Mamedyarov wins first Geneva Masters

7/2/2013 – The final of the Geneva Chess Masters was almost anticlimactic after so much action over the previous days. This was not from a lack of fighting spirit from the finalists Kramnik and Mamedyarov, but merely how quickly it ended after three days of thrilling chess. Mamedyarov beat Kramnik in game one, and this decided the title. Illustrated report with video.

The first Geneva Chess Masters

The first Geneva Chess Masters is taking place from June 26th to 30th. Eight players in two groups qualify for a knockout phase. The games are played at 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move. In the initial phase, two groups of four players play two game matches and play-offs (in other words, no ties) and produce points to go into an all-play-all table. The top two in each group go through to the final phase.


The final of the Geneva Chess Masters was somewhat anticlimactic after so much action over the previous days. It isn’t that Vladimir Kramnik and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, the finalists, came lacking fighting spirit, it simply that the match took two games, and the spectators had been completely spoiled by the previous rounds.

The deserving finalists

Kramnik had certainly come hoping to avenge his first round loss to Mamedyarov, killing two birds with one stone, but instead the Azeri was the one armed with David’s sling as he downed his prestigious rival in their very first game.

A grand stage for a grand event

Mamedyarov fought hard in every game, forcing his opponents to tread carefully every step of the way.

[Event "Geneva Masters KO 2013"] [Site "Geneve SUI"] [Date "2013.06.30"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C46"] [WhiteElo "2753"] [BlackElo "2803"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2013.06.29"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 {This 4.g3 treatment was made famous by Igor Glek who climbed into the world elite after he used it to terrorize players in the major opens around the world. For a while he was several steps ahead of everyone in it.} d5 {By now Black has learned how to play against it, though it remains an opening with rich possibilities.} 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bc5 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bb6 {The first major deviation from theory. More common are ...Qf6 or ...Re8.} 10. d3 Re8 11. a4 {A strong move that pressures e5.} Bg4 12. h3 Bh5 13. g4 Bg6 14. Nd2 Qh4 15. Qe2 f5 16. Nf3 $6 ({Missing a chance to play} 16. a5 $1 Nxa5 (16... Bxa5 $2 17. Bxc6 {and Black is down a piece.} Bxc3 18. Bd5+ Kh8 19. Ra3) 17. Nf3 Qf6 18. g5 Qd8 19. Nxe5) 16... Qf6 17. gxf5 Bxf5 {Kramnik has equalized here and the open f-file favors him.} 18. Ng5 e4 $6 {Black doesn't want to allow White to plant a piece on e4, but this is not best as it also allows White to play d4 and effectively cut off the bishop on b6.} (18... Rf8 {was logical.}) 19. d4 Kh8 20. Nxe4 Qg6 21. Qf3 Rf8 22. Qg3 Qxg3 {It is odd that Kramnik makes this mistake, but perhaps he was feeling the heat and hoped the queens off would help.} 23. Nxg3 Ba5 $2 ({It is possible that Black missed that now} 23... Bxc2 {is not possible because of} 24. Bxc6 bxc6 25. a5) ({Also} 23... Rae8 {just loses to} 24. Rxe8 Rxe8 25. Nxf5 {thus the two most attractive and logical continuations are not an option.}) ( 23... Na5 {was the lesser evil here.}) 24. Bxc6 Bxc3 (24... bxc6 25. Re5 Bxc3 26. Ra3 {and one of the bishops is doomed.}) 25. Bxb7 Rab8 26. Ba3 Rf6 27. Nxf5 Bxa1 28. Rxa1 Rxb7 29. Ne3 {White has two pieces and a pawn for the rook. He is winning.} h6 30. d5 Rf4 31. Bc5 a6 32. Kg2 Kh7 33. Ra3 Rb1 34. d6 cxd6 35. Bxd6 Rd4 36. Bc5 Rd7 37. a5 Rb5 38. Bb6 Rg5+ 39. Kf1 Rh5 40. Rd3 Rxd3 41. cxd3 Rxh3 42. d4 Kg6 43. Nc4 Rc3 44. Nd6 h5 45. Ne4 Rc4 46. Nd6 Rc6 47. Nb7 Kf5 48. Kg2 $2 {In time trouble, he nearly allows Black a chance back into the game.} h4 (48... Rg6+ 49. Kh2 Rg4 {was unclear.}) 49. Nc5 g5 50. Nxa6 Rc2 51. Nb4 Rb2 52. Nd5 g4 53. Ne3+ Kg5 54. d5 g3 55. Nc4 Re2 56. d6 Kg4 57. Ne3+ Kf4 58. d7 h3+ 59. Kxh3 Rxf2 60. Ng2+ 1-0

Alexandra Kosteniuk came to assist Manny Rayner and Cathy Chua in the commentary
box. Kudos to the pair who provided interesting and entertaining commentary
throughout the event.

This meant that Vladimir was in a must-win situation to try and reach the tiebreakers, though he did have one consolation: he was white. Unfortunately, he could not muster his A-game, and instead it was the Azeri who produced winning chances in their bout. Kramnik reached a dry endgame that he desperately tried to keep alive, but there was no blood to squeeze from this rock, and the day was Mamedyarov’s.

In the main open, held parallel to the masters event, GM Mathieu Cornette won
with 8.0/9, and edged out GM Christain Bauer on tiebreak.

The Swiss U10 was won by Daniel Fischer, while Fabian Bänziger won the U12,
and Martin Schwieghoffer was U14 champion. Playing alongside the world's best
had to have been inspiring to the youths.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov consistently came up with the goods when he needed to

A TV report on the event on Swiss TV

Photos by Georgios Souleidis


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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