Anand Wins While Giri Preserves Lead at Tal Memorial
BySamuel ShanklandOct 02 — 10:00 AM
Image by World Chess
Anish Giri drew with his closest pursuer in Round 5 to maintain his half-point lead.
After two consecutive rounds with three decisive results, it was perhaps inevitable that things would cool at the Tal Memorial tournament in Moscow. Indeed, there was only one decisive game in Round 5 on Saturday — a victory by Viswanathan Anand of India over Boris Gelfand of Israel.
The leader after Round 4, Anish Giri of the Netherlands, preserved his lead by drawing with Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, his closest rival. Giri now has 4 points, Nepomniachtchi has 3.5, and Anand is tied for third with Li Chao of China, eah with 3 points.
The elite tournament is a 10-player round robin and is being held in the Museum of Russian Impressionism. It has a prize fund of $200,000, with $45,000 for first place.
Viswanatha Anand during the 2016 Canadidates tournament in Moscow.
Gelfand has had some problems with Anand ever since their 2012 World Championship match. Round 5 was no exception. Anand came well prepared and won a fine game to send Gelfand, who is having a terrible tournament, to his fourth loss in a row.
Viswanathan Anand vs. Boris Gelfand
Tal Memorial |Moscow |Round 5 |01 Oct 2016 |1-0
9. d3c4!?Gelfand has played this pawn sacrifice before. Playing it against Anand shows that he has real confidence in the idea. 10. dxc4dxe411. Qxd8Rxd812. Rxe4e5!Black has a big center and a bishop pair as compensation for being down a pawn. 13. Re1f614. Nbd2Nf715. Ne4!?The first new move, and it is a strong one.
( 15. Nb3This is the computer's choice and had been played before, but after 15... a5!16. Be3a417. Bb6Re818. Nc5Bf5Black has good counterplay. )
15... f516. Neg5e417. Nxf7Kxf718. Bg5!Developing his bishop and gaining a tempo 18... Rd319. Nd4Ba6?!This looks like a mistake to me.
( 19... Bxd420. cxd4Be6!21. b3Rxd4White has a somewhat better pawn structure,
but Black has no real weaknesses and since there are opposite-colored bishops, I think Black should be able to draw without too much trouble. )
( 20... Rxc321. Nxc6White is up a pawn and Black has no compensation )
( 20... Bxd421. cxd4Black has real problems, partly because his bishop on a6 is so passively positioned. )
( 21... Rxc3While watching the game, I expected this move, but the engine just laughs. 22. Nxc3Bxc323. Rad1Bxe124. Rxe1Rc8Black
has decent drawing chances but White is clearly in the driver's seat. )
22. Be3Rc823. h4!Preventing any expansion with g6-g5 and f5-f4. Black's bishops are really ineffective. 23... Bf624. Nf4
( 24. Bxh6Was also possible and may have been stronger. 24... Bxh425. Nf4 )
( 24. g3g5!25. hxg5hxg5This is not the position that White wanted. )
24... Rdd825. Nd5Bxh4?
( 25... Rxd5!26. cxd5Bxc3Black should be able to draw with best play. 27. Bxh6c4! )
26. Bxh6Bb727. g3Bf628. Nxf6Kxf629. Be3White is up a pawn, Black's bishop on b7 is lousy and Black's pawn on c5 is vulnerable. Black's position is probably hopeless. 29... Rd330. Kf1
( 30. Rad1This looks more natural to me but the move that Anand played is fine. )
30... g531. Ke2Rxc332. Rac1Rxc133. Rxc1Black has back a pawn, but he cannot guard his many weaknesses. Notably, once c5 falls, the White queenside pawns will quickly begin to advance. 33... Rd8What else? White was planning Rd1.
( 33... Ke634. Bxg5 )
34. Bxc5f435. gxf4gxf436. Bxa7!e337. Bxe3!Simple and strong. White allows no counterplay, and he can run over Black over with his four passed pawns. The rest was easy for Anand
( 37. fxe3f3+38. Ke1Kf5Would have allowed Black some counterplay as the pawn on f3 is pretty annoying. )
There was some excitement in the other games, even though they all ended in draws. I quite enjoyed the game between Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azeraijan and Peter Svidler of Russia. Mamedyarov chose a strange opening that led to interesting and unusual play from very early on.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs. Peter Svidler
Tal Memorial |Moscow |Round 5 |01 Oct 2016 |ECO: E60 |1/2-1/2
1. d4Nf62. c4g63. Bg5!?A very unusual move 3... Ne4
( 3... Bg7This move is common in the Grunfeld and has some transpositions possible, but Svidler had other ideas. )
( 4... Bg7I remember thinking this was best but the move played by Svidler should be fine. )
5. Qc2Qa5+!6. Nd2f5!7. f3!Nf6
( 7... Nxd28. Bxd2Qb69. dxc5Qxc510. e3This is a very weird position but White looks like his position is better. )
8. d5d6The opening has transposed into a bizarre-looking Dutch Defense. If the pawn on f3 were on f2, I would say White is clearly better, but as it is, Black should be fine. 9. e3Bg710. Ne2b5!Black looks for counterplay in a style typical of the Benoni and Benko Defenses. 11. Bg5Nbd712. Nf4Nb6!13. Kf2O-O14. h4
( 14. cxb5If I were playing this game, I might have tried to take some pawns because the pan on d5 cannot be safely taken. 14... Nbxd515. Bc4!e616. Bxf6!Nxf617. Bxe6+And White has won an important pawn. )
14... bxc415. Nxc4Qa416. b3?!
( 16. Qxa4!Nxa417. h5Would give White with a small initiative. Still after 17... Kf7Black is almost equal. )
16... Qe817. Rd1Qf7And Black has good counterplay 18. Nxb6
( 18. Na5This is the engine's choice. It looks bizarre but probably is playable )
( 22... b5This was also possible immediately, of course, but I prefer the move that was played. )
23. Bxf6Qxf624. h5g525. Ne6b5!Black simply ignores the knight on e6 - it looks pretty but doesn't do much. 26. axb5Bxb527. f4gxf428. exf4Rba829. Rbc1Ra2?!I'm not sure why Svidler wanted to trade an active rook for a passive one.
( 29... Bd7!Would have been a better move. )
30. Rc2Rxc231. Qxc2Bd732. Qe2Bxe633. Qxe6+!And White will easily be able to hold the opposite-colored bishop ending. 33... Qxe634. dxe6Ra2+35. Kf3Rd236. Rc1Bb237. Re1d538. Re2Rxe239. Bxe2Kg740. Bb5Kf641. Bd7Bc142. g4Bd243. Bc8c444. bxc4dxc445. Ba6c346. Bd3fxg4+47. Kxg4Kxe648. f5+Ke549. Kf3Kd450. Bc2Ke5
Levon Aronian of Armenia, who has had a quie tournament, looked like he had some chances against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, but Kramnik held with accurate defense.
Levon Aronian vs. Vladimir Kramnik
Tal Memorial |Moscow |Round 5 |01 Oct 2016 |1/2-1/2
50. a4Black was under moderate pressure for a while and had to lose a pawn, but with accurate defense he held without trouble. 50... bxa4!51. Rxa4Rc6!52. b3f653. Ra5Rb6!White is unable to make any progress. Black's pawns are all well defended and the king cannot effectively approach without losing the b-pawn. 54. Kc3Rc6+55. Kb4Rb6+56. Kc4
( 56. Kc5Rxb3 )
56... Rc6+57. Rc5Rd658. Ra5Rc6+59. Kb4Rd660. Rd5Rb6+61. Kc3Rc6+62. Kb2Rc863. Ra5Rc664. b4Rd665. Kc3Rc6+66. Kb3Rd667. Kc4Rc6+68. Rc5Rd669. Kc3Rb670. Kb3Rd671. Ka4White finally found a way to get to the a6 pawn, but it allows too much counterplay.
( 71. Rc3White cannot save the f3 pawn because he needs to control the b5 square. 71... Ke572. Ka4Rb6!73. Ka5Rb5+! )
71... Rd3!and Black has enough counterplay to save the game 72. Rc6+Ke573. Rxa6Rxf374. b5Rf175. Rc6Kxe476. b6f577. Rc3Ra1+78. Kb4Ra679. Kb5Rxb6+80. Kxb6fxg481. Kc5Kf482. Rc4+Kf383. Rc3+Kf4
In Round 6, Aronian, who seems to be on good form despite his five draws, will get a crack at the leader while playing White.
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 5 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players