With another victory, the tournament leader has stretched his lead.
The Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, which is named for Vugar Gashimov, is turning into a showcase for one of his former teammates: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. With a victory in Round 6, his third of the competition, Mamedyarov now leads the tournament by a full point.
He has 4.5 points; his nearest rivals — Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, Michael Adams of England and Wesley So of the United States — have 3.5 points apiece.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov took advantage when his opponent, Vladimir Kramnik, gave him an opening in Round 6.
Mamedyarov’s latest win was against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, a former World Champion, and it involved a bit of luck, as Mamedyarov was in a little trouble early on. But all credit also has to be given to Mamedyarov for seizing his chances when they come. Caissa, the mythical goddess of chess, does seems to be looking out for him.
Kramnik, Vladimir vs. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
Gashimov Memorial |Shamkir AZE |Round 6 |27 Apr 2017 |1-0
18. Ree1a5?!This move has a very clear idea: Black wants to play Nb4, which is a better location for the knight than on c6. Relocating the knight will also help Black defend his queenside. Black's last move has a basic flaw, however. 19. Rac1?
( 19. Bb5This move looks completely automatic to me. It prevents Nb4 and the bishop is excellent positioned on b5. White can then begin to pile up on the c-file. I'm sure both players saw this but had some idea in mind for what Black could play -- I just do not know what it could be. 19... f420. Rac1No fear. Black's threats are inconsequential and the threat is Rc5. White would be much better. )
19... Nb4Black has achieved his goal. He might still be a little worse but his position is much better than it could have been. 20. Bf1?
( 20. e6!Rxe621. Ne5And White would have had good compensation for being down a pawn. )
20... f4!Black is already better. His kingside play is very dangerous. 21. e6Bxe622. Ne5Qd623. Qf3Nf624. Qxf4c625. f3Nd726. Nb3Rf827. Qe3Bf528. Qd2Na229. Ra1Nb430. Nxd7?
( 30. Rac1White had no business declining a draw by avoiding a repetition. )
30... Bxd731. Qc3b632. Re5Rae833. Rae1Qg634. Nd2Qc2!Not the only good move, but the most natural one for a human. Black will clearly have an edge in the ending. 35. f4Rxe536. dxe5Be637. Qxc2Nxc238. Rc1Nb439. Nf3c5White's kingside pawn majority is well blockaded, while Black's is making headway in the center. 40. h4Kf741. h5?A puzzling move, particularly considering the first time control had just passed. Nevertheless, White's position was already quite difficult. 41... Bg442. Nh4Bxh5Black wins a pawn. The rest of the game was a bit messy, with errors on both sides, but Black was always firmly in control. 43. Nf5Bg444. Ne3Bd745. Bg2d446. Nc4Bxa447. Nxb6Bc248. Nc4d349. Nd2a450. Kf2c451. Ke3Rc852. Ne4Kf853. Nc3Rb854. Rf1Na655. f5Rxb256. f6Nc757. Bh3d258. Bg4a359. e6gxf660. Rxf6+Kg861. e7a262. Ra6d1=Q63. Nxd1Bxd164. Ra8+Kg765. Bxd1Rb166. Rxa2Rxd167. Ra7Ne868. Ra4Rd3+69. Kf4c3
There were two other decisive results in Round 6: Topalov beat Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine, the tournament’s early leader, and So ground down Sergey Karjakin of Russia. Eljanov, who had squandered an excellent position in Round 3 against Mamedyarov, did it again against Topalov. It must be a tough pill for him to swallow as he would be leading the tournament if he had won those games.
Veselin Topalov's brand of chaotic chess is paying off in this tournament.
1. d4Nf62. c4e63. Nf3b64. g3Bb75. Bg2Be76. Nc3Ne47. Bd2Bf68. Qc2Nxd29. Qxd2d610. h4Nd711. Rd1O-O12. Qc2c613. e4Qc714. Ng5e515. d5h616. Nf3a617. dxc6Qxc618. Bf1Rfc819. a4Nc520. Nd2Ne621. Qb1Nd422. Bh3Rf823. Rc1Bd824. O-Of525. Kh2f426. Qd3Kh827. b3Bc828. Bxc8Qxc829. Ne2Nxe230. Qxe2Ra731. Rc3b532. Rd3bxa433. bxa4Raf734. Rxd6Bxh4!Black crashes through on the kingside. White should not be able to survive. 35. Rd5
( 35. gxh4?f336. Qe3Rf4!And Black should win. )
35... f3?This is a mistake. Black clearly was hoping to give mate on g2, but it does not quite work out and he was better off leaving the tension on the f-file.
( 35... Qe636. c5Bg5And White would be in big trouble. )
36. Qd3Qg4Black has some nasty threats, but White can stop them. 37. Rh1!The king will retreat to g1 and then the rook on h1 is an excellent defender.
( 37. c5Qh5!And Black would have a decisive edge. 38. Kg1Qg539. Kh2Rf4 )
37... Bg538. c5The White king is now reasonably safe, and White also has some counterplay. 38... Rb8?Black goes further astray.
( 38... Bxd2I would take the knight as it is about to become much more useful, while the bishop is no longer contributing to the attack. 39. Qxd2Qxe440. Re1Qxa441. Rdxe5And a draw is very likely. )
39. Nc4Rfb740. Nb6Rxb6?A tough decision to have to make on the last move before time control. The sacrifice looks very tempting but it is not good.
( 40... Rf7!This suggestion by the computer would have maintained equality. )
41. cxb6Rxb6Black has a lot of threats, including playing Rb2, but with accurate play White can keep his extra material and eventually win the game. 42. Rxe5!Basically forced, but it is a very good move. The point is that Black cannot safely play Rb2. 42... Bh4
( 42... Rb2?43. Re8+Kh744. e5+g645. Rf1And it turns out that White's king is safer than Black's. Black would soon be checkmated. )
43. Qc3Rg644. Qe1Bg545. Rf5Rd646. Rf8+Kh747. e5White was now able to consolidate his position and with his extra material he had no trouble to win the game. 47... Rd348. e6Be749. Rf4Qh5+50. Kg1Qd551. Qe4+Qxe452. Rxe4Kg653. Kh2Rd254. Rf1Kf555. Re3Kg456. Kg1g557. Rc1Ra258. Kf1Rxa459. Rc7Bb460. Rc4+
1. Nf3Nf62. c4c53. Nc3Nc64. e3e65. d4d56. a3a67. dxc5Bxc58. b4Ba79. Bb2O-O10. h3h611. Rc1Re812. Bd3dxc413. Bxc4Qxd1+14. Rxd1b515. Bd3Bb716. Ke2Kf817. Rhg1Rad818. Bb1Ne719. Nd2Bb620. g4Ned521. Nxd5Nxd522. Nb3f623. Bg6Re724. Rc1Red725. Rgd1Ne726. Rxd7Rxd727. Bb1This position looks completely equal. But even in quiet positions, accuracy is needed. 27... Rc7?This allows White's pieces to gain some space.
( 27... Bd5Simple and strong after which Black is absolutely fine. 28. Nc5Bxc529. Rxc5Bc4+30. Ke1Kf7The Black bishop on c4 will be hard to maneuver around and it is hard for White to come up with a plan. I'd expect a draw in, at most, a few more moves. )
28. Rxc7Bxc729. Nc5Bc8Black's pieces are pushed backward for a moment allowing So to take control of the game. 30. Ba2!Now e6 is a cause of concern. 30... Nd531. f4!Trying to undermine the knight on d5 by playing f5. 31... Bd6?This is an error but it's hard to play good defense when under pressure, particularly when there is not much time left on the clock to the first time control.
( 31... a5!Black should have tried to trade some pawns. )
32. Bd4Kf733. Kd3Ne734. Ne4!Another good move. White attacks the bishop on d6 while it cannot retreat to e7. 34... Bc735. f5!Forceful and strong. Sometimes So can make very strong players almost look like amateurs. 35... Nc6White now wins a pawn. After that, So's technique was excellent and he converted his advantage. 36. fxe6+Bxe637. Bxe6+Kxe638. Nc5+Ke739. Nxa6Bd640. Bc5Ne5+41. Ke4Nc442. Kd5Bxc543. Kxc5Nxa344. Nc7Kd745. Nxb5Nc246. Nd4Nxe347. Nf5Nd148. Kb6g649. Nxh6Ne350. b5f551. Ka6fxg452. hxg4Nd553. b6Kc654. b7Nc7+55. Ka7Nb5+56. Ka8Nc7+57. Kb8Nb558. Ka8Nc7+59. Kb8Nb560. Nf7Kb661. g5Ka662. Nd8Kb663. Kc8Nd6+64. Kd7
The other two games, between Adams and Pentala Harikrishna of India, and Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland and Teimour Radjabov, a compatriot of Mamedyarov’s, were fairly balanced draws.
In Round 7 on Friday, Mamedyarov will have White against Adams, while Topalov will have Black against Radjabov and So will have Black against Eljanov.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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