Tal Memorial, Final Round: Carlsen Defeats Nakamura, Edges Aronian For First On Tiebreaks
Friday, November 25, 2011 at 6:06PM
Dennis Monokroussos in Aronian, Carlsen, Tal Memorial 2011

And so the latest edition of the traveling show comes to a close, to resume in a week or so in London. After a fair number of rounds with few to no wins, the players - except for Anand and his opponent (Gelfand on this occasion), of course - not only played some good fighting chess, they managed to draw some blood.

The biggest game turned out to be Magnus Carlsen's win over Hikaru Nakamura, who has become a pretty regular client the last year or two. Nakamura had White in a Queen's Indian, an opening that's generally pretty solid (especially for White), but Nakamura's dubious pawn sac/blunder on move 15 and a follow-up error on move 21 soon left him with a technically lost position. Carlsen being Carlsen, that was a death sentence, and the opposite-colored bishops made the game last without putting the outcome in serious doubt.

That put Carlsen into a tie for first with Levon Aronian, the clear leader coming into the round. Aronian was pushed very hard by Ian Nepomniachtchi, and had the latter won he would have come ahead of Carlsen on tiebreaks. In the end, Aronian held after 85 long moves in the last game of the tournament. Vassily Ivanchuk also had some opportunities to tie for first, but couldn't put Sergey Karjakin away, and they too finished half a point behind Carlsen and Aronian.

The Gelfand-Anand non-game was already mentioned, while Crazy Kramnik went for it against Peter Svidler but lost. Kramnik's winless -2 score wasn't good, but he did play some fighting, enterprising chess in the tournament. As for Svidler, the win brought him back to 50%.

Final Standings:

1-2. Carlsen, Aronian 5.5 (Carlsen first on tiebreaks)
3-5. Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi, Ivanchuk 5
6-7. Anand (nine draws), Svidler 4.5
8-9. Kramnik, Gelfand 3.5
10. Nakamura 3

Official site here. Some bad news: it at least looks like the traditional blitz tournament (which generally doubles as the world blitz championship) isn't being held this year. If not, maybe this has something to do with the plan to start rating blitz events at the start of the year - maybe the organizers didn't want to hold the last non-rated megablitz tournament in chess history. This is just speculation, and if I'm mistaken and the event is going to take place, I hope my readers will (gently) correct me!

Article originally appeared on The Chess Mind (http://www.thechessmind.net/).
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