Moscow: the early rounds

In the early rounds of the 5th Tal memorial from Moscow, Russia, it is Levon Aronian who has taken the lead.
Five other players have plus one and are only half-a-point behind.

Three key players are missing this year, all of whom have been busy of late: Ivanchuk, Carlsen and Anand but the players who are present are almost as strong!

World No.3 Aronian plays his first tournament as a 2800-player and seems to be confirming his new status with two white wins.

Alexei Shirov and Pavel Eljanov had dreadful starts, losing their first three games, and are at the other end of the table.

The results of the first four rounds were as follows:

Round 1 (5th of November):

Shakhriyar MamedyarovAZE27630.5-0.5Hikaru NakamuraUSA274143Queen's Gambit Declined Lasker
Sergey KarjakinRUS27601-0Boris GelfandISR274157Petroff Defence
Alexei ShirovESP27350-1Wang HaoCHI272751French Defence
Levon AronianARM28011-0Vladimir KramnikRUS279141 Queen's Gambit Ragozin
Alexander GrischukRUS27711-0Pavel EljanovUKR274258Catalan/Bogoljubov

Round 2 (6th of November):

Shakhriyar MamedyarovAZE27630.5-0.5Sergey KarjakinRUS276039Nimzoindian Defence 4.g3
Boris GelfandISR27411-0Alexei ShirovESP273561Slav Defence
Wang HaoCHI27270.5-0.5Levon AronianARM280139Catalan Opening
Vladimir KramnikRUS27910.5-0.5Alexander GrischukRUS277139Queen's Gambit Declined
Hikaru NakamuraUSA27411-0Pavel EljanovUKR274240Catalan/Bogoljubov

Round 3 (7th of November):

Alexei ShirovESP27350-1Shakhriyar MamedyarovAZE276371Spanish Breyer
Sergey KarjakinRUS27600.5-0.5Hikaru NakamuraUSA274170Spanish Berlin
Levon AronianARM28011-0Boris GelfandISR274143Catalan Opening
Alexander GrischukRUS27710.5-0.5Hao WangCHI272722Slav Defence
Pavel EljanovUKR27420-1Vladimir KramnikRUS279151Nimzoindian Defence 4.Qc2

Round 4 (8th of November):

Shakhriyar MamedyarovAZE27630.5-0.5Levon AronianARM280135Slav Defence
Sergey KarjakinRUS27600.5-0.5Alexei ShirovESP273563Spanish Neo-Archangel
Boris GelfandISR27410.5-0.5Alexander GrischukRUS277143Catalan/Bogljubov
Hao WangCHI27270.5-0.5Pavel EljanovUKR274279English Opening
Hikaru NakamuraUSA27410.5-0.5Vladimir KramnikRUS279133Petroff Defence

The table after four rounds is as follows with six of the ten players on plus scores.

1Levon AronianARM28012203
2=Alexander GrischukRUS27711302.5
2=Shakhriyar MamedyarovAZE27631302.5
2=Sergey KarjakinRUS27601302.5
2=Hikaru NakamuraUSA27411302.5
2=Wang HaoCHI27271302.5
7Vladimir KramnikRUS27911212
8Boris GelfandISR27411121.5
9=Pavel EljanovUKR27420130.5
9=Alexei ShirovESP27350130.5

This nine round Swiss has a classical rate of play but with somewhat more time than usual (120 mins for 40 moves followed by 60 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes plus 30 seconds per move from the 61st).

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