For the second day in a row, all the games were drawn. Ian Nepomniachtchi still leads with one round to go.
Things have cooled pretty quickly at the Tal Memorial in Moscow. After a number of decisive results in the earlier rounds, the last rounds have been filled with draws.
With one round left to play, Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia leads with 5.5 points, trailed by Anish Giri of the Netherlands, who has 5 points. Levon Aronian of Armenia, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Viswanathan Anand of India are tied for third, each with 4.5 points.
The elite tournament, which is named after the eighth World Champion, is being held in the Museum of Russian Impressionism. It has a prize fund of $200,000, with $45,000 for first place.
Despite all the draws in Round 8, the games were a little more interesting than in Round 7, in my opinion, and some players missed chances. Aronian let his advantage slip against Li Chao b of China:
Levon Aronian vs. Li Chao b
Tal Memorial |Moscow |Round 8 |05 Oct 2016 |1/2-1/2
bxc623. Rd2?This highly unusual position is difficult for Black, but 23. Rd2 was not the way to cause problems.
( 23. Qd4!Qxd424. Rxd4g625. Rg5Could have been dangerous for Black. Despite having an extra pawn, he would soon have had to deal with moves like Ra4, Rc4, Ra5, Rc5, etc. He would definitely lose at least, restoring material equality, and still have a lot of weaknesses. )
23... g624. Rg4Kg725. Rc4
( 25. Qxa7I would have been tempted to take the pawn so that I could establish an outside passed pawn on the a-file. )
( 25... Re5!26. Qxc6Qg5!This allows Black good counterplay )
26. Rf4!Qe627. Rfd4White has a small edge with the open d-file, but it's not much. 27... Rb828. Rd7
( 28. Qc3Might have been stronger )
28... Qf629. b3Rb730. Qe7a5!Black prepares to play a4, aiming to trade queenside pawns and weaken White's pawn structure. Once the pawns were traded, most of the tension was gone and the game eventually wound down to a draw. 31. R2d4Rf832. Ke2Qxe733. Rxe7Kf634. Ree4Ra835. Rf4+Ke736. Rfe4+Kf637. Rf4+Ke738. Rde4+Kf839. Re6g540. Rf3g441. Rf4Rb442. Ref6Rxf443. Rxf4h544. Rf5a445. Rxh5Ke746. b4a347. Kd3Rd8+48. Kc2Ke649. Rc5Rh850. Rxc6+Ke551. Rxc7Rxh252. Rxf7g353. Kb3Rxf254. Rg7g255. Kxa3Ke456. Rg3Re257. Ka4Rxa2+58. Kb5Kd359. Kc6Rc2+60. Kb6Rf2
Kramnik also looked like he was going to pick up a full point against Evgeny Tomashevsky of Russia, but it wasn’t to be.
Vladimir Kramnik vs. Evgeny Tomashevsky
Tal Memorial |Moscow |Round 8 |05 Oct 2016 |1/2-1/2
Kg7Black played quite well to reach a pawn down endgame, though White still has some winning chances. But I do not understand Kramnik's next move. 49. Kf3?Why would White allow Black to play g4? This artificially isolates White's pawn on h5 and restricts his king.
( 49. Kh3!This would have prevented g4 because the king could then move to h4 and White would retain winning chances. )
49... g4+!50. Kg2Rb651. Ne8+Kh752. Ra5Re6!53. Nc7Rf6White will have a very
hard time making progress. The h-pawn is firmly blockaded, g4 is well defended, and it will be very difficult to play f3. 54. Kf1Rf5!?Unnecessary but certainly not wrong. The ending with just knights and pawns should be a draw. 55. Rd5Rf6
( 55... Rxd556. Nxd5Nf5Black should be able to draw without much difficulty. 57. Ne3Nxe3+!58. fxe3Kh659. Ke2Kxh560. e4Kg561. Ke3Kf662. Kf4Ke663. Kxg4Ke5With a drawn pawn ending )
( 63. f4!Was worth a try, though I believe Black could still draw. )
63... Rb364. Nd5+Kg765. Nc3Rb666. Rg5+Kf867. Re5Kg768. Ke3Rb369. Rc5Rb270. Rg5+Kf871. Rb5Rc272. Ne4Kg773. Rg5+Kf8It looks like White has made progress - his king is active and the Black pieces are not too impressively placed. But with both f7 and g4 firmly defended, it's had for White to make further progress. 74. Nf6Rc3+75. Ke4Rc4+76. Kd3Ra477. Nh7+Ke778. Re5+Kd679. Rb5Kc680. Rb8?
( 80. Rg5And White could keep pressing. But after )
80... Ra2!81. Ke3Ra5!the h-pawn is lost. The rest of the game was not interesting. 82. Nf6Rf583. Ne4Rxh584. Rd8Kc785. Re8Rf586. Rh8Rf3+87. Kd4Nf5+88. Ke5Ne789. Rh7Ng6+90. Kd4Kd891. Ng5Rxf292. Nxf7+Ke893. Ng5Rf594. Ne6Rf795. Rh6Ne796. Rh8+Kd797. Nc5+Kc798. Ra8Nc6+99. Kc4Rf1100. Ne4Rd1101. Re8Re1102. Kd5Rd1+103. Ke6Rd8104. Rxd8Kxd8105. Nc3Nd4+106. Ke5Nf3+107. Kf4Nh2108. Nd5
The final round is Thursday, and the tournament is really Nepomniatchi’s to lose. He faces Boris Gelfand of Israel, who has had a really tough time so far, losing five games.
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 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.
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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.
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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