Sunday November 21,2010
By Luke McShane

THE Tal Memorial in Moscow has been one of the world’s strongest tournaments in recent years.

This has been another top tournament to adopt the increasingly popular ‘Sofia Rules’ whereby players are forbidden from agreeing draws, so a draw is only permissible after a repetition or in a completely drawn position.

Naturally, the event was extremely hard fought, and the last round was packed with drama as Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov led the tournament alone, but was beaten by Boris Gelfand who was much closer to the bottom end of the table.

That meant that Sergei Karjakin and the early leader Levon Aronian were both able to catch up again. The three shared first place on 5.5/9.

Tiebreaks often seem rather arbitrary to me, especially in an all-play-all event, and in my view Mamedyarov’s tally of three wins (more than anyone else) would have been as good a tiebreaker as any.

But on the system used the Azeri finished behind Aronian and Karjakin, who still couldn’t be separated, so they emerged as joint winners. For both players this follows impressive results at the Olympiad and at the European Club Cup.

Karjakin recently switched his affiliation from Ukraine to Russia, in order to take advantage of the greater training opportunities in Russia, and it seems to be paying dividends.

The Petroff has an extremely solid reputation, to such an extent that top players joke that it’s ‘just a draw!’ But chess is inexhaustibly complex, and Karjakin found a way to bring the game to life, beating the world’s greatest expert on the opening, Vladimir Kramnik.

Full article with game here.

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