Tal Memorial 9: Nepo’s biggest win


Ian Nepomniachtchi has won Tal Memorial 2016

For a while during Thursday’s final round of the 2016 Tal Memorial it seemed Anish Giri was going to win the event without even needing a playoff. Ian Nepomniachtchi was contemplating resignation against Boris Gelfand while Giri just needed to put the finishing touches to a win over Li Chao. Fortune was on the side of the Russian, though, who finished in clear first when both those games ended in draws.

Ian elaborated on that theme in an interview with Sport Express shortly afterwards:

The tournament was very strong. It’s a long time since I took part in such events, and in general I don’t often get the chance to play in a good round-robin. This was probably the strongest tournament of my life, and it’s doubly pleasant that I managed to go the whole distance pretty evenly.

What are the main moments you’d single out?

Of course the first win. Evgeny Tomashevsky is a very solid chess player, and it’s very tough to beat him. After success you also start to feel more confident. I managed to beat Vladimir Kramnik, doing that in time trouble, when my opponent went astray in a defendable position. Well, and of course it was satisfying to win a high-quality game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.