Chess - The Scotsman 11/06/12
TWENTY years ago this month, Mikhail Tal (1936-92), the eighth world chess champion, and one of the greatest attacking players of all time, died after numerous health issues.
Tal held the world title for only one year (1960/61), but to many chess fans he will always be the “People’s Champion.”
The Tal Memorial, under way in Moscow, features a star-studded field, and two innovations that Tal himself would have applauded. First, the people got a chance through an online poll to determine the final invitation to the tournament. Second, the Russian organisers came up with the idea of the players battling it out in a blitz tournament to determine their draw numbers.
The nine invited players include the world’s Top 5 players (Vishy Anand dropping to sixth place following his world title match last month) – Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Teimour Radjabov, Hikaru Nakamura – and, respectively, the world numbers 8, 10, 11 and 16, Fabiano Caruana, Alexander Morozevich, Alexander Grischuk and Evgeny Tomashevsky. Completing the line-up by topping the online poll was English No 2 Luke McShane, who keeps that quaint English tradition alive of being the world’s strongest amateur, as he also has a full-time job in the City.
Of all the world champions, Tal was the most addicted to blitz chess, so the introduction of a pre-tournament blitz decider to determine the draw numbers was a fitting gesture. Morozevich and Carlsen both topped the blitz tournament on 6.5/10, with Morozevich taking the top spot on tiebreaker by virtue of beating the world No 1 in their individual game.
M Carlsen - T Radjabov
7th Tal Memorial Blitz, (4)
French Defence, Tarrasch variation
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 a6 4 Ngf3 c5 5 c3 cxd4 6 Nxd4 Nf6 7 e5 Nfd7 8 f4 Nc6 9 N2f3 Be7 10 Bd3 Nc5 11 Bc2 Bd7 12 0–0 Nxd4 13 Nxd4 g6 14 Be3 Qc7 15 Kh1 h5 16 Qe1 Rc8 17 Bf2 Ba4 18 Bb1 Bd7 19 Bh4 Bxh4 20 Qxh4 Qd8 21 Qf2 Qe7 22 Bc2 Ba4 23 b3 Bd7 24 a4 0–0 25 Rae1 Bc6 26 f5! exf5 27 Nxf5 gxf5 28 Qg3+ 1–0
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