Commemorating the birth of former World Champion Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) the Tal Memorial is arranged for the 6th year in a row. We are getting used to a very high level of organization in Moscow. The players are staying at the classy Ritz-Carlton and the playing venue is the magnificent Pashkov house next to Kreml.

I.ve managed to relax well and spend some time with friends between Bilbao and Tal. In the European Team Championship early November Norway had to manage without me and J.Hammer and the result was about as expected. Kudos to the Germans for an impressive overall victory beating several of the top rated teams.

Having managed to bring together most of the top 10 on the rating list, the Tal Memorial repeats the Bilbao Grand Slam feat of staging a category 22 event.
I did not participate last year in Tal and look forward to a great event.

The other 2800 rated players (Anand, Aronian and Kramnik) all drew white in round one (and five white overall) in the drawing of lots yesterday, and I.m black against all of them. As a consolation number of blacks is the first tiebreak criteria in the final standing.

The time control is classical seven hours, with increments from move one. A no-draw rule applies for 40 moves undoubtedly resulting in a hard-fought and tough tournament.

I was black against Aronian today. We played a variation of the 5.Qa4 line in the Queens Indian. I was slightly worse after the opening but managed to gradually improve my position in the middlegame. The position was double edged before the first time control. He offered me the pawn on e3 but would get significant compensation and I decided on a less risky line. Anyhow I had some serious problems in the complex rook and bishop endgame and was relieved when a draw was reached after 5,5 hours play.

Ivanchuk outplayed Svidler to take an early lead together with Nepomniachtchi who beat Kramnik with black!

Tomorrow I.m white against Gelfand at 3 pm local time (apparently Moscow is still on summer time) and I look forward to the continuation.

Magnus Carlsen, Moscow, November 16th, 2011