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Gelfand joins Nakamura in the lead at the Tal Memorial; Carlsen beats Anand

Tal-Memorial-2013A crucial round was played today at the Tal Memorial. Nakamura arrived as the sole leader and quickly drew with white against Dmitry Andreikin – this is the Russian’s fifth straight draw. Meanwhile, Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Morozevich to catch him in first place. However, most of the eyes were put on the prelude to the upcoming World Championship match; Magnus Carlsen had the white pieces and beat world champion Viswanathan Anand in just 29 moves.

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The last challenger for the world championship is having a good run in the latest two elite tournaments. He finished tied in first place at the Alekhine Memorial and now shares the lead in Moscow. His victim today was risk-taker Alexander Morozevich. The Muscovite is not having a good run lately; he fell to the 21st place in the live ratings list and is sharing last place with Vladimir Kramnik in this event.

Morozevich chose the Benoni, which is a rather dubious choice against a classical player like Gelfand. Moreover, the Russian sacrificed an exchange on the tenth move! Clearly, he was looking for an unbalanced game to steal a point with the black pieces. However, this strategy backfired as Gelfand refuted the line with two strong exchange sacrifices. Morozevich gave up on move 33.

Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand

The center of attention in the playing hall and through the internet was the duel Carlsen – Anand. Strangely, this was the first game to finish, and it did with a decisive result. The Norwegian only needed 29 moves to get the full point. Viswanathan Anand played passively and was not able to find the precise defensive moves to keep the balance. His pieces were left on the last rank while white’s passed e-pawn marched to the promotion square.

The main topic at the press conference was how would this affect the players before the upcoming match in Chennai. Carlsen declared: “I thinks it’s important for the World Championship match to remind him that I can outplay him once in a while”. After this optimistic remark, he added “…but I’m not going to go around and pretend that he’s going to have such bad days in the match, I need to be ready for the worst as he will be very well prepared”.

When asked about the fact that the match will be played in India, the home soil of the world champion, he declared, with his usual wry sense of humor:  “I would believe more on home advantage if a Russian would manage to win a game in this tournament”. Once again, he politely added “…which, to be fair, I think will happen very soon”.

Carlsen - Anand

Carlsen – Anand

Dmitry Andreikin used the Queen’s Indian Defense to neutralize Hikaru Nakamura. This draw stops the American’s whopping winning streak. Nakamura did not a see a reason to avoid a three-fold repetition on move 23.

Vladimir Kramnik looked for chances to recover from his bad start with his usual positional play in his game against Sergey Karjakin. The younger Russian defended accurately and never gave the ex-world champion an opportunity to demonstrate his ability in these slow structures.

The longest game of the day was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – Fabiano Caruana. The players signed the peace treaty when the queens were about to left the board with a closed structure and bishops of opposite colors.

Hikaru Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili

Standings after 5 rounds:

1 Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2784
2 Gelfand, Boris ISR 2755
3 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE 2753 3
4 Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2864 3
5 Andreikin, Dmitry RUS 2713
6 Caruana, Fabiano ITA 2774
7 Karjakin, Sergey RUS 2782 2
8 Anand, Viswanathan IND 2786 2
9 Morozevich, Alexander RUS 2760
10 Kramnik, Vladimir RUS 2803

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