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The Late Tal

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Not as in the dead world champion himself, but the Tal Memorial tournament that is supposed to be starting today in Moscow. All I've heard are rumors for this since they announced the players list a few weeks ago -- and that through back channels instead of a formal announcement or official site. (Kramnik's website has a "waiting for news" paragraph up.) russianchess.org should be it, and they have an announcement up with regulations and schedule in Russian, but nothing new for over a week. They do have a live games link, which is good. Games begin tomorrow at 1500 local Moscow time, 1200 GMT, 7am NY time. Game days are the 10-19th with a single free day on Thursday the 15th. System tiebreaks. Oh yes, the players: Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Mamedyarov, Leko, Shirov, Gelfand, Kamsky, Carlsen, Alekseev, and Jakovenko.

First prize is 30,000 dollars, which these days will buy you a pretty good cup of coffee in Europe. Somewhat horribly, the subsequent blitz tournament, touted as the blitz world championship, which includes all the Memorial players, plus six qualifiers, plus special guests Anand and Karpov, has a prize fund of equal size. First place in that is $25K. Then on the 23rd there's a rapid advanced chess match of two games between Anand and Kramnik.

This is the first elite event Ivanchuk has played since shooting up to #2 by bludgeoning the competition in lesser events this year. Is that all there is to it or is the Chuckster really enjoying a rebirth and will he contend in Moscow? I'm going with Kramnik unless Leko wakes up. In the interview podcasts I did with Garry Kasparov the other day for the ICC and ChessBase (sharing the love), Garry made a few predictions on this event when I asked. One, that Ivanchuk was too unstable to take first here and two, that Carlsen would at best reach an even score, or "maybe +1 with luck." Garry also talked about the Mexico City tournament, Anand as #15 (or not, and why, sparked by a question he got here in NY from a Dirt reader!), Karpov's development, and some items related to his most recent books, How Life Imitates Chess and Revolution in the 70's. I don't know how Chess.FM and ChessBase are going to distribute these or when.


Considering Chucky's track record with nerves and elite events, I wouldn't call Garry's remark a prediction. His remark about Carlsen is a prediction, but a wrong one. Carlsen will finish +2 or better--no luck involved. I think Garry's judgement has become clouded pertaining to Magnum; most likely stemming from an underlying anxiety that Carlsen could supplant him as the youngest Classical World Champion to date.

Who will Carlsen win against to get +2? Realistically he has to beat like Alekseev,Jakovenko, or Shirov while not losing to Kramnik, Leko, Gelfand, Kamsky, Ivanchuk or Gelfand.... Oh yeah, and not losing to the guys he has to beat. +2 in this field would be quite an achievement for Magnus.

Carlsen will have to struggle to reach 50%. I predict he'll be somewhere near the bottom like last year but hope I'm wrong.

Carlsen can defeat Alekseev, Jakovenko, Kamsky (and I'm a Kamsky fan) and Shirov. Drawing with Gelfand and Leko. Ivanchuk has and edge now and Kramnik has proven to be Carlsen's nemesis up to this point. That's +2 and within reach of Carlsen's 16 year old capabilities. Yes it's all hypothetical, but, agree or disagree, that's what a prediction is!

Gelfand has really grown on me this year. I hope he does well! When he is on his game, he is really on--but I guess that is true of any of the players!

Carlsen can realistically hope for a win against anyone, maybe with exception of Kramnik and Leko. Let's not forget that he has several wins against Ivanchuk and Aronian under his belt that has to count for something.

Very interesting field. Except for Kramnik getting his +2 or better, it's damn hard to predict who's gonna come out on top and who's gonna be in the cellar. Carlsen will probably score something between +2 and -3.

Very interesting field indeed. Mamedyarov would be my pick for the winner.

My draw scenario for Carlsen also includes Mamedyarov whom I have a tendancy to always underestimate, even with his continued improvement, and indeed could win this tournament.

Gelfand was very impressive in Mexico but one should remember that his good performance was partly because of very poor and unstable games Aronian played in that tournament and lost to Gelfand twice. Boris was very solid and conservative against other players and preserved his (+) record professionally.
I believe Carlsen will bring the most exciting games to Tal memorial and then as usual, Kramnik is the favorite followed by an in-form Ivanchuk or Shirov.

Another interesting tournament is underway in Moscow, in a district where apparently they have a time warp: it's the USSR vs. Yugoslavia match.


Sacrificing a piece against Kramnik with black when he is playing against ex-world champions favorite Catalan is what I exactly mean when I said:" Carlsen will bring the most exciting games to Tal memorial".
This kid is good.
By the way, Shirov is trying to return to his "Fire on Board" days. At least his games worth watching even if they are not always logical.

The french site http://www.echecs.com/articles/article2.php?id_article=1215
has the pgn files of the finished games from the first round.
Carlsen drew Kramnik.

With these poor quality games Shirov is playing, I think they should stop inviting him to high category tournaments. His performance in European championship was nothing special either.
What's wrong with him? Is he experimenting new variations all the time or what?

Poor quality games?, I guess you didn't see his victory over Morozevich a few days ago. in one of the best games of the year.
Hes unstable, but can get a streak and has play to win over everyone here

Einstein felt that time travel is possible--and the "Friendly Chess Match" in Moscow proves it. =8-)

Can anyone explain Alexei's 20..Bxd4 ? ( aside from an insufficiently repressed death-wish)

after a normal 20..Rfe8 21.Nxb6 cxb6 22.Ra7 black is fine

Mig - why is chess.fm not covering the tal memorial?

That and I can't find the podcast, are they planning to publish the interview with GK's predictions after the event ?? I also wonder why GK is (still) so pessimistic about Carlsen - the training session he once gave him must not have gone too well...

"With these poor quality games Shirov is playing, I think they should stop inviting him to high category tournaments. His performance in European championship was nothing special either.
What's wrong with him? Is he experimenting new variations all the time or what?"

Shirov's rating is near 2740, which was good enough to be the 10th ranked player in the October rating list. That means that he must have played some good games, at least against the players that he defeated. He's higher rated than half the players in the field.

Maybe he'll be a bust, but it seems silly to draw conclusions based on one game.

Magnus is one of the lowest ranked players in Tal Memorial, he has had a very bussy tournament schedule in October and last year his score was -2. I cannot see why Garry is painted as pessimistic in predicting that Magnus will end at best an even score or +1 with luck. An even score or +1 would indeed be a great result for young Magnus in this field. (From one who really wish him well:-) )

I am (or used to be) a big fan of Shirov myself. I even have his autographed "Fire on Board" when he was playing against Anand in Tehran 2001.
Conclusion has not been drawn based on a single game. His defeats in European championship against weaker players (rating-wise as DOug prefers) are the basis of my opinion that he is in a very bad form. His single pretty win against Moro was a clash between two unstable players which could have an opposite result in another day. Anyway, lets hope Alexei recover from this downslope very soon.

Shirov (and also Morozevich) seem to be in a permanently downward slope or out of form. Strangely enough, they both are still in the top 10. Could it be that we have such high expectations that we only remember the losses?

(What they also seem to have in common is the fact that they have no trouble making big scores against lower rated players, but have a much more difficult time in super-tournaments where the rest of the top 10 is also competing and lose too many games.)

When a player is developing as quickly as Carlsen seems to be, last year's results don't mean that much. I believe his depth of vision is unsurpassed. From this point on it is strictly a question of character.

Has somebody stolen the domain chesscenter.com? Or is it just temporarily down?

"Henrik C".. Heh, I am sure you wish him well :) And you are of course right. Many people expect to be amazed by Magnus in every tournament he plays in, but it cannot work like that. Hope he handles the pressure.

I think the most beneficial thing Magnus has is a loving father, who takes the most realistic view of his sons progress and tries to help in ways that will make Magnus from an elite player, into the elite player.

The tactical exchange between Gelfand and Kramnik was totally bizarre around move 15 and reminded me of an even more bizarre sequence between Svidler and Aronian from not too long ago. Does anyone remember this game and where it happened?

Today's win by Kramnik over Shirov in an epic, draw-looking double knight endgame was absolutely brilliant! If Kramnik wins this tournament in this style, it only adds more tension to the upcoming WC match against Anand. My guess is that Kramnik will crush Anand...

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 9, 2007 9:52 AM.

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