June 12, 2013 21:05

Tal Memorial: Nakamura wins the blitz, full pairings now known

Tal Memorial: Nakamura wins the blitz, full pairings now known

Hikaru Nakamura won the blitz tournament which opened the 8th Tal Memorial super tournament in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday. The American grandmaster finished on an undefeated 7/9, half a point more than Vishy Anand. In ranking order of the blitz final standings, the players could choose their lot numbers and this led to the following first round pairings: Andreikin-Morozvich, Anand-Caruana, Gelfand-Karjakin, Carlsen-Kramnik and Nakamura-Mamedyarov.

Nakamura wins the blitz | Picture © Chess.TV

The 8th edition of the Tal Memorial, the tournament that is dedicated to the memory of the 8th World Champion, was opened on Wednesday in the Technology Institute "Red October" in Moscow, Russia.

The venue this year is "Red October" situated along the Moskva river, next to the Peter the Great statue | Photo © Lennart Ootes

After brief speeches by tournament director Ilya Levitov and chief arbiter Andrzej Filipowicz, instead of a drawing of lots, the ceremony started with a blitz tournament. This was also done last year, and the concept was copied by the Norway Chess tournament last month. Like the main tournament, the blitz was a single round robin, and the time control was 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move.

The start of the ceremony - many spectators and journalists present | Photo © Lennart Ootes

Hikaru Nakamura is still a blitz legend even though he's been focusing on classical chess for a while now. The American was in great shape and grabbed an early lead with 2.5/3, beating Alexander Morozevich and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with White, and drawing Boris Gelfand with Black. Three draws with the top seeds followed, Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand, and then Nakamura duly finished with three straight wins, against Dmitry Andreikin, Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin!

Perhaps Nakamura got some extra energy from playing his first event with a new sponsor. He tweeted about this earlier today:

Nakamura now sponsored by Silence Therapeutics | Photo © Lennart Ootes

Anand must have gained some confidence as well with a splendid, undefeated 6.5/9 while Kramnik's 5.5/9 wasn't bad either (he only lost to Karjakin). Carlsen's 4.5/9 wasn't great for a top seed; the world's number one went down against Morozevich and Mamedyarov. Below you can replay all games (thanks to TWIC).

Tal Memorial blitz 2013 | Games

PGN file

Tal Memorial blitz 2013 | Final standings


The first round saw the game between Boris Gelfand and Vishy Anand, who played their world
title match last year "at the same table", according to tournament director Ilya Levitov | Photo Eteri Kublashvili

Guest of honour was Boris Spassky, who seemed in reasonable shape, making jokes as always | Photo © Lennart Ootes

After the blitz tournament, the players were asked on stage one by one to tell the arbiter which lot number they preferred for the main tournament. Nakamura could go first, and he picked 5. Anand chose 2, and then Kramnik surprisingly went for lot number 7, which means he will have five black games and four white. The Russian confirmed to us that he did this because of the tiebreak rules in the tournament; the first and most important rule is number games played with the black pieces... Gelfand chose 3, Carlsen 4, Andreikin 1, Mamedyarov 6, Karjakin 8, Morozevich 10 and for Caruana number 9 was left. This led to the following pairings:

Tal Memorial 2013 | Pairings

Round 1 13:00 CET 13.06.13   Round 2 13:00 CET 14.06.13
Andreikin - Morozevich   Morozevich - Mamedyarov
Anand - Caruana   Kramnik - Nakamura
Gelfand - Karjakin   Karjakin - Carlsen
Carlsen - Kramnik   Caruana - Gelfand
Nakamura - Mamedyarov   Andreikin - Anand
Round 3 13:00 CET 15.06.13   Round 4 13:00 CET 17.06.13
Anand - Morozevich   Morozevich - Kramnik
Gelfand - Andreikin   Karjakin - Mamedyarov
Carlsen - Caruana   Caruana - Nakamura
Nakamura - Karjakin   Andreikin - Carlsen
Mamedyarov - Kramnik   Anand - Gelfand
Round 5 13:00 CET 18.06.13   Round 6 13:00 CET 19.06.13
Gelfand - Morozevich   Morozevich - Karjakin
Carlsen - Anand   Caruana - Kramnik
Nakamura - Andreikin   Andreikin - Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov - Caruana   Anand - Nakamura
Kramnik - Karjakin   Gelfand - Carlsen
Round 7 13:00 CET 21.06.13   Round 8 13:00 CET 22.06.13
Carlsen - Morozevich   Morozevich - Caruana
Nakamura - Gelfand   Andreikin - Karjakin
Mamedyarov - Anand   Anand - Kramnik
Kramnik - Andreikin   Gelfand - Mamedyarov
Karjakin - Caruana   Carlsen - Nakamura
Round 9 11:00 CET 23.06.13        
Nakamura - Morozevich        
Mamedyarov - Carlsen        
Kramnik - Gelfand        
Karjakin - Anand        
Caruana - Andreikin        

At the end of the ceremony, Magnus Carlsen was asked on stage and he received the Chess Oscar - we take it that it was the Oscar for 2011, which was announced in the October 2012 issue of chess magazine 64. In his short speech, the Norwegian said:

I think it's well deserved!

Carlsen with the Chess Oscar | Photo Eteri Kublashvili

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Anonymous's picture

As predicted, the mediocre Westerner Overrated Magnus didn't even finish among the top 3 players. What a sweet day for Mother Russia.

Mart Smeets's picture

Of course you would know, when someone would be overrated, because...?

G's picture

Mother Russia, has always been the best, from botvinnik too kramnik, but now you`re happy with 3th place, while Moro and Kraja suxed? Weird..

Chris's picture

Russia from Botwinnik to Kramnik?
Tal was from Riga, Latvia, Petrosjan Armenian, Kasparov Armenian....

noyb's picture

Kasparov is Azerbaijani, born in Baku, Azerbaijan (father was Armenian) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garry_Kasparov

Chris's picture

Nakamura from USA won, Anand from India 2nd
sweet day for US and India. :)

S3's picture

Apparently Carlsen is rather powerless without his take back move cheats...

Septimus's picture

Don't you have anything new to say? The same lies over and over again. Going senile are we?

S3's picture

What lies? You know his cheats are well documented with several attempts on tape..(against gashimov, kosteniuk, grachev, and so on)

Niima's picture


Is this true or are you being tongue-in-cheek? :-)

For example, I know Kasparov was recorded on type years ago letting go of a piece against Polgar then picking it up and taking the move back (I am not sure if she was at the board when it happened).

Are there links (video or otherwise) supporting what you say?

Thomas Oliver's picture

These incidents, happening in the heat of the moment, were documented on video (don't ask me to search for links), BUT
1) to my knowledge, Carlsen never "successfully cheated" (so he was equally "powerless" when he did 'cheat' - using this term assumes it was done on purpose which I doubt)
2) At least in part, the fact that he _seemingly_ tries more often may be because his games are filmed more often, or shown in live video feeds more frequently.
[While I do criticize Carlsen, or rather the hype around him, I strongly disagree with S3 on this recurrent topic]

Niima's picture

Thanks Thomas, but are there any links discussing this topic? The only place I have read about it has been here.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous's picture

except the last one which was in Rapid

S3's picture

@ niima..see anonymous his reply. Most games were blitz, 1 was rapid, and 1 shady but interesting regular game. An incomplete list can be found at; http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1022246

Niima's picture

@ Anonymous & S3


S3's picture

1-obviously, succesfull cheats will go unnoticed. The rather large documented amount -at least relatively speaking-suggests that there are more incidents.
2-almost every time his opponent protested Carlsen denied, by word or by gesture, cheating, to the referee as well. And each time he acted surprised as if he didn't knew the rules, tho these were similar repeating incidents. This suggests cheating, and acting, on purpose.
Last but not least..at the blitz ch. all top games were being followed. To my knowledge there is no recent footage of any other top player doing the same, and certainly not this many times. Frogbert promised on this site to provide such a list long ago, to prove its a common mistake, but since then he never returned to the topic. As it is Carlsen remains wch take backs, tho he seems to have mellowed a bit in this respect.

Martin Matthiesen's picture

Why would he make conscious cheating attempts, when he knows in advance, that there is no chance whatsoever of getting away with it? (The only exception was the Morozevich game, where Guijssen made a strange mistake). I don't think the videos support your claim that he almost always denies their claims. He could have been more graceful after the Kosteniuk game, though.

Bert de Bruut's picture

Besides, the Kasparov-Polgar incident was in a classical game, so there were no 'reflexes' to blame...

Zeblakop's picture

Kasparov has cheated against Polgar but MC can not say the same thing vs Alexandra.

Anonymous's picture

What a sweet day for usa and india !

Tony's picture

You clearly do not know the difference between speed chess and regular tournament timed games. Regardless of who wins, this is not Russia against the world. Those days are over.

Morley's picture

These preliminary blitz tournaments are great, I hope they become a permanent part of the super tournament scene!

Anyways, Hikaru killed it. When he first broke into the top 25, or thereabouts, there was a lot of hype around him because of his ICC prowess. I think this is his first elite blitz event 1st place, no? Finally! Congrats, I kinda hope he wins the main event ...

Strange to see Karjakin do so poorly. After a string of good rapid / blitz performances, I was honestly expecting him to win this.

Chris's picture

That blitz was stronger then WCh blitz

filiusdextris's picture

The text says Carlsen lost to Gelfand and Caruana, but the crosstable and games show he lost to Mamedyarov and Morozevich, beating Caruana.

Niima's picture

Peter, according to the scores, Carlsen lost to Mamedyarov and Morozevich (not Gelfand and Caruana).

Peter Doggers's picture

Corrected, thx. (Weird mistake, I followed the whole thing live.)

RealityCheck's picture

Carlsen's lackluster Blitz Chess showing, 2.5 points behind the winner, sure has Silenced his noisy fans.

Congrat's to Naka and Vishy...leaving the rest of the pack in the dust.

Martin Matthiesen's picture

Yes, whereas those that are against him, are never silent.

Anonymous's picture

only because those that are with him make so much noise when they are not silent.

filiusdextris's picture

how sad for people to define their existence (or the need to express it) by belittling the enjoyment of others

Anonymous's picture

your post just belittled my enjoyment of this website. is that how you define your existence? how sad :-(

Akroydian's picture

Finishing with an even score in this field is a great result, there just isn't anything noteworthy about it.
Would you prefer us Carlsen fans be more consistent and praise him to the heavens for finishing 2.5 points behind the winner?

RealityCheck's picture

@Akroydian Be my guest. Hand him another Oscar while your at it.

Harrry_Flashman's picture

Guess in would be mandatory a poor performance by Carlsen in the classical chess tournament to " silence " , at least temporarily , his fans. A blitz tourney doesn't mean that much..

RG13's picture

Kudos to Nakamura for this small victory. Let's keep it in perspective though - Carlsen CRUSHED Nakamura in a 40 game blitz match. Just sayin'.

jsy's picture

The so call 40 game "crush" took place informally with a tired Nakamura, (possibly even after a few drinks). Just sayin'...

MJul's picture

And "a tired (possibly even after a few drinks)" Carlsen.

Jim's picture

Carlsen has white against Kramnik, Anand, Caruana, and Nakamura - arguably all his big rivals in this event except Karjakin.

bronkenstein's picture

IIRC it´s first Naka´s leet blitz victory, but these ´pre-tournaments´ became fashionable just lately (and I hope that they will become standard), without much happening - LeetBlitzWise - inbetween.

The King solo second, Vlad solo third, not bad at all for these old men =). Even the ´unworthy´ Gandalf is tied with ´No 1´, but I expected Karjak and Andreikin to do bit better.

Anyway, it´s only blitz, extra whites (and what one manages to do with it) is what really matters.

S3's picture

Andreikins latest performances are a bit worrying..

RealityCheck's picture

Are these pre-tournament "leet blitz" games FIDE rated?

Thomas Oliver's picture

Tal Memorial blitz 2012 was FIDE-rated. For some (whatever) reason the blitz before the Norwegian supertournament wasn't rated, neither was the blitz before the Zurich Chess Challenge this year (Caruana 5/6, Kramnik 4/6, Anand and Gelfand 1.5/6).

bronkenstein's picture

Most likely - it would be very strange to have so strong blitz event unrated.

bronkenstein's picture

After a quick check, Thomas seems to be right. Anyway, this will prolly be rated, as it was the previous year.

Jambow's picture

Actualy Nakamura hasn't played many elite blitz tournaments and while I don't remember the exact details Nakamura finished ahead of Carlsen in his first elite blitz tournament. This was noteworthy because there was some controversy as Magnus had just won the world blitz championship and Nakamura wasn't even invited to the event and then finnished ahead of Magnus in their encounter.

FIDE is keeping elo ratings for blitz now and if they continue to have these events it will potentially become clearer who the strongest blitz players are. I would expect the top players to pretty much have an order close to standard time controls as it is still 64 squares and the same pieces. Caruana seems not to do as well at blitz compared to his standard time controls but perhaps he just plays it much less often.

This should be a fun tournament and Anand seems to be in good form these days far more often so let us see what he will do. Carlsen is naturally the favorite due to elo and how much he has dominated tournamnets for the last three years.

I'm with Morely I hope Nakamura wins the main event too, but I'm always pleased to see Carlsen win and actually there is nobody in the field that I wouldn't be happy to see win.

Jim's picture

That was the BN Bank Blitz, I believe. While Nakamura won, I wouldn't call it an elite blitz tournament - he didn't play anyone over 2600 to make it to the finals, where he played a four game match against Carlsen. Not in the same category as this mini-event.

Axel's picture

“... and actually there is nobody in the field that I wouldn't be happy to see win.”

Indeed! Looking forward to a great tournament.

Anil Philip's picture

Last para was too long to express a thing. You should have written that I am a "carlsen fan"

vlad's picture

that will affect carlsen's blitz rating quite :)


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