More Thrills At The Tal Memorial

More Thrills At The Tal Memorial

| 26 | Chess Event Coverage

The first two rounds of the 2012 Tal Memorial in Moscow produced plenty of games worthy of the great former world champion, and round three delivered more of the same.

One of the highlights of the day came from an unlikely source.  Luke McShane had lost his first two games and faced Lev Aronian with the black pieces in the third.  The Englishman produced one of the games of his life, sacrificing the exchange for an attack and turning down the opportunity to bail out into a repetition draw when facing time trouble.  After 38 moves Aronian resigned.

Hikaru Nakamura was clearly out for blood when he uncorked the King's Gambit against Evgeny Tomashevsky in another exciting game.  But Tomashevsky was up to the task, and an entertaining encounter finished in a drawn endgame.

It wasn't all thrills and spills though; Magnus Carlsen created nothing against Fabiano Caruana's Gruenfeld defence and they soon reached a drawn endgame with opposite colour bishops.

Leader Teimour Radjabov's clash with Vladimir Kramnik had more promise at first, but the Russian's exchange sacrifice was so effective that Radjabov acquiesced to a repetition draw after 25 moves.

The last game to finish was the battle of the 'Sashas' and it tipped the balance in favour of an exciting round overall.  An epic struggle between Alexander Grischuk and Alexander Morozevich could have gone either way, but it was the mercurial Moro who won the day and joined Radjabov as joint leader with 2½/3 points.

The results in round three:

Aronian, Levon  0-1    McShane, Luke
Nakamura, Hikaru  ½-½    Tomashevsky, Evgeny
Carlsen, Magnus  ½-½    Caruana, Fabiano
Radjabov, Teimour  ½-½    Kramnik, Vladimir
Grischuk, Alexander  0-1    Morozevich, Alexander


A happy Luke McShane (right) at the post-game press conference

Tal Mem 2012 Aronian McShane Round  3.jpg

Hikaru Nakamura played the King's Gambit against Evgeny Tomashevsky

Tal Mem 2012 Hikaru Nakamura Round 3.jpg


Shaking off the rust? Magnus Carlsen has been disappointing so far in Moscow

Tal Mem 2012 Magnus Carlsen Round 3.JPG


Vladimir Kramnik easily held the tournament leader to a draw with black

Tal Mem 2012 Kramnik Radjabov Round   3.jpg


Alexander Grischuk lost his second game in a row to the new joint leader

Tal Mem 2012 Alexander Grischuk Round 3.JPG


The standings after 3 rounds:

# Name Nat Elo Pts
1 Radjabov, Teimour  AZE 2784
2 Morozevich, Alexander  RUS 2769
3 Kramnik, Vladimir  RUS 2801 2
4 Carlsen, Magnus  NOR 2835
5 Aronian, Levon  ARM 2825
6 McShane, Luke ENG 2706 1
7 Caruana, Fabiano  ITA 2770 1
8 Tomashevsky, Evgeny  RUS 2738 1
9 Grischuk, Alexander  RUS 2761 1
10 Nakamura, Hikaru  USA 2775 1


The pairings for round 4 are:

Fabiano Caruana v    Evgeny Tomashevsky
Luke McShane v    Hikaru Nakamura
Vladimir Kramnik v    Lev Aronian
Alexander Morozevich v    Teimour Radjabov
Magnus Carlsen v    Alexander Grischuk

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili (except screenshot of McShane press conference).  Games via TWIC.



The 2012 Tal Memorial super-tournament takes place in Moscow, Russia from 7-19 June.

The format is a 10-player single round robin, with rounds starting at 15:00 local time (11:00 UTC), except for the last round which starts two hours earlier.

The total prize fund is €100,000 with €30,000 going to the winner.  The time control in operation is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves, and finally 15 minutes to a finish with an increment of 30 seconds from the start. No draw offers will be allowed before move 40.

The tournament schedule:

Date Time Event
7 June 18:30 Blitz Tournament
8 June 15:00 Round 1
9 June 15:00 Round 2
10 June 15:00 Round 3
11 June Rest Day
12 June 15:00 Round 4
13 June 15:00 Round 5
14 June 15:00 Round 6
15 June Rest Day
16 June 15:00 Round 7
17 June 15:00 Round 8
18 June 13:00 Round 9
19 June Departure


There will be live video coverage on (scroll down for the schedule) as well as at the official website.  The video coverage at the official website is available for replay here (Russian commentary) and also here (English commentary).

Last year Magnus Carlsen won the tournament, narrowly beating Lev Aronian on superior tie-breaks after both finished with a score of 5½/9. 

In case of a tie in this year's event, the tie-breaks are:

  1. Number of games played with black
  2. Number of wins
  3. Result of direct encounter
  4. Koya system
  5. Sonneborn-Berger
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