Tal Memorial R1: audio clips & game comments from the players

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Four decisive games in first round Tal MemorialThe Tal Memorial saw an attractive first round in Moscow today with four victories in five games. After Mamedyarov and Nakamura drew their game, Aronian was the first winner of the day against Kramnik. Karjakin scored the second point against Gelfand and then Wang Hao beat Shirov. In the longest game of the round Grischuk defeated Eljanov. We have audio clips with comments from all ten players.

General info

The traditional Tal Memorial tournament takes place 4-14 November in the GUM Exhibition Hall on Red Square, Moscow. Aronian (ARM, 2801), Kramnik (RUS, 2791), Alexander Grischuk (RUS 2771), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 2763), Sergey Karjakin (RUS, 2760), Pavel Eljanov (UKR, 2742), Boris Gelfand (ISR, 2741), Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2741), Alexei Shirov (ESP, 2735) and Wang Hao (CHN, 2727) play a single round-robin. More info here.

Audio clips from the opening ceremony

After a somewhat modest (read: nothing special) opening ceremony the tournament started on Friday with a very exciting first round. But before we get to this, first some general remarks and comments from all ten players which Macauley Peterson & yours truly recorded at the reception after the opening ceremony.

Many participants have had a very tough schedule this fall, with a record streak of seven tournaments in a row for Alexei Shirov. Here's his comment at the opening ceremony - he starts with looking back at the Univé tournament in Hoogeveen.


Many others participated in the Olympiad and the European Club Cup or other events, such as the Corsica rapid tournament last week. This event, by the way, was won by Mamedyarov who beat his compatriot Radjabov in the final. Here you can listen to Mamedyarov's comment:


Hikaru Nakamura's last event was the Cap d'Agde rapid tournament, where he lost to Vassily Ivanchuk in the final. After a brief comment on baseball, Nakamura talks about how negatively the French crowd reacted to him during that final, and a bit about his lot number 10 in the pairings.


A while ago Alexander Grischuk stated that he much prefers to play blitz and rapid chess over classical chess. But recently he's been quite successful at top tournaments so we asked him if his attitude has changed a bit. He also comments on playing in his home town:


Sergey Karjakin reached the top 10 of the FIDE rating list for the first time in his life, just a few days ago. He commented on this and, like Grischuk, to playing the Tal Memorial in his home town:


Karjakin's former compatriot Pavel Eljanov feels strong, and doesn't know why he shouldn't be able to fight for first place:


Boris Gelfand is happy to play at this great event, and comments on playing in Moscow and the tough schedule this fall:


Wang Hao, who in fact already was in Moscow seven or eight times, also played chess just before the tournament. He was active in the Chinese club competition just days before he flew to Moscow. He commented on Chinese chess, and the possible pressure on him and Wang Yue to do well:


Last year's winner Vladimir Kramnik declined to play in Nanjing because he already had committed himself to the Tal Memorial. In the audio clip he talks about his general feeling and activities since Bilbao and his expectations for the tournament, the rating race (which motivates him!) and the composition of the field:


Levon Aronian is anxious, and feels he can win the tournament. He's not sure if playing many tournaments before this Tal Memorial is a real disadvantage, and finishes with a small tribute to the great Mikhail Nechemevich:


The playing hall of the Tal Memorial

Round 1 report

Nakamura managed to surprise Mamedyarov by playing the very popular Lasker variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. Black was comfortable right out of the opening and got an easy draw. The two players showed the game together in an improvised press room just next to the playing hall, on the second floor of the GUM department store. (The demo board needs to be lifted for the second round or otherwise players like Grischuk and Kramnik will surely start to complain about back problems before the rest day.)


Not long after that the top encounter, between the highest rated players in Moscow, finished. Levon Aronian wasn't satisfied about the way he got out of the opening, but towards the first time control his opponent Vladimir Kramnik played a few inaccurate moves and then the ending was lost. Well, that's what the players thought, as the computer found a tricky way to hold the position for Black just before the end.

Aronian showing his game

Karjakin profited from a big mistake by Gelfand in a bishop ending. The young Moscovite demonstrated the subtleties of the ending on the demo board afterwards.


Grischuk joined the winners' club with a nice ending against Eljanov and Wang Hao took revenge for his unnecessary losses against Shirov in Shanghai. He seemed under pressure, but as a matter of fact he had played the same position against Hou Yifan recently with the white pieces and in the analysis they had found a way for Black to equalize.

Shirov-Wang Hao

As we were spending most of the day in the press room, we missed one saillant detail of this first round which chief arbiter Geurt Gijssen told us. Apparently there had been some activity on the Red Square preparing for the November 7 festivities, including tanks (!) and... lots of noise. Gijssen had ordered someone to buy ear plugs and most of the players did use them. "So far I haven't received official complaints from the players who lost today," said Gijssen.

The players on stage

Games round 1

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tal Memorial 2010 | Schedule and results
Tal Memorial 2010 | Schedule and pairings


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