Tal Memorial Participants Announced

Tal Memorial Participants Announced

| 23 | Chess Event Coverage

The 10th edition of the Tal Memorial begins later this month in Moscow. The field includes former world champions Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand.

The Tal Memorial is a super tournament remembering the eighth world champion Mikhail Tal (1936-1992). Another edition, the 10th in total, will be held from September 25 to October 6 2016 in Moscow's Museum of Russian Impressionism (photo above).

The memorial will be a 10-player round robin with a classical time control. The players were announced yesterday by the Russian Chess Federation.

# Fed Name Rating Rank Born
1 Vladimir Kramnik 2808 4 1975
2 Levon Aronian 2795 5 1982
3 Viswanathan Anand 2776 8 1969
4 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2761 11 1985
5 Anish Giri 2755 12 1994
6 Li Chao 2746 17 1989
7 Peter Svidler 2745 18 1976
8 Boris Gelfand 2743 19 1968
9 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2740 21 1990
10 Evgeny Tomashevsky 2731 27 1987

Vladimir Kramnik will be entering the tournament with confidence, having played a splendid Olympiad. He scored 6.5/8 and won the individual gold medal on board two as he had the highest Elo performance of all board-two players in Baku: 2903. His white games made an especially big impression.

Kramnik was in great shape in Baku.

It will be a joy to see Levon Aronian in action again. The world number-five was sadly absent from the Olympiad as the Armenian Chess Federation decided not to send teams to Azerbaijan. In his last tournament, the Sinquefield Cup, Aronian scored plus one with wins over Hikaru Nakamura and Peter Svidler and a loss to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

The same can be said for Vishy Anand, who isn't on good terms with the Indian Chess Federation and hasn't played an Olympiad for his country since 2006. In St. Louis, he played eight draws and beat MVL. He did tweet about India's achievement in Baku:

Congrats to the Indian chess Olympiad teams, both men and women. [At] the Olympiad a lot can happen in the last three rounds. Sethuraman played very creatively. He made key points. His loss against Sam [Shankland] was very unfortunate. Adhiban showed a lot of maturity. Hari [Pentala Harikrishna, PD] did well, especially in the big games. His win against Sergei [Karjakin] was very smooth. Harika was very unlucky in the first game. Chess is a very cruel game. Congrats to the U.S chess team. Very good team effort! Not many rounds were they vulnerable! This is a new page for chess in USA!

Imagine India's Olympic potential with Vishy Anand participating...

Naturally Shakhriyar Mamedyarov did play the Olympiad, on home soil, where his team finished in a disappointing 12th place. Mamedyarov himself scored 6.5/10; that was about his expected performance based on rating. Four straight wins in the early rounds were followed by his only loss (to Pentala Harikrishna, watch that highlight here) and five draws.

Anish Giri was the last player to commit to this tournament. He had a tough decision to make because his wife Sopiko Guramishvili is expected to give birth to their first child in the first half of October. As for his Olympiad, Giri scored three wins in the early rounds and drew the next eight.

Li Chao had a very unfortunate tournament in Baku. He spoilt some promising positions and lost a number of crucial games, three in a row in fact. The rest of the team, which was defending its Olympic title, only scored two more losses (both by Wang Yue) and finished in 13th place.

After Norway Chess, Li Chao will play his second super-tournament this year.

The Russian chess authorities decided to play in Baku without Peter Svidlerwho had only missed one Olympiad (in 2012) since 1994. The Saint Petersburg resident stepped in for Kramnik at the Sinquefield Cup and scored minus two, with a win versus Giri and losses to Aronian, Ding Liren, and Veselin Topalov.

Boris Gelfand is another player who will be eager to get his hands on the pieces again after missing out on the Olympiad. In fact, the Israeli number one hasn't played classical chess since mid July when he defeated Ernesto Inarkiev twice, with four draws. He won the rapid part of that match even more convincingly.

Gelfand showed his class in his match with Inarkiev.

Two more players from the Russian Olympic team complete the field for the Tal Memorial. You'll surely remember Ian Nepomniachtchi's 7.0/7 start, after which he lost to Wesley So. He finished with two draws versus Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Sabino Brunello and scored a 2804 TPR. Evgeny Tomashevsky only played seven games and scored four points and a 2641 performance.

None of the top American GMs will play this time; the reason is that the field was selected at a late stage, when Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, and Wesley So had all committed to the Isle of Man International. That runs October 1-9. Note that the FIDE Grand Prix, which is still listed in the FIDE Calendar for 12-23 October, has been rescheduled to 2017.

Our Isle of Man tournament is shaping up nicely as well. 

The average Elo of the Tal Memorial is 2760. The prize fund is U.S. $200,000. The time control will be 1 hour and 40 minutes for 40 moves + 50 minutes for 20 moves + 15 minutes until the end of the game with 30 seconds for each move starting from the first. 

There will be an opening blitz tournament on September 25 starting at 6 p.m. Moscow time. The tournament runs October 26-6 with rest days on September 28 and October 3.

The Tal Memorial is organized by the Russian Chess Federation and supported by Avtodor, Russia's main company for the development, management and renovation of highways. 

Held in the Museum of Russian Impressionism, the tournament is part of the Chess in Museums project. This project is an international project implemented by Russian Chess Federation together with the Timchenko Charity Fund of Elena and Gennady Timchenko. Previous events include the Anand vs Gelfand match in 2012, the Alekhine Memorial in 2013 and some Russian Championship superfinals.

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