First a quick word about the Tal Memorial blitz, which occurred on Sunday. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was the runaway winner, scoring an undefeated 7.5/9. Levon Aronian finished in second with 5.5 points, and Ian Nepomniachtchi, Peter Svidler, and Anish Giri (in that tiebreak order) tied for third-fifth with 5 points apiece. All five players thereby secured an extra white game in the main tournament. (More on the blitz here.)
Today was time for round 1 of the main event. Only one game had a winner, and one other game should have. The win belonged to Ian Nepomniachtchi, who defeated Evgeny Tomashevsky in a strange game. Nepomniachtchi played the Scotch, which is about as surprising as Peter Svidler dominated a post-game press conference. Nevertheless, Tomashevsky seemed badly unprepared, choosing a seemingly dubious line on move 10. The poor continuations on moves 12 and 13 suggested that his choice on move 10 wasn't part of some deep new idea, and by move 14 he was already lost. Resignation was already reasonable on move 20, and occurred on move 23.
Svidler also seemed headed for a win over Vladimir Kramnik after 17...g5?! 18.Be3 d5?! got Kramnik into trouble and subsequent errors on moves 25 and 30 left him lost. The win wasn't quite trivial though, and in what was probably time trouble Svidler lost much of his advantage. The momentum continued to swing Kramnik's way, and by around move 45 he was the one doing the pressing. It wasn't enough, and the game ended in a draw, as did Aronian-Gelfand, Giri-Anand, and Mamedyarov-Li Chao.
The games, with varying degrees of annotation, are here, and these are the pairings for round 2:
- Kramnik - Li Chao
- Anand - Mamedyarov
- Gelfand - Giri
- Tomashevsky - Aronian
- Svidler - Nepomniachtchi