Monday, October 16, 2006

Mikhail Tal Memorial

Mikhail Tal 2006 Memorial will be held on November 5th-20th in Moskow. The festival will consist of 20th category round robin tournament and Blitz Cup of Mikhail Tal. Main tournament will be played on November 6th-16th in Central Chess Club, Moskow.

November 3rd Update:
A press conference was held at the Central Chess House. Main prize fund will be 100.000 USD with many additional prizes - AMD will award best combination etc. Representative of sponsors' pool expressed its pleasure to support the tournament celebrating one of the favorite players of all time. The sponsors are keen to support future chess events in Russia.

Alexander Grigorevich explained why Vishy Anand is not playing the main tournament. The negotiations have started back in January but by the start of Turin Olympiad, Anand has agreed to play match against Kasimdzhanov (?) and thus declined the invitation. It looks like both of them will participate in the blitz tournament.

November 6th Update: WorldChessNetwork (from 2nd round) and ICC are providing live audio broadcast, games are starting at 7am EST.

Round 1 results:
GM Peter Svidler 2750 - GM Peter Leko 2741 draw
GM Levon Aronian 2741 - GM Alexander Morozevich 2747 1-0
GM Magnus Carlsen 2698 - GM Boris Gelfand 2733 0-1
GM Alexei Shirov 2720 - GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2728 draw
GM Ruslan Ponomariov 2703 - GM Alexander Grischuk 2710 1-0

In my humble opinion, game of the day was Aronian-Morozevich. Instead of trading pieces in Queens Gambit Declined, Moro went for kingside attack. But his Ng2 sacrifice was nicely refuted by Bf7 counter-sacrifice to give strong initiative to white. Aronian kept cool head to combine deadly threats over a2-g8 diagonal and along h-file.

Levon AronianLevon Aronian

Young star Magnus Carlsen pushed his game a bit too far allowing the opponent activate its heavy pieces. Also nice example how two knights can be much stronger then two bishops in open position.

Boris Gelfand

Ruslan Ponomariov displayed nice technique by trading pieces to win black a-pawn. His weak pawn on e3 was never a factor in this game. Shirov-Mamedyarov was drawn after moves were repeated in a sharp Breyer Ruy Lopez. WCN commentator Alex Finkel thought that Shirov missed decisive advantage. Svidler-Leko was the only boring game today. Will those GMs ever drop Anti-Marshall?

Games in PGN will be posted on TWIC.

Official website

Round 2 results:
GM Peter Leko 2741 - GM Alexander Grischuk 2710 draw
GM Boris Gelfand 2733 - GM Ruslan Ponomariov 2703 draw
GM Alexander Morozevich 2747 - GM Magnus Carlsen 2698 draw
GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2728 - GM Levon Aronian 2741 draw
GM Peter Svidler 2750 - GM Alexei Shirov 2720 draw

November 8th Update:
Ruslan Ponomariov played another technically perfect game to disarm Alexander Morozevich's Naidorf defence. The Rd6 and c5 deflection looks particularly nice. Levon Aronian blundered his back rank against Peter Svidler while Magnus Carlsen-Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Alexei Shirov-Peter Leko ended with moves repetition. Alexander Grischuk-Boris Gelfand...zzzzzzz...Petroff...

Round 3 results:
GM Levon Aronian - GM Peter Svidler 0-1
GM Magnus Carlsen - GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov draw
GM Alexander Grischuk - GM Boris Gelfand draw
GM Ruslan Ponomariov - GM Alexander Morozevich 1-0
GM Alexei Shirov - GM Peter Leko draw

Standings after 3rd round:
1. GM Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine 2703) 2.5; 2-3. GM Boris Gelfand (Israel 2733) and GM Peter Svidler (Russia 2750) 2.0; 4-7. GM Levon Aronian (Armenia 2741), GM Peter Leko (Hungary 2741), GM Alexei Shirov (Spain 2720) and GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan 2728) 1.5; 8-9. GM Magnus Carlsen (Norway 2698) and GM Alexander Grischuk (Russia 2710) 1.0; 10. GM Alexander Morozevich (Russia 2747) 0.5

November 9th Update:
Mikhail Tal was born on this day 1936. Grandmasters in the main tournament are having day off.

WorldChessNetwork continues live audio broadcast of this event:
Friday, November 10 - Audio comments by IM Irina Krush
Saturday, November 11 - Audio comments by IM Martha Fierro
Sunday, November 11 - Audio comments by GM Larry Christiansen

November 10th Update:
Again Grischuk sacrificed exchange on black side of English Naidorf attack but this time he played against Morozevich who found fast and efficient way to penetrate over black weaknesses.

Peter Leko got "only" pair of bishops after the opening but that was good enough to grab the advantage. He gave up one of the bishops at the good moment to transpose to winning endgame.

Peter LekoPeter Leko

Shirov tried to break another Marshall's gambit but only to find himself in bad rook vs bishop endgame with constant threat of zugzwang. It is very instructive how Levon Aronian handled this endgame, make sure to review the games at TWIC website.

Mamedyarov-Ponomariov and Svidler-Carlsen were drawn but not without the fight.

Peter Svidler - Magnus Carlsen draw
Alexei Shirov - Levon Aronian 0-1
Alexander Morozevich - Alexander Grischuk 1-0
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Ruslan Ponomariov draw
Peter Leko - Boris Gelfand 1-0

Standings after 4rd round:
1. GM Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine 2703) 3.0; 2-4. GM Levon Aronian (Armenia 2741), GM Peter Leko (Hungary 2741) and GM Peter Svidler (Russia 2750) 2.5; 5-6. GM Boris Gelfand (Israel 2733) and GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan 2728) 2.0; 7-9. GM Alexei Shirov (Spain 2720), GM Magnus Carlsen (Norway 2698) and GM Alexander Morozevich (Russia 2747) 1.5; 10. GM Alexander Grischuk (Russia 2710) 1.0;

November 15th Update:
Peter Svidler's inflexibility costed him another point. It is really not that hard for his opponents to concentrate on finding weaknesses in his favorite Gruenfeld defence.

Alexander Grischuk sacrificed a piece in the opening and started to spend alot of his time. Perhaps it was nice psychological trap as Alexei Shirov played very fast to spoil his equal chances and run into lost endgame.

Shakhriyar MamedyarovShakhriyar Mamedyarov

Alexander Morozevich dropped endgame that looked easy winning to all the viewers on WorldChessNetwork. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov saved his game by forcing stalemate. Peter Leko also dropped huge advantage against Magnus Carlsen while Ponomariov and Aronian signed draw after the brief battle in the opening.

Round 7 results:
Ruslan Ponomariov - Levon Aronian draw
Boris Gelfand - Peter Svidler 1-0
Alexander Grischuk - Alexei Shirov 1-0
Magnus Carlsen - Peter Leko draw
Alexander Morozevich - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov draw

Round 7 Standings:
1-3. Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR 2703), Peter Leko (HUN 2741) and Levon Aronian (ARM 2741) 4.5
4. Boris Gelfand (ISR 2733) 4.0
5-6. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE 2728) and Alexander Grischuk (RUS 2710) 3.5
7. Peter Svidler (RUS 2750) 3.0
8-10. Alexei Shirov (ESP 2720), Alexander Morozevich (RUS 2747) and Magnus Carlsen (NOR 2698) 2.5

Live audio commentary on WorldChessNetwork:
Wednesday Nov 15 - WGM Anna Zatonskih
Thursday Nov 16 - GM Larry Christiansen

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