coverage

Both Anish Giri and Viswanathan Anand scored excellent wins in the second round of the Tal Memorial in Moscow. The two GMs caught Ian Nepomniachtchi in the lead.

"Anand, like Karpov did in the past, is showing us that mature players can play some of the most elegant and beautiful games," chess photographer (and author!) David Llada tweeted today. Vishy Anand's win against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was a great example of the power of pieces in the endgame. "It's a nice finish with this mating net," said the five-time world champion.

Anand had prepared for "hundreds of lines, but not that Svidler Zaitsev," he said, referring to Mamedyarov's 11...exd4 and 12...Nd7. The Indian GM nonetheless came up with a pretty decent novelty (19.Ne3) and then won the bishop pair. 

Mamedyarov went for a piece sacrifice on the kingside, but only after opening up the queenside—a decision Anand had his doubts about. He was also surprised that Mamedyarov traded queens.

Normally a piece is stronger than three pawns and after an initial calculation error, Anand proved this was the case as he made use of all the tactics available.

Here's Vishy Anand explaining his win alongside GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko (courtesy ChessCast).

Anish Giri had good reasons to be satisfied as well. After a drawing streak of nine games (his last eight in Baku and yesterday in Moscow), the young Dutchman won a fine game as Black against Boris Gelfand.

Whether it was his opponent's move-order or just his mood today, Giri went for a King's Indian type of position where he normally plays the Grünfeld. The critical position appeared on move 23, when Gelfand decided to test Giri and accept his interesting pawn sac.

As it turned out, Black got more than enough compensation and attacking chances on the kingside. In time trouble, Gelfand quickly made a decisive error. 

"Before the tournament I was reading Gelfand's book, so I was well prepared for the game," laughed Giri. "Boris loves to sacrifice a pawn, so I was pleased that he was a pawn up in the game."

Anish Giri in the Russian broadcast with Sergei Shipov. | Photo Eteri Kublashvili.

The longest game was played between Vladimir Kramnik and Li Chao. The Petroff was an interesting opening choice by the Chinese player, since Kramnik used to be known as the biggest expert there after saying goodbye to the Berlin. (Later on he switched back to that Berlin of course!)

Kramnik, who is playing 1.e4 more and more these days, had only faced the Petroff four times before in a classical game as White. He went for a quiet line today, no doubt inspired by Mickey Adams who managed to squeeze water out of a stone against China's board one at the Olympiad, Wang Yue. However, China's board three, Li Chao, held his own today.

That game was only half as much fun (or less), and that can be said for the whole round as well: only half the fun. Why? Because the other two games were drawn in no time, after a move repetition in the opening. 

Tournament leader Ian Nepomniachtchi didn't have much to prove as Black against Peter Svidler, who had to try and find an original idea against "his" Grünfeld. He went for the 4.Bg5 sideline but as it turned out, "Nepo" had done his homework and fully equalized by move 15.

Here's Svidler explaining the hidden details behind this quick draw (courtesy ChessCast).

Very similar was Evgeny Tomashevsky vs Levon Aronian. The latter played the ultra-solid Lasker Queen's Gambit Declined, and after White's not-so-critical 10.Qc2, he could break early with 13...e5 which led to equality quickly.

2016 Tal Memorial | Round 2 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Anand, Viswanathan 2776 2948 ½ 1 1.5/2 1.25
2 Giri, Anish 2755 2950 ½ 1 1.5/2 1.25
3 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2740 2928 ½ 1 1.5/2 1.00
4 Svidler, Peter 2745 2774 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.25
5 Kramnik, Vladimir 2808 2746 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.00
6 Li Chao 2746 2784 ½ ½ 1.0/2 0.75
7 Aronian, Levon 2795 2737 ½ ½ 1.0/2 0.50
8 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2761 2571 0 ½ 0.5/2 0.50
9 Gelfand, Boris 2743 2585 0 ½ 0.5/2 0.50
10 Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2731 2577 0 ½ 0.5/2 0.50

The pairings for the third round, played on Thursday, are Nepomniachtchi vs Kramnik, Aronian vs Svidler, Giri vs Tomashevsky, Mamedyarov vs Gelfand, and Li Chao vs Anand.

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