He missed a chance to extend it and only drew, but his closest rivals could do no more than draw, too.
None of the players at the top of the leaderboard in the Gashimov Memorial won in Round 5 on Tuesday, so Shakhriyar Mamedyarov retained his hold on first for another day.
Mamedyarov, one of the two players from Azerbaijan, where the tournament is being held, has 3.5 points, followed by Michael Adams of England and Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine, who each have 3 points.
Sergey Karjakin took advantage of a bad opening mistake by Veselin Topalov.
Though the top of the standings remained unchanged, there were two decisive games on Tuesday. One of them was a quick knockout as Sergey Karjakin of Russia destroyed Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria after it looked like Topalov forgot his preparation and mixed up his moves in the opening.
1. e4c62. d4d53. e5c54. dxc5e65. a3Bxc56. Nf3Ne77. Bd3Ng68. O-ONc69. b4Bb610. Bb2Nf4?!Black is asking for trouble -- he is too far behind in development to take such liberties.
( 10... O-OThis move was simple and best. White would still have an edge after: 11. Re1But Black's position is very solid. )
11. c4!White opens the center before Black can complete his development and coordinate his pieces. 11... Nxd3
( 11... Bc7The computer suggests this move, though White should still be better after: 12. Qd2Nxd313. Qxd3O-O14. Re1 )
12. Qxd3dxc413. Qxc4Ne7
( 13... O-O14. Nbd2And White is also much better as Black has a hard time coordinating his pieces. For example: 14... Bd715. Qg4!Ne716. Ne4And moves like Nf6 and Rad1 are hard to meet. )
14. Nc3Bd715. Qg4!Energetic, forceful and strong. 15... Bc6The pawn on g7 is immune, but White is more interested in taking action in the center.
( 15... O-O16. Rad1Would be a disaster for Black. )
( 16. Qxg7?Rg817. Qf6Nf5And White will not survive. )
16... Qc717. Ng5!White has plenty of other good moves but this one is by far the most convincing. 17... Qxe5Black takes the pawn just to have something for his suffering, but this will not work out well.
( 17... h618. Nge4O-O19. Nd6Is a nightmare for Black. )
( 18... Bxb519. Nxb5Qxb520. Bxg7And White would be clearly winning. )
( 18... Bd719. Nxf7 )
( 19... Ng620. Qb4!Qxg521. bxc6bxc622. Ne4And Black is crushed. )
20. Rfe1!Qf521. Nxb5Qxb522. Bxg7White is demolishing Black. 22... Nf5
( 22... Rg823. Ne4 )
23. Nxe6!The queen is immune to capture. 23... fxe6
( 23... Nxh424. Nc7# )
24. Rxe6+Kf725. Qf6+Kg826. Bxh8Now in addition to a mating attack against Black's exposed king, White is up a lot of material, too. The rest was unnecessary. 26... Bxf2+27. Kh1Qa428. Red6Rf829. Qg6+Kxh830. Rd7
Karjakin and Topalov now have scores of 50 percent, with 2.5 points each.
Wesley So played a nearly flawless game to beat Vladimir Kramnik.
The other decisive result also brought its two players to scores of 50 percent as the top seed, Wesley So of the United States, defeated Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. So, who had White, played really well and Kramnik had few chances.
1. c4e62. g3d53. Bg2Nf64. Nf3Be75. O-OO-O6. d4dxc47. Qc2a68. a4Bd79. Qxc4Bc610. Bf4a511. Nc3Nbd712. Qd3Bb413. Rfe1Re814. Qc2Bxf3I recommended this move for Black as an improvement over Bxc3 after Michael Adams lost a tough game to So a few months back. Clearly Kramnik came to the same conclusion. 15. Bxf3c6Black has a solid position, but the White central pawns and bishop pair have to count for something. 16. Red1!A very precise move. The rook will be well placed on the d-file after Black plays e5. The move also unpins the knight on c3. 16... Qe717. Na2Bd6
( 17... e5This move was also possible, though White should be better after: 18. dxe5Nxe519. Bxe5Qxe520. Nxb4axb421. Qb3 )
18. Bxd6Qxd619. Nc1!Another strong move. So reroutes the knight to its best square -- b3. 19... Nd520. e4Nb421. Qc3e522. Nb3It takes a while before a computer evaluation shows that White has an edge in this position, but he definitely does. He is better prepared for the opening of the d-file, the pawn on a5 is a source of constant concern for Black, and the Black knight on b4 looks nice but is not effective. 22... Qe723. Bg2exd424. Rxd4Nf8?!
( 24... Nf6This move was preferable, but White would still be better after: 25. Rad1b626. f3 )
25. Rad1Not a bad move, but White had a better one.
( 25. Rc4!This funny move, suggested by the computer, is very strong. Black has a hard time dealing with the threat of Nxa5. 25... b626. Nd4c527. Nf5Qe528. f4Qxc329. bxc3!And White would clearly be better. )
( 25. Nxa5?c5White first needs to remove his rook from d4. )
25... Red826. R1d2Ne627. Rxd8+Rxd828. Nxa5!This does not win a pawn, but White's pieces are now better coordinated than Black's, and the defense of the Black knight on b4 has been undermined. 28... Ra829. Nc4Rxa430. Nd6!The start of a very effective plan by So as he begins to reorganize his pieces. 30... Ra1+31. Bf1Na632. Kg2!Nac733. Nf5!Qe834. Bc4!At the end of the maneuvering, White has a substantial edge; Black is nearly lost. 34... Ra835. Rd6Qf836. Rd7!So usually plays very accurately once he has an edge. 36... Re837. Qe5b538. Ba2g639. Ne3
( 39. Rxf7This move was even better, but the move played by So is good enough. 39... Kxf740. Qxc7+Kf641. Qxc6gxf542. exf5Kxf543. Bxe6+!Rxe644. Qf3+ )
39... Re740. Rxe7Qxe741. Ng4Qg5Black looks like he has gained some breathing room, but accurate play by White will leave him in a hopeless situation. 42. Nf6+!Kh843. Nd7+!Qxe5
( 43... Kg844. Qd6And Black would likely be mated after White played f4 and f5. )
44. Nxe5Black loses a pawn, after which he is unable to offer much resistance in the ending. So converted his advantage into a win with no trouble. 44... Nd4
Pentala Harikrishna was in trouble early against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, but after Mamedyarov missed his chance, Harikrishna had no trouble drawing.
Though the other three games were drawn, they were not without some excitement. That was particularly true of the game between Mamedyarov and Pentala Harikrishna of India. Mamedyarov, who had Black, got a very pleasant position against Harikrishna. However, accurate defense from the Indian earned him a draw.
1. Nf3Nf62. g3d53. Bg2g64. O-OBg75. d4O-O6. Nbd2a57. c4a48. cxd5Qxd59. Nb1Rd810. Bf4Qa511. Qc1Nc612. Na3Nxd413. Nxd4Rxd414. Qxc7Nd515. Qxa5Rxa516. Bc1Be617. Nc2Rc418. Na3Rd419. Nc2Rc420. Na3Rc8?!White had just repeated moves and Black was correct to avoid a draw by repetition and continue the game. But his last move was not the best one.
( 20... Rxc1!Forcing and strong. After 21. Raxc1Bxb222. Nc4Bxc123. Nxa5Nc3!24. Bxb7Bxa2White will eventually have to give up a piece for Black's a-pawn, though I'm not sure if the ending would then be winning for Black. For example: 25. Ba6Bb226. Bd3a327. e4Be628. Nc4Bxc429. Bxc4a230. Bxa2Nxa2And Black definitely would have very good chances to win. )
21. Bd2Ra622. e4!White starts driving Black's pieces back and takes a stake in the center. 22... Nb623. e5!Nd5
( 23... Bd524. Bc3Is also moderately unpleasant for White but he should be able to defend. )
24. f4Rb625. Rac1!Well calculated. Black cannot take on b2. 25... Rxc1
( 25... Rxb226. Rxc8+Bxc827. Bc1!And White would win material. )
26. Bxc1f627. Rd1Nc728. Rd4!The following sequence of moves left few options for either player. 28... fxe529. Rxa4Rd630. Bf3Bxa231. fxe5Bxe532. Nc4Ra633. Rb4Bxc434. Rxc4Black is up a pawn, but White's bishop pair on the open board gives him enough compensation. Mamedyarov pushed for a bit but never managed to create any serious winning chances. 34... b535. Rc2Kg736. Kg2Ne637. Rc6Rxc638. Bxc6Nd439. Bd7Kf640. b4e641. Be3Nc242. Bd2Nd443. Be3Nf544. Bb6Bc345. g4Nh4+46. Kg3g547. Bd8+Kg648. Be7Be1+49. Kh3Kf750. Bxg5Ng651. Bxb5
Wednesday is a rest day in Shamkir; the tournament will then resume Thursday with Round 6.
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