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.


Nicholas's picture

Extremely bad tournament for Nakamura. He plays, just as he dresses, poorly. Plus he should cut his hair.

Frits Fritschy's picture

I think by now we all really would like to know what you look like, Nicholas. Can't you put your photograph next to your comments?

Me's picture

That's a good idea.

Nicholas's picture

These players all look like slobs. Look at Carlsen, he can't even comb his hair before a game or wear a belt with a suit. Honestly, looking at how he presents himself, I wonder if he washes.

Guillaume's picture

Do you have to write the same distasteful comments about the player's look after each round?

Nicholas's picture

FIDE should realize there is a problem with the dressing code in top events. They should impose on players a common uniform. Make sure before the games, that the players look dissent (shaved and combed, shoes well polished...). If players do not agree, they are not allowed to play.

If that is applied, I'll stop "writing the same distasteful comments".

foo's picture

learn how to spell first. Its spelled decent and not 'dissent'

columbo's picture

well, when it comes to this kind of comment, why don't you go wash your mouth !

Hughbertie's picture
Parkov's picture

A 2750 patzer huh?

Relea's picture

Ivanchuk is the man!

Mauricio Valdes's picture

So Nakamura got riped off by Kasparov.

RealityCheck's picture

Who hasn't been ripped off by Kasparov?

Septimus's picture


Morley's picture

People really shouldn't be ripping on Nakamura that much. Yes, he is having a bad tournament. He is still a world class player, and capable of beating the best players in the world. Svidler and Ivanchuk both played very well and deserved their victories; no one in this field is weak, and personal attacks are a sure sign of jealousy. I wish all of the players the best in the remaining rounds.

Axel Müller's picture

well said.

sirschratz's picture

oh, but nakamura is just a very energetic player who likes to go for the point. that's at least my impression. his approach is very entertaining for those who watch but it is also likely to backfire one or the other time.

it seems a bit shortsighted to judge a player only by the result of one tournament...

however, there have been discussions about anand..... again, one has to concede, he as the world champion doesn't really pull it off and is only one amongst the others. i'm afraid this is not really kasparovian.... with kasparov we got used to a steam-rolling world champion who rampages through tournaments mercilessly - with the exception of linares 1994 that is :-)

but anand will win his last two games and that's the end of that discussion then :-)

by the way: my wife's sympathies are all with chucky although she doesn't play chess at all..... so chucky does seem to have quite some sex-appeal :-)

noyb's picture

Interesting to see all the Hikaru Haters. Why do they make personal attacks, such as appearance or dress? Are they prejudiced? It would be interesting to hear them explain themselves. As for Hikaru's results, what other player has played better this year? Nakamura won Wijk An Zee ahead of the four 2800's, and I don't believe any of them have won more tournaments or in better fashion this year, except perhaps for Carlsen. Carlsen won a couple of tournaments, but suffered serious losses in doing so and has had a generally uneven performance this year.

Corrector's picture

Noyb; "except maybe Carlsen". Why maybe? And why "generally uneven performance this year" about a 2800+ player who has been no 1 on the rating list most of the year and has gained rating points in all classical tournaments played so far this year! (Wijk, Bazna, Biel, Bilbao)

Thomas Richter's picture

I agree with sirschratz above: "it seems a bit shortsighted to judge a player only by the result of one tournament..."

But this goes both ways - why judge Nakamura only based on Wijk aan Zee? It was a great result, but the only time this year that he scored more than 50% in a strong classical event. As you mention four 2800's, you seem to include Kramnik (now 2792.9 on the live rating list) who won Dortmund and Hoogeveen, both in pretty good fashion. Svidler won Russian Championship and World Cup; if shared first also counts, Karjakin won Bazna and Poikovsky. IMO, Nakamura is a top10 or top15 player, but still not more than that - he might become a 2800er himself, or maybe not ... .

Methinks the number of "Hikaru Haters" is somehow related to the number of "Hikaru lovers". And while the term hater makes sense in this particular thread, Nakamura fans call anyone a hater who is even mildly critical of their hero, or merely points out inconvenient facts.

darkergreen's picture

"don't believe any of them have won more tournaments or in better fashion this year, except perhaps for Carlsen." Perhaps?! The guy won 1)Bilbao Masters 2)Biel 3)Kings Tournement 4)Amber's Rapid section. Also Carlsen was 3rd at Wijk but he was the only one who beat Hikaru there. So do not think that it is about "beliefs" or "maybes" but more about the scoreboards at the end. Need to add that like to see Naka in the tournements! But winning Wijk vs. winning at least 3 super-GM events is making more than "perhaps"!

Zacalov Ramsay's picture

"except maybe Carlsen"....have you been sleeping under a rock?! Carlsen has completely dominated 2011..."generally uneven performance this year"...clearly you don't follow world class chess- his performance has been nothing but outstanding! His win in Bilbao where ALL the great players including the magical 2800 club was there proved that. Go back under your rock now :)

TomTom's picture

Very true, one shoudnt use both names in one sentence,such big is the difference in strength.

monoceros4's picture

"Why do they make personal attacks, such as appearance or dress? Are they prejudiced?"

Trash talk invites trash talk in return. Nakamura hasn't been the best-spoken guy in the past although he does seem to have grown up at least a little.

Daniel's picture

Nice game by Chucky!

S3's picture

Strange game between Anand and Carlsen. Not one exchange (disregarding pawns) was initiated by Anand yet Carlsen managed to exchange all pieces in no time. A bit boring if you ask me. Luckily Naka and Chucky did feel like playing fighting chess today. It's a pity that both players can't be rewarded for that creativity.

sulutas's picture

I will not deny that Nakamura is a top player but it is an undeniable fact that the fact that he is an American helps him to receive all these invitations for the top tournaments. If he were the same player with the same rating but, say, from Luxembourg, not many people would care about having him in their tournament. If there needs to be an American in this tournament and other top tournaments for the reasons of popularity, I would love to see Kamsky instead of Nakamura.

Polu's picture

In reply to the previous remark I can only quote Tony Miles:

"Utter crap."

Anonymous's picture

Who cares what Tony Miles says?

Bert de Bruut's picture

It is a famous quote of the late Tony, that you are clearly in blissfull ignorance about.

Anonymous's picture

People should post their thoughts and not rely on others.

Alvaro Frota's picture

More "utter crap"...

S3's picture

Doubt it. Isn't he still top 10 on Fide list? And he won Wijk aan Zee. A good player, who improved a lot recently, and has a large fanbase. Standard reasons really. And yes, it helps to be from the West, but not necessarily the USA. We have seen the same with the early Carlsen f.e. who got more invites than his peers from non Western countries even before he got better.
If his results s*ck he will soon be replaced by someone else.

sulutas's picture

That is true but Carlsen got those invitations when he was 15 or 16 - Nakamura will be 24 in two weeks! As I said, he is a top player (but as Carlsen recently said, he is not among the elite top players though) and there is nothing nonsensical for him to get invited to these tournaments like Tal Memorial but look at Radjabov's rating for instance; there is a big discrepancy there and Radjabov is only nine months older than Nakamura! And I didn't particularly refer to any western countries for that example (and Luxembourg is a western country too) but I specifically said it is an advantage for a player to be from the US because it is a big market and enables your tournament to be followed by a bigger population (and compare it with Azerbaijan, which has only 9 million people).

To that friend who bothers to have quoted from Tony Miles: Your intellectual masturbation is indeed utter crap and I don't need anyone's quotation to say it. If you disagree with me, just say it with your own reasons so that I can see whether I have been wrong in the first place.

S3's picture

Ok, there is probably some advantage for him being of the USA (but I'd say that goes for most Western players). The former Soviet states have so much talent that there will always be uninvited top GM's there.

Nima's picture

If Ivanchuk wins the tournament it would be a consolation for all the draws.

drome's picture

If someone should be reproach by his play in this tournament, that someone is not Hikaru, that someone is Anand.

Nakamura is having a tough one, so what? It happens, he's clearly a very talented player. Maybe he is not being himself and is getting beaten because he is trying to play what Kasparov tells him to play. Or maybe he is just not trying hard enough and can use this as a lesson, or at least as a trigger to finally make up his mind about his devotion to chess or to something else.

Anand on the other hand, is the reining world champion, and all I see him doing is trying to find the quickest way to draw. It is embarrassingly disappointing.

RealityCheck's picture

Quite franky, Anand has nothing to prove. I suggest you replay 100 times each drawn game of Anands' here at the Tall Memorial and then ask yourself if the epithet Drawnand applies. Peace/Out

drome's picture

I disagree and I do not need to play each draw 100 times to understand Andand's intentions.

I can use the last game as an example, where Carlsen moves 25... Rc3 as if saying "Let's exchange rooks and head for a quiet draw.", and Anand moves 26.Rd3 as if responding "Wait, there's a quicker way. We have an immediate draw by repetition here."

I have an immense respect for Anand, for his talent as a chess player, and for his sportsman personality. But that doesn't stop me from analyzing his performance in this (and previous) tournament(s) and reach the conclusion he seems completely devoid of fighting spirit.

Is he hiding his game until the next world title match? Does he just takes part in these tournaments for the fat participation fees? I don't know. For me, as a fan, his indifference is disappointing.

Nima's picture

I agree with RealityCheck. Most of Anand's draws are fighting ones. He is an extremely level headed and practical player and does not take risks when the position does not warrant it. Each player has his own style. Petrosian had many draws, and he rarely finished sole first in a tournament when he held the title. But all GM commentaries that I have read describe him as a worthy world champion.

drome's picture

I agree with the Petrosian remark, but not with most of Anand's draws being fighting ones. Anand is (was) a fighting player and his style is not near Petrosian's. In fact I think there are two Anands: the 1.e4 Anand that is very agressive playing for a win and usually gets it; and the 1.d4 Anand that plays for a draw and usually gets it.

In this tournament we are seeing the 1.d4-quick-draw sub personality variation.

monoceros4's picture

"Anand on the other hand, is the reining world champion..."

Wow. I've seen "rein" misspelled "reign" many many times (usually in the phrase "free reign [sic]") but this is the first time I've ever seen the error go the other way.

Anonymous's picture

Svidler and Nepomniachtchi appear double in the tournament stable

Peter Doggers's picture

Thx, fixed.

Me's picture

Anand and Kramnik are already legends - world champions league.

I am glad to see Nakamura performing badly, because he seems to be a pretty arrogant human. Ivanchuk, Aronian, Carlsen seem to be more likable characters.

Anonymous's picture

Attacking on a player's character, the cheapest type of attack (and in the case of Naka sth stupid, since he can be very easily criticized on merits of his flawed play). Sb else had to put up with these sort of attacks from the soviets and later from his fellow compatriots, it seems people will always be judgemental, jealous and hypocrites.

Me's picture

For me it's not a matter of jealousy. I just don't like arrogant people, and I am always happy when people I don't like are doing badly - nothing hypocritical in that!

DirkBredemeier's picture

I agree with "me". Just look at this:
Very bad behaviour, especially for a world class player. Why is he not able to resign quiet and respectful?
As far as some people here call others "Naka haters": What you give is what you get.

Selim Citak's picture

Wow, I haven't seen that before! This really explains why there are so many 'haters' out there. You can't expect people to like this kind of guy. Just resign and shake hands, it that very difficult??

Remco Gerlich's picture

Because he's playing blitz? I didn't see anything particularly unusual in that video.


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