My accidental four months break from tournament chess after Tata Steel is by far the longest break since playing my first children tournament in July 1999.
Anticipated rustiness made me more than happy to accept playing a Blitz tournament to decide the starting order in the main event.

Tal Memorial was moved to June this year to avoid a potential conflict with the Candidates, and it is nice for once to visit Moscow in the summer.
Most of the elite chess players are participating, and the event is category 22. (The WC match in May was category 21:-)

Once again we stay at Ritz-Carlton and the event takes place at magnificent Pashkov House opposite Kreml.
I understand the Blitz transmission was trademark Tal Memorial: Excellent high resolution internet coverage.

Nine rounds of Blitz is not much, but it was enough for the quality of play to deteriorate throughout the event for me and for most of the others as well.

My 1st round opponent McShane showed a sense of humor. As black he played the somewhat dubious 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.e5 Nh5 variation I tried against his compatriot M.Adams in the 2010 Olympiad, and with the same result. White won.
In round 2 I put pressure on Aronian throughout most of the game, but he defended excellently and tricked me in the end. Kramnik was next. He did not put up much resistance, and due to his dismal result in the Blitz he has black against me tomorrow in the main event round 1.
I managed to stay at or near the top through most of the event. A lucky win on time against Caruana was followed by a not so lucky loss on time against Morozevich. He played very well and deservedly won the Blitz with the same number of points as me, 6.5/9, due to better tie-break. (He had black in 5 games, I had 5 white.)
I hope the tournament is FIDE-rated as it would yield me a decent Blitz rating!

Also Grischuk and Radjabov at 5,5 and Aronian at 5 qualified for the white pieces tomorrow. The round starts at 3pm local time.

Magnus Carlsen, Moscow, June 7th, 2012