2016 Shamkir Rd4: Caruana storms to 3.5/4

by Alejandro Ramirez
5/29/2016 – After four rounds, it is beginning to look like a one-man show, with yet another win for Fabiano Caruana as he defeated Rauf Mamedov with black, taking his score to 3.5/4 and his live rating to world no.2 at 2814. Pentala Harikrishna was outplayed by Anish Giri and lost in 27 moves. We bring you a full report of an incredibly important fourth round.

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Third Shamkir Tournament in memory of Vugar Gashimov

The Vugar Gashimov Memorial, is being held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, from the May 26 to June 4, 2016, in memory of the great Vugar Gashimov, who passed away on the 10th of January 2014. The tournament features ten world-class players: Fabiano Caruana (2795), Anish Giri (2790), Sergey Karjakin (2779), Pavel Eljanov (2750), Pentala Harikrishna (2763), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2750), Teimour Radjabov (2726), Eltaj Safarli (2664), Hou Yifan (2663) and Rauf Mamedov (2650). The time control is 120/40 moves + 60/20 moves + 15 minutes + 30 seconds/move at 61st move.

All games start at 3 p.m. local time = 1 p.m. in Europe (CEST), one hour earlier in Britain, and 2 p.m. in Moscow. You can find the starting time at your location here. Today's pairings:

Round 4 – May 29, 2016
Anish Giri
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna
Pavel Eljanov
½-½
Sergey Karjakin
Hou Yifan
½-½
Shak Mamedyarov
Rauf Mamedov
0-1
Fabiano Caruana
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Eltaj Safarli

Watch it live on Playchess!

Round Four

The Caruana train does not seem to deacelerate, while Giri keeps up the pace by inflicting Harikrishna's second loss in a row. The remaining games were filled with interesting chess, sans the game between Azerbaijanis, as seems to be tradition.

Round four, fight!

Giri, Anish 1-0 Harikrishna, Pentala
Harikrishna trusted his pet defense, but Giri simply tore it apart:

Fabiano might be stealing the show, but Anish is having a great tournament as well

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2016"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2016.05.29"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Harikrishna, Pentala"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D41"] [WhiteElo "2790"] [BlackElo "2763"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2016.05.26"] {The last game between these players resulted in an easy victory for Pentala. Anish was surely out for revenge today.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Qxd2 { This defense really follows the modern approach of drawing black at all costs. Harikrishna is a true believer on this line, having beaten Li Chao and Wojtaszek this year with it, however he did suffer a defeat at the hands of the World Champion.} O-O 11. Rc1 (11. Bc4 {is more common, but Rc1 ha been tried against Harikrishna before.}) 11... b6 (11... Nc6 {is thet Indian's usual choice, but he decided to switch it up for this game.}) 12. Bd3 Bb7 13. O-O h6 14. Qe3 Nc6 {was Mamedyarov-Kramnik from last year's Shamkir, a game won by the Azerbaijani.} 15. h4 $5 {a Novelty and an interesting one. White immediately signals his kindside intentions.} Rc8 16. h5 Qe7 17. Bb1 Rfd8 18. d5 $1 {Played after a significant think, so it is possible that this is no longer preparation.} exd5 19. e5 {This is the point of White's play. At the cost of a pawn he has the huge threat of Qd3-h7, and defending against it is far from obvious.} Ba6 20. Rfe1 Qd7 21. Qf4 {Despite being up a pawn, Black's position is just very unpleasant. The immediate threat is Bf5.} Ne7 22. Nd4 Rxc1 23. Qxc1 Qa4 $2 {A mistake in a position that I think is just bad for Black.} 24. e6 $1 {Very strong! The calculations are not the most difficult, now Black is close to losing.} Qxd4 (24... Rf8 25. exf7+ $6 (25. Qe3 $1 { Maintains the pressure and seems to lead to a decisive attack for White.})) 25. exf7+ Kxf7 26. Qc7 Re8 (26... Rf8 27. Qxe7+ Kg8 28. Bh7+ Kxh7 29. Qxf8 { is simply winning.}) 27. Bg6+ {The entire house falls down.} 1-0

Pentala trying to figure out how to revive his pet line

Eljanov, Pavel ½-½ Karjakin, Sergey
The eternal dilemma: the more a passed pawn pushes, the stronger and weaker it becomes. The pawn on d7 was always a problem for black, unable to capture it but solidly blockaded. On the other hand White's game revolved entirely around his pawn and he was unable to push it. There were a couple of sacrificial ideas that Eljanov might've tried to gain a slight edge, but Karjakin was never in trouble.

Sergey sits at 50% with one win, one loss and two draws

Somehow, somewhat surprisingly, Eljanov managed to sacrifice a piece for three pawns and the resulting liquidation landed them in a dead drawn endgame.

Hou Yifan ½-½ Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
Quite an intersting struggle. Yifan's excellent pawn sacrifice netted her an initiative against Black's weakened king and pawn structure. Black kept holding on in an unpleasant queen endgame, and the threats of perpetuals gave black excellent drawing chances. Had Yifan played like a super computer she might've put real pressure on her opponent, but the maneuvers that Komodo and Stockfish recommend are beyond anything a human can understand. Yifan's human play allowed Shakh to find a drawing variation just as White's c-pawn was about to promote.

Yifan with one of the commentators, legendary GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic

Mamedov, Rauf 0-1 Caruana, Fabiano
Caruana is, simply put, on a roll:

Fabiano's thid victim in a row: Rauf Mamedov

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2016"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2016.05.29"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Mamedov, Rauf"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C53"] [WhiteElo "2655"] [BlackElo "2804"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "102"] [EventDate "2016.05.26"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 {It's interesting that with the Berlin being such a difficulty for white players, the Italian is back in vogue. } a6 6. O-O d6 7. a4 {It's this new a4 stuff that everyone is playing nowadays. It grabs some space on the queenside and it gives the bishop a retreat square. Oh and it avoids the Berlin. Caruana himself used to beat Nakamura in a blitz game last month.} Ba7 8. Bg5 {Kind of rare, and I suspect it won't gather a great following.} h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Ne7 11. d4 {This idea of breaking through on the center is too artificial. It's risky for both sides, but Caruana calculates well.} Nxe4 12. Nxe5 O-O (12... dxe5 13. Bxe5 Rh7 {is a weird position. White is down a piece but he has a lot of initiative, for example} 14. Re1 f5 15. Nd2 $1 Nxd2 16. Qxd2 {and Black's king lacks any shelter. Still, the position is very unclear. Caruana's choice is much safer.}) 13. Nxf7 $2 {This is probably too ambitious.} (13. Ng4 d5 $1 14. Bd3 Bxg4 15. Qxg4 f5 {seems very unclear to me.}) 13... Rxf7 14. Bxf7+ Kxf7 15. f4 g4 (15... Nf5 $1 16. fxg5 Kg6 $1 17. gxh6 Ne3 {is very coldblooded, but it works.}) 16. f5 {Otherwise Black blocakdes on f5 with a huge advantage.} Nxg3 17. hxg3 Ng8 $1 (17... Qg8 {There wasn't any need to give up the pawn on g4, but Black does gain time in this variation. The knight can maneuver to f6 from d5.}) 18. Qxg4 Qg5 $1 19. Qxg5 hxg5 20. Nd2 Nf6 (20... c5 $1) 21. Nf3 Nh7 22. g4 Bd7 23. Rfe1 Rg8 {Despite the computer's evaluation, I much prefer Black's position. The two pieces are stronger than the rook and once the knight reaches f6 it is hard to play for White, but easy to come up with moves for Black.} 24. Kf2 Nf6 25. Kg3 c5 26. Re2 cxd4 27. cxd4 Bb6 28. b3 Bc6 29. Rae1 $2 (29. Rc1 $15) 29... Ba5 $1 30. Re7+ Kf8 31. R1e2 Bd8 32. R7e6 Bd7 {The rooks are rather clumsy and are kicked around easily. They are quickly running out of squares.} 33. R6e3 Nd5 34. Re4 Nc3 {The finishing touch. Black emerges up a piece and the rest is technique, which does not need to be too strong.} 35. d5 Bf6 36. Nd2 Rg7 37. Re1 Nxe4+ 38. Nxe4 Re7 39. Kf3 Kg7 $2 {Quite inaccurate in time trouble, but it does not matter.} 40. Rh1 Be8 41. Nxd6 Bf7 42. Nxf7 Kxf7 43. Rc1 Bd4 44. Rc4 Bb6 45. Re4 Rxe4 46. Kxe4 Ke7 {The endgame is an elementary win.} 47. b4 Bd8 48. a5 Kd6 49. Kd4 Bf6+ 50. Kc4 Bg7 51. b5 Bf6 0-1

Radjabov, Teimour ½-½ Safarli, Eltaj
The game seemed pretty interesting on move 17. Five moves later all the pieces had disappeared and the dead draw result was clear to everyone.

The pieces kind of all came off again in a Radjabov game

Standings after four rounds

Schedule and results

Round 1 – May 26, 2016
Rauf Mamedov
½-½
Anish Giri
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Hou Yifan
Eltaj Safarli
½-½
Pavel Eljanov
Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna
Shak Mamedyarov
½-½
Sergey Karjakin
Round 3 – May 28, 2016
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Anish Giri
Eltaj Safarli
½-½
Rauf Mamedov
Fabiano Caruana
1-0
Hou Yifan
Shak Mamedyarov
1-0
Pavel Eljanov
Sergey Karjakin
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna
Round 5 – May 30, 2016
Eltaj Safarli
-
Anish Giri
Fabiano Caruana
-
Teimour Radjabov
Shak Mamedyarov
-
Rauf Mamedov
Sergey Karjakin
-
Hou Yifan
Pentala Harikrishna
-
Pavel Eljanov
Round 6 – June 1, 2016
Anish Giri
-
Pavel Eljanov
Hou Yifan
-
Pentala Harikrishna
Rauf Mamedov
-
Sergey Karjakin
Teimour Radjabov
-
Shak Mamedyarov
Eltaj Safarli
-
Fabiano Caruana
Round 8 – June 3, 2016
Anish Giri
-
Hou Yifan
Rauf Mamedov
-
Pavel Eljanov
Teimour Radjabov
-
Pentala Harikrishna
Eltaj Safarli
-
Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana
-
Shak Mamedyarov
 
Round 2 – May 27, 2016
Anish Giri
1-0
Sergey Karjakin
Pentala Harikrishna
1-0
Shak Mamedyarov
Pavel Eljanov
0-1
Fabiano Caruana
Hou Yifan
½-½
Eltaj Safarli
Rauf Mamedov
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Round 4 – May 29, 2016
Anish Giri
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna
Pavel Eljanov
½-½
Sergey Karjakin
Hou Yifan
½-½
Shak Mamedyarov
Rauf Mamedov
0-1
Fabiano Caruana
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Eltaj Safarli
May 31, 2016
Free day
Round 7 – June 2, 2016
Fabiano Caruana
-
Anish Giri
Shak Mamedyarov
-
Eltaj Safarli
Sergey Karjakin
-
Teimour Radjabov
Pentala Harikrishna
-
Rauf Mamedov
Pavel Eljanov
-
Hou Yifan
Round 9 – June 4, 2016
Shak Mamedyarov
-
Anish Giri
Sergey Karjakin
-
Fabiano Caruana
Pentala Harikrishna
-
Eltaj Safarli
Pavel Eljanov
-
Teimour Radjabov
Hou Yifan
-
Rauf Mamedov

Live commentary on Playchess

Date Round English German
28.5.2016 Round 3 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
29.5.2016 Round 4 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
30.5.2016 Round 5 Yasser Seirawan Klaus Bischoff
01.6.2016 Round 6 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
02.6.2016 Round 7 Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff
03.6.2016 Round 8 Yasser Seirawan Klaus Bischoff
04.6.2016 Round 9 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff

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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


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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CannibalOx CannibalOx 5/30/2016 03:28
Radjabov is no longer a professional chess player. He dedicates his time to other things (business and family mostly).
KOTLD KOTLD 5/30/2016 11:14
What's happened to Radjabov? The fun, Schlieman-gambit playing, Kasaprov-junior, seems to have lost all self confidence.
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