Tal Memorial Opened; Nakamura Wins the Blitz
The 8th Tal Memorial was opened officially on Wednesday with a brief opening ceremony and a spectacular blitz tournament, won by Hikaru Nakamura (USA). Reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand (India) and 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) came second and third, while world number one Magnus Carlsen only managed to score 4.5/9.
Nakamura, who announced a sponsorship deal via Twitter earlier today, was the leader after three rounds; he beat Alexander Morozevich, drew with Boris Gelfand and then won against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. In rounds 4, 5 and 6 he drew his games with Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand, and then the American won all three remaining games, against Dmitry Andreikin, Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin.
Especially with White, Nakamura played a very specific, non-theoretical setup. Except for a King's Indian Attack against Morozevich (which we skip here) he played the rare Veresov Opening three times, and a Trompovsky Attack once:
2013 Tal Memorial Blitz | Final standings
Last year the organizers of the Tal Memorial introduced their idea to hold a blitz tournament on the opening day, and it was a great success. The players' places in the final standings became their lot numbers and this was how the pairings for the main tournament came about. Players finishing in the top 5 got lot numbers 1-5 and so five white games in the main event; the others got five black games.
In May of this year, the Norway Chess tournament copied this concept, but had the winner choose his lot number himself. Sergey Karjakin won the blitz, obviously went for a lot number that ensured five white games, but also arranged for himself that he could start and finish with a white game! (Eventually the Russian GM would also win the main tournament.)
Today the Russian organizers went a bit further: all players could choose their lot number, one by one, in ranking order of the final standings of the blitz. As the winner, Nakamura chose first and picked lot number 5. Like Karjakin in Norway, the American will have white in the first and the last round.
Anand then chose chose 2 (five whites) and, interestingly, Kramnik then chose number 7, so the Russian will have five blacks! His reason was the first rule in case of a tiebreak: number of black games.
2013 Tal Memorial | Pairings
|Round 1||15:00 MSK||13.06.13||Round 2||15:00 MSK||14.06.13|
|Round 3||15:00 MSK||15.06.13||Round 4||15:00 MSK||17.06.13|
|Round 5||15:00 MSK||18.06.13||Round 6||15:00 MSK||19.06.13|
|Round 7||15:00 MSK||21.06.13||Round 8||15:00 MSK||22.06.13|
|Round 9||13:00 MSK||23.06.13|
The 8th Tal Memorial takes place June 12-23, 2013 at the technology center Digital October in Moscow, Russia. The total prize fund is 100,000 EUR. The official website will provide live games, streaming video and commentary by GMs Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Sergey Rublevsky and Sergey Shipov. The games start each day at 15:00 local time which is 16:00 CET, 10:00 EDT and 07:00 PDT.
Update 13 June: unfortunately, for non-Russian speakers, it turns out that the commentary is in Russian only.