While Mamedyarov played a quick draw, Kramnik won a remarkable game and is now tied for second.
After a round that featured only one decisive result, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov continues to lead the Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir, Azerbaijan.
Mamedyarov has 3 points, followed by four players — Michael Adams of England, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine, and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria —with 2.5 points apiece.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had an easy draw against his compatriot, Teimour Radjabov.
Mamedyarov, one of the two local players in the tournament, faced his compatriot, Teimour Radjabov, and the game ended in a quick draw.
Most of the rest of the games were far more interesting, particularly Kramnik’s victory over Pentala Harikrishna of India.
Vladimir Kramnik made a virtue of necessity in Round 4.
Kramnik, a former World Champion, has been playing 1. e4 quite a bit recently when he has White, and he often seems to obtain nutty positions (as well as good results). Round 4 on Monday was no exception as he sacrificed an entire rook but had long term compensation that Harikrishna could not quite handle.
1. e4e52. Nf3Nc63. Bb5a64. Ba4Nf65. O-OBe76. d3b57. Bb3d68. a3O-O9. Nc3Nb810. Ne2Nbd711. c3Bb712. Ng3c513. Re1Rc814. Nf5c415. dxc4Bxe416. Nxe7+Qxe717. cxb5axb518. Bg5Nc519. Ba2h620. Bh4g521. Bg3Bh722. Qe2Kg723. Rad1Nfe424. Rd5f5It looks like White is in some trouble. Black's pieces are centralized and extremely active, and the advance f4 would create some real problems for White. Facing this situation, Kramnik found an interesting plan: 25. Rxe5!This is played more out of necessity than by choice. Black is still much better, but the position has become complicated and White has a lot of counterplay.
( 25. h3Saving the bishop would lead to disaster after 25... f426. Bh2Bg8! )
25... dxe526. Bxe5+Nf627. Qxb5White has three connected passed pawns for the rook that he sacrificed and extremely active pieces. While the engine initially evaluates the position as better for Black, the longer I let it run, the less of an edge it gave to Black. Over the board, White's play is very hard to contain. 27... Ne428. Bd4!A strong move. White keeps his bishop anchored on d4, making sure no pieces are on loose squares and shutting down the d-file. 28... Rfd8
( 28... Rfe8This move was more accurate. The d-file is closed and only White can choose when to open it, so e8 is a better square for the Black rook. )
29. h3Rb830. Qe2Bg831. Bb1!White avoids exchanging
pieces. Chances are already about equal, according to the engine. That is a bad sign for a player who has an extra rook! 31... Qb732. b4Re833. c4Qc6?
( 33... Qa6This move was best. 34. Qb2Bxc4!And Black would still have an edge. )
34. Qb2!Well calculated. Black cannot take the pawn on c4 and White's pieces have become more active. 34... Rbd8
( 34... Qxc4?35. Bxe4fxe436. Bxf6+ )
( 34... Bxc4?This move would only be good if the Black queen were on a6. The problem now is: 35. Ne5White reduces his material inequality. 35... Rxe536. Bxe5 )
( 34... Kh7!This move was the most resilient, but though the machine indicates that chances are equal, any human would prefer to be White in this position. )
35. c5!Qe636. b5!In addition to all of Black's other problems, White's queenside pawns are charging up the board! Harikrishna was also getting very low on time. The combination of all these factors proved too much for him to handle. 36... Kf8?
( 36... Kg637. Ne5+ )
( 36... Qb3!37. Qa1Kg6!This was the only way for Black to try to maintain the balance, but for a human to find those moves in time pressure is next to impossible. )
37. c6Black is now lost. 37... g438. hxg4fxg439. Bxe4!gxf3
Michael Adams, right, had Pavel Eljanov on the ropes, but he let him slip through his fingers.
While that win was the highlight of the round, Adams also played a fine game against Eljanov. Unfortunately for Adams, he let Eljanov off the hook, missing a strong continuation the game approached the first time control.
1. e4e52. Nf3Nc63. Bc4Bc54. O-ONf65. d3d66. c3a67. a4Ba78. Na3h69. Nc2O-O10. Be3Bxe311. Nxe3Be612. Bxe6fxe613. a5d514. Qb3Qd615. exd5exd516. c4Kh717. Nxd5Rad818. Qxb7Nxd519. cxd5Qxd520. Rac1Rd621. Nd2Rg622. Ne4Qxd323. Ng3Nd424. Rc3Ne2+25. Nxe2Qxe226. Re3Qd227. Qe4Qxb228. Rg3Rf629. Rxg6Rxg630. g3Qd431. Qf5Qd532. Re1Qxa533. Rxe5Qa1+34. Kg2Qc1Black is up a pawn, but his pieces are badly coordinated. The pinned rook is a major problem. Adams tried to target it, but chose the wrong plan. 35. h4?This lets Black off the hook
( 35. Re6!This was the way to go, hitting the pinned rook at once. After the forced move 35... Qg536. Qd3!Black is completely paralyzed, and unable to prevent the simple plan of h3 followed by
f4. For example: ...a537. h3a438. g4!a339. f4!And Black can resign. )
35... Qc6+!The queen comes back to the defense just in time. 36. Kg1Qf637. Qe4Qc638. Qd3Kh8!And the pin is broken. Now White has to fight for a draw. Fortunately for Adams, that was not too difficult. 39. Qd8+Kh740. Qd3Kh841. Qd8+Kh742. Qd3
1. e4e52. Nf3Nc63. Bb5Nf64. O-ONxe45. Re1Nd66. Nxe5Be77. Bf1Nxe58. Rxe5O-O9. d4Bf610. Re1Re811. c3Rxe112. Qxe1Ne813. Bf4d514. Bd3g615. Nd2c616. Nf3Ng717. Qe2Bf518. Bxf5Nxf519. Re1Ng720. Ne5Bxe521. Qxe5f622. Qe7Qxe723. Rxe7Re824. Rxe8+Nxe825. Kf1Kf726. Ke2h527. a4g528. Bb8a629. h3Ng730. a5Kg631. g4f532. f3Ne633. b4Nd834. Bc7Nf735. Kf2hxg436. hxg4Kf637. Kg3Ke638. Bb8Nh639. Kh3fxg4+40. fxg4Ng841. Ba7This loses the pawn on c3, which was totally unnecessary. But it does not even come close to changing the result of the game.
( 41. Bg3Nf642. Be1Would be my choice, which would also have led to a draw. )
41... Nf6White can no longer save the pawn on c3. 42. Bc5Ne443. Kg2Nxc344. Kf3White has a fortress as Black's four pawn vs. on three pawn queenside majority is completely immobile, the Black king has no route to enter the position, and all of White's pawns are firmly protected. The rest of the game changed nothing about the evaluation of the position. 44... Ne445. Kg2Nf6
( 45... Nxc546. bxc5Is an obvious draw as Black is not going to play b6. )
46. Kf3Kd747. Kg3Kc748. Kf3Ne4
( 48... Nd7?!Black's only idea would be to play b6, but this creates more problems than it solves: 49. Be7!And Black has to figure out how not to lose. )
In Round 5, I have a feeling that Harikrishna, who is in last place and really struggling, will come out aggressively with White against Mamedyarov.
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter, has his own site, and is also on Facebook.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players