"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Sunday, 23 June 2013

8th Tal Memorial, Round 9

Well, well, well, well, the final round of one of the strongest world chess tournament this year has come. The tournament leader Boris Gelfand is half a point clear from the runner-up Magnus Carlsen and those two players are chased by quartet of players with 4½ points - Nakamura, Caruana, Mamedyarov and Andreikin. So many things can happen. Obviously, if Boris Gelfand won today and Magnus Carlsen as well, then Gelfand would be a winner and Carlsen a runner-up, but there are other options as well.

On the picture above you can see the situation on the boards soon after the beginning of this round.

Kramnik vs Gelfand
Kramnik playing White went for calm opening with the hope to obtain some small but long-term advantage. English Opening had been played and Boris Gelfand played symmetrical line. Soon similar pawn structure to fianchetto Grünfeld Indian had emerged; in fairly even position Gelfand had obtained the   pair of Bishops advantage. But Kramnik's pieces were rather active and Kramnik forced draw by repetition.

Boris Gelfand - the winner of 8th Tal Memorial

Mamedyarov vs Carlsen
Carlsen needed to win so it dictated the opening strategy. Playing Black he decided to play King’s Indian Defence. Mamedyarov playing for safe chose for kingside fianchetto. Carlsen developed his Bishop on f5 then Ne4 followed by exchange of Knights on c3. After Carlsen had exchanged his light-squared Bishop for the Knight on f3, Not only did Mamedyarov decide to sacrifice the pawn to open centre and to take an advantage of bishop pair, but he sacrificed two pawns.
Game become sharp and complicated. The critical position arose after the move 16.Qxb7 when Carlsen replied 16...Qf5?. This move is perhaps a mistake and Mamedyarov perhaps could have won playing 17.Bb2! He did not, but despite that he had retained a small edge all the game through, even after the simplifications when he left pawn up. But it was not enough to win the game.
After the game, Carlsen admitted that he'd underestimated the significance of pawn sacrifice.

Karjakin vs Anand
The game started in the fighting spirit when Vishy Anand disclosed his aggressive intentions right from the outset, when he decided to play Najdorf – Poisoned Pawn Variation. And Karjakin was not scared and played aggressively as well.
White rook penetrated on the seventh rank but Anand castled kingside and manage to exchange this rook. White castled kingside as well on the board there was position where White has got an advantage of pair of Bishop.
Position after 18...Rf7, as Vishy Anand mentioned at the press conference is ridiculous because it looks as if the Black was completely busted. But he admitted he had analysed the position several days ago so he had know that it was draw. Hoewer, not knowing that, it would have been nearly impossible to find the drawing line over the board. But nobody would go for such a position accidentally. Either you know it or you avoid it.

Anand, on the question from the floor if he plans to take part in any other tournaments before his match with Carlsen, answered that he had already played six tournaments this year and this was enough and from this point on he would be preparing for the world championship match.

Caruana vs Andreikin
Caruana started with 1.e4. The Ruy Lopez - deferred Steinitz defence - has been played where Andreikin decided to fianchetto his dark-squared Bishop.
At the press conference Caruana was not very happy with White position. He mention some Black's ideas connected with move ...c6 before Black played ...b6.

Nakamura vs Morozevich
Nakamura opened with 1.d4, Queen’s Gambit Declined has been played. Morozevich took on c4 and build up the strategy on keeping this gambit pawn.

In very complicated game Morozevich outplayed Nakamura and won deservedly.

It must be terrible disappointment for Nakamura who several rounds ago was  tournament leader.

Standing after Round 9

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