Tal Memorial 2016 – Round 8

All drawn again in Moscow and apart from Kramnik’s titanic efforts to win the other games were relatively controlled affairs.

I didn’t understand most part of the game Aronian-Li Chao. Starting from the opening and then middlegame I found it baffling why they were rejecting natural moves in favour of weird ones. But once the rook endgame was reached things started to make sense. It was a beautiful example of active defence by Li Chao.

Nepomniachtchi’s choice to play the English (hence the answer to the question that ended my previous post is “no”) against Anand was surprising taking into account that a draw was a very good result for him. Was he entertaining thoughts of actually beating Anand? Things went off the beaten track rather quickly and it appeared to me that at various points both players were better!

And another “no” as an answer to my question from my previous post – in spite of trying for more than 100 moves Kramnik couldn’t realise his extra pawn against Tomashevsky. A disappointment for him as he was a pawn up starting from move 24!

Giri played the popular Giuoco Piano against Mamedyarov but this time black was better prepared than in his game against Nepomniachtchi.

Gelfand improved upon his game against Anand and drew easily against Svidler.

The last round tomorrow starts earlier and it looks that a draw against Gelfand with black should suffice for Nepomniachtchi to win the tournament as I doubt it that Giri will beat Li Chao with black. But Li Chao’s openings were rather obscure with white, so perhaps there is a chance…?!

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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