Shamkir R1: Sweating Blood

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/17/2015 – An awesome way to start the 2015 Shamkir Tournament. It seemed as if most of the players with white today were pressuring their opponents from the get-go. Giri cracked soon and So devastated his position. Adams lasted longer, but also fell to Kramnik. Meanwhile Carlsen and Caruana had monumentally difficult problems set in front of them, but somehow they both managed to hold.

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The Vugar Gashimov Memorial, is being held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, from the 17th to the 26th of April, in memory of the great Vugar Gashimov, who passed away on the 10th of January 2014. The tournament consists of some of the strongest players in the World: reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen, former World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, as well as, Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Michael Adams, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Rauf Mamedov will compete in this prominent event. 

Round One

SNo. Name Rtg
Res.
Name Rtg
1 Kramnik Vladimir 2783
1-0
Adams Michael 2746
2 So Wesley 2788
1-0
Giri Anish 2790
3 Mamedov Rauf 2651
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762
4 Anand Viswanathan 2791
½-½
Carlsen Magnus 2863
5 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754
½-½
Caruana Fabiano 2802

Daniel King shows the highlights of round 1

Kramnik, Vladimir 1-0 Adams, Michael
Kramnik repeated a line that he used last year in the Candidates against Anand. He was unsuccessful, but maybe he had a new idea. Aronian also used it to beat Nakamura in their rapid match last year. Adams was the first one to deviate with 13...Qc6, though the typical ideas of the position remained: Black had a very weak c4 pawn that he cannot really hold on to, but he receives an initiative as compensation. This cost Kramnik his extra pawn, but he was able to obtain a slight advantage thanks to his bishop over a knight.

Adams seemed to be doing a good job of holding on, but things went awry when on move 23 he attacked White's queen with the wrong rook. The beautiful riposte 24.Rfd1! gave White an advantage whith Kramnik increased move by move, until reaching a winning double rook endgame.

Kramnik won in the typical style that made him World Champion: with patience and precision

So, Wesley 1-0 Giri, Anish
Complete annihilation:

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2015.04.17"] [Round "1"] [White "So, W."] [Black "Giri, A."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A10"] [WhiteElo "2788"] [BlackElo "2790"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2015.04.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. c4 g6 2. e4 $5 e5 $5 {Modern Chess! Already we are mostly out of theory.} 3. d4 Nf6 (3... d6 {might transpose back into a King's Indian Defense, but we wouldn't want that would we?}) 4. dxe5 (4. Nf3 exd4 5. e5 Ne4 6. Qxd4 Bb4+ { was the game Nakamura-Svidler from a 2013 Grand Prix. It was also Svidler-Carlsen from 2014, but that was a blitz.}) 4... Nxe4 5. Bd3 Bb4+ 6. Kf1 $1 (6. Nd2 {was a completely wacko game between Kortschnoj-Timman back in 1976! }) 6... Nc5 7. Nf3 {The opening can hardly be called a success for Black. White cannot castle, but besides that everything is going well. His development will be faster than Black's. Giri also has to worry about his dark squares on the kingside.} Ne6 {covering g5.} 8. a3 Be7 9. Nc3 d6 10. exd6 Bxd6 11. b4 (11. Bh6 {was also possible, So prefers the fianchetto and the queenside expansion.}) 11... Bf8 $5 {It's hard to guess that this bishop mas already moved three times. It will move a fourth to g7, definitely its best square.} 12. Qe2 Bg7 13. Bg5 Bf6 {a fifth time?!} 14. Bxf6 {only to be traded. This leaves Giri in a position with basically no development. It is not surprising that So's attack will be very strong.} Qxf6 15. Qd2 O-O 16. Re1 Qd8 17. Rd1 $1 a5 18. h4 $1 {White's simply crashing through. Without Black's pieces being active it is clear that the king will find it difficult to survive.} axb4 19. axb4 Nd7 20. h5 $18 Nf6 21. c5 (21. Qc1 $3 {Would have been a beautiful shot. The point is that after} Nxh5 (21... Qe7 22. Nd5 Nxd5 23. cxd5 Ng7 24. hxg6 fxg6 25. Re1 Qf6 (25... Qf7 26. Rxh7 $1 Kxh7 27. Ng5+ $18) 26. Qh6 {Black's position simply falls apart.}) 22. Bxg6 $18) 21... b6 (21... Nxh5 22. Rxh5 gxh5 23. Qh6 {is about as ugly as it gets.}) 22. hxg6 fxg6 23. Qe3 Qe7 24. Bc4 bxc5 25. b5 $1 {There is no need to retake the pawn. White simply pushes his own pawn in order to prevent counterplay.} Rb8 26. Re1 Rb6 27. Na4 {Material losses are now inevitable.} Rd6 28. Nxc5 Ng4 29. Qe4 Nxf2 ( 29... Nf6 30. Qh4 {is of no help, the simply threat of Ng5 cannot be parried.}) 30. Kxf2 Rd2+ 31. Kg3 $1 (31. Kf1 $4 Qxc5 32. Bxe6+ Kh8 33. Qh4 h5 $1 {and despite being down a pawn this position is far from easy. Black has a subtle point:} 34. Bxc8 Rxf3+ $3 35. gxf3 Qxb5+ 36. Kg1 Qb6+ 37. Kf1 Qb5+ {with a draw. Grandmasters are very tricky!}) 31... Rxf3+ (31... Qxc5 32. Nxd2 $18) 32. gxf3 {Black doesn't have a lot of checks and he is down a huge amount of material.} 1-0

A very clean round one victory for the American, who comes
from his "worst tournament ever", in his own words

Mamedov, Rauf ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
Maroczy style structures with few pieces on the board rarely tend to be dangerous for black. In this game Mamedov held a slight edge through-out, but it never seems as if the Frenchman was in any real danger.

No real problems for Vachier-Lagrave today

Azerbaijani Champion Rauf Mamedov

Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ Carlsen, Magnus
Normally in the Marshall Gambit of the Spanish Opening black obtains a serious initiative for his missing pawn. This time, however, it seemed that all he obtained where chances to hold on and suffer in a long endgame. Carlsen set up a fortress looking position which Anand kept trying to breach. It seemed as if the World Champion would have a very tough time holding on to his position, but Anand was unable to find a way to break through.

Anand-Carlsen is always a highly anticipated match

It is unclear if Anand was really winning at any point, but the resilience of Carlsen paid off when on move 47 Anand made a mistake, allowing Carlsen to regain his pawn and draw the game. Perhaps the Norwegian would have drawn anyway without this mistake, but it would have been much harder.

Carlsen had to suffer today for many moves, but it could have been worse

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar ½-½ Caruana, Fabiano
What a game! Mamedyarov's handling of the Grunfeld was unorthodox, to put it mildly, and its probably that with proper play Caruana would have equalized. However he underestimated the expansion on the queenside and the resulting majority and bind provided by the pawns on c5 and b4.

It's not often that a 2800 player gives up a bishop when he doesn't absolutely have to

In a very bold practical choice Caruana decided to sacrifice his bishop for two pawns, hoping to draw the resulting endgame. It does seem that his play was sound, as a quick look through some variations reveals no way for Mamedyarov to have made progress. The Azerbaijani eliminated all of Caruana's pawns, but at the cost of all his own pawns, and Caruana comfortably held the R+B vs. R endgame.

Replay Round One Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Standings

Schedule

Round 1

Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg
Kramnik Vladimir 2783 1-0 Adams Michael 2746
So Wesley 2788 1-0 Giri Anish 2790
Mamedov Rauf 2651 ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762
Anand Viswanathan 2791 ½-½ Carlsen Magnus 2863
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754 ½-½ Caruana Fabiano 2802

Round 2

Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg
Adams Michael 2746 - Caruana Fabiano 2802
Carlsen Magnus 2863 - Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762 - Anand Viswanathan 2791
Giri Anish 2790 - Mamedov Rauf 2651
Kramnik Vladimir 2783 - So Wesley 2788

Round 3

Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg
So Wesley 2788 - Adams Michael 2746
Mamedov Rauf 2651 - Kramnik Vladimir 2783
Anand Viswanathan 2791 - Giri Anish 2790
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754 - Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762
Caruana Fabiano 2802 - Carlsen Magnus 2863

Round 4

Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg
Adams Michael 2746 - Carlsen Magnus 2863
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762 - Caruana Fabiano 2802
Giri Anish 2790 - Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754
Kramnik Vladimir 2783 - Anand Viswanathan 2791
So Wesley 2788 - Mamedov Rauf 2651

Round 5

Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg
Mamedov Rauf 2651 - Adams Michael 2746
Anand Viswanathan 2791 - So Wesley 2788
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754 - Kramnik Vladimir 2783
Caruana Fabiano 2802 - Giri Anish 2790
Carlsen Magnus 2863 - Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762

Round 6

Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg
Adams Michael 2746 - Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762
Giri Anish 2790 - Carlsen Magnus 2863
Kramnik Vladimir 2783 - Caruana Fabiano 2802
So Wesley 2788 - Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754
Mamedov Rauf 2651 - Anand Viswanathan 2791

Round 7

Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg
Anand Viswanathan 2791 - Adams Michael 2746
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754 - Mamedov Rauf 2651
Caruana Fabiano 2802 - So Wesley 2788
Carlsen Magnus 2863 - Kramnik Vladimir 2783
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762 - Giri Anish 2790

Round 8

Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg
Adams Michael 2746 - Giri Anish 2790
Kramnik Vladimir 2783 - Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762
So Wesley 2788 - Carlsen Magnus 2863
Mamedov Rauf 2651 - Caruana Fabiano 2802
Anand Viswanathan 2791 - Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754

Round 9

Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2754 - Adams Michael 2746
Caruana Fabiano 2802 - Anand Viswanathan 2791
Carlsen Magnus 2863 - Mamedov Rauf 2651
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2762 - So Wesley 2788
Giri Anish 2790 - Kramnik Vladimir 2783

Commentary on Playchess

One of the major tournaments of the year, you can count on www.playchess.com to deliver quality commentary every round!

Day Date Round English German
Friday April 17 Round 1 GM Daniel King GMs Oliver Reeh/Dorian Rogozenco
Saturday April 18 Round 2 GM Simon Williams GM Klaus Bischoff
Sunday April 19 Round 3 GM Simon Williams GM Klaus Bischoff
Monday April 20 Round 4 GM Daniel King GM Klaus Bischoff
Tuesday April 21 Round 5 GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov GM Klaus Bischoff
Wednesday April 22 Free    
Thursday April 23 Round 6 GM Daniel King GM Klaus Bischoff
Friday April 24 Round 7 GM Simon Williams GM Klaus Bischoff
Saturday April 25 Round 8 GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov GMs Oliver Reeh/Karsten Müller
Sunday April 26 Round 9 GM Daniel King GM Klaus Bischoff

English Commentators

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

 


Topics Gashimov, Shamkir

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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boiette boiette 4/18/2015 08:10
Yes, Wesley must be attributed to as a Filipino and makes both Filipinos and Americans proud as well. we have pointed this out before. he is playing for the USA but he is still a Filipino. Pretty simple and clear.
Niima Niima 4/18/2015 07:36
@ stephen brady: you are probably right.

Great game by Kramnik. The way he combines subtle tactical motifs to advance strategic plans is sublime and reminiscent of Karpov.
stephen brady stephen brady 4/18/2015 04:23
I Wasn't questioning So's eligibility to play. The article calls him "American", which is incorrect. He's Filipino but playing for the US Chess Federation
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 4/18/2015 12:58
So has now won three in a row since the forfeit.

Wesley's a nice guy, but DO NOT get him mad . . .

;-)
samvils samvils 4/18/2015 12:22
wesley so is still young he can still improve by playing with the best in the world..
juanviches juanviches 4/17/2015 11:42
I think So will be the next candidate for world champ. He is young and has a fantastic play, fresh and he seems to know what to do accurately. Kramnik will be a good test!!
hpaul hpaul 4/17/2015 11:20
On the question of So's eligibility that came up here, the basic FIDE rules on a player representing a federation reads:
"A player may be registered under a Federation if he or she has citizenship, naturalization or residency in the country of that Federation." And, "A player may only be registered with and only represent one Federation at any particular time."
Wesley So, who is still a citizen of the Philippines, now resides in the US, and is therefore eligible to represent the US. He transferred his federation eligibility on 28 October, 2014.
shieldandarmor shieldandarmor 4/17/2015 09:31
Exciting round one! We should feel privileged that Grandmaster So is playing for team USA!
stephen brady stephen brady 4/17/2015 08:40
Is it correct to call So American? I thought it was just that he was playing for the American Federation? I am from the USA, and like So and glad he is playing for us, but I don't think he is a citizen and haven't heard if he is even applying for citizenship.
Prefieroe4 Prefieroe4 4/17/2015 08:30
A great game by Wesley So!. Giri simply was completely destroyed.

Games to look tomorrow:

Kramnik - So (!)
Carlsen - Mamedyarov
Vachier - Anand
AustinTX_Liberal AustinTX_Liberal 4/17/2015 07:49
Great start, go Wes!
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