Monday, June 18, 2012

Tal Memorial - A surprise sole leader

After eight rounds of play, a sole leader has emerged and its not Kramnik, Carlsen or Morozevich. The surprise leader is GM Caruana with five points and plus 2. He beat Kramnik in the eight round. Caruana was never close to the lead in the early rounds and most observers were not concentrating on him. He got where he is now by solid if uninspiring chess ( I hardly watched any of his games!).

The other possible leader was Carlsen who had to beat the tailender Tomashevsky. Easier said than done. At this level, there are no players who you can be sure of the point. Carlsen as usual was pressing in an interesting ending but in the end Tomashevsky held the draw.

Morozevich lost his third game in a row to Luke McShane. McShane is really on fire having defeated Aronian, Morozevich and Kramnik. He faces Carlsen in the final round.

Caruana is almost certain of winning the tournament with a final round draw with Aronian who is not having his best tournament - he is the second last in the table right now with minus one. Kramnik plays Morozevich and I am sure both will want to finish with a plus one, so some fighting chess can be expected (what else can we expect from Morozevich anyway?).

For Morozevich, this tournament will be a most bitter one. After leading for the first half, he suffered three defeats in a row. The problem is he only plays one way -  to win. And he takes risk and plays unusual moves just to avoid a draw. That is his downfall - if he had played solidly in the last three games he would still be leading now.

Theoretically, either Carlsen or Radjabov can still win the tournament, provided Caruana loses the last game so  final round pairings are going to be most interesting -
Aronian - Caruana
McShane - Carlsen
Kramnik - Morozevich
Tomashevsky - Grischuk
Nakamura - Radjabov


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