There's now a three-way tie for first after two rounds of the Tal Memorial. Three games were drawn - two post-haste (Svidler-Nepomniachtchi and Tomashevsky-Aronian) while the third (Kramnik-Li Chao) always seemed headed for the draw that was eventually achieved.
The other two games were impressive achievements by the victors. Anish Giri defeated Boris Gelfand with the black pieces in good style. Giri's active play in the center involved a pawn sac, and it would seem that he did a better job of evaluating the sharp position that resulted than did his opponent. 28...g5 was a nice move, and Giri finished the game with an impressive attack, helped along by Gelfand's plausible error on move 34 in time trouble.
Viswanathan Anand also won with an impressive attack, but in an endgame. Mamedyarov went for an interesting piece sac in a Closed Ruy, and while his compensation may have been enough it required accurate play to remain that way. His decision to trade queens on move 29 surprised Anand, and the computer doesn't like it either: Black's compensation rested as much on his attacking chances as on the pawns he had for the piece, and once the queens came off it was White who took over the initiative. The final sequence, beginning with, say, 47.Rb6, was very nice. Mamedyarov wasn't too far away from escaping with a draw, but some clever tactics combining various possible knight forks with threats against Black's king secured the win for the former world champion.
Here are the pairings for round 3, with player scores in parentheses:
- Nepomniachtchi (1.5) - Kramnik (1)
- Aronian (1) - Svidler (1)
- Giri (1.5) - Tomashevsky (.5)
- Mamedyarov (.5) - Gelfand (.5)
- Li Chao (1) - Anand (1.5)