Reports | June 16, 2012 22:31

Five way tie at Tal Memorial after Morozevich & Kramnik lose

Five way tie at Tal Memorial after Morozevich & Kramnik lose

With two rounds to go, anything can happen at the Tal Memorial in Moscow as co-leaders Alexander Morozevich and Vladimir Kramnik both lost on Saturday. Morozevich was defeated by Evgeny Tomashevsky, while Kramnik went down againt Luke McShane in a game that lasted almost seven hours.

At move 94 Kramnik resigns to McShane, after 6 hours and 53 minutes of play | 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

How often do we chess players have to explain at birthday parties that physical shape play an important role at top level chess? For the next one, we can use the game between Luke McShane and Vladimir Kramnik as an example. It lasted no less than 6 hours and 53 minutes, and right at the end the players actually had to play with little time on the clock (especially the Englishman). There were some mistakes, but not that many actually, and McShane's determination to actually win this game paid off. Because Alexander Morozevich also lost, no less than five players are now sharing the lead with two rounds to go!

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Luke McShane, beating top guns Aronian and Kramnik in Moscow

Quite the opposite was the game between Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen, known has two of the biggest fighters around. Chess just cannot be super entertaining all the time...

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Carlsen and Nakamura: an uneventful draw this time

At the press conference, Nakamura was asked how he prepared psychologically, since his score against Carlsen isn't great.

It doesn't matter who you play. At this level everyone is so strong that you just have to prepare for the game. If you play well, you shouldn't lose, especially with White. Having said that, I lost to Magnus in the last round at the Tal Memorial in November so... certainly I'm well aware of my personal record. Everytime you play it's a new game. You just have to try your best.


I don't think it matters much. You just try and play. At this level you don't expect to get anything easy, even when you have a good score.

Then Carlsen was asked whether he, considering his slow start, was thinking about winning the tournament.

Most of all I think about playing well. I enter every tournament thinking if I do well I can win it. This is no different. I know haven't played great but I'm still in a position to have a chance to win. Obviously with the games remaining against the lowest rated players in the tournament I feel I have a chance. That's all I can ask for really.

The draw between Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk had somewhat more "content", although much of it was preparation by Grischuk. It was a tactical affair that ended in a perpetual.

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Against Fabiano Caruana, Teimour Radjabov went for a Grünfeld ending that's supposed to be equal but after a few inaccuracies by the Italian, White must have been winning at some point. However, the Azerbaijani failed to convert his advantage.

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Teimour Radjabov was close to a win against Fabiano Caruana

Alexander Morozevich was leading by a full point, but then lost two games in a row. On Saturday again he took some risks, and again it backfired, against Evgeny Tomashevsky this time.

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Alexander Morozevich: two losses in a row

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 ½-½ Caruana   Caruana 1-0 McShane
Radjabov 0-1 Carlsen   Kramnik 1-0 Tomashevsky
Aronian 0-1 Morozevich   Morozevich 0-1 Nakamura
Nakamura ½-½ Kramnik   Carlsen ½-½ Aronian
Tomashevsky ½-½ McShane   Grischuk ½-½ Radjabov
Round 7 16.06.12 13:00 CET   Round 8 17.06.12 13:00 CET
Radjabov ½-½ Caruana   Caruana - Kramnik
Aronian ½-½ Grischuk   Morozevich - McShane
Nakamura ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen - Tomashevsky
Tomashevsky 1-0 Morozevich   Grischuk - Nakamura
McShane 1-0 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 7 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.


BlitzKramnik's picture

And Kramnik has the better tiebreak due to his 'bad' result in the blitz haha

redivivo's picture

Yeah, he's probably very happy he had black against both McShane and Caruana thanks to his blitz results.

Trot's picture

Boring draw by Carlsen! he should retire :-)

sab's picture


Zeblakob's picture

Everyone lost to someone except someone.

anonymous's picture

are u some one's agent ?

anonymous's picture

yeah but that some one is drawing a lot of games u see, not half as entertaining as morozevich i would say , lazy boring games

Zeblakob's picture

Agree, this some's games lack inspiration.

Zeblakob's picture


Isaac Thabo's picture

Congs to McShane! Quite the result!

Jambo's picture

McShane and his mighty Queen worked Kramnik over, I can't ever remember a game where a single piece was so instrumental in a game. Instructive to me because I used too under utilize my Queen, I wonder if there are records hiding in that game.

Frits Fritschy's picture

It reminded me a bit of Schlechter-Lasker, Wch 1910 5h game. Same heavy material, massive black center and same bad black king position. It proved a bit less similar than I thought after I refound it, but still.
Great performance by MacShane!

cmling's picture

Good comparison, mutatis mutandis.

Chess Fan's picture

Very talented chess players, people with high visual-perception IQ utilize the queen well. This again goes to prove my theory that Luke McShane is one of the most intelligent chess players and will be one of the best in the world (like Aronian and Carlsen) if he focuses as much on chess.

Creemer's picture

Please, God of Science, don't take Luke away from us. Let him be lured by the Giant Rewards of Professional Chess!

sulutas's picture

I think McShane is trolling the chess world now. He is a broker at the London Stock Market and in his free times he occasionally plays chess and beats the likes of Aronian, Kramnik and Carlsen!

It is amazing (and equally sad) when you think that many other 'professional' players spend their entire day & night by looking for a very tiny advantage in openings and their entire life will have been passed like this when they have retired.

mugrom's picture

Beautiful comment - and true. What a thrilling sport if everyone played like McShane...

Sligunner's picture

And what a great idea that led to his appearance - the online poll (and kudos to all who voted for him!). Now all we need is for the equally exciting Gawain Jones to get the nod next year!

brabo's picture

A broker will have passed his entire life on the Stock Market when he has retired. Is that also amazing?

Chess Fan's picture

Good reply.
I am sure Aronian, Kramnik, and Carlsen are not hating spending all their time doing something they love and not on the boring London stock market in this economic times.

Anonymous's picture

McShane is from the old school!

Mike's picture

Yes, and this means he plays only like a human, not trying to play and to evaluate like a computer imitator idiot like most of the "masters" nowadays...

sab's picture

What you just said is plain stupid, all these players use a computer nowadays. Almost all of them are computer-assisted. If you think you can do better, go ahead and try to beat some of these "computer imitator idiot masters" like you said.

Leo's picture

We can think what we want about modern computer programs surpassing humans in the field of chess - I can certainly relate to your obvious disgust at the thought - but I think you're way off the mark with comments like this one. I mean, it's not like there's a particular computer "style" of playing that is somehow objectionable; it's just that computers can analyze much larger amounts of data much faster and deeper than humans. Let's say that one day a person is born with an unprecedented raw talent for chess and grows up to be far stronger than any other human player in history, even though he or she never went near a computer. Wouldn't this still mean that he or she played more "like a computer"? (Does anyone seriously think McShane never used a computer for analysis or prepation, by the way?)

Leo's picture

(@Mike, obviously.)

Leo's picture

*preparation - sorry.

baladala's picture

... from the old school of calcualators - today called "playing like a computer".

slonik's picture

Surprising to see Kramnik make so many mistakes in the endgame when he never was in real time trouble. He did his best to pour water and make as much noise as possible in McShane's time trouble though but it didn't work

Sakis's picture

I enjoyed two upsets and two exciting games today.McShane vs Kramnik and Greece vs Russia.

Abbas's picture

Nice game by McShane

KingTal's picture

McShane, the 28++ head hunter. xD
I hope he beats Carlsen, would be somehow unique beating three 28++ players in one tournament.

Centovic's picture

@sulutas ... McShane is a very talented player, but if you were given the choice to make very good money as a trader and far less money playing chess which one would you choose? I would choose the job that makes the most money every time! It just so happens that Luke is extremely talented at chess and prefers to remain in a full time job for financial reasons. I would do exactly the same and so would most people. It's incredible that Luke can play chess at such a high level when all his opponents are full time professionals. Well done Luke. If he were a full time professional Luke would be a serious challenger for the world title. But paying bills and paying for food and financial security must come first, and I fully respect and understand that. But there's no doubting Luke's chess talent.

brabo's picture

I find it sad if people only choose a job for making the most money. I am sure Luke can make a very decent living from chess with his stength. I find it personally much more clever and selfrewarding to go for less money in your pocket but enjoy every minute of life with your passion (chess) than working for some boss pockets and getting a small percentage of it (especially trading which is often done without too much ethical concerns).

fen's picture

I don't think any of us really knows why McShane chose finance over chess - maybe money has something to do with it, but maybe the world of finance is even more intellectually challenging than the world of chess. It would certainly be nice to find out what is driving him.

Hint to Peter - A two-part interview with Luke would certainly be appreciated!

Anonymous's picture

Yes, an interview with McShane would be great!

Anthony Migchels's picture

as we have come to expect, Carlsen, who has been thinking of nothing but first place since the first round, leads just before the end of the tournament.......

too bad for moro though, he sure was flying high.

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen hasn't lost a game and is shared first at the moment but for the tournament victory he needs half a point more than Kramnik and Caruana at least, since first tiebreaker is number of black games at Tal Memorial. Winning both his last games would probably do the trick ;-)

hakapika's picture

...which means that "earning" white in the blitz-games turns out to be an disadvantage in the tiebreak. With the blitz-games, this first tiebreak rule should have been excluded.

Remco Gerlich's picture

Yes, if you're going to have a blitz tournament before the main thing anyway, why not make the first tie breaker "made more points in the blitz tournament"?

Chess Fan's picture

Yes, Carlsen somehow manages to win or stay at the top in these top tournaments and has my utmost respect for his chess ability.
Carlsen, please play in the WCh qualifying cycle. Whatever the format, you deserve to be there.

paul_the_octopus's picture

A forecast for the last 2 rounds:
Moro and Carlsen 1,5
Kramnik, Caruana and Radjabov 1,0

Anonymous's picture

... if so, then Moro wins due to 2nd tiebreak: More wins scored

Chess Fan's picture

Won't the winner on tiebreaks be Magnus Carlsen, if so? He has not lost yet.

Anonymous's picture

You should change your name.

Anonymous's picture

Tiebreak criteria

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

Septimus's picture

McShane's analysis, composure, demeanor and attitude after the game were simply exemplary. I have certainly turned into a fan! Congrats Luke, I hope you win this tourney!

Anonymous's picture

I agree. He is exemplary.

Chess Fan's picture

I have been saying this about McShane since 2004.

Chess Fan's picture

I mean that Luke McShane is very talented. He always impressed me intellectually like Dr. John Nunn.

Jeffrey's picture

Carlsen has the most draws among the leaders; with soccer scoring he'd be in 5th place right now. If it was Kramnik who had all those draws, people would be talking about Drawnik, but with Carlsen you'd absolutely never hear that.


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