Reports | June 08, 2012 19:21

Four winners in first round Tal Memorial

Four winners in first round Tal Memorial

The first round of the Tal Memorial in Moscow saw no less than four decisive results. The first winner of the day was Teimour Radjabov, who profited from his opponent Evgeny Tomashevsky dropping a full piece in the middlegame. Levon Aronian defeated Hikaru Nakamura, who, in a good position, missed a tricky bishop move.

The playing hall in the Pashkov House in Moscow | All photos by Eteri Kublashvil & Vladimir Barsky courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation

Alexander Morozevich, who won the blitz tournament yesterday, defeated Fabiano Caruana in a tough fight. Magnus Carlsen was on the verge of losing against Vladimir Kramnik, but escaped with a draw when the former World Champ, with less time on the clock, decided to repeat moves. In Alexander Grischuk vs Luke McShane, White was pressing for most of the game and won on move 63.

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

Especially after the many draws in the World Championship match, the first round of the Tal Memorial must have come as a big relief for many chess fans. No less than four out of five games had decisive results, and the game that ended in a draw was full of suspense.

We'll start with that game, the one between the world's highest rated player Magnus Carlsen and former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. For eight moves these two chess giants repeated their rapid game from the Botvinnik Memorial in September last year. Back then, Carlsen's king would never castle kingside, and this time it wasn't any different.

PGN string

Kramnik and Carlsen arriving first, and finishing first

Carlsen was obviously relieved with the outcome of the game.

With such a position you can't be unhappy with a draw.

The second game to finish was the one between Teimour Radjabov and Evgeny Tomashevsky. It was interesting to see Radjabov playing again, because also for him his last tournament was Wijk aan Zee, and the event before that finished mid-November. The Azerbaijani didn't look rusty at all. 

PGN string

Tomashevsky suddenly lost a piece against Radjabov

Levon Aronian also had a bit of a rough start, but got away with even more than half a point: a nice win. He misplayed an English Opening somewhere, and Hikaru Nakamura was just better, until the American missed something.

PGN string

Aronian: not a good start, but a strong finish

By winning the blitz tournament the day before the first round, Alexander Morozevich earned lot number 1 and so he starts with two whites. His first round game against Fabiano Caruana went a bit up and down, but after the second time control the Italian made the decisive mistake. A truly fantastic line is given in the analysis below.

PGN string

Morozevich: a win in great style

The last game to finish was Alexander Grischuk vs Luke McShane. According to his opponent, the Englishman played inaccurately in the opening and then made things worse when he allowed his f-pawn to be doubled.

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 - Nakamura
Carlsen ½-½ Kramnik   Tomashevsky - Aronian
Grischuk 1-0 McShane   McShane - Radjabov
Radjabov 1-0 Tomashevsky   Kramnik - Grischuk
Aronian 1-0 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        


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.


AK's picture

I think top players should start playing Fischer Random as soon as possible. Classical chess is clearly dead.

Oh wait... nevermind.

Alfmdoncel's picture


S3's picture

- Tomashevsky dropped a piece in a 2 move deep combination,
- McShane made a crucial mistake already in the opening,
- Nakamura spurned a possible draw by repetition by avoiding it with a blunder
- Caruana had to lose twice during the game before it was decided

I wouldn't say chess is dead but the quality of play has certainly not improved since the match between Anand and Gelfand.

Anonymous's picture

yes, chess ain't easy. before you know it the mistake is coming. good to know it not only happens to us patzers. ;)

mw's picture

Yes one round of one tournament surely destroys the whole idea that chess may be being sterilized by computer prep.

Eiae's picture

Not for me. I still think the first 10-20 moves in the majority of games are not worth following. I'd much rather see the players analyzing over-the-board from move one.

Fireblade's picture

Interesting to see what Naka will tweet today.

1.Funny how i can end up lost after having an advantage !

2.Just a bad day today.....

Zeblakob's picture

The question is : was 16.Nf4 in Carlsen-Kramnik game a risky move that complicates the game or a chicken move.

KingTal's picture

Nf4 was just an unprecesive move compared to 0-0, thats what the engine and Kramnik said. The real question is did Kramnik make repetition move because he chicken or did he forget that he has time increment, and he gave an answer himself after the game which indicated that he has chickened.

Zeblakob's picture

Right, some people argued that Nf4 was a chicken move, more chicken then kramnik repetition !!!

Anonymous's picture

In which way can it be considered as a chicken move?(serious question)

Zeblakob's picture

Ask S3, he said that during the game.

Xeno's picture

Who cares what a rabid Carlsen hater says?

S3's picture

- 16 0-0 sacrifices a pawn for development and activity
- 16. Nf4 keeps material balanced and may lead to a draw in 4-5 moves.

If I was marketing myself as the worlds strongest player I wouldn't like a draw with white in 20 moves.

Whether or not it's chicken to cling to equal material is up for debate. But we can safely say that Nf4 didn't lead to complications, as the game was effectively drawn in 5 moves.

columbo's picture

what a day ! grishuk playing " a left, a left ... and a RIGHT " , Radjabov in grand style, Moro somewhere over the rainbow, Aronian " master of the universe " ... really incredible ! BRAVO

columbo's picture

It is a chicken move BUT Kramnik could have been in serious time trouble !

Mike Hunt's picture

Its always nice to see the so called 'american' lose when he meets top players, its even nicer to see his idiotic tweets later. When will he realise hes not top class.......... never it seems.

Anonymous's picture

Oh stop with this anti-American stuff. What does his nationality have to do with Anything? Isn't Kariakin Ukrainian playing for Russia? Grishchuk has a Ukrainian name. Does that make him so called Russian?

Anonymous's picture

Hey Mike. Do you hate Americans or the Japanes?

columbo's picture


celso's picture

That's chess! Finally...

flysq's picture

Except for the 23 move tame Carlson-Kramnik draw. There was a *lot* more play left in that position than any of the draws in the WCC match that everyone complains about.

Also the blunders in the Radj-Timo game and the mutual blunders in the Aronian-Naka game were crap.

But, except for all that it was great chess.

NN's picture

I was watching the Carlsen-Kramnik game live, together with my engine. I believe that, if Kramnik wanted to play like Tal so badly, he should have sacrificed with 17...Nd5, not .

Thomas's picture

Kramnik played the game without an engine (sure he did) and it wasn't home preparation either. He steered the game to a draw because he was low on time - a 30 second increment isn't much if the position remains complicated.
Kramnik's comments on game 12 of the Anand-Gelfand match might haunt him a bit, personally I think he went too far in the live commentary. But it's one thing if Anand offers a draw a pawn up with more time on the clock; it's another story if Kramnik forces a draw a piece down with little time on the clock. If Carlsen had somehow managed to consolidate, keep the extra piece and win the game, the same people who now call Kramnik "Drawnik" or "chicken" would probably have a field day making fun of him ... .

RealityCheck's picture

A 23 Move Draw. Why didn't Drawnik push Carlsen, play on? Unbelievable. Why did Nakamura play 30 something useless moves (Danilovs' seven year old could have won that game) in a dead lost position. Was he trying to insult GM Aronion?

These guys had the audacity to critisize the A-G Wch Match. Take a hike.

bob's picture

Think I'm going to read the article and skip the comments from now on. Fyi

Lee's picture

Same. The signal to noise ratio is terrible.

S3's picture

During the wch Carlsen made a silly tweet about not blaming the players for the draw but blaming the rules for not preventing it.
First thing he does afterwards is playing a miniature draw with another critical observer when there are Sofia rules/40 move rules in place.

Michael's picture

Is there any live commentary? If so, where? Thanks!

bronkenstein's picture

try for live cam & some post-mortems (It´s on russian, use Tal´s pic as an orientation where to click, you should have it after few attempts =)

Michael's picture

Thanks, got it! Pity it's in russian only.

billybob's picture


Anonymous's picture


noyb's picture

Seriously. That's your best shot? I'm very disappointed.

Anonymous's picture

Lol, should I care if you're disappointed or not? Made a lame comment, got surprised by a reply on the same level. Peace man. ;)

billybob's picture


Anonymous's picture

Need more popcorn.

bronkenstein's picture

BTW some quite low quality games, esp in defense (except MC´s, finish at least) - but we have some blood, and the masses are satisfied it seems.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

I just saw the Aronian-Nakaura press conference replay, so Nakamura said Aronian blundered with 16.Bh3 and Aronian acknowledges "yeah". Did the live commentary say anything about why this is a blunder? or for the matter any other commentary elsewhere does explain this?

Webbimio's picture

Where can I find press conferences?

Harish Srinivasan's picture can be used to replay the videos

noyb's picture

For those who say "chess is dead" and "fischerandom", here's a tidbit...

""The number of legal positions in chess is estimated to be between 10^43 and 10^50, with a game-tree complexity of approximately 10^123. The game-tree complexity of chess was first calculated by Claude Shannon as 10^120, a number known as the Shannon number. Typically an average position has thirty to forty possible moves, but there may be as few as zero (in the case of checkmate or stalemate) or as many as 218." -

Uh, call me when a computer has solved THAT... Until then PLAY CHESS!

arkan's picture

lol i think you are missing the point

Zeblakob's picture

A Q+3 pawns Vs Q+3 pawns on the same side of the board might give arise to a tree complexity of 10^10 (I did not make the calculation but assume it for seek of argument) but every body knows that it is draw. In other words, I do not need to check FOR EVERY integer n, that 2n+1 is odd, but a simple proof does the job. Chess might be solved or partially solved (as the case for many lines of the sicilian) without explicitly constructing the whole state space.

Anonymous's picture

An excellent comment...BTW, wouldn't adding a few more starting positions, one example being flipping all the bishops and knights, greatly enhance the richness and beauty of our great game?

Bartleby's picture

Try play Q+3 and you might discover how much fun chess holds for those who try to find out the right move with their own head.

Practical play aside, even from a theoretical viewpoint, there are plenty Q+3 same-side positions that are won. Some are clear draws. For the rest: It takes two chess players and some hours of effort, to find out if you can win it. Lol, with all those pawn races possible, there is a whole universe of how it might work out!

Which line of the Sicilian do you consider solved or partially solved?

Anonymous's picture

Aren't 10^122 moves losing?

h8dgeh0g's picture

i like to see the ratio of legal moves to reasonable/playable moves

Anonymous's picture

"Seriously. That's your best shot? I'm very disappointed."

Septimus's picture

Great start to the tournament!


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