Tal Memorial R8: Aronian sole leader after beating Svidler

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Levon Aronian became the sole leader at the Tal Memorial in Moscow after beating Peter Svidler on Thursday. With just one round to go Armenia's number one grandmaster has excellent chances to win this year's edition. Tomorrow's round already starts at 10:00 CET!

Levon Aronian after his important win over Peter Svidler | Image © RCF

EventTal Memorial 2011PGN via TWIC
DatesNovember 16th-25th, 2011
LocationMoscow, Russia
System10-player round robin
PlayersCarlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Nakamura, Svidler, Gelfand, Nepomniachtchi
Rate of play100 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 50 minutes for the next 20 moves followed by 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one
NotesDraw offers before move 40 are not allowed. Tiebreak systems: most blacks, head-to-head, Coya, S-B, number of wins - in that order
 

Round 8 in progress | Image © RCF

Who would have thought that one victory would be worth so much in this year's Tal Memorial. Yesterday the value was equal to shared first place, for half of the participants, and after today scoring +2 is enough for a sole first spot. Levon Aronian is the only one who managed to get to this score, and with just one round to go he has excellent chances to win the tournament at least shared.

Levon Aronian, now top favourite to win the 2011 Tal Memorial | Image © RCF

However, as he plays one of his closest pursuers (Nepomniachtchi) with Black tomorrow, nothing has been decided yet! Magnus Carlsen, also half a point behind, might want to play for a win against Hikaru Nakamura to maximize his chances while the other two on 4.5/8, Karjakin and Ivanchuk, face each other. To summarize: an exciting final round awaits us!

But let's have a look at that penultimate round first. The game of the day was of course Aronian-Svidler, and not just because it was the only decisive one!

[Event "6th Tal Memorial"]
[Site "Moscow/Russia"]
[Date "2011.11.24"]
[Round "8.5"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Svidler, Peter"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D93"]
[WhiteElo "2802"]
[BlackElo "2755"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "107"]
[EventDate "2011.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. e3 c5 6. dxc5 Qa5 7. Rc1 dxc4 8.
Bxc4 O-O 9. Nf3 Qxc5 10. Bb3 Nc6 11. O-O Qa5 12. h3 Bf5 13. Qe2 Ne4 14. Nxe4
Bxe4 15. Rfd1 Qh5 16. Bc2 Bxc2 17. Qxc2 Qb5 18. a4 $146 (18. e4 Rfd8 19. Be3
Qxb2 20. Rxd8+ Nxd8 21. Qxb2 Bxb2 22. Rc7 Ba3 23. e5 b6 {Kozhuharov,S (2436)
-Drenchev,P (2519)/Albena 2011}) 18... Qb4 19. Ne1 e5 20. Bg3 Rfd8 21. Nd3 Qe7
22. Qc5 Rd6 23. b4 Rad8 24. b5 Rd5 (24... Na5 25. Qxa7 Nb3 26. Rc3) (24... b6
25. Qxd6 Rxd6 26. bxc6 Rd8 (26... Qc7 27. Nb4 Rxd1+ 28. Rxd1 Bf8 29. Rd7 Qc8
30. Bh4 $18) 27. c7 Rc8 28. Nxe5 Rxc7 29. Rxc7 Qxc7 30. Nxg6 $18 {Aronian}) 25.
Qc2 e4 26. Nf4 (26. bxc6 exd3 27. Rxd3 Rxd3 28. c7 Bf6) 26... Rxd1+ 27. Rxd1
Rxd1+ 28. Qxd1 Nb4 29. Qc1 Bf6 30. Qc8+ Kg7 31. Qb8 a6 (31... a5 $5 {Svidler})
32. b6 Nc6 33. Qc8 h5 34. Ne2 Nd8 35. Bc7 Qe6 36. Qb8 Qd7 (36... Qd5 $5 37. Nf4
Qd7 {Aronian}) 37. Be5 Ne6 (37... Nc6 38. Bxf6+ Kxf6 39. Qf4+ Kg7 40. Nc3 Qd3
41. Nxe4 Qb1+ 42. Kh2 Qxb6 43. Qf6+ Kg8 44. Nd6 Qc7 45. f4 {Aronian}) 38. Nc3
Qc6 39. a5 h4 40. Bxf6+ Kxf6 41. Qh8+ Kf5 42. Qxh4 Qxc3 43. g4+ Ke5 44. Qh8+ f6
45. Qb8+ Kd5 46. Qxb7+ Qc6 47. Qb8 Nc5 (47... Qc1+ 48. Kg2 Qd1 49. Qa8+ $1 (49.
b7 Qf3+ 50. Kg1 Ng5 51. Qg8+ {Aronian})) 48. Qg8+ Qe6 49. Qxg6 Kc4 50. h4 Kd3
51. h5 Ke2 52. h6 Qc4 (52... Nd3 53. h7 Qc8 54. Qxe4 Nxf2 (54... Qc1+ 55. Kg2)
55. Qg2 Qc1+ 56. Kh2 Qc8 57. h8=Q Qxh8+ 58. Kg1 Qh4 59. b7 {Aronian}) (52...
Qa2 $1 53. h7 Nd3 (53... Qa1+ 54. Kh2) 54. h8=Q (54. Qxe4 $2 Nxf2 $11) 54...
Qb1+ (54... Qa1+ 55. Kh2 Nxf2 56. Qhxf6 $2 Qxf6) 55. Kh2 Nxf2 56. Qhxf6 $18 {
Aronian}) 53. h7 Ke1 54. Qxf6 1-0

A fantastic struggle which, objectivelty speaking, Svidler shouldn't have lost but Aronian's determination did it all.

Aronian and Svidler trying to grasp their complicated endgame position | Image © RCF

Vladimir Kramnik did his best to achieve something against - the by now rock solid - Sergey Karjakin but to no avail.

[Event "6th Tal Memorial"]
[Site "Moscow/Russia"]
[Date "2011.11.24"]
[Round "8.2"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E05"]
[WhiteElo "2800"]
[BlackElo "2763"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2011.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4
Bd7 9. Rd1 Bc6 10. Nc3 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Nc6 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Bg5 Rb8 14. Rac1 (
14. e3 a5 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Rac1 Rb4 17. Na2 Rb6 18. Rd2 {Leko,P (2734)
-Ponomariov,R (2734)/Dortmund 2010}) 14... h6 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. e3 $146 (16.
Ne4 Rb4 17. Nc5 a5 18. Na6 Rb6 19. Nc5 Re8 20. e3 Qd5 21. Qe2 Reb8 22. Rd2 Rd8
23. Rxc4 e5 {Trani,F (2253)-Conde Poderoso,J (2265)/UECC email 2000}) 16... Qe7
17. Ne4 Rb4 18. Qe2 Rxa4 19. Rxc4 (19. Nc5 Ra2 (19... Rb4 20. Nxa6 Rb6)) 19...
Rxc4 20. Qxc4 e5 21. Qxa6 (21. d5 cxd5 22. Rxd5 Qe6 23. Nc5 Qc6 24. Qe4 Be7 {
Kramnik}) (21. Qxc6 exd4 22. Nxf6+ Qxf6 23. Qxf6 gxf6 24. Rxd4 Rb8 25. b4 {
Kramnik}) 21... exd4 22. Nxf6+ Qxf6 23. Rxd4 Rb8 (23... c5 24. Qxf6 gxf6 25.
Rd2 Rb8 26. Kf1 c4 27. Rc2 Kg7 28. Ke2 Kg6 29. Kd2 Rb3 30. Kc1 Rb4 31. Rd2 Kf5
{Kramnik}) 24. b4 Qe7 (24... Qe6 25. h4 g6) 25. Qc4 (25. Qxc6 Rxb4 26. Rd7 Qe8)
25... Rb6 26. Qd3 (26. h4 h5) (26. g4) (26. Kg2 g5 (26... Rb5 27. e4 c5 28.
bxc5 (28. Qxb5 cxd4 29. Kf3 Qd6 30. Qc5 Qf6+) 28... Rxc5 29. Qd3) 27. e4 Rb5
28. f3 Kg7 (28... c5 29. Qxb5 cxd4 30. Kf2 Qe6 31. Qd5 {Kramnik/Karjakin} Qf6)
29. Qc3 Qf6 30. Kf2 Rb6 31. Ke3 Ra6 32. Rc4 Qxc3+ 33. Rxc3 Ra4 34. Rb3 c5 35.
bxc5 Rc4 36. Rb5 c6 37. Ra5 Rc3+ 38. Kd4 Rxf3 39. Ra6 Rf6 $11 {Kramnik/Karjakin
}) 26... Rb8 27. Qc4 Rb6 28. Kg2 Rb5 29. e4 g5 30. f3 Kg7 31. Qc3 Qf6 32. Kf2
Qe5 33. Qd2 Qf6 34. Rc4 Rb8 35. Ke3 Qe7 (35... Ra8 36. Qc3 Qxc3+ 37. Rxc3 Ra4
38. Rb3 Ra2 39. h4 gxh4 40. gxh4 $11 {Kramnik}) 36. Qc3+ Kh7 37. Rc5 Rb6 38.
Rf5 (38. f4 gxf4+ 39. gxf4 Qh4 40. Rf5 Kg8 $11 {Kramnik} 41. Kd3 $6 Qh3+ 42.
Kd4 Qxh2) (38. h4 gxh4 39. gxh4 Qxh4 40. Rf5 Kg8 $11 {Kramnik}) 38... Kg8 39.
Re5 (39. Rf6 c5 $1 $11) 39... Qf8 40. Rc5 (40. h4 gxh4 41. gxh4 Rxb4 42. Qxc6
Qd6 $11 {Kramnik}) 40... Qb8 41. Qf6 Qf8 (41... Rxb4 42. Qxh6 Rb3+ 43. Kf2 Rb2+
{Kramnik} 44. Kf1 $1 Rb5 45. Qxg5+ Kh7 46. h4) 42. Qc3 Qb8 43. Qf6 Qf8 44. Qc3
1/2-1/2

Russians meet, and draw: Kramnik vs Karjakin | Image © RCF

Even though it ended in a draw, Vishy Anand and Hikaru Nakamura were quite cheerful after their game as it had been very interesting.

[Event "6th Tal Memorial"]
[Site "Moscow/Russia"]
[Date "2011.11.24"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E81"]
[WhiteElo "2811"]
[BlackElo "2758"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2011.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nge2 O-O 6. f3 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Ng3 a6
9. a4 h5 10. Bg5 exd5 11. cxd5 Qc7 12. Qd2 Nbd7 13. Be2 Rb8 14. O-O c4 15. Be3
$146 (15. Rac1 b5 16. b4 bxa4 17. Nxa4 Nb6 18. Nb2 Nfxd5 19. exd5 c3 20. Nd1
Na4 21. Kh1 f5 22. Qf4 {Svetushkin,D (2530)-Shirazi,K (2399)/Metz 2005}) 15...
h4 16. Nh1 h3 17. Nf2 {"I think this is the best." (Anand)} (17. g3 Nc5 18.
Bxc4 Ncxe4 {Anand}) 17... hxg2 18. Kxg2 {"It's very difficult to give an
instant evaluation. At the board it was very difficult to play; there are too
many resources for both sides." (Anand)} Nh5 {"I think this is a mistake but
Black gets counterplay." (Anand)} 19. f4 Nhf6 20. Bf3 Re8 21. a5 Qd8 22. Ne2
Nh7 23. Ng3 b6 24. axb6 Nxb6 25. Bd4 Bxd4 26. Qxd4 Qf6 ({The players were
speaking about} 26... Qh4 $5 {after the game.}) 27. Ne2 Qxd4 28. Nxd4 Bb7 29.
Ra3 Nf6 30. Nc6 Rbc8 31. Na5 {"I got excited because I thought this was very
strong." (Anand)} Ba8 32. Nc6 {"Once I got here I didn't see any way out."
(Anand)} (32. Rc1 Nfd7 (32... Rc5 33. b4) 33. Rac3 f5 34. Nxc4 fxe4 35. Nxe4)
32... Bb7 33. Na5 Ba8 {"I enjoyed it. At least I played an interesting game."
(Anand) "We both had our chances and the draw was a fair result." (Nakamura)}
1/2-1/2

Anand-Nakamura: an interesting game | Image © RCF

Ivanchuk and Gelfand drew in an Anti-Meran Slav - a variation that's very popular these days.

[Event "6th Tal Memorial"]
[Site "Moscow/Russia"]
[Date "2011.11.24"]
[Round "8.4"]
[White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"]
[Black "Gelfand, Boris"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D46"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2744"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2011.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O
dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. e4 e5 12. h3 exd4 13. Nxd4 Nc5 14. Rd1 b4 15.
Na4 Nxd3 16. Rxd3 $146 (16. Qxd3 Qa5 17. Nb3 Qxa4 18. Qxd6 Nxe4 19. Qd7 Bc8 20.
Qd4 Bf5 21. Be3 Bg6 22. Rdc1 {Shen,Y (2420)-Wang Yu A (2364)/Xinghua Jiangsu
2009}) 16... c5 17. Nxc5 Bxc5 18. Qxc5 Bxe4 19. Rd1 Qd5 20. Qxd5 Nxd5 21. Nb3
Rfd8 22. Rd4 Bg6 23. Bd2 a5 24. Rc1 a4 25. Nc5 a3 26. b3 h6 27. Nb7 Rd7 28. Nc5
Rdd8 29. Na4 f6 30. Be1 Bf7 31. Rc5 Nf4 $5 ({After the natural} 31... Rac8 {
Black seems to have a slight edge.}) 32. Rxf4 Rd1 33. Rxb4 Rxe1+ 34. Kh2 Re2
35. Nc3 Rxf2 {This is equal - very equal, as the game will show. :-)} 36. Rc7
Rd8 37. Rbb7 Rdd2 38. Rxf7 Rxg2+ 39. Kh1 Rh2+ 40. Kg1 Rhg2+ 41. Kh1 1/2-1/2

Vassily Ivanchuk had to be satisfied with a draw against Boris Gelfand | Image © RCF

Magnus Carlsen played the solid 3.Bb5+ against Ian Nepomniachtchi and the players went for the absolute main line of this system.

[Event "6th Tal Memorial"]
[Site "Moscow/Russia"]
[Date "2011.11.24"]
[Round "8.3"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B52"]
[WhiteElo "2826"]
[BlackElo "2730"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2011.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ {"Not the most ambitious choice, but it's not a
100% harmless either." (Carlsen)} Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. c4 Nc6 6. d4 cxd4 7.
Nxd4 g6 8. Nc3 Bg7 9. Be3 Nf6 10. h3 {"This is the modern main line. At some
point people realized that it's better to put a pawn on h3 than on f3."
(Carlsen)} O-O 11. O-O a6 {"It's important for Black to play this first, or
otherwise I will have the b5 square for the knight." (Carlsen)} 12. a4 Rfc8 ({
Nepomniachtchi sugggested} 12... Rac8 13. f4 (13. b3 e6 14. Rc1 d5 15. Nxc6
bxc6 16. e5 Ne8 17. Bc5 Bxe5)) 13. b3 e6 14. Rc1 $146 (14. Qf3 Qe7 15. Rfd1 Nd7
16. Rab1 Nb4 17. Qe2 Nc5 18. Qd2 Ncd3 19. Na2 {Skripchenko,A (2460)-Cmilyte,V
(2514)/Antakya 2010}) 14... d5 15. Nxc6 (15. cxd5 exd5 16. Nxc6 (16. exd5 Nb4)
(16. Nxd5 Nxd5 17. Nxc6 bxc6) 16... bxc6 17. Bd4 dxe4 18. Bxf6 Qxd1 19. Rfxd1
Bxf6 20. Nxe4 Be7 {is more or less a draw.}) 15... bxc6 16. e5 {"Of course
this is the real way to play for White." (Carlsen)} Ne8 17. f4 a5 ({After}
17... Qd8 {Carlsen was "even considering"} 18. a5 Qxa5 19. Na4 Rcb8 20. Nc5 Qd8
{but after the game he realized it was "just a pawn for nothing".}) 18. Ne4 Bf8
19. Rf3 ({Carlsen didn't like} 19. c5 {because of} Qa7 {e.g.} 20. Nf6+ Nxf6 21.
exf6 Rab8 22. Bd4 Rb4 23. Rf3 Rcb8) 19... Qd8 20. Nc5 Rcb8 21. Bf2 Nc7 22. Qe2
{Directed against 22...Na6.} Rb4 (22... Na6 $2 23. Nxa6 Rxa6 24. cxd5) 23. Kh2
Be7 24. Rc2 Qf8 ({After} 24... Kg7 {White might go} 25. g4 $5 {(as f5-f6+ will
come with tempo) or first prepare it some more.}) 25. Nd7 Qd8 26. Nc5 Qf8 27.
cxd5 Nxd5 ({After} 27... cxd5 {Carlsen was intending} 28. g4) 28. g3 Qc8 29.
Be1 Rb6 30. Rc4 Rab8 31. Qd1 (31. Qc2 $5 Nb4 32. Qd1 {Carlsen}) 31... Bxc5 32.
Rxc5 Qf8 33. Qc2 ({After} 33. Rxa5 {the rook gets too much out of play:} c5 $5
(33... Qa3 34. b4 Qa2+ 35. Rf2 Qc4 (35... Qa3 36. Rc5) 36. Rc5 Qe4 37. a5 R6b7)
34. Qc2 c4 35. Qxc4 Qa3 36. Bf2 Qa2 {Nepomniachtchi}) 33... Nb4 34. Bxb4 Rxb4
35. Rxa5 (35. Rxc6 {won't be enough either:} Rd4 36. Rd3 Rxd3 37. Qxd3 Qa3 38.
h4 Rxb3 (38... Kg7 $5) 39. Qd8+ Qf8 (39... Kg7 $2 40. h5 $1 $18) 40. Qxf8+ Kxf8
41. Rc5 Rb2+ 42. Kh3 Ra2 43. Rxa5 h5 $11 {Carlsen/Nepomniachtchi}) 35... Qd8 (
35... Rd4 36. Rc5 Rbd8 37. Rf2 {Carlsen/Nepomniachtchi}) 36. Rc5 {Allowing a
petite combinaison that forces the draw.} Rxb3 $1 37. Rxb3 Rxb3 38. Qxb3 Qd2+
39. Kh1 Qe1+ 40. Kg2 Qe2+ 1/2-1/2

Magnus Carlsen couldn't break his opponent's defence | Image © RCF

About his tournament, Carlsen said:

No, I'm not satisfied. I had one win after two games and now I have one win after eight games.

But he said it with a smile.

 

Tal Memorial 2011 | Round 8 Standings

 

Schedule and pairings

Round 116.11.1112:00 CET Round 217.11.1112:00 CET
Aronian½ ½Carlsen Carlsen1-0Gelfand
Kramnik0-1Nepomniachtchi Karjakin½ ½Nakamura
Ivanchuk1-0Svidler Svidler½ ½Anand
Anand½ ½Karjakin Nepomniachtchi½ ½Ivanchuk
Nakamura½ ½Gelfand Aronian½ ½Kramnik
Round 318.11.1112:00 CET Round 419.11.1112:00 CET
Kramnik½ ½Carlsen Carlsen½ ½Karjakin
Ivanchuk0-1Aronian Svidler½ ½Gelfand
Anand½ ½Nepomniachtchi Nepomniachtchi½ ½Nakamura
Nakamura0-1Svidler Aronian½ ½Anand
Gelfand0-1Karjakin Kramnik½ ½Ivanchuk
Round 520.11.1112:00 CET Round 622.11.1112:00 CET
Ivanchuk½ ½Carlsen Carlsen½ ½Svidler
Anand½ ½Kramnik Nepomniachtchi½ ½Karjakin
Nakamura½ ½Aronian Aronian½ ½Gelfand
Gelfand½ ½Nepomniachtchi Kramnik½ ½Nakamura
Karjakin½ ½Svidler Ivanchuk½ ½Anand
Round 723.11.1112:00 CET Round 824.11.1112:00 CET
Anand½ ½Carlsen Carlsen½ ½Nepomniachtchi
Nakamura0-1Ivanchuk Aronian1-0Svidler
Gelfand½ ½Kramnik Kramnik½ ½Karjakin
Karjakin½ ½Aronian Ivanchuk½ ½Gelfand
Svidler½ ½Nepomniachtchi Anand½ ½Nakamura
Round 925.11.1110:00 CET    
Nakamura-Carlsen    
Gelfand-Anand    
Karjakin-Ivanchuk    
Svidler-Kramnik    
Nepomniachtchi-Aronian    

 

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