Kramnik wins, Geurt slips

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Vladimir Kramnik has taken the sole lead at the Tal Memorial in Moscow after he scored the only win in round 5, with White against Alexei Shirov. (The other games weren't exactly boring either. What to think of the epic battle between Ivanchuk and Carlsen, which took 93 moves.) The other big news from Moscow is about the chief arbiter of the Tal Memorial, Geurt Gijssen, who broke a leg last Tuesday when he fell because of a slippery floor.

Geurt is hospitalized awaiting operation and will probably have to stay in Moscow for a couple of weeks. The ChessVibes team wishes him a quick recovery.

Back to the tournament. It's funny to see how much Kramnik's victory looks like the one against Leko, two rounds ago: another Catalan, again a slightly better ending which objectively might have been a draw, but is difficult for Black to defend in practice and gives excellent winning chances in the hands of Kramnik. And again, he managed to maximize his chances and at the end forced Shirov to resign. Kramnik probably didn't see the interesting discussion under the round 3 article, but if he had, this game would have been an excellent answer!

Jakovenko-Leko was one of the most exciting draws thus far in this tournament. A prepared piece sacrifice was perhaps a bit less succesful than Jakovenko had expected, after strong defence by Leko. A bit optimistic, White refused a draw and needed to find some difficult defensive moves himself to draw a slightly worse ending.

A narrow escape for Carlsen, yesterday. His chess is getting more mature by the day; he has now added toughness and defense to his weaponry too. Magnus lost a pawn after he had missed White's Zwischenzug 30.Rxh5 and in the ending he had to prevent being mated or allowing the queens to be exchanged. When he lost another pawn, it was clearly lost, but the Norwegian boy's toughness was awarded when Ivanchuk, either because of pure stress or fatigue, offered a draw on move 93.

Black's positional exchange sacrifice in Mamedyarov-Gelfand was stil theory and also after this high-level game, the evaluation is probably: enough compensation. In any case, the players went for a relatively early repetition of moves.

Kamsky is faithful to his Slav with ?¢‚Ǩ¬¶a6 and why not. This time Alekseev didn't achieve much out of the opening and by going into the forced line that started with 21?¢‚Ǩ¬¶fxe5 (where 21?¢‚Ǩ¬¶a4 was possible too) Black seemed to reach a better ending, but White didn't have too much trouble holding the game.

Standings after five rounds:

  1.  Kramnik                               3,5
2-3.  Carlsen, Mamedyarov                    3
4-6.  Gelfand, Alekseev, Leko               2,5 
7-10. Kamsky, Jakovenko, Ivanchuk, Shirov    2

The schedule:

10 November 2007               11 November 2007         
Leko       - Shirov     1-0    Leko       - Kamsky     ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?
Kamsky     - Gelfand    ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?    Gelfand    - Kramnik    ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?
Kramnik    - Carlsen    ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?    Carlsen    - Alekseev   ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?
Alekseev   - Ivanchuk   ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?    Ivanchuk   - Jakovenko  ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?
Jakovenko  - Mamedyarov ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?    Shirov     - Mamedyarov ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?

12 November 2007 13 November 2007 Kramnik - Leko 1-0 Leko - Alekseev ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Kamsky - Shirov 0-1 Kamsky - Kramnik ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Alekseev - Gelfand ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Gelfand - Jakovenko ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Jakovenko - Carlsen 0-1 Carlsen - Mamedyarov ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Mamedyarov - Ivanchuk 1-0 Shirov - Ivanchuk ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?

14 November 2007 16 November 2007 Jakovenko - Leko ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Leko - Mamedyarov .-. Alekseev - Kamsky ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Kamsky - Jakovenko .-. Kramnik - Shirov 1-0 Kramnik - Alekseev .-. Mamedyarov - Gelfand ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Gelfand - Ivanchuk .-. Ivanchuk - Carlsen ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Shirov - Carlsen .-.

17 November 2007 18 November 2007 Ivanchuk - Leko .-. Leko - Carlsen .-. Mamedyarov - Kamsky .-. Kamsky - Ivanchuk .-. Jakovenko - Kramnik .-. Kramnik - Mamedyarov .-. Alekseev - Shirov .-. Alekseev - Jakovenko .-. Carlsen - Gelfand .-. Shirov - Gelfand .-.

19 November 2007 Gelfand - Leko .-. Carlsen - Kamsky .-. Ivanchuk - Kramnik .-. Mamedyarov - Alekseev .-. Jakovenko - Shirov .-.

Two videos by Robert Fontaine & G?ɬ©rard Demuydt of Europe-Echecs:

Interview with Peter Leko

Interview with Mark Dvoretsky (part 2)

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