At first, I hesitated whether any of the games of round 9, the last round of the tournament, should be taken seriously and require any comment. Finally, I decided, that the players applied a typical for the last rounds approach: to setup a solid opening and take a look if the opponent is going to err in the opening. If he isn`t then draw. Thus a couple of opening comments are required. Yet in spite of some players asserting their maintaining some fighting spirit, I have to state that the participants buried the hatchet already in the previous round if not earlier.


Ponomariov,R (2703) - Leko,P (2741) [E12]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (9), 16.11.2006

1.d4 ¤f6 2.c4 e6 3.¤f3 b6 4.¤c3 Ґb7 5.a3 d5 6.cxd5 ¤xd5 7.Јc2 ¤xc3 8.bxc3 Ґe7 9.e4 0-0 10.Ґd3 c5 11.0-0 Јc7  11...Јc8 12.Јe2 Ґa6 12.Јe2 ¤d7 13.Ґb2 ¦fd8 The position has already occurred in practice just with a different move order. Leko claimed black`s last move to be very precise. He certainly knows what he says. A look in the database with an unaided eye tells us that after a common 13...¦ac8 black had no problems if we refer to the games Kasparov-Kramnik, Linares 2004 and Sokolov I.-Hracek, Calvia (ol) 2004

14.d5 exd5 15.exd5 Ґf6  15...c4?! 16.Ґxh7+ would be definitely too creative.

16.c4 After16.¦ad1 black may think of 16...b5 (after16...Ґxd5 17.Ґxh7+ ўxh7 18.¦xd5 white bishop is only temporary passive, some advantage seems to be on white`s side.) 17.d6 Јb6 with unclear game. 16...b5! A strong novelty breaking white`s center and making already white be careful.

17.cxb5 Ґxd5 17...¦e8 18.Јc2 Ґxb2 19.Јxb2 Ґxd5 would also give black a good game  18.Ґxf6 ¤xf6 19.Ґc4 ¦e8 20.Јd3 draw agreed. Black may demonstrate a clear equality by 20...Ґxc4 21.Јxc4 ¦e4 22.Јc3 a6= or may try to get something by 20...Ґe4! 21.Јb3 ¤g4 But it seems none of the sides risks in this position. White may simplify to a drawish rook endgame 22.Ґxf7+ Јxf7 23.Јxf7+ ўxf7 24.¤g5+ ўf6 (or24...ўg6) 25.¤xe4+ ¦xe4 26.f3 but perhaps he doesn`t need it, simple 22.g3 is even no less reliable. 1/2-1/2

Mamedyarov had to accept his fate in this tournament and didn`t try to change anything in the last round, while Svidler was probably glad to finish the tournament. The outcome is the so-called GM-draw.


Mamedyarov,S (2728) - Svidler,P (2750) [E60]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (9), 16.11.2006

1.d4 ¤f6 2.c4 g6 3.¤f3 Ґg7 4.g3 c6 5.Ґg2 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.0-0 ¤c6 8.¤c3 ¤e4 9.¤e5

9...¤xc3 10.bxc3 ¤xe5 11.dxe5 0-0 11...Ґxe5 would be a serious mistake: 12.Ґh6 Ґe6 13.e4 with strong white`s initiative, Cvek-Jirka, Prerov 2001 12.Јxd5 12.f4 Ґe6 leaves white with a weakness he certainly doesn`t need. 12...Јxd5 13.Ґxd5 ¦d8 14.Ґg2 After 14... Ґxe5 15.Ґe3 Ґxc3 16.¦ab1 further exchanges are to follow. 1/2-1/2

We understand Mamedyarov who had already made 8 draws quite different from this one by this moment, we understand Peter who must have been rather discontent with his play, they definitely understand each other... Sounds familiar for our readers, eh?

Gelfand,B (2733) - Aronian,L (2741) [E01]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (9), 16.11.2006

1.d4 ¤f6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Ґg2 Ґb4+ 5.Ґd2 Ґe7 6.¤f3 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Ґf4 b6 9.¤c3 Ґb7 10.¤d2 Aronian named this move a novelty after the game, but mentioning such famous names as Tolush, Averbakh and year 1948 would be much more up to reality. From the other hand... I`d say they played some other game just with the same name "chess" that time. Maybe for our chess this move is a novelty.

10...¤h5 Aronian seems to react correct, he fairly comes to a conclusion his misplaced knight will be compensated by other concrete reasons. In the game mentioned above black was not up to the task and after 10...¤bd7 11.e4 ¦c8 found himself in a passive position, Tolush-Averbakh, U¦S-ch Moscow 1948; black was successful with a rather unexpected tempo loss 10...Ґa6!? 11.b3 b5 in Romanishin-Mastrovasilis, Corinthos 2002

11.Ґe5 ¤d7 12.e4 ¤xe5 13.dxe5  13.exd5 ¤xc4 14.¤xc4 exd5 15.¤xd5 cxd5 16.Јxh5 g6 17.Јf3 Ґa6 is bad for white; after 13.cxd5 black reaches a good game by 13...¤xg3!? (simple13...cxd5 14.dxe5 d4 15.¤b5 leads to an unclear position due to black`s misplaced knight) 14.hxg3 ¤g6

13...dxc4 13...d4 also deserved attention.

14.Ґf3 It`s hard to refrain form spoiling opponents structure, but after the game Aronian condemned the very idea.

14...g6 15.Ґxh5 gxh5 16.¤xc4

Draw agreed. After the game Aronian said he took draw from practical reasons of sharing the first place n the tournament, while objectively black may be already somewhat better. Astonishing conclusion, should not black be happy with such an outcome having such a spoiled structure?!But if we dig a little, Aronian`s subtle evaluation of black`s dynamic opportunities proves to be right! White has no time to consolidate after 16.¤xc4 Јxd1! 17.¦fxd1 ¦fd8 18.ўg2 (18.f4 Ґa6 19.b3 (19.¤d6 f6) 19...Ґc5+ 20.ўg2 Ґd4) 18...Ґa6 19.b3 f6 and it`s certainly not black who ha problems in this position. 1/2-1/2


Grischuk,A (2710) - Carlsen,M (2698) [D38]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (9), 16.11.2006

1.d4 ¤f6 2.c4 e6 3.¤f3 d5 4.¤c3 Ґb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Ґg5 0-0!? 7.e3 c5 8.dxc5 As much as I understand the idea of black`s 6th move instead of 6..¤bd7 is to avoid Ґd3-f5 after 8.Ґd3 c4 Black performs successfully after 9.Ґc2 h6 10.Ґh4 ¤bd7 Izoria`s and Jobava`s games can be referred in this line beside two games mentioned below. No wonder Grischuk calls the variation the Georgian one.

8...¤bd7 9.¦c1 Јa5 10.¤d2 b6

11.Ґe2 This time the novelty prepared by Grischuk fails. White was utmostly unsuccessful in games previously played: 11.a3 Ґxc3 12.¦xc3 bxc5 13.Ґxf6 ¤xf6 14.Ґe2 ¦b8 15.Јc1 Ґa6 16.¦xc5 ¦fc8 Li Wenliang-Kacheishvili, Jinan 2005; 11.c6 d4 12.cxd7 dxc3 13.bxc3 Ґxc3 14.Ґxf6 gxf6 15.¦xc3 Јxc3 16.dxc8Ј ¦axc8 Moiseenko-Giorgadze, ESP-chT 2005 black has dangerous initiative in both cases.

11...bxc5 12.0-0 Ґxc3 13.¦xc3 Јxa2 14.Јc2 ¦b8 14...d4 15.exd4 cxd4 16.¦g3 would be dangerous. 15.¦b1 Јa5

Grischuk claims he analysed mainly 15...d4 and the move in the game took him aback. He spent half an hour only to understand he failed to reach anything in the opening.

16.Ґxf6 The alternative 16.Ґf4 ¦b4 17.Ґd6 ¦e8 18.¤b3 (as Jakovenko correctly mentions18.Ґxc5 ¤xc5 19.¦xc5 Ґf5! (we shall see this resource in every variation here) 20.e4 Јb6 21.exf5 ¦xe2 22.¦c8+ ¤e8 is bad for white) 18...Јb6 19.Ґxc5 ¤xc5 20.¦xc5 (20.¤xc5 d4=) 20...Ґf5 21.Јxf5 ¦xb3 leads to a position with the same evaluation as the one in the game...

16...¤xf6 17.¤b3 After17.¦xc5 Ґf5! 18.e4 ¦bc8 white has to be accurate; now after 17...Јa4 18.¤xc5 Јxc2 19.¦xc2 Ґf5 20.Ґd3 white`s advantage is purely symbolical 1/2-1/2

Morozevich,A (2747) - Shirov,A (2720) C89
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (9), 16.11.2006

1.e4 e5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.Ґb5 a6 4.Ґa4 ¤f6 5.0-0 Ґe7 6.¦e1 b5 7.Ґb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.d4 dxe4 10.¤xe5 ¤xe5 11.dxe5 Јxd1 12.Ґxd1 ¤d7 13.Ґc2

13...¤xe5 Black used to play 13...Ґb7 here after 14.¤d2  14...¤xe5 15.¤xe4 black had no problems neither after 14...¤c4 in Gallagher-Vijajalakshmi, Edinburgh 2003 nor after15...¦fe8 Stellwagen-Beliavsky, Maribor rapid 2004 Degraeve with white took the pawn and went on to win, but the game doesn`t allow us to give evaluatin to this idea:14.Ґxe4 Ґxe4 15.¦xe4 ¦ad8 16.¤d2 ¤c5 17.¦e2 Degraeve-Vuillemier, Vandoeuvre 2004

14.Ґxe4 ¦b8 15.Ґf4 White could take the pawn immediately. 15.Ґxh7+ ўxh7 16.¦xe5 Ґf6 Black would have obvious compensation. Now the game seems to draw almost by force.

15...Ґd6 16.Ґxe5 Ґxe5 17.Ґxh7+ ўxh7 18.¦xe5 ¦d8 19.ўf1 after 19.¤a3 ¦d2 20.b3 ¦b6 the "shameful" position of white`s knight is fraught with consequences for white; 19.¦e1 doesn`t help the knight to develop. 19...f6 20.¦e3 ¦d1+ 21.¦e1 ¦xe1+ 22.ўxe1 Ґf5 23.¤a3

I can suggest another draw line: 23.¤d2 ¦e8+ 24.ўd1 Ґd3 25.¤b3 Ґf1 26.g3 ¦e2 27.¤d2 ¦xf2 28.ўe1 ¦e2+ 29.ўd1 23...¦e8+ 24.ўd2 ¦d8+ 25.ўe3 ¦e8+ 26.ўd2 ¦d8+ 1/2-1/2

The last round is over. The tournament has finished. The only thing that remains is to conclude the results in a summary that comes in a small separate issue and... to wait for new important chess events which are very soon to follow.

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