Mamedyarov Cruises; Nepomniachtchi, Giri Win In 'Kramnik Style'

Mamedyarov Cruises; Nepomniachtchi, Giri Win In 'Kramnik Style'

| 18 | Chess Event Coverage

Three players took home the full point at the Tal Memorial today. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov ruthlessly refuted over-optimistic play from Boris Gelfand, whereas Anish Giri and Ian Nepomniachtchi won in Kramnik-style, the latter against Vladimir Kramnik himself.

In the best round so far, the Moscow super-tournament saw three winners at the end of a long day. Mamedyarov's win came first, and it looked like an easy game for the Azerbaijani.

The game can be seen as a textbook example of a player going for material while neglecting his development, but there's more to it obviously. Gelfand surely knew that 19...Qxb2 was dangerous, and he must have taken 20.e6 into account. Perhaps he simply underestimated White's attack. It was surprisingly fast...

A smooth win for Mamedyarov. | Photo Eteri Kublashvili.

Both Nepomniachtchi and Giri won in "Kramnik style" today. "Nepo" followed the "classical Kramnik," who likes to fianchetto his king's bishop as White and play for a small advantage while keeping dynamic piece play.

As commentator GM Robert Hess writes, it appeared that Nepomniachtchi was looking to outplay his opponent (Kramnik!) rather than out-prepare him (which is virtually impossible against this opponent). Outplaying the 14th world champion isn't easy either, but a Nepomniachtchi in form can do it!

The third winner of the day was Giri, who followed the "modern Kramnik." That involved playing the London System, which has become extremely popular at top level—a trend Kramnik played a big role in. 

Whereas the London System was always a bit of an opening for club players (unless your name was Gata Kamsky), trading queens with 27.Qb5 certainly wasn't a club player's move. Did White really have anything there, besides a small space advantage? And how on earth do you exploit that?

Kramnik could perhaps do it, but in fact Giri showed himself a true master of the position. His trade on move 43 was instructive, and the remainder of the game as well.

"I feel like Giri has been trying to win a game like this for two years," was how Sam Copeland put it.

Today was Giri's day.

A full point after almost seven hours of play. | Photo Eteri Kublashvili.

The two drawn games were not bad either. Especially Levon Aronian vs Peter Svidler was exciting. Black got into time pressure in a sharp Grünfeld with opposite castling.

As Svidler explained in the post-mortem, he spent a half-hour twice to get himself acquainted with all the move-order intricacies. He would have liked to get back at least one of those half-hours later in the game! It was all the more impressive that he managed to hold on.

Here's Svidler explaining his game with commentator GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko (courtesy ChessCast).

And then there was Li Chao vs Vishy Anand, a Nimzo-Indian where the Chinese grandmaster played inaccurately but then found just enough counterplay to compensate for the loss of a pawn. "It's close for White. Sometimes the tactics just work by one move," said Anand.

Here are the players explaining their game (courtesy ChessCast).

2016 Tal Memorial | Round 3 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2740 3040 ½ 1 1 2.5/3 2.25
2 Giri, Anish 2755 3029 ½ 1 1 2.5/3 2.00
3 Anand, Viswanathan 2776 2874 ½ ½ 1 2.0/3
4 Svidler, Peter 2745 2781 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/3 2.50
5 Li Chao 2746 2781 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/3 2.25
6 Aronian, Levon 2795 2740 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/3 1.25
7 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2761 2755 0 ½ 1 1.5/3 1.25
8 Kramnik, Vladimir 2808 2624 0 ½ ½ 1.0/3
9 Gelfand, Boris 2743 2491 0 ½ 0 0.5/3 0.75
10 Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2731 2484 0 0 ½ 0.5/3 0.75

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

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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