Reports | June 12, 2012 18:19

Caruana beats Tomashevsky in 4th round Tal Memorial

An easy win for Fabiano Caruana in round 4

In the only decisive game of the round, Fabiano Caruana beat Evgeny Tomashevsky on Tuesday to get back to a 50% score at the Tal Memorial in Moscow. The two leaders, Alexander Morozevich and Teimour Radjabov, drew their game and so did all the others. The most exciting encounter was the one between Magnus Carlsen and Alexander Grischuk, where "both players seemed to be overestimating their position" (Grischuk).

An easy win for Fabiano Caruana in round 4 | 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
Live Games / English commentary by GM Ian Rogers

After the first rest day, play resumed on Tuesday with the 4th round of the Tal Memorial. Not much changed in the standings because only one game ended decisively: Fabiano Caruana had an easy day against Evgeny Tomashevsky. Co-leaders Alexander Morozevich and Teimour Radjabov remained at the top because Vladimir Kramnik also drew his game against Levon Aronian.

The opening in Caruana-Tomashevsky was a Ruy Lopez, Anti-Marshall. From what the Italian explained at the press conference after the game, we may conclude that both players were not aware of the fact that they were actually following a game Cheparinov-Aronian (Sofia 2008) for 19 moves. 

PGN string

Here Tomashevsky went 19...Rb7?! (which was the novelty) and quickly got into trouble. Aronian's 19...Bc5 looks better.

PGN string

Even without knowing the theory, Caruana beat Tomashevsky quite easily

It was more surprising how little Luke McShane and Hikaru Nakamura knew about their opening. After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be2 a6 7. f4 Qc7 8. O-O Be7 9. Kh1 O-O 10. a4 Nc6 11. Be3 a tabiya of the Sicilian Scheveningen was reached.

PGN string

This position has become famous because of the many Karpov-Kasparov games in the 80s, and some Anand-Kasparov games in the 90s. However, at the press conference Nakamura said that he felt he was "in a bit of trouble"! Apparently he didn't spend much time on the Scheveningen when he was working with The Boss...

Nakamura, not disturbed by Scheveningen knowledge

After 11...Bd7 12.Nb3 Na5?! McShane thought for a long time.

McShane, thinking or trying to remember the answer to 12...Na5.

Eventually the Englishman found the theoretical move 13.e5!. White kept an advantage for a while, but eventually he let it slip away. In the end it was Nakamura who had the better end of a rook ending, but it was probably always a draw.

PGN string

The reason that such strong players knew so little about a well-known position is probably because both of them entered unknown territory. McShane surprised his opponent by going for the Open Sicilian, and Nakamura usually plays the Najdorf. Besides, the Classical Schevening hasn't been topical at top level for many years. Needless to say, both players are so strong that they don't really need to know everything.

Better safe than sorry: Kramnik gives his mobile phone to arbiter Filipowicz before the start of the round

Like in their match in Zurich, Vladimir Kramnik opened with 1.e4 againt Levon Aronian. Again it was a Scotch Four Knights, but this time with 5...Bb4 where the Armenian had played 5...Bc5 before. Kramnik came up with a relatively new setup and held some advantage, but by sacrificing a pawn, Aronian held the draw thanks to the presence of opposite-coloured bishops.

PGN string

Kramnik and Aronian after the game

Teimour Radjabov played a rare line in the Closed Ruy Lopez: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 Be7!?. It's a tricky move-order which the Azerbaijani had also tried at the World Cup last year. His opponent Alexander Morozevich followed a very positional strategy in which he ended up with a knight against a light-squared bishop, while Black had his pawns on d5 and c6. At move 35 the players started repeating moves.

PGN string

Magnus Carlsen drew his 4th game in a row, but against Alexander Grischuk he certainly went for more. Afterwards he tweeted:

White vs Grischuk today. Felt I had an advantage in a very complicated middlegame. Got out of hand and was happy to force a draw at the end

PGN string

Grischuk had two nice quotes at the press conference:

I was always trying to count the amount of pawns.

Both players were overestimating their position.

In the fifth round, the world's number 1 and 2 will face the co-leaders: it's Radjabov vs Carlsen and Aronian vs Morozevich.

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 ½-½ Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Tomashevsky
Grischuk 0-1 Morozevich   McShane ½-½ Nakamura
Radjabov ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik ½-½ Aronian
Aronian 0-1 McShane   Morozevich ½-½ Radjabov
Nakamura ½-½ Tomashevsky   Carlsen ½-½ 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 4 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.


Mike Hunt's picture

This really shows up how weak the US Championship is. The so called 'american' can win the US Championship fairly comfortably and then will finish among the tailenders here. McShane was close to winning here no doubt, but of course the twitter monkey will tell you otherwise. He should stick to flagging people at 1/0 on ICC, He's simply not good enough to mix it with proper chessplayers.

TM's picture

What is wrong with you? Did Nakamura run off with your girlfriend...? You obviously seem to have some kind of weird hatred against him. Keep in mind that Nakamura won Wijk aan Zee last year, one of the strongest tournaments of the year. And even this year, he is still quite in the running with 1.5/4. I for one like Nakamura and wish him best of luck. It is good for the game if there is a strong US player involved...

Anonymous's picture

It's better not to engage this guy. He has an anti-American bias and this is not the first time he says things like that

Anonymous's picture

the twitter monkey ! that's the best of the year ... by the way that's one of his last tweet

" There is nothing hotter than a French-Canadian girl telling you that you are too "serious" about life! I love #Vancouver! "


Morley's picture

Nakamura has been over 2750 for almost two years, and in those last two years has notched classical victories over Aronian, Kramnik, and Anand. He fully deserves to be here, and I for one will never discount him from winning a tournament, even with a lackluster start.

Remco Gerlich's picture

Shock! A tournament with top players chosen from seven countries is stronger than a national championship!

TrueChess's picture

How dare you! Gata Kamsky was playing there. How dare you call him weak

Ophelia Crack's picture

Hey Mike Hunt! Pat McGroin says hello and wonders if your mental yeast infection is clearing up yet?

Chess Fan's picture

The US championships are defintely comparitively weaker. But they are not weak by any chance.
But the US Championships cannot be compared even to the strong Russian Championship leave along this one that probably have the world's best players playing with the exception of the World Champion, the Challenger, and Chucky.

TM's picture

Did Nakamura miss the win in the pawn endgame...?

Bigglesworth's picture

No. The pawn ending was never more than a draw, as McShane calculated before choosing to enter it.

Bardamu's picture


Aditya's picture

Nakamura wants to be at the other end of the short draw spectrum :). "Just checking if all you super grandmasters remember your basic lessons"

manish's picture

I somehow find Aditya's statement ring true to my ears. about the spectrum and where Naka is.

Anonymous's picture

Definitely Naka is an awesome player who belongs to the elite. But more surprisingly, "amateur" McShane impresses with his outstanding, beautifully strong play. Even the best in the world can't prove much of an advantage, except in time trouble situations where Luke understandably sometimes finds himself due to his reduced practice. May the force be with you Luke!

manish's picture

BTW Chess is a part time profession for Luke Mcshane

daniel's picture

I don't think his time shortage has anything to do with being an amateur player. he used to get short of time even when he played regularly...

chesshire cat's picture

It's been a pretty interesting event so far.
This time Carlsen's avoidance of main lines led to a "real game" in the good old days. His dead bishop on g3 is the kind of thing that shows the gulf between such players and me...he can judge that he can still have enough play despite it! I would have thought it was just positionally lost.
I think Kramnik tried the same kind of idea as in that Exchange Slav v Anand...trying to maintain a tiny, tiny plus and grow it into something decisive...trouble is it takes machine-like accuracy! And what happened Tomashevsky?

Anonymous's picture

Alright! :-) Still, he is world class material, just imagine him playing fulltime. Pretty privileged situation, given his well paid job on the one hand and his world class chess potential on the other. Isn't that kinda a hard choice for him?

daniel's picture

not really I would imagine. I mean he is probably making over 100k a year in the city, and if you can be 2700 in your spare time then whats the problem? A pretty enviable situation to be in.

If I was that strong I would probably see how far I could go, but not everyone has the ambition to be world champion I guess. I used to play a lot against luke when he was a teenager, a lot of blitz, and he was very good under pressure. a good tactical eye. some people just seem to operate better in that sphere, like grischuk for example.

Aditya's picture

It must be really cool to be a successful banking professional and thrash world number 1 and 2 at chess in your spare time :). A lot of envy and a lot more respect!!

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for sharing the interesting insight daniel.

Anthony Migchels's picture

brrrr.........much as I like Luke and of course he's just a young guy, adrenaline and not brain driven, but a banker in the city???????

nah, he'd better focus on chess. Bloodmoney is no good karma.

S3's picture

Lol. This event is sponsored by banks. You better not watch it. Bad Karma..

Anthony Migchels's picture

Oops! didn't even realize!

A little like 'philanthropist' Rothschild paying for Las Palmas ages ago.

nickeur's picture

i think it was an easy win from caruana today

nickeur's picture

i think it was an easy win from caruana today

nickeur's picture

i think it was an easy win from caruana today

nickeur's picture

oops sorry

Al's picture

I can sense Magnus is coming out of his shell now, the playing machine will soon be unleashed!!


noyb's picture

The great think about Hikaru Nakamura is that he carries the torch for players like Tal, Nez, etc. Unfortunately, that means you have to ready for some tough losses at times also. But it makes for VERY entertaining chess!

Adolfo's picture

I am number one fan of Naka. He does all I like. He has the greatest fighting spirit and his chess is uncompromising and creative, never mind flexible and zero opening dependant (just compare to other players, usually below 2750). On top of all of that, he also has a pretty good endgame skill and knowledge. My second favorites within the top are Ivanchuk, Moro, Carlsen, Aronian, Radjabov and why not Caruana, Grischuk and some others; they all share one or more of the features I mentioned I like.
But however, all the criticism against him (Naka), tends to be true. He has a particular ability to beat weaker players due to a lot of chess and not chess-related skills, such as his speed and intimidating figure. Most of his tournament successes are explained for wins against them. Let’s not forget the games he won vs. top players. When was the last time we saw Naka beat a top player from move one to the last, if ever happened? He beat Aronian twice from lost positions, and Anand once from another lost position, and Kramnik from a likely drawn position once and other after an unsound extremely untypical piece sac by him if I remember correctly (I have no database access now)
His tweets are indeed often annoying, with unfair and false claims, like the last against Caruana for beating weak players and overpassing him in the live list. Soon after that he himself did the very same. His latest claims about blowing a win today and having a great position the game before were also exaggerated. I think both games weren’t more than a draw at all stages, never mind today´s small advantage for white in the early middle game.
I still think Carlsen´s statement (when Kasparov was coaching Naka) that there were (are) at least 4 or 5 players in the world that understand chess better than him stands still.

Axel Müller's picture

I'm glad you are not my number one fan ;)

Pablo's picture

Completely true, lol! What a comment!

Martin Matthiesen's picture

The tweet you're talking about is from saturday, so he's talking about two entirely different games.

Strana's picture

Nakamura would have few chances to qualify for the russian championship super final. The semi final, which begins next saturday, has more than 10 players who could easily finish ahead of him in any event. Anyway, it is good that there is an overrated american playing in Tahl Memorial. Good for the marketing of the game.

Ashish's picture

How does someone become "overrated"? What do you know that the rating system doesn't?

Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture

Peter, great tournament coverage!....thanks for showing us all the games.

MamedyarovFan's picture

Yes, excellent coverage by Peter... sharp, to the point, and insightful.

Anonymous's picture

Yes, thank you Peter for the excellent coverage and insights. ChessVibes rocks once again!

trollaras's picture

"McShane, thinking or trying to remember the answer to 12...Na5" Or just taking a nap after staying up late partying the previous night.

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