Tal Memorial R7: Ivanchuk beats Gelfand, now shared 2nd with Anand

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Tal MemorialIn the only decisive game of the Tal Memorial's 7th round, Vassily Ivanchuk defeated Boris Gelfand to reach a shared second place with Viswanathan Anand. The two are just half a point behind Vladimir Kramnik, with two rounds to go in Moscow.

The Tal Memorial takes place November 4-18 in Moscow, Russia. The category 21 round-robin has Viswanathan Anand (India, 2788), Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2786), Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2801), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2772), Peter Leko (Hungary, 2752), Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2758), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2739) Alexander Morozevich (Russia, 2750), Peter Svidler (Russia, 2754) and Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2739).

The first four rounds of the round-robin are held in hotel "National" on November 5, 6, 7 and 8. Rounds 5-9 take place in the Main Department Store GUM on Red Square. The time control is the classic 40 moves in 2 hours, then 20 moves in 1 hour and then 15 minutes plus 30 seconds increment to finish the game. The rounds begin daily at 15:00 Moscow time which is 13:00 CET.

Round 7

Ivanchuk's mouth mask isn't news anymore, but what about his play? Isn't the Ukrainian playing surprisingly strongly since he's wearing it? Has his mask been checked by a metal detector?

Joking aside, Ivanchuk did play another very good game today and defeated Gelfand to reach a +2 score. Accurate calculation proved that White could take a pawn on a7 without having his bishop really trapped, and so Ivanchuk went for it. A difficult variation pointed out by our GM commentator Wouter Spoelman showed that Gelfand could probably have reached equality, but in the game White kept a slight advantage. A big mistake in the rook ending suddenly led to a lost position for Gelfand.

Kramnik's game started as promising as his first six, but this time his opponent Aronian wasn't planning to give in. Playing it safe, a short but exciting middlegame led to a drawn endgame. Anand and Morozevich seemed to be steering to a very quick draw out of the opening, but in reality White did have a small edge. With accurate play (18...Ra7, 19...b6 and 20...b5) Black still solved his problems relatively quickly.

Ponomariov-Leko and Svidler-Carlsen were two more draws but the latter left the fans and our commentator a bit puzzled. Wasn't Carlsen's extra pawn in the final position worth anything?

With two rounds to go the Tal Memorial is entering the decisive, and probably very exciting final phase. The unpredictable Ivanchuk has suddenly moved up to shared second place with Anand, just half a point behind the leader, Kramnik. The World Champion first plays Gelfand with Black, and ends with the white pieces against Aronian. Kramnik plays Leko with White tomorrow, Ivanchuk has Aronian with Black. And... the last round has the top encounter Ivanchuk-Kramnik!

Tomorrow at 13:00 CET our live coverage of the 8th round starts with GM Dimitri Reinderman. The last round, on Saturday, will be covered all the way from Sydney, Australia, by GM Ian Rogers. Free free to tune in!

Games round 7 [GM Wouter Spoelman]

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tal Memorial 2009 | Round 7 Standings

Tal Memorial 2009

Tal Memorial 2009 | Schedule and results

Following an excellent idea of Georg in the comments, we try to write something about Mikhail Tal every day.

In our short Tal columns we have referred a few times to The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal. This book is in fact one of the most original autobiographies ever published, written by one of the most original chess personalities that ever lived. If you don't own the book yet, don't hesitate to purchase one in the near future. It ought to be in any chess lover's library - no, really!

To make this point clear, it suffices to quote a bit from the start of the book. Tal doesn't just start telling, no, instead he introduces the remarkable form of writing that he adopts in the whole book: that of 'a chess player' and 'a journalist' talking to each other:

1 My First Steps

Dialogue between a chess player and a journalist (instead of an autobiography)

Dramatic personae: A CHESS PLAYER. Mikhail Tal A JOURNALIST. Who knows, perhaps alias...

JOURNALIST. Well now, 'Shall we begin?'. Did you think, on first sitting down at the chessboard, that you would at some time play a match for the World Championship? Incidentally, what do you recall of your first game? CHESS PLAYER. Did I think... Probably not. Matches for the World Championship are fairly rare events, and from the psychological point of view it is simply not possible for many chess fans to take part in them. I say fans, because, after all, even professionals are chess fans. But about my first game. When one of us first plays chess, he is like a man who has already caught a dose of microbes of, say, Hong Kong 'flu. Such a man walks along the street, and he does not yet know that he is ill. He is healthy, he feels fine, but the microbes are doing their work. Something similar, though less harmful, occurs in chess. (...) You lose the first game. But at some time, if your father or elder brother or simply an old friend wants to be kind to you, then you win, and as a result feel very proud of yourself. A few days pass, and suddenly you involuntarily begin to sense that, without chess, there is something missing in your life. Then you may rejoice: you belong to that group of people without a natural immunity to the chess disease...
(It was completely accidental, but a funny coincidence, that Tal makes a comparison with the flu in this column.)


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