Reports | November 23, 2011 16:16

Ivanchuk beats Nakamura in 7th round Tal Memorial

Ivanchuk beats Nakamura in 7th round Tal Memorial

Vassily Ivanchuk beat Hikaru Nakamura on Wednesday in the 7th round of the Tal Memorial in Moscow. As the other four games ended in draws, the Ukrainian joined Levon Aronian, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin in the lead. There are two more rounds to go in the Russian capital.

Event Tal Memorial 2011PGN via TWIC
Dates November 16th-25th, 2011
Location Moscow, Russia
System 10-player round robin
Players Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Nakamura, Svidler, Gelfand, Nepomniachtchi
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
Notes Draw offers before move 40 are not allowed. Tiebreak systems: most blacks, head-to-head, Coya, S-B, number of wins - in that order

After seven rounds we find the remarkable situation that half of the participants are sharing the lead with a +1 score: Ivanchuk, Aronian, Nepomniachtchi, Carlsen and Karjakin. Svidler and Anand are on 50%, the World Champion by drawing all his games. Kramnik is on -1 while Nakamura and Gelfand are on a disappointing -2. The American, who was on the losing side in round 7, will face none other than Anand and Carlsen in the last two rounds. His tweet of last night cannot be misunderstood:

Quite simply, I have to play better chess.

Nakamura's loss against Ivanchuk was a tough one. Perhaps it also played a role that this game finally changed the equilibrium of all those draws in Moscow, but more importantly, the American grandmaster must have had much higher hopes for this tournament after his cooperation with Kasparov finally became official.

In any case, helped by the splendid video coverage by the Russian Chess Federation the final phase of the Ivanchuk-Nakamura game was pure sports entertainment and the necessary drama after three days without decisive games. An unsuccessful opening experiment had led to a slightly worse middlegame position for Nakamura, who also ended up in timetrouble.

After making his 32nd move, the American was shaking his head, clearly showing his disappointment about how things were going. A few moves later Ivanchuk did something that is, strictly speaking, not allowed with this time control: after 37...Bxc3 38.bxc3 he also played 38...c5 before writing down these three half moves. Nakamura didn't protest but just made his next moves.

PGN string

Ivanchuk played his final move 40...Rxc3! without thinking and stood up. It seemed that Nakamura just couldn't believe what happened, as he only resigned about twenty minutes later.

PGN string

The game Anand-Carlsen, with the nice 'World Champion against the highest rated player' headline, was quite disappointing: a move repetition from move 25 in a Grünfeld. Remarkably, the Indian said

Maybe 11.Nf3 is just inaccurate, I don't know.

while this was a normal developing move in a theoretical position, e.g. from the game Ivanchuk-Svidler, Amber 2010.

Magnus Carlsen agreed that the game wasn't much. At the press conference he said:

I have just one suggestion: turn your attention to the Ivanchuk-Nakamura game, that's gonna be a hell of a lot more interesting!

Gelfand was playing the same QGD variation with White against Kramnik as he played with Black against Aronian the day before. It was Kramnik who deviated and although the game included some interesting tactics, it was always about equal.

PGN string

Karjakin and Aronian drew a Closed Ruy Lopez where Black solved his biggest problems by giving up the bishop pair at the right moment.

PGN string

The last to finish were Svidler and Nepomniachtchi. It was clear that White had an advantage with BR vs. NR but whether it was winning somewhere remained unclear, also during the post-mortem.

PGN string

Tal Memorial 2011 | Round 7 Standings


Schedule and pairings

Round 1 16.11.11 12:00 CET   Round 2 17.11.11 12:00 CET
Aronian ½ ½ Carlsen   Carlsen 1-0 Gelfand
Kramnik 0-1 Nepomniachtchi   Karjakin ½ ½ Nakamura
Ivanchuk 1-0 Svidler   Svidler ½ ½ Anand
Anand ½ ½ Karjakin   Nepomniachtchi ½ ½ Ivanchuk
Nakamura ½ ½ Gelfand   Aronian ½ ½ Kramnik
Round 3 18.11.11 12:00 CET   Round 4 19.11.11 12:00 CET
Kramnik ½ ½ Carlsen   Carlsen ½ ½ Karjakin
Ivanchuk 0-1 Aronian   Svidler ½ ½ Gelfand
Anand ½ ½ Nepomniachtchi   Nepomniachtchi ½ ½ Nakamura
Nakamura 0-1 Svidler   Aronian ½ ½ Anand
Gelfand 0-1 Karjakin   Kramnik ½ ½ Ivanchuk
Round 5 20.11.11 12:00 CET   Round 6 22.11.11 12:00 CET
Ivanchuk ½ ½ Carlsen   Carlsen ½ ½ Svidler
Anand ½ ½ Kramnik   Nepomniachtchi ½ ½ Karjakin
Nakamura ½ ½ Aronian   Aronian ½ ½ Gelfand
Gelfand ½ ½ Nepomniachtchi   Kramnik ½ ½ Nakamura
Karjakin ½ ½ Svidler   Ivanchuk ½ ½ Anand
Round 7 23.11.11 12:00 CET   Round 8 24.11.11 12:00 CET
Anand ½ ½ Carlsen   Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi
Nakamura 0-1 Ivanchuk   Aronian - Svidler
Gelfand ½ ½ Kramnik   Kramnik - Karjakin
Karjakin ½ ½ Aronian   Ivanchuk - Gelfand
Svidler ½ ½ Nepomniachtchi   Anand - Nakamura
Round 9 25.11.11 10:00 CET        
Nakamura - Carlsen        
Gelfand - Anand        
Karjakin - Ivanchuk        
Svidler - Kramnik        
Nepomniachtchi - Aronian        


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.


Nima's picture

Same here. He did extend his hand for a shake at the end.

S3's picture

Exactly. At least he shook hands unlike "nicer guy" MC when he lost against Kosteniuk for example.

Incidentally, that was the umpteenth time that he pretended not to know the touch-move rule. Haven't seen Nakamura try that even once.

Septimus's picture

Blitz is bulls*** chess and should not be used to decide a classical tournament.

Ashish's picture

Entertaining to see these 2700 players desperately flinging around pieces like a bunch of patzers, but as far as Nakamura's conduct, (by the standards of blitz) it was actually very good - he made a gesture of frustration with himself, and then stuck out his hand to resign. Difficult to do, entirely appropriate, and MUCH better than I see from many coffeehouse players.

Andres Recalde's picture

People should not hate on Naka,just because of his sexual preferences.

S3's picture

Are you referring to Nakamura's and Carlsens all nighter in a Moscow Hotel room?

Septimus's picture

Looks like Anand is saving his preparation. His results before a match are usually underwhelming.

arkan's picture

lol.. people have been saying that for ages. Must be true for Gelfand as well then i guess? Both Anand and Gelfand don't belong in this field anymore

Excalibur's picture

Arkan: Stupid.

TomTom's picture

Excalibur = escapist

Knighk's picture

Anand is making a joke on Gelfand to try to frighten him:

Anand: "Hmhmhmhmh, what could have been a very good tournament for me aside from drawing and sharing half points to everyone (My Christmas present for them) except to my last round opponent who happens to be my challenger next year! It will be very fun indeed. Specially now he's having a very bad tournament..."

guest09's picture

watching Anand-Carlsen match was like seeing two engines playing. Solid but BORING game.

noyb's picture

I don't agree with your view on the Nakamura video at all. He lost to a lower rated player and was frustrated. So what? He did resign and he did shake hands.

If you want to go there, how about posting the video of Carlsen having a fit of unsportsman-like conduct (pumping his fists, pounding the table and stomping off) when he loses to Nakamura in a blitz match in the mall in Norway a couple of years ago?

Because you falsely attack Nakamura and do not hold Carlsen to the same standard, this is why I ask if you are prejudiced.

DirkBredemeier's picture

I am not defending Carlsen. I know, he tried to take back moves in Blitz at least three times (against Gashimov, Kosteniuk and - not sure - Savchenko or another young Russian). Very unsportsmanlike.
Still in the video Caruana-Nakamura i dislike Naka´s gestures: Shaking his head very, very heavily, waving his hand and looking some other way while still playing. This could have been very disturbing to Caruana though i admit he stays cool.
I think if Naka was frustrated about his play - Caruana is no patzer either - he could have resigned quietly, quit the place and bang his head against the toilet wall.

monoceros4's picture

To be fair, people (including me, to be honest) regard Ivanchuk's habit of staring at the ceiling as one of his charming eccentricities. "Looking some other way" isn't rude ipso facto.

iLane's picture

CHESSVIBES used to be quicker on reporting news and providing analysis of actual rounds of super tournaments. Round 8 is starting soon and still there's nothing written about round 7...?! :o

Mike's picture

In this Chucky vs Naka game it war clear move after move that Naka don't understand positional principles profoundly enough, at lest at this time. Playing as white, he allowed Black pieces to achieve dominant positions: e.g. the move 18. Qa4 is a typical blitz move double attacking the e4 Bishop and the a7 Pawn, but this only resulted in the misplacement of the white Queen. For me, as soon as after the move 18.....Bd3 the White pieces are already positionally doomed.

MJul's picture

I don't get why so meny people defend Nakamura critizaicing Carlsen.


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