It is usually played in the first half of November, with many of the world's strongest players competing. The first three editions all reached Category XX (overall Elo average 2735).
As Mikhail Tal is widely considered to be one of the greatest attacking players of all time, it is common (but in no way required) for this event's competitors to commemorate the event with unusually sharp attacking play.
The 2009 competition was held from 5 to 14 November, with 10 of the 13 highest rated players participating: Viswanathan Anand, then the World Champion, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, former world champion, Magnus Carlsen, the world champion of 2013, Peter Leko, Vassily Ivanchuk, Boris Gelfand, Alexander Morozevich, Ruslan Ponomariov and Peter Svidler. The Elo average was 2761 (Cat. XXI), which was the highest ever reached by the tournament. It was won solidly by Vladimir Kramnik with a +3 score, i.e. three wins and six draws. Ivanchuk and Carlsen shared second place with +2.
The 2010 competition was held from 4 to 18 November, at the GUM Exhibition Hall in Red Square, Moscow. Many of the world's top players participated: in order of Elo rating, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin, Pavel Eljanov, Boris Gelfand, Hikaru Nakamura, Alexei Shirov, and Wang Hao. Aronian and Karjakin shared first place with 5½/9. Mamedyarov scored the same number of points, but due to his loss to Gelfand was awarded third place on tie-break. The average Elo was 2757 (Cat. XXI).
The 2011 competition was held from 16 to 25 November. Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik; all four rated 2800+ at the time of the tournament participated. Seven out of the world's top ten players participated in the tournament, and its average Elo of 2776 (Cat. 22) was at the time the highest in history. Both Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian finished on 5½/9 (a +2 score, two wins and seven draws). Due to the tie-break rules of the tournament Magnus Carlsen was declared the winner because he played the black pieces five times, while Levon Aronian played the black pieces only four times.
The Tal Memorial 2012 took place from 7 to 18 June 2012, with participants Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Teimour Radjabov, Alexander Grischuk, Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana, Alexander Morozevich, Evgeny Tomashevsky and Luke McShane. This tournament was a Category 22 event (average Elo rating of 2776.4). A blitz chess tournament on June 7 preceded the main with a separate prize fund to determine the numbering of the players in the main tournament.
The Tal Memorial 2013 took place from 13 to 24 June 2013, with participants Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Hikaru Nakamura, Sergey Karjakin, Fabiano Caruana, Alexander Morozevich, Boris Gelfand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and Dmitry Andreikin. As in 2011, seven of the world's top ten players are participating. The Elo average for the tournament is 2777, making it a Category 22 event and one of the highest rated tournaments of all time. A blitz chess tournament on June 12 preceded the main event with a separate prize fund to determine the numbering of the players in the main tournament.
|1||2006||2727||Levon Aronian (Armenia)
Peter Leko (Hungary)
Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine)
|2||2007||2741||Vladimir Kramnik (Russia)||9||6½|
|3||2008||2738||Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine)||9||6|
|4||2009||2761||Vladimir Kramnik (Russia)||9||6|
|5||2010||2757||Levon Aronian (Armenia)
Sergey Karjakin (Russia)
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan)
|6||2011||2776||Magnus Carlsen (Norway)
Levon Aronian (Armenia)
|7||2012||2777||Magnus Carlsen (Norway)||9||5½|
|8||2013||2777||Boris Gelfand (Israel)||9||6|
|1||Magnus Carlsen (Norway)||2835||X||½||1||½||½||½||½||1||½||½||5½|
|2||Fabiano Caruana (Italy)||2770||½||X||½||1||0||0||½||1||½||1||5|
|3||Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan)||2784||0||½||X||½||½||½||½||1||½||1||5|
|4||Vladimir Kramnik (Russia)||2801||½||0||½||X||½||½||1||0||½||1||4½|
|5||Alexander Morozevich (Russia)||2769||½||1||½||½||X||1||1||0||0||0||4½|
|6||Levon Aronian (Armenia)||2825||½||1||½||½||0||X||½||0||1||½||4½|
|7||Alexander Grischuk (Russia)||2761||½||½||½||0||0||½||X||1||1||½||4½|
|8||Luke McShane (England)||2706||0||0||0||1||1||1||0||X||½||½||4|
|9||Hikaru Nakamura (USA)||2775||½||½||½||½||1||0||0||½||X||½||4|
|10||Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia)||2738||½||0||0||0||1||½||½||½||½||X||3½|
|1||Boris Gelfand (Israel)||2755||X||½||1||½||½||1||½||1||½||½||6||4||3|
|2||Magnus Carlsen (Norway)||2864||½||X||0||½||½||1||½||½||1||1||5½||4||3|
|3||Fabiano Caruana (Italy)||2774||0||1||X||½||½||0||½||1||1||½||5||5||3|
|4||Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan)||2753||½||½||½||X||½||1||½||½||½||½||5||5||1|
|5||Dmitry Andreikin (Russia)||2713||½||½||½||½||X||½||½||½||½||1||5||4||1|
|6||Hikaru Nakamura (USA)||2784||0||0||1||0||½||X||1||0||1||1||4½||4||4|
|7||Sergey Karjakin (Russia)||2782||½||½||½||½||½||0||X||½||½||½||4||5||0|
|8||Alexander Morozevich (Russia)||2760||0||½||0||½||½||1||½||X||0||½||3½||5||1|
|9||Viswanathan Anand (India)||2786||½||0||0||½||½||0||½||1||X||½||3½||4||1|
|10||Vladimir Kramnik (Russia)||2803||½||0||½||½||0||0||½||½||½||X||3||5||0|
The tiebreakers were: most games with black, most wins, head-to-head score, Koya score, and Sonneborn-Berger score.