CBM 186: A summer of Carlsen, Caruana and Mamedyarov

by Nagesh Havanur
11/1/2018 – ChessBase Magazine 186 featured star analysis from World Number 3 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, but reflecting on the most recent issue, Professor NAGESH HAVANUR chooses to focus his review in large part on the games featuring Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana who will take centre stage next week. In that light, his highlights are worth reviewing even if you're familiar with the games from our contemporaneous coverage this past summer. Enjoy!

ChessBase Magazine 186 ChessBase Magazine 186

Enjoy the best moments of recent top tournaments (Sinquefield Cup, Biel, Dortmund) with analysis of top players. In addition you'll get lots of training material. For example 10 new suggestions for your opening repertoire.

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The Warlord from the East

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (featured on the cover of this issue) reminds one of the legendary warriors of the East. Few can rival him in swashbuckling play over the board. One had a glimpse of the same in his game with Aronian in the recent Olympiad. He conjured up a magical attack from nowhere to score a victory. But then this kind of play also has its flip side. Two rounds later he fell prey to Caruana who withstood his aggression to begin an attack on his own that prevailed in the end. The despairing Azeri left the board without a word.

IM Sagar Shah narrates the conclusion of this key game | ChessBase India YouTube

In this issue, there are as many as 46 games played by Mamedyarov. In Biel he beat Carlsen with powerful positional play and the victory enabled him to come first ahead of Magnus. The game is annotated by GM Mikhail Golubev.

 

Mamedyarov vs Carlsen

In general, Mamedyarov played sober, practical chess in Biel | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Biel International Chess Festival

When Mamedyarov was asked in an interview if there was a change in style he replied, “In the past, I used to play more aggressively, while now you might say I play more wisely.”

But then a leopard cannot change his spots. I found another game in this issue that is a lot more fun.

 

A fine contest. In fairness to the Frenchman, it should be pointed out that he beat Mamedyarov twice in the blitz event and went on to score 13½/18 coming first ahead of Nakamura, Caruana and Karjakin. All the games from the blitz and rapid sections of Saint Louis Tournament may be found in this issue.

Carlsen and Caruana

Carlsen and Caruana face off in St. Louis | Photo: Lennart Ootes

A war of nerves

The main event, the Sinquefield Cup tournament ended in a three-way tie between Aronian, Carlsen and Caruana with 5½/9 apiece. As is known, it saw too few decisive games, but many hard-fought draws. Of course, the focus of interest was the Carlsen-Caruana clash as it was to be their last duel before the World Championship match. When they met in the seventh round, Caruana was leading by half-point with only three rounds to go. The challenge before Magnus was to beat him and win the race for the final standings. The game is analysed by Michael Roiz in this issue. I have annotated it afresh taking into account what the players themselves have had to say and offered a few pointers in the line of improvement.

 


The Reliable Petroff

The Petroff (or Russian) Defence which is characterised by the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 has been popular at the highest levels for many years and enjoys the reputation of being an extremely solid defence.

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Player interviews courtesy Saint Louis Chess Club YouTube

Nepo dominates Sparkassen Chess Meeting

The Dortmund tournament was won by Nepomniachtchi ahead of Kovalev and Duda. The surprise of the event was the poor showing of Vladimir Kramnik who had dominated the event for years but ended up with 3/7 points. One reason for his failure was his loss to the eventual winner. In this issue Nepominiachtchi himself annotates the game against Kramnik:

 

Kramnik against Nepomniachtchi

“We are friends, but we love to fight!” | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

In the second part of the review, I shall deal with the rest of the magazine, especially, opening surveys.

Continued in part 2...


ChessBase Magazine 186

Enjoy the best moments of recent top tournaments (Sinquefield Cup, Biel, Dortmund) with analysis of top players. In addition you'll get lots of training material. For example 10 new suggestions for your opening repertoire.

More...


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Prof. Nagesh Havanur (otherwise known as "chessbibliophile") is a senior academic and research scholar. He taught English in Mumbai for three decades and has now settled in Bangalore, India. His interests include chess history, biography and opening theory. He has been writing on the Royal Game for more than two decades. His articles and reviews have appeared on several web sites and magazines.
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