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Five players share the lead in Tal Memorial

The two earlier leaders, Alexander Morozevich and Vladimir Kramnik, were defeated in the 7th round of the Tal Memorial by the tail-enders Evgeny Tomashevsky and Luke McShane, respectively.

Such development complicates the things with only two rounds remaining as now five players are equal first with 4 points each.

Alexander Morozevich took up the King’s Indian defence seeking a sharp game against the last-placed Evgeny Tomashevsky. But the press conference later revealed that Tomashevsky was ready to take up the solid line.

Evgeny Tomashevsky

Evgeny Tomashevsky

White maintained the tension and tiny advantage. In the time trouble black refused the repetition of the moves and immediately erred. White saw through the cheap trick, went back to win a pawn and took the game into the winning rook ending.

Perhaps some original opening play is needed to throw the super-solid Vladimir Kramnik off the balance, and Luke McShane did exactly that. Apparently an unambitious line against the Berlin Ruy Lopez saw white sacrificing a pawn but soon black king was pushed to an awkward position in the center.

White had his own troubles with the back and 2nd rank, but black just didn’t have the opportunity to properly align the heavy pieces to threaten something.

Luke McShane

Luke McShane

The endgame was extremely complicated and the players exchanged a couple of errors, but eventually white passed h-pawn proved to be of decisive importance.

McShane missed a direct victory and had to proceed in a hard way, in a sensitive queen endgame, nevertheless he brought the advantage home and scored another victory against the 2800+ player.

Fabiano Caruana’s Gruenfled went wrong and Teimour Radjabov assumed the big advantage from the opening. However, he quickly lost most of it when black played the crude 20…Rg8!? with a simple idea of pushing g4 and taking Bxe5, while rook prevents the fork on g6.

Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana

The move indeed looks ugly and there simply has to be something strong for white but it is easy to miss a neat point in the complex tree of variations. Perhaps Radjabov missed that after 21.Rc7 g4 22.Nh4 Bxe5 23.Rxe7 Bf6 24.Rf7 Bxh4 there is 25.Bc3+. Hard to visualise with the pawn on e5 in the starting position.

The game remained lively and complicated but eventually black was able to pull a draw. The two players join the leading pack.

Live games with commentary and computer analysis

Teimour Radjabov

Teimour Radjabov aiming at the next opponent

Round 7 results:
Radjabov – Caruana draw
Aronian – Grischuk draw
Nakamura – Carlsen draw
Tomashevsky – Morozevich 1-0
McShane – Kramnik 1-0

Round 7 standings:
1-5. Morozevich, Carlsen, Radjabov, Kramnik, Caruana – 4, 6. Nakamura – 3,5, 7-9. Grischuk, Aronian, McShane – 3, 10. Tomashevsky – 2,5.

Round 8 pairings:
Caruana – Kramnik, Morozevich – McShane, Carlsen – Tomashevsky, Grischuk – Nakamura, Radjabov – Aronian

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili

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