Reports | June 07, 2012 23:00

Morozevich wins Tal Memorial blitz on tiebreak, ahead of Carlsen

Morozevich wins Tal Memorial blitz on tiebreak, ahead of Carlsen

Alexander Morozevich won the Tal Memorial blitz tournament on Thursday afternoon in Moscow. The Russian grandmaster edged out Magnus Carlsen on tiebreak (more games with black) after both players finished on 6.5/9. The tournament was held instead of a drawing of lots, and determined the draw numbers for the players at the Tal Memorial which starts on Friday.

Morozevich vs Carlsen (1-0) today in Moscow | All photos by Eteri Kublashvil & Vladimir Barsky courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation

Event Tal Memorial 2012 | Blitz PGN via TWIC
Dates June 7-18, 2012
Location Moscow, Russia
System 10-player round robin
Players Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Radjabov, Nakamura, Caruana, Morozevich, Grischuk, Tomashevsky, McShane
Rate of play 100 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
Prize fund 100,000 Euro, first prize 30,000
More info All the details

The 7th Mikhail Tal Memorial was opened on Thursday afternoon and started with a blitz tournament, a novelty introduced by the Russian Chess Federation this year, to determine the draw numbers for the players. It was a 9-round blitz tournament between all ten participants, according to the round robin system. The time control was 3 minutes and 2 seconds increment per game. The drawing of lots for this tournament was fixed, and followed the ratings of the players. Here are all games for replay:

PGN file

Tal Memorial Blitz 2012 | Final standings


In case of a tie, the following tiebreaks were used in descending order (the same as in the main tournament):

  1. Highest number of games played with Black
  2. Highest number of wins
  3. Direct encounter
  4. Koya system
  5. Sonneborn-Berger coefficient

Based on this, Alexander Morozevich was declared the winner of the tournament, and got start number 1 for the main tournament. He also won the 5,000 Euro first prize, while Magnus Carsen got the 3,000 Euro second prize. Morozevich in fact also beat Carlsen (on time) in their mutual game.

The tournament was broadcast online including video streams of the playing hall. Similar to the World Blitz Championship, which was held after the 2010 Tal Memorial, the players were sitting on a small, round stage and five of these small stages were put up in the hall. This way a lot of spectators could get more than a glimpse of what was happening on the boards.

The live video also revealed something that is unavoidable at such events: a number of games were not saved correctly into PGN. Especially when players are starting to play really fast, and pieces tumble over,   sometimes the software just cannot understand what's happening and stops registering the remainder of the game.

The top 5 players in the final standings of this blitz event earned 5 games with the white pieces in the main event, and 4 blacks. It remains to be seen whether this will be a big advantage, because the first tiebreak rule is the number of games with black...

Below we give the full schedule and pairings. The rest days are on the 11th and 15th of June. More information on the Tal Memorial can be found here.

Tal Memorial 2012 | Schedule & pairings

Round 1 08.06.12 13:00 CET   Round 2 09.06.12 13:00 CET
Morozevich - Caruana   Caruana - Nakamura
Carlsen - Kramnik   Tomashevsky - Aronian
Grischuk - McShane   McShane - Radjabov
Radjabov - Tomashevsky   Kramnik - Grischuk
Aronian - Nakamura   Morozevich - Carlsen
Round 3 10.06.12 13:00 CET   Round 4 12.06.12 13:00 CET
Carlsen - Caruana   Caruana - Tomashevsky
Grischuk - Morozevich   McShane - Nakamura
Radjabov - Kramnik   Kramnik - Aronian
Aronian - McShane   Morozevich - Radjabov
Nakamura - Tomashevsky   Carlsen - Grischuk
Round 5 13.06.12 13:00 CET   Round 6 14.06.12 13:00 CET
Grischuk - Caruana   Caruana - McShane
Radjabov - Carlsen   Kramnik - Tomashevsky
Aronian - Morozevich   Morozevich - Nakamura
Nakamura - Kramnik   Carlsen - Aronian
Tomashevsky   McShane   Grischuk - Radjabov
Round 7 16.06.12 13:00 CET   Round 8 17.06.12 13:00 CET
Radjabov - Caruana   Caruana - Kramnik
Aronian - Grischuk   Morozevich - McShane
Nakamura - Carlsen   Carlsen - Tomashevsky
Tomashevsky - Morozevich   Grischuk - Nakamura
McShane - Kramnik   Radjabov - Aronian
Round 9 18.06.12 11:00 CET        
Aronian - Caruana        
Nakamura - Radjabov        
Tomashevsky - Grischuk        
McShane - Carlsen        
Kramnik - Morozevich        


Chief arbiter Andrzej Filipowicz of Poland explaining the rules

Levon Aronian (Armenia)

Magnus Carlsen (Norway)

Alexander Grischuk (Russia)

Vladimir Kramnik (Russia)

Luke McShane (England)

Alexander Morozevich (Russia)

Hikaru Nakamura (USA)

Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan)

Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia)

Among the spectators: Arkadij Dvorkovich, who very recently was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister in Dmitry Medvedev's Cabinet... 

...and the oldest living GM, Yuri Averbakh


Another distinguished spectator: Sergey Karjakin (Russia), not playing the Tal Memorial this year

Ian Nepomniachtchi and Magnus Carlsen chatting

The view from the Pashkov House, with the Kremlin on the left

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Anonymous's picture

And we all know how much Carlsen hates to lose!
Kudos to Morozevich.

Taiman's picture

Note how the majority of the blitz games in the Tal Memorial objectively were of higher quality than the rapid games in the FIDE championship. NOW we finally will be treated to some high class chess in the main part of the tournament.

PircAlert's picture

Could it be because the moves recorded were only on the opening/middle game phase and the theoretical lines give a false impression of quality?? Nice propaganda try!

Taiman's picture

I'm shocked! You mean that all these GM games started with opening theory! Why, that certainly distinguishes them from the dreadful FIDE championship and makes all assessments and comparisons of quality ipso facto invalid! Here I thought all these blitz games intorduced novelties by move 3. Pardon me. And do save yourself the trouble of watching this tournament, as you seem to be certain already that these players are pygmies compared to the true and giants of Gelfand and Anand. It would be a waste of your time and, after all, you would not want to risk learning something about chess.

PircAlert's picture

Wonder what kind of novelty would it be if you could introduce as early as move 3! I'm counter shocked!! A "cheapo" novelty may be to cash in on time?? Yet you consider them as quality?? Interesting..

Roger's picture

Your assessment of chess quality may be subject to debate, but your recognition of dripping sarcasm (which was quite entertainingly done I might add) is plainly obviously piss poor.

I have not quite finished going back through the blitz games a second time, but most were indeed good stuff.

Thomas's picture

Actually quite a few games had early "novelties" at super-GM level: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5!?, 1.b3!?, some of McShane's setups with the black pieces. As to 'objective' quality of the games, I wonder how Taiman can assess it that quickly; I would say you need to be at least a GM to come up with such a categoric assessment.

S3's picture

On the contrary, there were quite a lot of awful blunders in these blitz games despite the fact that there weren't millions at stake in this case.

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen vs Aronian 0 - 1

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. O-O a6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. Nxd4 Be7 8. f3 O-O 9. Be3 Nd7 10. Nc3 Ne5 11. Qe2 Bb4 12. Nd1 c5 13. Nb3 c4 14. Nd4 c5 15. Nf5 Bxf5 16. exf5 Re8 17. Nf2 Nc6 18. Ne4 Nd4 19. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 20. Kh1 Qxb2 21. a3 Ba5 22. Rab1 Qe5 23. Rxb7 Qxf5 24. Qxc4 Qe6 25. Qxc5 Bd8 26. Qd4 Be7 27. Rb6 Qa2 28. c4 Qxa3 29. c5 a5 30. Ra1 Rad8 31. Nd6 Bf6 32. Rxa3 Bxd4 33. Nxe8 Bxc5 34. Rd6 Rxe8 0-1

Anonymous's picture


NN's picture

I hope that Kramnik's bad result in blitz is not a sign of poor form.

cmling's picture

I wouldn't worry yet. Just warming up...

Bardamu's picture

It seems like Kramnik could lose some weight...

Anonymous's picture

Well Aronian definitely started playing better after he got into better physical condition.

arkan's picture

Let's prepare for some real chess

can't wait!

RuralRob's picture

I wonder if these blitz games are rated, under FIDE's new blitz rating system?

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Well at least Magnus himself also hopes it is rated

In which case, the Anand-Gelfand rapid match would also have been rated. Its a pity we do not have Amber any more.

fen's picture

I couldn't find the answer to that on the website, so just for the heck of it I sent an e-mail and asked them.

Question: "Hello, Is the blitz tournament rated? In other words, will the results affect the players FIDE Elo rating? Please forgive me if this information is somewhere on the site – I cannot read Russian."

Answer: "No, the results of the blitz-tournament do not affect participants’ Elo rating."

Awesome of them to respond!

Martin's picture

Wrong question maybe? It should have been asked if they count for the new FIDE Blitz Rating. Not the standard elo....

hakapika's picture

Exciting way to start the tournament.

NN's picture

Actually I am wondering ... if the first tie-break criterion is the number of games played with Black, what use is it to 'reward' good performance in blitz with more White games?

It is probably easier to make a draw with Black than to win with White in this field.

Michael Lubin's picture

I agree. If you EARN your extra White, as they did here, there's no reason to make more Blacks be a tiebreak at all.

Lee's picture

Well said. It would be best if you didn't sully the forum with arguments that make sense though. Don't want to rock the boat too much.

brandon's picture

Heh, over half the field had an over 2800 performance.

Anonymous's picture

Aronian wins the fashion contest!

brabo's picture

How are the prices regulated for the main tournament? Hortsystem, prices are split,...?

Csaba's picture

Pretty sure none of the players needed to pay an entry fee if that's what you were asking about :)

(sorry couldn't resist)

brabo's picture

I was wondering if the tiebrakemechanism has influence on the prices. It does for the blitztournament but it is not clearly stipulated for the maintournament.
If it is the case then it could explain why Kramnik didn't perform very well.

chesshire cat's picture

Hey, haven't seen the games yet, what happened to Kramnik?

Anonymous's picture

He just lost lots of games, six of the eight against the top eight.

Anonymous's picture


Bert de Bruut's picture

Instead I will complain about short wins, like Caruana-Aronian, that definitely has taken more than the 14 moves that are given in the report.

john1976's picture

Could someone please tell me how to get to the english commentary on the official website?


S3's picture

There is none. However, GM Rogers is at chesstv for english commentary.

Rodolfo 's picture

Grande Morozevich, estoy muy feliz por su triunfo.

Martin's picture

Great way to start the tournament and astonishing results. Half the field has an amazing TPR.

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