The 10th Tal Memorial Chess Tournament is part of a unique Chess in Museums International Project. The project finds support from the Russian Chess Federation and funds come from the charities of Elena and Gennady Timchenko. The idea of organizing chess tournaments in major museums got the boost, when the 2012 World Chess Championship took place in Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery. The contenders were Israel’s Boris Gelfand and India’s Vishy Anand, who won the title for the World Championship for the 5th time. The 2016 edition of Tal Memorial is underway in the Museum of Russian Impressionism, Moscow and three rounds out of nine have already been played. Viswanathan Anand of India was in the joint lead with Dutchman Anish Giri and Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi until Round-2 but after Round-3 matches concluded on September 29, Anand dropped to second spot after drawing his match with China’s Li Chao while Giri and Nepomniachtchi beat their opponents to finish as joint leaders.
Four Russians and six high-ranked chess players constitute the field in the 10th Tal Memorial tournament in Moscow. The tournament is organized to commemorate the legendary Mikhail Tal a Soviet-Latvian national, who was the eighth World Champion during 1960-61 and who has been regarded as the best attacking player of all time. In Round-1 on September 26, Ian Nepomniachtchi was the sole winner in 9 matches of the day, when he beat fellow Russian Evgeny Tomashevsky in a briskly played 23-move game. Vishy Anand played a drawn game against Netherlands’ Anish Giri.
In Round-2 on Wednesday, Vishy Anand faced Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Anand watched Mamedyarov following Peter Svidler in an earlier game but the Indian didn’t succumb to the Azeri’s deception. Anand made a deviation on move 15 and the position on the board became complicated. After 23.g3 it became obvious that Mamedyarov would require sacrificing a piece. But Anand didn’t expect Mamedyarov playing 23…a4. The Indian was forced to play 27.Nf1 and surprisingly saw Mamedyarov taking the queens off with 29…Qg4+. However despite the complications, Anand had reached a winning position, which he finally converted after 52 moves. Another Round-2 winner was Netherlands’ Anish Giri, who defeated Israel’s Boris Gelfand in a tactically complicated game. As the game began, Gelfand tried to avoid a straight Gruenfeld with 3.g3 but a sharp play by Giri in the middle game put the Israeli into problems. The Israeli now had an isolated bishop combined with the open king. Giri pushed hard and finished as the winner. After Round-2 matches were concluded, Anand, Giri and Nepomniachtchi emerged as joint leaders with 1.5 points apiece.
Round-3 matches were played on Thursday September 29. Anand played against China’s Li Chao and drew the game despite the possibility of a win. The Chinese played a line in the Nimzo but he couldn’t profit from it against Anand. Despite moving to a very bad position, Li was lucky to secure the draw. It could easily have been a win for Anand but the Indian allowed Li to escape by not being precise in posing problems. Since Giri and Nepomniachtchi both won their matches, they went into the joint lead to leave Anand at the second place. Giri defeated Evgeny Tomashevsky from a sterile position in London System. Magnus Carlsen’s influence has rubbed on the current breed of young players, who don’t mind playing long and boring games until the end. They neither offer draws nor accept them in the sterile positions. Giri similarly held on against Tomashevsky and employed excellent technique after time-control. Giri’s efforts yielded one full point for him. In another classic of the day, Nepomniachtchi showed tremendous patience in his game against veteran Valdimir Kramnik. Both players were well-prepared and this led to an equal endgame before Kramnik blundered giving a second win to Nepomniachtchi. Giri and Nepomniachtchi both have 2.5/3 and Anand is second with 2/3. On Friday, Anand takes on old foe Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in Round-4, while Anish Giri plays against another Russian Peter Svidler. Ian Nepomniachtchi’s Round-4 match will be against Armenian Levon Aronian.