Kramnik 2.0 leads in Moscow

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Tal MemorialAt the Tal Memorial in Moscow, Aronian left the group of favourites after losing to Gelfand today. Still waring a mouth mask, Ivanchuk scored a fine win against Morozevich. But the centre of attention was claimed by Kramnik again, who defeated Ponomariov in a wonderful struggle. We have very insightful GM commentary and a video of Anand explaining his game.

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 6

Like yesterday, Ivanchuk played with a mouth mask today (he didn't start with it, but put it on later in the game). In the comments of yesterday's report some visitors wondered why Carlsen himself didn't wear a mouth mask, instead of Ivanchuk. Meanwhile, we've come across the article "Surgical masks versus respirators for flu protection" which involves a recent scientific claim that different types of masks and how they're worn, may be crucial to their effect.

"We still remain unsure whether flu is transmitted mainly by large or small droplets. If most transmission is by very large droplets produced by coughs and sneezes then a surgical mask might prove effective, but if it is mainly very small particles that remain suspended for long periods and have no difficulty finding their way around a loose fitting surgical mask it's another matter. For that you want a respirator with a good seal." (...)


Ivanchuk with mouth protection | Picture Macauley Peterson

Well, whatever Ivanchuk was wearing today, he wasn't negatively affected by it. He played a strong game with Black against Morozevich; quite an original Sämisch King's Indian.

Usually it's Black pushing away a knight on g3 with h7-h5-h4, but this time it was White who started pushing his h-pawn. Ivanchuk reacted by chasing away Nc3 and then pressing on White's centre with ...f5 - a classical strategy which culminated in the win of pawn d5 on move 28. Thanks to his strong bishop pair, Ivanchuk didn't have to hurry in converting his advantage.

Gelfand scored his first win of the tournament, basically profiting from just one big mistake by Aronian. The Armenian's 24th move can be called a blunder at this level since White's response involved a simple double attack. After winning a pawn, the oldest participant proved that he's still going strong, giving his opponent no chance to survive.

The important fight between Carlsen and Anand, the top seed versus the World Champion, ended in a draw after both sides had had their chances. In an untheoretical, Slav kind of position Anand quickly gave back an extra pawn to be able to finish his development, after which the position was roughly equal.

Anand explains the game in the following video by Macauley Peterson:

The position became sharper when White started focusing on a kingside attack and Black continued an assault on the queenside. Missing 26.f5, Carlsen's attack was strong enough for a perpetual, but not more. Leko and Svidler also drew after White's small advantage evaporated. Perhaps Leko missed a chance on move 27.

Kramnik again played by far the longest game of the round, and again the most interesting game as well. How great is the chess he's been playing so far! The former World Champion seems reborn - is it too early to speak of the New Kramnik? For the moment we'll keep it at "Kramnik 2.0".

But it takes two to tango; Ponomariov defended resourcefully against White's activity and kept on looking for ways to profit from his opponent's king that was stuck in the centre. An extremely sharp middle game was followed by a new phase after the time control, when like yesterday, Kramnik had reached a favourable ending.

This time he was an exchange up, but Black should have been able to draw it somewhere. However, as so often the defender had a harder task and Ponomariov missed the chance to reach a theoretical draw. Instead, a famous ending arose which every Dutch chess player knows from the game Timman-Velimirovic, Interzonal 1979. These days the tablebase tells the verdict immediately, and as it turned out Kramnik had a more favourable version than Timman thirty years ago. The Zugzwang win at the end explains the whole ending in one move.


The final phase of the Kramnik-Ponomariov game...


...Ponomariov making the move 80...Bg3...


...Kramnik plays 81.Re4, bringing the fatal Zugzwang on the board...


...after which Ponomariov resigned, after more than 6.5 hours of play.

Today's live commentary was done by GM Dimitri Reinderman - his insightful comments can be replayed in the viewer below. With three rounds to go, Kramnik is in sole lead again, with 4.5/6, followed by Anand on clear second place with half a point less. Morozevich, Svidler and Leko are all on -2.

Games round 6 [GM Dimitri Reinderman]

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tal Memorial 2009 | Round 6 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. Today we decided to include a few videos posted on YouTube. In the first not only Tal, but also Petrosian and Smyslov can be seen, in 1959 in Beograd. A year later Tal won the World Championship (second video).




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