June 22, 2012

Looking back at Tal Memorial

Had Work? Studies? Exams? Did you miss the coverage of the super strong Tal Memorial chess tournament 2012? Well, do not worry chess fans as I bring you a report on the tournament highlighting the critical and interesting moments of it! Vidit Gujrathi presents here a report on Tal Memorial.

Looking back at Tal Memorial
By Vidit Gujrathi

Left to right-Radjabov,Carlsen,Caruana

Tal Memorial 2012 a very strong tournament, having star studded line-up; including  players like Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Morozevich didn't disappoint us, as they brought a lot of thrill and fun on the chessboard.Starting from 8th of June we had complete action packed games until the 18th of June where the eventual winner was decided.

Playing Hall Of 7th Tal Memorial
Leader before the last round-GM Caruana
At the beginning,this tournament never had a stable leader, Every round there were new twists and turns. For the first half of the tournament the very creative Morozevich was dominating the standings table with 4/5 defeating Caruana in 1st round & Grischuk and Aronian with Black in next rounds...
Very creative- GM Morozevich

47...Rd4! Grischuk-Morozevich 0-1(60)
 The position seems to be quite difficult for black,but Moro found inspired defense.The game continued 48.Qe3 Rg4! 49.h3 (Qf3 seems to better)Rg6 50.fg6-Qc8 and Moro won the 60th move.

He even took risks with Black which paid off against Aronian

11....e5!? Aronian-Morozevich 0-1
After playing a strange stonewall, Moro complicated with 11...e5!? and went on to win in 40moves.
But the 2nd half turned out to be a disaster for the Russian Morozevich,who lost three rounds in a row and managed to draw the final round against Kramnik. He finished at 4th place at a score of 4.5/9.

Luke Mchshane didn't disappoint his fans either, who picked him as a candidate for tal memorial through an online poll. He lost his first 2 rounds but then he found his form and defeated players like Aronian,Morozevich and Kramnik!

English GM - Luke McShane

 He defeated Aronian in 3rd round playing an exchange sacrifice in an relatively safe chebanenko slav

Final position in Aronian-McShane 0-1 38moves
Kramnik also showed some fantastic preparation, In Rnd2 he completely outplayed  Grischuk in his pet weapon- The bayonet attack  against the Kings Indian defence.

 Final position in Kramnik-Grischuk 1-0 (29)
A catastrophe for Black on the light squares,Kramnik-Grischuk 1-0

Ultra Solid GM Kramnik

Morozevich,Kramnik,Grischuk and Aronian all scored 4.5/9 and were tied for positions 4-7. While  Evgeny Tomashevsky scored 3.5/9 and was ranked at last place.

GM Tomashevsky who had a tough tournament.
Magnus carlsen was the only undefeated player in 10 player round-robin tournament! In first few rounds he was struggling to get form as he admitted himself in the press conference.

"I think it has been a very interesting tournament. There have been twists and turns that noone could foresee. As for myself, I thing I played, well I started slowly. My first three games were not impressive to say the least." -Carlsen

But then he found his rhythm ,and no one could defeat him. Interestingly Carlsen the eventual winner drew 5 games with White and won 2 games with Black!! 

In round 5 he outplayed Radjabov in Scotch opening...

 Radjabov-Carlsen 0-1
In this seemingly equal position,black played an interesting king manoeuvre to push the pawns on the queenside and outplay white Radjabov-Carlsen 0-1
World No1 Magnus Carlsen!

The tournamnent situation was not clear until they very last round,where eventually,Last year's Tal Memorial winner Magnus Carlsen won yet another Elite level chess tournament!In the Last round He defeated the creative Luke McShane with Black in a slow delayed ruylopez exchange battle, and as the overnight leader Caruana Fabiono  lost to Armenian Levon Aronian, The World No.1 Carlsen with 5.5/9 took clear 1st in the 7th Tal memorial. Caruana came second with 5/9 as he had better tiebreak's (no. black wins) than Azerbaijani Teimour Radjabov.

The Winner Magnus Carlsen.

*Interesting fact - The score 5.5/9 (+2) has decided the winner 4 times In 7 editions of Talmemorial. :)

 To sum it up, I think it was an very interesting event keeping everyone on the ropes till the last round, where no one was sure who would be the winner of this very strong field. In then end the only undefeated player and World No.1 won with a clear half point margin.

*Please note all the photos are from the courtesy of www.russiachess.org

Final Standings of the event-