How does White win?
THE Mikhail Tal Memorial in Moscow ended as the legendary former world champion would have wanted it: a dramatic final round and half the field in the running for first place, and of surprises and shocks right to the very last moves.
Going into the final round, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was a clear first, half a point ahead of front-runner Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin, with Wang Hao, Alexander Grischuk and Hikaru Nakamura another half point behind. But nerves got the better of the Azeri, as he blew his big chance with a horrific loss to Boris Gelfand – a result that lifted the Israeli out of the cellar.
Wang Hao then proceeded to blow a promising position against Karjakin, as the newly-minted Russian showed great determination and resources to hang on for the half point, as he salvaged his position to join Mamedyarov and Aronian in the clubhouse on 5.5/9.
The scene was then set for the Nakamura – who up to this point the revelation of the tournament – to join them in equal first, as he slowly outplayed Grischuk. But his hard work ended in vain at the end of an 85-move epic, as the American erred to give his Russian rival the draw.
In the end, by virtue of a second set of tiebreaks (the first eliminating Mamedyarov), Aronian and Karjakin couldn't be separated, and thus shared the title.
Final standings: 1-3. Aronian, Karjakin and Mamedyarov, 5.5/9; 4-6. Grischuk , Nakamura and Wang Hao, 5; 7. Kramnik, 4.5; 8. Gelfand, 3.5; 9. Shirov, 3; 10. Eljanov, 2.5.
S Karjakin - V Kramnik
Tal Memorial, (8)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 Nc3 Nxc3 6 dxc3 Be7 7 Be3 0–0 8 Qd2 Nd7 9 0–0–0 Ne5 10 h4 c6 11 c4 Be6 12 Ng5 Bf5 13 Kb1 Re8 14 f3 h6 15 Be2 d5 16 g4 Bg6 17 f4! dxc4 18 Qc3 Nd3 19 f5 Bxg5 20 fxg6 Rxe3 21 gxf7+ Kf8 22 Qxc4 Rxe2 23 hxg5 Qxg5 24 Qxd3 Qe3 25 Qh7 Qe4 26 Qg8+ Ke7 27 Qxg7 Qxc2+ 28 Ka1 Rf8 29 Rhf1 Rd2 30 Rfe1+ Re2 31 Qc3 Kxf7 32 Qf3+ 1–0