Tal Memorial R1: Kramnik loses to Nepomniachtchi, Ivanchuk beats Svidler
The first round of the Tal Memorial in Moscow, Russia immediately saw a big upset: last seed Ian Nepomniachtchi defeated Vladimir Kramnik with the black pieces. In the only other decisive game, Vassily Ivachuk beat Peter Svidler.
The playing hall during the first round | Photo © Macauley Peterson
Perhaps the word 'upset' is more accurate in situations where a player beats a much higher rated opponent, but when Vladimir Kramnik loses to the last seeded participant with the White pieces it's certainly a surprising start of the Tal Memorial!
Nepomniachtchi vs Kramnik | Photo © RCF
Somehow the former World Champion wasn't playing as accurately as he normally does in endings.
Kramnik with his own tea pot, bringing him no luck | Photo © RCF
Nepomniachtchi with the best start possible | Photo © RCF
The other decisive game was also decided in an ending. At some point Peter Svidler had to give a pawn in his game against Vassily Ivanchuk but everything still seemed to be under control - until move 51.
Vassily Ivanchuk started with a win as well | Photo © RCF
One of the best games of the round was Aronian-Carlsen. The white player didn't see the win when his opponent blundered:
Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian during the game... | Photo © RCF
...and here during their lively press conference | Photo © RCF
In a round with a lot of fingerfehlers the game Anand-Karjakin wasn't without mistakes either.
Anand vs Karjakin | Photo © RCF
The most balanced (and least interesting) game was the following.
Boris Gelfand holds Hikaru Nakamura with Black | Photo © RCF
Macauley Peterson is in Moscow during the first few rounds and shared some information with us. To start with, we have a few names in the seconds department: Nepomniachtchi again works with Vladimir Potkin, Boris Gelfand again brought Alexander Huzman and Sergey Karjakin again has Alexander Motylev with him.
A new name is connected to Hikaru Nakamura. No, we're not talking about Garry Kasparov (who surely has contact with his new 'student' via Skype), but GM Ben Finegold from the USA came along. Peter Svidler took opportunity of Finegold's arrival from the U.S. to get a set of graphic novels he was after delivered (if you're interested: Freak Angels by Warren Ellis).
Vassily Ivanchuk has worked with several grandmasters in recent years (Manuel Leon Hoyos and Sarunas Sulskis come to mind) and to that list we can add the young Ukrainian GM Adam Tukhaev.
Vassily Ivanchuk with yet again a new second | Photo © Macauley Peterson
For Vishy Anand it's the first time in more than a year that his wife Aruna is joining him at a tournament. Their son Akhil, now 7 months old, is at home with the family.
At the opening ceremony, Ivanchuk was given a compact chess set as a gift when he came up for the drawing of lots. It was a nice gesture from the organizers, who wanted to give him something to replace the one stolen in Sao Paulo.
Players and officials at the opening ceremony | Photo © Macauley Peterson
Ilya Levitov and Arkadij Dvorkovich opening the Tal Memorial 2011 | Photo © Macauley Peterson
The drawing of lots was done by picking one of the T-shirts with all signatures and sponsor logos with the pairing number.
Israelian GMs Emil Sutovksy and Alexander Huzman... | Photo © Macauley Peterson
...the latter wearing a special chess tie | Photo © Macauley Peterson
Luckily, for the fans all over the world, the Russian Chess Federation is continuing its excellent video coverage for their top events. There are ten cameras in the production including a remote controlled one mounted to a boom over the playing hall.
At this tournament live commentary is done by GM Emil Sutovsky (Russian only) who will have different non-chess guests each day. For round 1 this was the famous author and satirist Victor Shenderovich.
The commentary team | Photo © Macauley Peterson
And, something we'll only need at the end of the tournament but what is useful to know already: the tiebreak systems are, in this order, most blacks, head-to-head, Coya, S-B, and then number of wins.
Schedule and pairings
|Round 1||16.11.11||12:00 CET||Round 2||17.11.11||12:00 CET|
|Round 3||18.11.11||12:00 CET||Round 4||19.11.11||12:00 CET|
|Round 5||20.11.11||12:00 CET||Round 6||22.11.11||12:00 CET|
|Round 7||23.11.11||12:00 CET||Round 8||24.11.11||12:00 CET|
|Round 9||25.11.11||10:00 CET|
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