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Tal Memorial 02: Anand trounces Mamedyarov's speculative sacrifice

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 28/09/2016

Vishy Anand joined the lead at the 2016 Tal Memorial in a stylish manner. Anand fended off a sacrificial attack by Mamedyarov to emerge up a piece in a winning endgame, despite Black's three passed pawns as compensation. A study-like finish gave a nice win to the Indian former World Champion. Find out a detailed step-by-step analysis by GM Alejandro Ramirez and also, comments game analysis by Viswanathan Anand himself!

Tal Memorial 02: Anand trounces Mamedyarov's speculative sacrifice 

Round Two

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili

Round 2 - Sept. 27 - 14h CET
Kramnik Vladimir
Li Chao B
Anand Viswanathan
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Gelfand Boris
Giri Anish
Tomashevsky Evgeny
Aronian Levon
Svidler Peter
Nepomniachtchi Ian

Vishy Anand joined the lead at the 2016 Tal Memorial in a stylish manner. Anand fended off a sacrificial attack by Mamedyarov to emerge up a piece in a winning endgame, despite Black's three passed pawns as compensation. A study-like finish gave a nice win to the Indian former World Champion.

Azerbaijan's Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's was Anand's opponent in the second round.

The opening began as  Ruy Lopez that slowly reached a Benoni-like structure...

...that became popular thanks to Anish Giri-Peter Svidler from the 2015 World Cup.

After his game finished, Svidler walked into the commentary room and said that this game is all following his game against Anish Giri, a crucial victory for the Russian in the World Cup last year!

Soon, they were on their own, and Mamedyarov had decisions to make.

After the game, Anand said, "I didn't understand 23...a4. I thought he is better off without it. In fact, I am happy after a4 -- I can play a3 somewhere. I understood he was trying to improve his position before sacrificing the piece. But it is not clear if he improved the position or what... It is very hard to collect the pawn back now. For example, if he goes ...Bd7, I have a3, and I am also breaking up his pawn structure. Okay, it is a normal idea, but I don't think here it works concretely."

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White to play

Anand suffered a minor lapse here when he thought that 37.Re3 is just winning. He later commented that even though he is still quite better, 37.Rb2 would have won much quicker because it forces a trade of one pair of rooks on the back rank.

He finished it all off with a studly-like combination here. White to play.

IM Sagar Shah with his mini capsule on round two

Anand-Mamedyarov (Analysis by GM Alejandro Ramirez)

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2016.09.27"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Anand, V."]
[Black "Mamedyarov, S."]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2761"]
[PlyCount "107"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3
O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. d4 Re8 11. Nbd2 exd4 12. cxd4 Nd7 13. Nf1 Na5 14. Bc2 Bf6 15.
Rb1 c5 16. d5 Nc4 17. b3 Nce5 18. N3h2 Ng6 {As Svidler mentioned on commentary,
this is all following the game between Giri-Svidler, a crucial victory for the
Russian in the World Cup last year!} 19. Ne3 (19. Ng3 Bc8 (19... Bc3 $5 {
Was perhaps an improvement by Bu against Hou Yifan in July.}) 20. Rf1 {
Giri-Svidler, 2015.}) 19... Bc8 (19... Bc3 {was played in Macieja-Berczes,
2015. The Hungarian player, Berczes, won at the end.}) 20. Bd2 b4 21. Nhg4 a5
22. Nxf6+ Qxf6 23. g3 a4 {Anand didn't understand this move. He was happy to
see a4.} (23... Nde5 24. f4 (24. Nf5 $5) 24... Nxf4 25. gxf4 Qxf4 26. Nf1 Qh4
27. Re3 Bxh3 {is similar to the game, but without the a4 pawn sacrifice. More
analysis will be needed to determine the differences.}) 24. bxa4 Nde5 25. f4 {
It is clear that after this move Black must sacrifice his piece. Anand
considers this version to be better for White than without the a4 break.
Thorough analysis will be found in a future ChessBase Magazine edition, but
for now it seems that the former World Champion is correct.} Nxf4 26. gxf4 Qxf4
27. Nf1 Qh4 28. Re3 Bxh3 {Vishy thought it was hard to collect a4 in this
position.} 29. Qe2 Qg4+ {A surprising decision, to exchange queens in this
material balance.} (29... h5 30. a3 $1 {Is a nice break that activates White's
pieces.}) 30. Qxg4 Bxg4 31. a3 Nf3+ 32. Kf2 Nd4 33. Rb2 bxa3 34. Rxa3 Nxc2 35.
Rxc2 Rxe4 36. a5 {Even though Black has three pawns for the pieces, the
combination of the power of the passed a pawn and the possibility for White's
pieces to activate give him an almost winning advantage.} Bc8 37. Re3 {Based
on a miscalculation.} (37. Rb2 $1 {was easier.}) 37... Rf4+ 38. Rf3 (38. Kg3
Rg4+ 39. Kf3 h5 40. Re8+ Kh7 $16 {is not that clear just yet.}) 38... Re4 39.
Rb2 Ba6 40. Bc3 h5 41. Ng3 Rh4 42. Rb6 Rh2+ 43. Kg1 Rc2 44. Nf5 Bc4 45. Re3 $1
Kh7 46. Rxd6 $1 {The start of a study-like win.} (46. Nxg7 $16) 46... Rb8 47.
Rb6 Rxb6 48. axb6 Bxd5 49. Nxg7 Rg2+ (49... h4 50. Nh5 Kh6 51. Nf4 Bc6 52. Bf6
{and Black is in an annoying mating net.}) 50. Kf1 Rg6 51. Nxh5 Bc4+ 52. Kf2
Rxb6 53. Nf6+ {The point of the combination. Both king moves lose to different
things.} Kh6 (53... Kg6 54. Nd7 {and Black cannot defend the rook and check on
e5, taking the bishop, which incidentally also cannot be defended.}) 54. Rg3 {
Nothing to to against impeding mate but sacrifice the rook, so Mamedyarov
called it quits.} (54. Rg3 Rd6 55. Be5 Rd2+ 56. Ke1 Re2+ 57. Kd1 Rxe5 58. Ng4+
Kg5 59. Nxe5+ Kf4 60. Rg4+ $18) 1-0

 Vishy Anand explain his win over Shak in this video interview. Don't miss this one! 

Impressions from the tournament:

The God of sacrificial chess -- Mikhail Tal -- made unpredictable moves predictable! Download this wonderful image by Eteri Kublashvili and make it your wallpaper now!

The host of the tournament -- Moscow Museum of Russian Impressionism. The prize fund for the event is 200 thousand USD. (Roughly Rs. 1 crore 33 lakh).

 The tournament will be a continuation of the program "Chess in Museums".

The Museum is not just hosting the premier tournament, but also painting classes where young kids learn the art to keep the culture and tradition alive.


Shocking scenes were witnessed on the second day of play as Anish Giri played an aggressive, sacrificial, game to beat Boris Gelfand with black in a Kings Indian!

Don't miss the Gelfand-Giri game where Giri played a fantastic game with sacrifices to win. Read the full report by ChessBase's Alejandro Ramirez here.

Download Grandmaster Analysis of Games in PGN

Round 02 games in PGN with Grandmaster analysis.