November 13, 2010 5:50

Wang Hao joins leaders in Moscow as Gelfand resigns in drawn position

Tal Memorial R7: Wang Hao joins leaders in Moscow as Gelfand resigns in drawn positionToday at the Tal Memorial Wang Hao joined Levon Aronian and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the lead. The Chinese GM defeated Boris Gelfand, who resigned in a position that looked lost, but might well be a draw. The other four games did end in a draw.

General info

The traditional Tal Memorial tournament takes place 4-14 November in the GUM Exhibition Hall on Red Square, Moscow. Aronian (ARM, 2801), Kramnik (RUS, 2791), Alexander Grischuk (RUS 2771), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 2763), Sergey Karjakin (RUS, 2760), Pavel Eljanov (UKR, 2742), Boris Gelfand (ISR, 2741), Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2741), Alexei Shirov (ESP, 2735) and Wang Hao (CHN, 2727) play a single round-robin. More info here.

Tal Memorial round 7

Round 7 report

It's not as bad as resigning in a won position, but quite a nightmare anyway: resigning in a drawn position. This is what happened to Boris Gelfand today - well, at least that's what it looks like. So far we haven't been able to find a win for White in the final position of Wang Hao-Gelfand, and the Chinese grandmaster was very surprised himself too.

Wang Hao-Gelfand

In fact Wang Hao felt a bit strange about it. "I was very lucky," he repeated a few times in the press room, and even started to apologize for playing on in the ending so long. Unnecessary apologies of course, if only because a draw offer isn't allowed at this tournament anyway. "He is one of the players I have most respect for," the winner said just after I stopped the voice recorder.


Wang Hao

The courteous Chinese player is now among the leaders, as both Levon Aronian and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew today. Aronian felt he was winning, but he "blundered that g3 was hanging." In a strange way he still feels confident about the last two rounds:



Against Kramnik, Mamedyarov was under pressure with black in a Grünfeld, but the Azeri showed that he has made progress recently. He defended quite well and even had some chances of his own, after his opponent went a bit too far, but Mamedyarov was happy with a draw. Here's a clip with his second Elizbar Ubilava:



Pavel Eljanov's early bishop sortie to f4 (an invention by his second Michael Roiz) was not a success against Sergei Karjakin. The young Russian equalized comfortably and quickly got a small advantage, but it was not enough for a win. Here's Eljanov's comment:



The fourth draw of the round was between Alexei Shirov and Alexander Grischuk, who won an exchange for two pawns, but Black had good compensation. Then the Russian blundered an exchange himself, and was lucky to win one pawn back, to end up with a QR-QR ending a pawn down, which he managed to draw. Grischuk after the game:



Games round 7

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Tal Memorial 2010 | Schedule and results

Tal Memorial 2010 | Schedule and pairings

Tal Memorial 2010 | Round 7 standings

Tal Memorial 2010 | Schedule and pairings


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Castro's picture

You remind me of a fellow clubmate. (And of course ALL of us is rushed, sometimes).
Chess is like that:
1. Top players DO blunder sometimes (That's not the case, in your scandalized doubts).
2. Infinitely more usual is top players doing seemingly weak moves, when in fact the problem is we are weaker players, and will understant those moves "a little" latter. :-)

:-) Try analising a little more.

Well, first, Gelfand resigned very well. Of course Hao wouldn't follow black's Ke6 with Rxg7??, but with Re8+, or f5+ first;
On the same game, at move 35: White is already much better. The question is: trying the passive defense, or the active one, entering White's field? Please try analising further yourself, begining to spot the drawbacks of each of your " three ways of trying to keep that pawn" (passive defenses). One of them is losing the pawn imediately too...
On the Aronian-Nakamura game, another important lesson is present: What is my opponent doing? (Always a good question to ask) Why didn't you criticise the imediate previous Nakamura moving 34.Kh8, instead of doing something against that white pawn, which advance you so praised? Doesn't that ring a bell? Even if you are a huge Aronian fan, and desperately wanting him to win, you must gain some calm, and read some signs.
The fact must be that Nakamura somewhat (because it is not simple) convinced himself he could stop that pawn, but he needed the Qc7 or Qd8 defense ideas, and so he needed his own king out of g8 (why?).
So, both players calculated that the imediate advance 35.a5 was NOT that decisive. That doesn't mean it would be a bad move, but maybe deeper analisys may (most probably!) show without doubt that 35.h4 was even better (but maybe not winning, as it seems...).
Hope I could be of some help, and excuse me for implying that the problem was in you, because... it is ;-)

Castro's picture

As I told before, everyone rushes. I didn't even read thereort before (or, I confess, analise the Gelfand game), and indeed CV is telling us it looks a draw. I just focused on your Rxg7 assution, which obviously couldn't be the winning move.
From then on, I trusted the GMs (and I shouldn't heheeh). Now, I'm going to look at it a little more. Sorry for that!

Castro's picture

*the report, before.

Castro's picture


(the letter p is not working well in my keyboard :-) )

misja's picture

No harm done. I confess I only analyzed 76. Rxg7? and did not see an easy win in the other lines. So I thought: even if Gelfand was right and it really was a win, then he should have let Wang Hao prove it. It seems he might not have been able to. :)

pavel's picture

"analising" :)

Castro's picture

keyboard malfunctions are not all of my limitations, of course ;-)

misja's picture

Thank you for trying to help me understand Aronian-Nakamura. I did think about what what 34...Kh8 could mean. And I combined it with what 35.h4 could mean? Was 34...Kh8 preparing and 35.h4 perhaps preventing 35...g5 as a sort of desparate counterattack? Obviously not. I completely missed that it was about Qxe6 with or without check. Just goes to show what a patzer I am.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Wang Hao has been under the shadow of Wang Yue and Bu Xiangzhi for the past two years. No more! He's always been my favorite Chinese player since I learned of him as a junior.

suplexer's picture

if you are going to claim it was a draw 2 pawns down please put some more detailed analysis.

misja's picture

See two posts below

Solomon's picture

I am taking a guess here but perhaps 75...ke6 leads to a draw. If 76. rg7 then black can probably get a perpetual check with the rook or pick up one of the pawns.

If 76. f5ch then 76...ke5 and the same idea applies. If white ever plays re8 ch then the black king moves to the d file. White can't make any progress untill he brings the rook back to g8. At which point the black king comes back to the e-file.

I am sure Chessvibes will come up with a much better explanation of the drawing lines.

misja's picture

That's already much more complete than my explanation, thanks.

V's picture

What a crush it was in Aronian-Nakamura. A spectacular draw!

Adolfo's picture

Gelfand´s 35th looks like a blunder to me. After 35...Re8! (I like the active rook in the endgame rather than something passive like 35...Rb8) now for e.g. 36.Nc4 b5 37.Rc6 bxc4 38.Rxc5 Rb8 should be easily drawn.

About Aronian´s 35th move, to my mind I guessed he simply tried to make room for his king, frustrated of the possible outcome after
35.a5!? Qd8! this shot likely equalizes (35...Qc7!? is another possible try for black, for e.g. 36.Qxc7 Rxc7 37.a6 Na5 38.Nd3!? aiming to hold the pawn with one of the knights from c5 38...Ra7 39.Ndc5 and is still not clear how white makes progress from here) 36.Qxb7 Rb8! the point 37.Qc6 Rxb4 38.a6 (also unclear is 38.Qc3+ Qd4 39.Qxd4+ Rxd4 40.a6 Rd5!?÷ aiming to hit the pawn from a5 instead of the direct Ra4, but preventing Ne4-c5 at the same time.) 38...Qa5!? (38...Qd4!? is yet another worth considering move) 39.Nd6 (39.Qxe6 Rb6 40.Qh3 Bg7 41.Ng5 h6 42.Ne6 Rf7 43.Nxg7 Kxg7 44.Bb7 Rfxb7 45.axb7 Rxb7 and this should be drawn) 39...Ra4 40.Qd7!? Ra1! (40...Qxa6 probably draws too) 41.Nf7+ Rxf7 42.Qxf7 Rxf1+ 43.Bxf1 Qd5+ 44.Kg1 Qc5+ and black gets perpetual]
So, in other words, he was intending to win!

misja's picture

What's the matter with Gelfand? Did he perhaps think (hallucinate) that after 75...Ke6 white could take the pawn with 76. Rxg7? Then 76...Rg1+ draws easily (e.g. 77.Kh5 Rh1+ 78.Kg4 Rg1+ 79.Kf3 (or Kh3 or Kh4) Kf5=). Or did he see another "clear win" for white?

Also I do not understand Gelfand's 35...h5. What is this? Preventing 36.g4 or 36.h5 while there is a pawn hanging on b6? There are three ways of trying to keep that pawn: 35...b5; 35...Rb8; 35...Re8. Why not?

Another move I do not understand is 35.h4 in the game Aronian - Nakamura. White has just traded an exchange for a pawn and immediately advanced the resulting free a pawn with 34.a4. Why not just continue with 35.a5.

Anybody who can explain these 35 h moves?

The last rounds should be exciting. There are 6 players who have not lost a game yet and they could all still win the tournament. Hope there will be some decisive games in their mutual encounters.

Castro's picture

I'm convinced that it's indeed a draw. But one never knows, and enough rushing for tonight.
Aren't already there databases for 7 pieces endgames?
Anyway, in fact a blunder resigning :-( It happens...

misja's picture

The same happened to me once: In the first round of a Swiss my FM opponent gave up although I was only playing out the drawing combinations to the end. I let him go home thinking I had really beat him (no point in rubbing it in), and then went to the pub to brag to my fellow patzers. :D After finding the drawing move my opponent did recover well and ended on shared first in the Swiss tournament. Unfortunately for Gelfand that's not possible anymore.

misja's picture

Shirov is the only player who has not won a single game yet. I hope he has not given up yet. White against Eljanov seems a decent chance. But if not I hope he goes all out against Kramnik in the last round. Fire on board! :)

suplexer's picture

ke6 looks horrible to me because of re8 check and the black king is out of the game.

leigh's picture

It's not necessary say that it is a drawn position. All the games would be tied if no mistakes made by GMs, IMs, Fans...
Hao Wang is one of most powerful players in China. He is a different type from Yue Wang. Yue Wang is a protector. Hao Wang is an attacker. That's why many people like Hao Wang's chess.
I like to watch his game. I predicted he would be No. 1 in China. haha GMs

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Yes... that is the Ying and the Yang with the two Wangs!

Bobby Fiske's picture


blueofnoon's picture

They say young players don't study endgames, and their endgame technique is a lot to be desired.

Well... I come to the conclusion they are wrong.

Thomas's picture

This may be "annotating the game by the result" - while Wang Hao said that 46.Rb5+ Kh6 47.Ra5 "wasn't any better", Dennis Monokroussos disagrees writing "looks like a winner to me" and gives two question marks to the game move 46.Rb6. Chessbase just writes that "Wang Hao ... converted a good endgame against Gelfand" - seems they didn't/couldn't yet consult their endgame expert Karsten Mueller though he doesn't seem to be part of the Bundesliga lineup this weekend.

What makes the whole thing even stranger: the live video shows that Gelfand took just ten seconds to resign after 75.Kg5. I guess a player should sit on his hands not only to avoid making hurried moves, but also to avoid hurried resignation. Was 75.-Ke6 that hard to find, if only by process of elimination (everything else loses)? Whichever win Gelfand saw for white, he could have obliged Wang Hao to show it on the board ... .
The video continues just a few minutes, hard to interpret the players' body language without hearing their words - did Wang Hao tell Gelfand right away how puzzled he was?

RobboBobbo's picture

Robbo BlockedBases kick in here (not 7 piece, but the g-pawns are blocked, so really 6).

RobboExplorative Java applet gives Ke6 as only drawn move at the end. Your answer is 75... Ke6! 76. Rxg7 Rg1+! and here Nalimov ( gives you the answer. White can't avoid checks except via Kf3. After that, Black checks at f1, White plays Ke3, Black plays either Rg1 or Kf5 and will win the g-pawn.

Konoval and Bourztsuchky built RPP vs RP maybe 2 years ago, though I think they assume no underpromotions.

RobboBobbo's picture

I agree 75... Ke6 76 Re8+ looks a better chance, but still a draw according to RobboBlockedBases after either Kd6 or Kd7. Play Kd7, White moves on the e-file (or else the Re8+ didn't accomplish much after Ke7). So 75... Ke6 76 Re8+ Kd7 77 Re2 and Black draws with Rg1+/Ra1/Rb1/Rc1 or Kd6/Kd8. So 77 Re2 Kd6 78 f5 Kd7, White has nothing. Or 78 Kf5 Kd7 and White again can't get through. You have to know when Black can change rooks via Rh5+ in some lines.

Noway's picture

Wang Yue took time out for his university studies, and it shows in his chess performances. Wang Hao is the latest Chinese player to be given a shot at top appearances. Good luck to the guy, but the Chinese don't seem to persist with support for sliding performances..Just look at Bu's slide into 2600..

john's picture


I know this is a very interesting tournament but I would still like to see a report on the Karpov-Hou match!

We should appreciate how active the legendary 12th World Champion still is.

Plus, I can't remember the last time I had to go to chessbase for news. yuck.

Peter Doggers's picture

Lol - working on it as we speak.

LudoMedemblik's picture

Au .. Kramnik will certainly have to lick his wounds.

GeneM's picture

The ChessTempo game replayer object --- performs incorrectly when I replay several moves in Reverse sequence.

In Aronian-Nakamura I saw a black bishop plus a white knight both co-occupying square d3. I also saw that a captured white rook was not reestablished on f1 after I reversed a capture move.

When I resumed forward replay the replayer object was unable to correct its mistakes.

GeneM's picture

The ChessTempo game replayer object --- performed incorrectly when I replayed several moves in Reverse sequence.

In Aronian-Nakamura I saw a black bishop plus a white knight both co-occupying square d3. I also saw that a captured white rook was not reestablished on f1 after I reversed a capture move.

When I resumed forward replay the replayer object was unable to correct its mistakes.

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