2013 Tal Memorial (Moscow, Russia)

The 2013 Tal Memorial will begin exactly one week from today with a cadre of elite players. This tournament will continue the string of strong tournaments on display in recent months going all the way back to the London Classic, Tata Steel, Candidates Qualifier and the FIDE Grand Prix.

The field is a strong one with seven of the top ten players including Magnus Carlen, Vladimir Kramnik and World Champion Viswanathan Anand. The key matchup will be Carlsen-Anand since they are in preparations for the championships match in November. There is a nice mixture of ten players with many exciting battles on tap, but the field will be missing Levon Aronian of Armenia.

The Russian Chess Federation are the chief organizers while the direction consists of an organizing committee and panel of arbiters. The Chief Arbiter is IA Andrzej Filipowicz (Poland), the tournament director is Ilya Levitov.

The tournament has ten invited players and is a round robin with time controls of one hour and 40 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds for each move starting from move one.

Special rules

  • Participants are required to follow the tournament schedule strictly – in case a player is one hour or more late for the game he is forfeited (i.e. no “zero tolerance” rule!).
  • It is forbidden to offer a draw before and including move 40. Participants are required to comment on their games in the press center after each round unless, they have lost.
  • It is forbidden for participants to have their mobile devices working in the playing zone. All electronic devices should be handled to the chief arbiter during the game.

2013 Tal Memorial
June 12th-24th, 2013 (Moscow, Russia)
1 Carlsen, Magnus GM Norway
2 Kramnik, Vladimir GM Russia
3 Anand, Viswanathan GM India
4 Nakamura, Hikaru GM USA
5 Caruana, Fabiano GM Italy
6 Karjakin, Sergey GM Russia
7 Morozevich, Alexander GM Russia
8 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar GM Azerbaijan
9 Gelfand, Boris GM Israel
10 Andrekin, Dmitry GM Russia
Arbiter: Andrzej Filipowicz (Poland)


  1. Nakamura wins Tal Memorial Blitz!

    GM Hikaru Nakamura
    Photo by Etery Kublashvili

    Hikaru Nakamura celebrated his new sponsorship with Silence Therapeutics by winning the blitz tournament at the Tal Memorial with 7/9. Viswanathan Anand came in second on 6.5/9. This novel idea was implemented a year ago as a welcome addition with the dual purpose of determining the pairing numbers.

    Thus, the pairings have been set. Each player (in the order of their standing in the blitz) was able to choose their pairing number and Nakamura chose #5, Anand #2, Kramnik #7, Gelfand #3, Carlsen #4, Andreikin #1, Mamedyarov #6, Karjakin #8, Morozevich #10 and Caruana number #9.

  2. Round #1 – Thursday, 13 June 2013

    Dmitry Andreikin (2713) ½-½ Alexander Morozevich (2760)
    Viswanathan Anand (2786) 0-1 Fabiano Caruana (2774)
    Boris Gelfand (2755) ½-½ Sergey Karjakin (2782)
    Magnus Carlsen (2864) 1-0 Vladimir Kramnik (2803)
    Hikaru Nakamura (2784) 0-1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2753)

    The first round of the Tal Memorial started quickly with three wins and a number of subthemes. While Andreikin was able to tame Morozevich’s pet Dragon, Caruana unfurled novel play against Anand’s anti-Marshall. Caruana insisted sacrifice something and donated a pawn for a pair of strong bishops and lasting initiative. Anand tried to return the pawn, but that seem to make things worse and the Italian’s bishops begin to assert authority. Combined with an active rook, Caruana invaded and started ravaging kingside pawns. Gelfand got nothing from his Catalan against Karjakin.

    Kramnik showed poor endgame technique against Carlsen.
    Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    The big matchup in today’s round was Carlsen-Kramnik the #1 and #3 players in the world. Carlsen trotted out the Trompowsky Attack which is typically not seen in top level play. Kramnik apparently was caught offguard and his position was a bit porous after 12…f5. The Norwegian traded off major pieces and Kramnik was left with a compromised pawn structure. Soon Carlsen was picking off material and ended up with two connected passed pawns which he converted.

    Nakamura-Mamedyarov went badly for white as Carlsen gives a watchful eye. Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    Nakamura won the blitz tournament, but this has been negated by an opening loss with white. After an opening disaster, the American was losing after 19…Nxf2 20.Kxf2 Bxh3 21.Kg1 Bxg3. Mamedyarov smelled blood and soon all of his pieces were in attack mode. With white’s pieces clumsily placed the exposed king was soon assailed.

    Game of the Day (Carlsen-Kramnik)

    Video by GM Daniel King.

  3. Round #2 – Friday, 14 June 2013
    Alexander Morozevich (2760) ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2753)
    Vladimir Kramnik (2803) 0-1 Hikaru Nakamura (2784)
    Sergey Karjakin (2782) ½-½ Magnus Carlsen (2864)
    Fabiano Caruana (2774) 0-1 Boris Gelfand (2755)
    Dmitry Andreikin (2713) ½-½ Viswanathan Anand (2786)

    World Champion Viswanathan Anand has taken some criticism from chess fans despite his strong of successful title defenses. The criticism is that he has not won a super-tournament in years and that he only plays to retain the title. What is ironic is that when Anand was winning many tournaments fans said he could not win matches. Today Anand got a win over Alexander Morozevich out of a slow positional Spanish game. Anand wrestled control of the game before the Russian tried to muck up the position into complications. Anand held steady and corralled the full point.

    Fabiano Caruana has slowly ascended up the ranks of the FIDE Elo list and has now moved into the third position overtaking Vladimir Kramnik. His win over a beleaguered Magnus Carlsen may be sign of things to come in their budding rivalry. The world #1 is extremely difficult to prepare for so Caruana played practical chess and easily equalized. Carlsen sacked a pawn to gain activity, but Caruana simply held onto the pawn after untangling his pieces. Carlsen had an oversight in the endgame allowing a nice maneuver with 59…Re4! Caruana is now approaching 2800 on the live list.

  4. Round #3 – Saturday, 15 June 2013

    Viswanathan Anand
    (2786) 1-0 Alexander Morozevich (2760)
    Boris Gelfand (2755) ½-½ Dmitry Andreikin (2713)
    Magnus Carlsen (2864) 0-1 Fabiano Caruana (2774)
    Hikaru Nakamura (2784) 1-0 Sergey Karjakin (2782)
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2753) ½-½ Vladimir Kramnik (2803)

    Hikaru Nakamura toppled his client Sergey Karjkin. Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    Hikaru Nakamura toppled Sergey Karjkin in impressive fashion.
    Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    (after three rounds)

    1st-4th: Gelfand, Caruana, Mamedyarov, Nakamura, 2; 5th-7th: Andreikin, Anand, Carlsen, 1.5; 8th-9th: Karjakin, Morozevich, 1; 10th: Kramnik, .5.

  5. Round #4 – Monday, 17 June 2013

    Alexander Morozevich (2760) ½-½ Vladimir Kramnik (2803)
    Sergey Karjakin (2782) ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2753)
    Fabiano Caruana (2774) 0-1 Hikaru Nakamura (2784)
    Dmitry Andreikin (2713) ½-½ Magnus Carlsen (2864)
    Viswanathan Anand (2786) ½-½ Boris Gelfand (2755)

    Magnus Carlsen has had trouble gaining momentum. Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    Magnus Carlsen has had trouble gaining momentum.
    Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    (after four rounds)

    1st: Nakamura, 3; 2nd-3rd: Mamedyarov, Gelfand, 2.5; 4th-7th: Caruana, Andreikin, Anand, Carlsen, 2; 8th-9th: Karjakin, Morozevich, 1.5; 10th: Kramnik, 1.

  6. When was the last (first ?) time we saw former (three-time) World Champion Kramnik at the foot of the table after 4 rounds of an event ?

  7. If Nakamura can stay in form for the remainder of this super strong tournament, he might win this one. I take pleasure in seeing him on the leader board and hopes it ends well for him.

    1. Ditto! 🙂 He has quieted the “haters” who always have something to say. When he lost in the first round to Mamedyarov, there were the comments about him being inconsistent and such.

  8. Round #5 – Tuesday, 18 June 2013

    Boris Gelfand (2755) 1-0 Alexander Morozevich (2760)
    Magnus Carlsen (2864) 1-0 Viswanathan Anand (2786)
    Hikaru Nakamura (2784) ½-½ Dmitry Andreikin (2713)
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2753) ½-½ Fabiano Caruana (2774)
    Vladimir Kramnik (2727) ½-½ Sergey Karjakin (2782)

    Anand's loss to Carlsen may be a heavy psychological blow. Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    Anand’s loss to Carlsen may be a psychological blow before their match.
    Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    The Viswanathan Anand camp will certainly pour over today’s debacle against Magnus Carlsen as the World Champion was trounced in 29 moves. Magnus Carlsen took advantage of Anand’s passive play and pounded away in the center with f3, e4 and d5. With black on his heels hit was hit by a innocent-looking 25.Bh3! which was in actuality a heavy body blow. In the end, black was totally paralyzed. This has to be a tremendous boost for Carlsen who took the win in stride by saying that it’s good to let Anand know that he can beat him “every once in awhile.” Very well-placed words.

    Boris Gelfand got a nice win over Alexander Morozevich out of a Modern Benoni. Morozevich sacrificed an exchange early on, but Gelfand returned it later for a lasting advantage. It was a rather clean win for the former championship contender and he joined Nakamura on the leader board.

    Mamedyarov-Caruana was an interesting struggle that reached a dynamic equality while Kramnik-Karjakin and Nakamura-Andreikin added little to the discussions of chess. Kramnik is still on last position and many trivia buffs are wondering when was the last time the former champion had been in that position. Perhaps when he was eight years old. He will have a rest day after round six to regroup.

    (after five rounds)

    1st-2nd: Nakamura, Gelfand, 3.5; 3rd-4th: Mamedyarov, Carlsen, 3; 5th-6th: Andreikin, Caruana, 2.5; 7th-8th: Karjakin, Anand, 2; 9th-10th: Morozevich, Kramnik, 1.5.

    Game of the Day (Carlsen-Anand)

    Video by GM Daniel King.

  9. Round #6 – Wednesday, 19 June 2013

    Alexander Morozevich (2760) ½-½ Sergey Karjakin (2782)
    Fabiano Caruana (2774) ½-½ Vladimir Kramnik (2803)
    Dmitry Andreikin (2713) ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2753)
    Viswanathan Anand (2786) 0-1 Hikaru Nakamura (2784)
    Boris Gelfand (2755) ½-½ Magnus Carlsen (2864)

    The chess world is buzzing. The reaction is not merely the World Champion going down for the the second consecutive time, but for Nakamura’s torrid pace. The American won yet another game pulling into sole possession of 1st place after dispatching Anand in a offbeat line of the Ruy Lopez. The newer generation has compared notes in taking the older generation out of known theory and a very interesting changing of the guard is upon us. While it would be foolish to discount the likes of Anand, Kramnik and Gelfand, it appears that the window is closing on their era. The rise of Carlsen, Nakamura, Karjakin, Caruana and a cadre of other players is sending out such a signal.

    Is Anand in trouble?? Photo by Lennart Ootes.

    Is Anand in trouble??
    Photo by Lennart Ootes.

    In Anand-Nakamura, the the game started 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6!? and after 4. O-O Bg7 5. c3 a6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 entered a type of Exchange Ruy Lopez. However, Nakamura seized the initiative with bold play after 11…g5!? Anand reacted with a plan after 14.Be3, but afterwards Nakamura deemed it too slow. The assessment proved to be correct as black ended up with a dominating knight position on a compromised white pawn structure. Nakamura then weaved a net to trap the white knight forcing the champion to jettison his passed d-pawn to save it. After that black won a rather trivial ending.

    In other action, Boris Gelfand pressed but could not crack Magnus Carlsen’s defenses. He was a bit better toward the end but the Norwegian held stead and remained on +1. Vladimir Kramnik remains in joint last as his Berlin didn’t bring the Russian any means of success although it appeared that Fabiano Caruana was under pressure after a fusillade of sacrifices. The game ended in a three-fold repetition. Interesting.

    Morozevich-Karjakin was a lengthy affair that went exactly 100 moves and ended in a textbook draw rook ending. Andreikin-Mamedyarov was a Scotch that led to a very interesting unbalanced pawn structure. The game was still very complicate with two rooks and tricky knights roaming the board. The unbalanced made for a nice tactical ending. However both waded through the landmines and a peace treaty was signed.

    (after six rounds)

    1st: Nakamura, 4.5; 2nd: Gelfand, 4; 3rd-4th: Mamedyarov, Carlsen, 3.5; 5th-6th: Andreikin, Caruana, 3; 7th: Karjakin, 2.5; 8th-10th: Kramnik, Anand, Morozevich, 2.

    Game of the Day (Anand-Nakamura)

    Video by GM Daniel King.

  10. Round #7 – Friday, 21 June 2013

    Magnus Carlsen (2864) ½-½ Alexander Morozevich (2760)
    Hikaru Nakamura (2784) 0-1 Boris Gelfand (2755)
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2753) ½-½ Viswanathan Anand (2786)
    Vladimir Kramnik (2803) 0-1 Dmitry Andreikin (2713)
    Sergey Karjakin (2782) ½-½ Fabiano Caruana (2774)

    Gelfand has plenty to smile about. Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    Gelfand has plenty to smile about.
    Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    Despite his contemporaries failing miserably, Boris Gelfand beat Hikaru Nakamura and took possession of the lead with two rounds left. Both Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik are tied for last place in what has been quite a revelation. Gelfand trotted out the theoretical Sveshnikov and seemed to get the position he sought out of the opening.

    Boris Gelfand weaved a mating net around the king and after 43…Ng4! white’s fate is sealed.

    In a complicated middlegame with pieces strewn about the board, Gelfand slowly wove a nice mating net. It was unique in that there were only two pieces participating in the attack. To stave off mate Nakamura had to either lose a piece or go into a lost pawn ending. Nice display by the veteran!

    In the other decisive game Dmitri Andrekin beat Kramnik to keep the former champion mired in a downward spiral. The “Killer Catalan” has not yielded much success in this tournament and Andrekin got very active play as his black pieces dominated the board and ravaged the entire queenside. With three connected passed pawns on the queenside Andrekin had no problems collecting the point. Kramnik never had a chance in this game.

    (after seven rounds)

    1st: Gelfand, 5; 2nd: Nakamura, 4.5; 3rd-5th: Mamedyarov, Andreikin, Carlsen, 4; 6th: Caruana, 3.5; 7th: Karjakin, 3; 8th-10th: Kramnik, Anand, Morozevich, 2.5.

  11. Round #8 – Saturday, 22 June 2013

    Alexander Morozevich (2760) 0-1 Fabiano Caruana (2774)
    Dmitry Andreikin (2713) ½-½ Sergey Karjakin (2782)
    Viswanathan Anand (2786) ½-½ Vladimir Kramnik (2803)
    Boris Gelfand (2755) ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2753)
    Magnus Carlsen (2864) 1-0 Hikaru Nakamura (2784)

    Carlsen is back in the running.

    Carlsen is back in the running.
    Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    The race has tightened as Magnus Carlsen closed the distance by beating Hikaru Nakamura. In chess there has been situations where one player simply has the number of another… think Tal’s poor record against Viktor Korchnoi. Carlsen is now +6 over Nakamura and dominated today’s game before letting his advantage slip.

    This highly-anticipated battle also had a lot riding on the result. Nakamura was still in contention and Carlsen was trying to manufacture a late rally. In this Carlsen played the Catalan and quickly got an advantage in space. After pushing the black pieces back into passivity, he missed 30.Bh3! and 31.Bxd7 which would totally destroy black’s defenses. Carlsen opted for 30.Re3 and Nakamura was able to sacrifice an exchange for compensation. However, the American made a few errors and Carlsen converted the exchange.

    Fabiano Caruana has a 2796 rating on the live list! Photo by Etery Kublashvili.

    In the other decisive game, Morozevich-Caruana was fairly level and an unthinkable error occurred in the endgame phase. The Russian forgot about a passed pawn (after 38.g5??) and after 38…c3 there was no way of stopping pawn promotion and a quick mate to follow.

    Caruana is out of the running, but with this win has soared to 2796 on the Live Rating list! He has supplanted Vladimir Kramnik who has had the worst performance in many years. He drew with Viswanathan Anand who is also having a poor showing. Gelfand still leads.

    (after eight rounds)

    1st: Gelfand, 5.5; 2nd: Carlsen, 5; 3rd-6th: Mamedyarov, Andreikin, Nakamura, Caruana, 4.5; 7th: Karjakin, 3.5; 8th: Anand, 3; 9th-10th: Kramnik, Morozevich, 2.5.

  12. Round #9 – Sunday, 23 June 2013

    Hikaru Nakamura (2784) 0-1 Alexander Morozevich (2760)
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2753) ½-½ Magnus Carlsen (2864)
    Vladimir Kramnik (2803) ½-½ Boris Gelfand (2755)
    Sergey Karjakin (2782) ½-½ Viswanathan Anand (2786)
    Fabiano Caruana (2774) ½-½ Dmitry Andreikin (2713)

    Final Standings

    1st: Gelfand, 6; 2nd: Carlsen, 5.5; 3rd-5th: Mamedyarov, Andreikin, Caruana, 5; 6th: Nakamura, 4.5; 7th: Karjakin, 4; 8th-9th: Morozevich, Anand, 3.5; 10th: Kramnik, 3.

  13. Good for gelfand to win such a strong tournament whilst he still has the strength and chance. The younger generation is definitely taking over.

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