Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won the Gashimov Memorial after a final-round draw. Wesley So, Veselin Topalov and Valdimir Kramnik tied for second.
A loss in the penultimate round of the Gashimov Memorial did not prove to be too costly for Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. With a draw in the final round on Sunday, he still clinched first place in the elite tournament.
Mamedyarov finished with 5.5 points. Wesley So of the United States, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Vladimir Kramnik tied for second, with 5 points apiece.
Before the final round of the tournament, which was held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, and which was named for Vugar Gashimov, a friend and teammate of Mamedyarov’s, who died in 2014 at age 27, there was the possibility that the finale would be quite exciting. Mamedyarov’s loss in the penultimate round had opened the door for So and Topalov, who trailed by half a point, to catch up if they could win.
A tie for second place was the best result for Topalov since the Norway 2015 tournament.
But Topalov faced Mamedyarov, so a draw in their game would eliminate Topalov from contention. Meanwhile, So had Black against Pentala Harikrishna of India. Though Harikrishna had struggled throughout the tournament, So was unable to do much against him and that game also ended in a draw. Neither game was particularly interesting and they were the first to finish, wrapping up first place for Mamedyarov.
The other three games did not have an impact on the fight for first place, but they did produce some interesting battles. Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine had a really heartbreaking tournament. It always stings to lose a half point because of mistakes — it hurts twice as much to go from a win to a loss. But that happened to Eljanov three times during the tournament (!), including in the last round against Kramnik. Still, I think Eljanov’s overall form was good and if he can keep playing he did (at least early in the games), he will start winning consistently.
1. d4Nf62. c4e63. Nf3d54. g3Be75. Bg2O-O6. O-Odxc47. Qc2a68. a4Bd79. Qxc4Bc610. Bf4Nbd711. Nc3Bd612. e3Nb613. Qb3Bxf414. gxf4a515. Ne5Bxg216. Kxg2Nbd517. Rg1Rc818. Rac1Nb419. Qc4g620. Rgd1c621. Qe2Qe722. Nc4Qc723. Qf3Nbd524. h4Rfd825. b3Nxc326. Rxc3Qe727. Ne5Kg728. Kh3c529. Rdc1b630. dxc5Rxc531. Rxc5bxc532. Nc6Qb733. Kg2Rd534. Nxa5Qb435. Nc4Qxb336. a5Qa237. Kf1Rh538. Qe2Qb339. Qc2Qb740. Qb2Qa841. Ke2Rxh442. Rb1Qg2This is a very tense position but White's passed a-pawn gives him an edge. 43. Ne5?Too slow.
( 43. a6!There is nothing to worry about after this move. It was very strong, and Black would be in big trouble. 43... Rh244. Rf1 )
43... c4!Well calculated. The c-pawn will be an excellent source of counterplay. 44. Qd4?
( 44. Nd7Rxf4!45. exf4Qe4+With a perpetual check. Eljanov should have allowed this as his advantage has disappeared. )
( 44. Nxc4Rh2 )
44... c3!Again the pawn is immune to capture. 45. a6
( 45. Qxc3Ne4!And White will have terrible problems on f2. )
( 45. Nd7This was most resilient though White would still have been in big trouble after: 45... Qg4+46. Kd3Qf5+47. e4Qh3+48. Kc4Rxf4 )
45... c2!Whose pawn is faster now? 46. Rc1Rh1!47. Rxc2
( 47. Qb2The computer evaluates this move as the most resilient, though White would still be in grave trouble after: 47... Rd1!48. Rxd1cxd1=Q+49. Kxd1Qf1+50. Kc2Qxa6 )
47... Qf1+Black has lost the pawn on c2, but the White king lacks protection. In addition, the pawn on a6 will fall. 48. Kd2Qd1+49. Kc3Qa1+50. Kb3Qxa6Black is up a pawn up and the White king is exposed. The rest requires no comment. 51. Nc4Rb1+52. Nb2Ra153. Rc5Ra3+54. Kb4Ra255. Qc3Qb6+56. Rb5Qd6+57. Rc5Ra858. Nd3Rb8+59. Ka4Qa6+60. Ra5Qb761. Nc5Qb162. Ka3Kg863. Nb3Nd5
1. d4Nf62. Nf3d53. c4e64. Nc3c55. cxd5Nxd56. e4Nxc37. bxc3cxd48. cxd4Bb4+9. Bd2Bxd2+10. Qxd2O-O11. Bc4Nd712. O-Ob613. a4Bb714. Rfe1Nf615. Bd3h616. a5bxa517. Rxa5Qc718. Rc1Qd819. Re1Qc720. Qb4Rfb821. Qa3Rc822. h3Qf423. d5!?This is a typical sacrifice in the Semi-Tarrasch Defense, but it did not bring Radjabov the dividends he wanted.
( 23. Re5The computer suggests this move but Black still looks more or less okay. )
23... exd524. e5This is the point. Black does not have the d5 square for his knight and the bishop on b7 is blocked. White can hope to create an attack. 24... Ne4!This knight is excellently positioned in the center. 25. Qe7
( 25. Rxa7Rxa726. Qxa7Nc5Black is fine as d4 cannot be stopped. )
25... Bc626. e6Rf8!Accurate defense from Karjakin. 27. exf7+Rxf728. Qb4Re829. Qd4Ng5!A final precise move. Chances are equal. 30. Rxe8+Bxe831. Qxf4Rxf432. Nxg5hxg533. Rxd5g4!Trading off more pawns. The game is heading for a draw. 34. Rd8
For the first time in a while, Wesley So did not win a tournament he played in.
Mamedyarov has now reached a new peak rating, according to the Live Ratings site. It will be interesting to see if he can bring the same form to the upcoming Grand Prix in Moscow. He already tied for first in the first Grand Prix, so another good showing could put well on the road to qualifying for next year’s Candidates tournament.
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