Reports | November 24, 2011 17:32

Tal Memorial R8: Aronian sole leader after beating Svidler

Tal Memorial R8: Aronian sole leader after beating Svidler

Levon Aronian became the sole leader at the Tal Memorial in Moscow after beating Peter Svidler on Thursday. With just one round to go Armenia's number one grandmaster has excellent chances to win this year's edition. Tomorrow's round already starts at 10:00 CET!

Levon Aronian after his important win over Peter Svidler | Image © RCF

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

Round 8 in progress | Image © RCF

Who would have thought that one victory would be worth so much in this year's Tal Memorial. Yesterday the value was equal to shared first place, for half of the participants, and after today scoring +2 is enough for a sole first spot. Levon Aronian is the only one who managed to get to this score, and with just one round to go he has excellent chances to win the tournament at least shared.

Levon Aronian, now top favourite to win the 2011 Tal Memorial | Image © RCF

However, as he plays one of his closest pursuers (Nepomniachtchi) with Black tomorrow, nothing has been decided yet! Magnus Carlsen, also half a point behind, might want to play for a win against Hikaru Nakamura to maximize his chances while the other two on 4.5/8, Karjakin and Ivanchuk, face each other. To summarize: an exciting final round awaits us!

But let's have a look at that penultimate round first. The game of the day was of course Aronian-Svidler, and not just because it was the only decisive one!

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A fantastic struggle which, objectivelty speaking, Svidler shouldn't have lost but Aronian's determination did it all.

Aronian and Svidler trying to grasp their complicated endgame position | Image © RCF

Vladimir Kramnik did his best to achieve something against - the by now rock solid - Sergey Karjakin but to no avail.

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Russians meet, and draw: Kramnik vs Karjakin | Image © RCF

Even though it ended in a draw, Vishy Anand and Hikaru Nakamura were quite cheerful after their game as it had been very interesting.

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Anand-Nakamura: an interesting game | Image © RCF

Ivanchuk and Gelfand drew in an Anti-Meran Slav - a variation that's very popular these days.

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Vassily Ivanchuk had to be satisfied with a draw against Boris Gelfand | Image © RCF

Magnus Carlsen played the solid 3.Bb5+ against Ian Nepomniachtchi and the players went for the absolute main line of this system.

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Magnus Carlsen couldn't break his opponent's defence | Image © RCF

About his tournament, Carlsen said:

No, I'm not satisfied. I had one win after two games and now I have one win after eight games.

But he said it with a smile.


Tal Memorial 2011 | Round 8 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 ½ ½ Nepomniachtchi
Nakamura 0-1 Ivanchuk   Aronian 1-0 Svidler
Gelfand ½ ½ Kramnik   Kramnik ½ ½ Karjakin
Karjakin ½ ½ Aronian   Ivanchuk ½ ½ Gelfand
Svidler ½ ½ Nepomniachtchi   Anand ½ ½ 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.


Born's picture


Zeblakob's picture

Aronian game is aminal !! He always manage to add extra dimensions to chess and avoids the boring well-known machineries.

redivivo's picture

Very well played endgame by Aronian, at the same time people would probably have complained about what a dull game it had been if Svidler hadn't missed the drawing line on the 36th move (Qa2=).

SexyZeblakob's picture

Aronian is the James Bond of chess...finding sexy lines to win

Zeblakob's picture

Ohhh my dear blunderSUck; you video iz very sexy.

columbo's picture

what an endgame ! Gracias Maestro !!!

Me's picture

Aronian may become a World Champion one day.

columbo's picture

the last round will be something, so many players can still win the tournament !

Al's picture

I'm a huge fan of Magnus and have been since Nanjing (as a gauge my mood changes based on whether he wins or loses!) but I'm not just thinking I'm getting bored I am bored with him. Maybe I'll switch to Aronian?? I think back through Magnus games starting with Nanjing with his record performance and the quality and excitement he brought to the board but this tournament he has been a huge disappointment.
Even a great game against Nakamura won't change my disappointment now. I'll give him the London Classic to sort his $%^&%$& out, if no improvement then I'm going to take a break from him for a while. Tired of disappointment...

It does make me think though chess at the highest level is getting more and more dull. I mean how much more creativity can humans bring to the game? Hopefully plenty but it makes one think...


Born's picture

Seriously.. You're kidding right?? Magnus has had a very impresive performance this year, practicly winning all tournaments he participated in.. and currently he is in the race for first place in one of the strongest tournaments in the history of chess.

People who say this tournament is dull are patzers who do not actually follow the games. If you only look at the end result you will never understand the struggle and beauty of a hard fought draw.

The Player's picture

If Magnus wins against Naka, he has a great chance to win this tournament ;)

Excalibur's picture

Al: Who cares what you think?

Anonymous's picture

What a great world-title challenger we have!

Anonymous's picture

Aronian will be another great chess player who, nevertheless, will never manage to become world champion (in a match-style contest). He just doesn't have the necessary killer instinct of a champion which is required in matches.

HSE's picture


Am quite new to this site and also to Chess. Am trying to understand the games and when I analyse some of Anand's games in the current tournament, am not able to get a complete picture of what's happening. Can anyone give me some hints/tips/clues to understand those games?


Anonymous's picture

You are new to the game and you want to understand how the current world champion thinks? Even masters have difficulties understanding the thoughts/ideas behind the moves of the elite grandmasters. Why don't you try to analyze some simpler games first where the basic rules of chess are easier to grasp? Top grandmasters don't always play by the rules and that can be confusing to less experienced players.

HSE's picture

Thanks, your point is valid. Know some basic rules and I just play with my frnd and brother. Will study further... Your last stmt sums it up very nicely,,,

welwitchia's picture

Vishy is the greatest of our time. He is such a great player. Of course the title of World Champion is more important to him. Even when FIDE is planning to go back to a tournament style World Title system Vishy didnt cry foul as Kramnik or even Topalov would have done if their privileges were stripped.

He is such a genuis getting draws against anyone whenever he wants.

Gelfand has no chance against such a dynamic and intuitive player.

Anonymous's picture

Never count out an Israeli, especially in chess. He might surprise you.

Bob's picture

Carlsen has outwitted Nakamura in the last round...

Anonymous's picture

Not surprised for Naka. A fool and his rating are soon parted.

columbo's picture

i think i'm gonna ask Kasparov to train my dog !

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