Reports | June 09, 2012 23:25

Kramnik & Radjabov winners on second day Tal Memorial

The playing hall in Moscow

Teimour Radjabov is leading the Tal Memorial in Moscow after two rounds. The Azerbaijani is the only player who started with two wins – today he inflicted the second loss upon Luke McShane. Vladimir Kramnik showed good preparation in a convincing win against Alexander Grischuk.

The second round in progress | Images by Eteri Kublashvil & Vladimir Barsky / video stream, courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation

Event Tal Memorial 2012 | 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

After the Tal Memorial's second round, Norwegian GM Jon-Ludvig Hammer tweeted about his famous compatriot:

As proved by @MagnusCarlsen game today: Even top GMs benefit from reading opening books.

When I made my GM-title, I thought I wouldn't need to buy opening books anymore. I was mistaken.

He was talking about the opening mistake by Carlsen with Black against Alexander Morozevich. After the moves 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 c5 8. dxc5 g5 9. Bg3 Ne4 10. e3 Qa5

PGN string

11. Rc1!? is described as "a rare but promising gambit" by Larry Kaufman in his repertoire book The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White which was positively reviewed at our site by IM Arthur van de Oudeweetering on March 28th, 2012. Carlsen immediately went wrong with 11...Nd7?! and after 12. Nge2! he realized that he couldn't take the pawn on a2. White reached a very promosing ending, but then Carlsen got himself together and defended splendidly.

PGN string

Alexander Morozevich couldn't win a promising ending

After the game Carlsen said:

I couldn't see anything better than to try not to lose immediately. Everywhere white has many attractive options.

to which Morozevich countered:

That's the big problem!

Magnus Carlsen: bad opening, great defence

Carlsen, later on Twitter:

Blundered again in the opening vs Morozevich today. Was an uphill battle after that, but managed to make a draw after a lot of suffering

Long before all this, the second round started with a quick and not very interesting draw between Tomashevsky and Aronian. The players are not allowed to utter the words "Would you like a draw?" to their opponent before move 40, but a silent offer by means of a repetition of moves can be done at any moment.

PGN string

The second result of the day was seen in Kramnik-Grischuk. The former World Champ in classical chess crushed the former Blitz World Champ in a King's Indian (perhaps not the wisest choice by Grischuk), which was in fact the first win every by Kramnik against this opponent at a classical time control – they drew ten games since 2003. 

PGN string

Vladimir Kramnik wins his first classical game against Alexander Grischuk

Of the first day winners, Radjabov was the only player who won again. He beat McShane, the only one to lose his first two games. The game continued Anand & Gelfand's theoretical debate in the Rossolimo Sicilian with 3...e6.

PGN string

A bad start for Luke McShane

Caruana and Nakamura played the longest game of the round. It was a tough fight which always seemed within the drawing zone, but the American disagrees with this, according to his post-game tweet:

Blew a great position yesterday and almost certainly missed a win today. All is great in the world of #chess...NOT!

PGN string

Tal Memorial 2012 | Schedule & pairings

Round 1 08.06.12 13:00 CET   Round 2 09.06.12 13:00 CET
Morozevich 1-0 Caruana   Caruana ½-½ Nakamura
Carlsen ½-½ Kramnik   Tomashevsky ½-½ Aronian
Grischuk 1-0 McShane   McShane 0-1 Radjabov
Radjabov 1-0 Tomashevsky   Kramnik 1-0 Grischuk
Aronian 1-0 Nakamura   Morozevich ½-½ 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        

Tal Memorial 2012 | Round 2 standings


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.


Thomas's picture

Now I understand why Carlsen fans "criticize" the opening preparation of Anand and Gelfand, claiming that it leads to boring games. Carlsen managed to be worse out of the opening twice in a row, and in the same variation once with white and once with black ... .

darkergreen's picture

then... did not lose the game...

Chess Fan's picture

The games at the World Championship are going to be of much higher standard than these games (though less entertaining) whether you, I, everyone commenting here, or the "GREAT" Kasparov or "CLASSIER" Dalinov agrees or not.

Chess Fan's picture

I am a fan of Magnus Carslen's chess games. I am equally a fan of Lev Aronian (who is also worthy World Champion material based on how classy and gracious he has so far shown himself to be). One of these these two (I personally support Aronian for his class) are potentially, almost certainly the next World Champion (not including Gelfand). But till then, Magnus is and nothing more than what he is - #1 player according to the FIDE ratings and winner of most of the strong tournaments, and nothing more, NOT THE WORLD CHESS CHAMPION.

Randowan's picture

Are you sure?

welwitchia's picture

Gelfand and Vishy are chess legends. Carlsen still needs a lot of work to build-up his legacy

slonik's picture

Gelfand is a legend and one of the greatest players ever, Carlsen is just a much weaker lucky Elo farming coward etc etc etc etc

darkergreen1327's picture

Classical games: Magnus Carlsen beat Boris Gelfand 2 to 1, with 8 draws.
Including rapid/exhibition games: Magnus Carlsen beat Boris Gelfand 8 to 5, with 15 draws.
Only rapid/exhibition games: Magnus Carlsen beat Boris Gelfand 6 to 4, with 7 draws.
It is fun to people talk without any data, but with just their feelings:)

S3's picture

Classical world championship matches:
Gelfand 1 Carlsen 0
World championship tournaments:
Gelfand 1 Carlsen 0

darkergreen1327's picture

that is so funny, thanks for the statistics:)

Anthony Migchels's picture

This is ridiculous. Gelfand, great guy and player as he is, cannot be compared with vishy.

Carlsen, 20 years younger, has won more supertournaments than gelfand in his entire career and has dominated the elo charts for years already, something Gelfand never even came close to.

S3's picture

You seem to forget the 90's when Gelfand won quite a lot of tournaments and some matches, Yet it's hard to win 'm all with Kasparov and Karpov around. And in the last decennium the aging Gelfand still did better than Carlsen in the candidate cycles.

But why are your arguments about Carlsen when you say Gelfand can't be compared to Vishy?

Btw, It ain't the Gelfand fans who started the comparisons. Somehow the Carlsen fans always feel the need to compare and attack anyone who might play better than Carlsen.
But Gelfand just proved that he can play on the level of Anand by playing.

darkergreen1327's picture

Agreed! After 20 years I guess we will see a far more brighter career with Carlsen! I mean even comparing the matches between Carlsen-Gelfand shows who is better. And it is important to keep in mind that in the year 2006 Carlsen was 15! So from 15 to 21 period he had a better result against Gelfand. And now people talk about experience, that is just fun:)

Isaac Thabo's picture

From what I can see, Magnus is trying to get something out of the game and so what if he is worse off? And in game 2 it is nice to see him play down to Kings...

S3's picture

From what I can see he is just trying to simplify right out of the opening.

Taiman's picture

Let’s now here from the deniers who will assert against all evidence and chess knowledge that the level of play here is not far superior to the pathetic Anand/Gelfand fiasco.

Anonymous's picture

And his second game went 59 moves...weird.

Bauerndiplom's picture

The huge differnce are the rest days only after three games in Tal against two games in the wcc , so blunders appear

RealityCheck's picture

And he's in 5th place. Bravo.

Boybawang's picture

Look at McShane's moves against Rajabov. He plays like a beginner i'm serious!

Anonymous's picture

McShane (who considers himself an amateur) played surprisingly well, keeping the game against world #4 balanced until move 40, when he blundered in time trouble only. Radjabov had a hard time getting an edge before that. World class performance by Luke.

blueofnoon's picture

Carlsen's opening preparation certainly had problems in first 2 games.

Nevertheless, he managed to draw out of worse positions and his current performance rating is 2785 which, if i am not mistaken, higher than both Anand's and Gelfand's live rating.

For those who believe chess is all about opening preparation, Carlsen has not been doing well.

However for rest of us, his (and other Tal memorial participants') games are quite interesting.

For the record, I never said opening preparation leads to boring game. The problem is Anand and Gelfand hardly played later phase of chess game in the world championship match.

S3's picture

It's just that he completely s*cked when his opening preparation ended.
Right after Moro played Rc1 (which wasn't even a novelty) Carlsen had to think for himself. And immediately he made a weak move.

Against Kramnik, the same story although in that case his move just led to a draw.

Btw, your "excuse" about draws would be more credible if you would have given Anand and Gelfand the same credits when they drew.

Randowan's picture

S3, the point being? Are you seriously saying that Carlsen can't play chess when out of the opening? On the contrary, Carlsen has never been an opening player and never will be. Looks as if he's doing pretty swell anyway...

S3's picture

The point is pretty obvious; it was not just shallow opening preparation but bad moves that made his openings risky. I'm sure he will step up his game during the tournament but in 9/10 cases he would have lost yesterdays game.
And I have to say, both opening preparation and self-made decisions were on a much higher level during the wch.

Anonymous's picture

Honestly, I wouldn't dare commenting about chess if I was only half as clueless as you obviously are. Holding this tough position around move 30 and even playing for an advantage lateron is a task for very few world class players only. Mistakes by opponents happen all the time, but in order to see them happen on the board you have to endure and provoke them by accurate play. Since he manages to turn around most obviously 'bad' positions and furthermore wins more games than anybody else, Magnus is the strongest player on the planet. Relax and enjoy seeing him win even this tournament ;-)

AljechinsCat's picture

Agree. Everybody who has left the "Bishop-takes-h7"-kindergarten can imagine how INVENTIVE one must play to hold such a position and how much PLAYING STRENGTH is demanded.

S3's picture

Right. I suppose today's Carlsen - Caruana was another one of those highly inventive and complication-seeking games.

Even though it really lasted only 20 moves.

Anthony Migchels's picture

And he didn't even mention it was against a clearly in top form Moro, making his defense all the more impressive.

celso's picture

Opening preparation leads to boring games only when Gelfand and Vishy play! eheh

bronkenstein's picture

Poor quality of the games, indeed. But since ´the masses´ prefer the thrill of the blunderfest(s) to the quality and depth they fail to understand, everything seems to be OK.

blueofnoon's picture

As I repeatedly stated, if you stop playing at move 20 - 25 and agree on a draw, chances are that your game is very high quality from engine's standpoint.

If you continue playing, however, you and your opponent are bound to make mistakes and the quality of game (again from engine's point of view) inevitably goes down.

If you don't like that, the best solution is watch games between two houdini, and you can enjoy games of very high level, probably much higher than Anand - Gelfand.

S3's picture

As can be seen, the blunders at Tal start well before move 25. Both Carlsen games could have been decided in the opening really.

bronkenstein's picture

+1, additionally , if one is clueless about the content of the WC match games, or any serious analysis of them - it is easy to simply count the moves (what else?) , make abstract statements such as ´they stopped playing after 25´ or parrot mr Kimovich.

Chess Fan's picture

Very simple.
If you feel you are the rightful World Champion, just don't sit there and criticize the World Champion. Go, play, win the World Championship and leverage your status as a World Champion from Europe or Russia and modify the format to what you think brings the two best players in the world.
For the predominantly football fans here, here is a beautiful goal by the best soccer play in the world against my favorite football team in the world:

Mike Hunt's picture

Playing the KID vs silly boy Grischuk.

AljechinsCat's picture

Please master tell me an d4-opening for black that gives you easy play against Kramnik.. Dozens of titled players desperately need your advice!

MH's picture

Maybe Albin's Countergambit ;-)

AljechinsCat's picture

Why not, but its hard to achieve the Albin after 1.Nf3 guess (as Kramnik mostly plays, also in this game).

Para's picture

Love the chess. Tal memorial is great.

slonik's picture

If Gelfand had been invited here he would probably win all his games

Webbimio's picture

Maybe not all his games. Some 2-3 draws with the black pieces...

Bureaucrat's picture

It´s good to see some real chess after the miserable world championship match.

S3's picture

Caruana-Nakamura is a good example of why blueofnoon's theory about playing on is nonsense. They played on when it was an obvious draw and all they did was waste energy. Chances are they will lose next round.

MH's picture

Let's be honest, when Gelfand would be in your local town for a simultanious chess event, would you go. Maybe - Maybe not. He isn't a Legend, excet for his own village where he comes from. of course he is a good chess player, but not exceptional.

I think it's good that there are different types of players, some take risk, others don't, some are opening specialists, other tactical wizards. Just like in real live.

For me almost all players in the Tal Memorial have exceptional chess qualities. Some also have an exceptional character. I especially love the bored look on Carlsen's face, little bit arrogant, so what. That makes chess fun. A clash of characters is great to watch when people are fundamentally different.

Gens Una Sumus and Pecunia Non Olet.

S3's picture

His exceptional character is also shown by his numerous cheating attempts and handshake refusals to women after a loss. Of course that doesn't tell as much as his face.

Anonymous's picture

You are gens una with those that never learn.

Xeno's picture

Some people just never tire of embarrassing themselves with their comments

Anthony Migchels's picture

omg S3, I knew you were hopeless, but don't tell me you are a feminist denouncing real machos like our young superstar!!

sab's picture



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