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10 March 2018

Two Cups into Same Hands

Blitz section of the Tal Memorial reported by Vladimir Barsky and Eteri Kublashvili

The Tal Memorial has moved from the Museum of Russian Impressionism into the Central House of Chessplayer. Despite it being Monday, there came quite a number of children and adults. The children mischievously haunted the stars for autographs, not only approaching chess tables, but catching famous grandmasters wherever possible in general.

The game events were shared worldwide in Russian by the eternal commentator Sergey Shipov. It looks now as if not a few spectators choose to come because of Shipov, and that the army of Moscow grandmaster’s admirers grows with each subsequent event.

The English-speaking audience was served by one of the world’s leading commentators Evgeny Miroshnichenko and the 12th world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, who had shown an impressive result in the “Blondes vs. Brunettes” match only a day before.

Ten participants of the rapid tournament were added by four well-known Russian grandmasters and strong blitz players - Vladimir Fedoseev, Vladislav Artemiev, Alexander Morozevich and Dmitry Andreikin. It was Dmitry Andreikin who took the lead from the start by scoring 4.5 out of 5.

Nepomniachtchi Andreikin

36Bxf3!? 37.gxf3 f4 38.Be1 Qxf3 39.Qg2 Qe3 40.Bf2

Balance was maintained by 40.Qg5! intending h4-h5, and 40…Qh3 is only a check.

40... Qxe5 41. Re1 Qf5 42. Bd4?

White should by no means have lost sight of the g3-square.

42Rg3 43. Qxg3 fxg3+ 44. Kxg3 d6 45. Be3 e5, and Black won the game.

However, the second half of the tournament did not go at all well for Andreikin, who failed to win a single more game, going down in four and finishing with a 50% score.

The future triumphant Sergey Karjakin started off by trading blows with compatriots and contenders, defeating Alexander Grischuk and losing to Vladimir Kramnik.

Kramnik Karjakin

Black should have prevented the trade of his bishop, which now lands him into a rough patch.

33. Nxe6+ fxe6 34. Ra7+ Kg8 35. Bh3! Rxd6?

After 35... e5 36. Be6+ Kh8 37. Ra6 Black’ position is not a cup of tea, but is playable still.

36. e5 Rb6 37. exf6 b3 38. Rg7+ Kh8 39. Rxg6 b2 40. Rxh6+ Kg8 41. Rb1 Rfb8

42. Rxb2! Black resigns in view of 42…Rxb2 43.Bxe6+ Kf8 44.Rh8#.

But then Sergey got into a groove and started winning game after game to secure first with one round to go yet.

Karjakin Nakamura

29. Nd5! exd5 30. Bb6 Qc8 31. Qxc3 d4 32. Bxd4 Nxd4 33. Rxd4 Qc7 34. f3 Re6 35. Qb4 Ra8 36. Rd5 h5 37. Rb5 Ra7 38. c5 dxc5 39. Rxc5 Qb8 40. Rd7 Re8 41. Rcc7 Rf8 42. Qb3 b6 43. Rxa7 Black resigns.

Karjakin Gelfand

1. b3!?

This opening has proven a formidable tool in Sergey’s hands.

1e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 d6 4. c4 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Be2 Nf6 7. d4 0-0 8. 0-0 Bf5 9. h3 h6 10. a3 Re8 11. d5 Nb8 12. Nc3 Ne4 13. Nxe4 Bxe4 14. Nd2 Bf5 15. b4 a5 16. Bc3 Na6 17. Nb3 axb4 18. axb4 Qg5 19. Kh2 h5 20. Qd2 Be4

21. f3 Bf5 22. e4 Qxd2 23. Bxd2 Bd7 24. c5 dxc5 25. b5 Black resigns.

We wrap up our brief review with a combination that has added to the tournament’s memorability.

Svidler Fedoseev

17. Nxf7! Kxf7 18. Bc4+ e6

Also grim-looking is 18... Ke8 19. Qb3 e6 20. Bxe6 Nf8 21. Bf7+ Ke7 22. Re1+ Kd7 23. Be6+. Now White demonstrates a textbook win, sacrificing yet a bishop.

19. Bxe6+! Kxe6 20. Qc4+ Ke7 21. Re1+ Be5 22. dxe5 Nxe5 23. Qh4+

23 Kf7

Neither Black was saved by 23... Kd7 24. Bf4 Re8 25. Qxh7+ Re7 26. Rad1+.

24. Bf4 Rd5 25. Qxh7+ Kf6 26. Re3 Ra7 27. Rae1 Bc8 28. Bxe5+ Rxe5 29. Ra1 Black resigns.

Final tournament standings:

1. Sergey Karjakin - 10; 2. Hikaru Nakamura - 8.5; 3. Ian Nepomniachtchi - 7.5; 4-6. Vladislav Artemiev, Alexander Grischuk, Vladimir Kramnik - 7; 7-8. Daniil Dubov, Dmitry Andreikin - with 6.5; 9-10. Viswanathan Anand, Peter Svidler - with 6; 11-13. Alexander Morozevich, Vladimir Fedoseev, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - 5; 14. Boris Gelfand - with 4 points.  


Sergey Karjakin, “I am definitely happy about the outcome. My performance was decent, in principle. The only game I lost was to Kramnik, but it was a result of a combative and interesting fight. Kramnik was the last one in our game who luck happened to smile at. Nevertheless, I fought in every game, I was in good shape, and at some point my opponents could stand it no longer. However, it is never the same in blitz; thus, I have recently I played in the blitz tournament dedicated to the Region Group of companies Cup and ended up 15th there.

I realized that I was likely to take first after my game with Dubov. Daniil has a good blitz score against me, so that I was extremely important to win, especially as Black. The position was a draw at a certain moment, but he did not feel like defending the rook versus rook and knight ending and essayed to make a draw differently, but ended up blundering and losing. It was undoubtedly a crucial victory".

Sergey Karjakin was the only one to be awarded with two cups at the closing ceremony - one for victory in blitz and another one for third place in the rapid section. 

Arkady Dvorkovich, “We are pleased to see the tradition of the Tal Memorial continuing with the help of the Russian Chess Federation and our partners - the Avtodor Group of Companies, the Russian Railways, the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation, the Group of Construction Companies Don, the PJSC PhosAgro, the Dvorkovich Chess Saloon that hosted an interesting event only a day before - the evening of Vladimir Yakovlevich Dvorkovich’s memory. We would like to thank arbiters, spectators and mass media. I want to thank everyone who has helped organize the event and everyone who has come here to give us interesting chess.

The event is valuable in itself, but I hope that it will also serve as a good training ground for those to play in the upcoming Candidates tournament. I wish everyone success, but unlike this tournament Berlin will give us only one winner."


Pictures by Eteri Kublashvili

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