Gashimov Memorial 2017: Crushing wins

by Albert Silver
4/26/2017 – It seems as if everyone will enjoy the taste of victory at the Gashimov Memorial, and round five saw two new names added to the list of victors. Wesley So’s fans will be heaving a big sigh of relief as he breaks from his funk and scores a powerful win over Vladimir Kramnik. Sergey Karjakin showed he is not just the ‘Minister of Defense’ as he completely demolished Topalov’s king in the center. Here is the illustrated report with extensive analysis by GM Tiger Hillarp-Persson.

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Now in its 4th edition, the Gashimov Memorial brings an attractive lineup of top players such as Wesley So, winner of pretty much anything he entered in the last many months, then Vladimir Kramnik who has been sitting pretty with his 2811 Elo since the London Classic, Sergey Karjakin, and of course last year’s winner, local hero Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.  

Vugar Gashimov (1986 - 2014)


Wesley So 2822
Vladimir Kramnik 2811
Sergey Karjakin 2783
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2772
Michael Adams 2761
Pentala Harikrishna 2758
Pavel Eljanov 2751
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2745
Veselin Topalov 2741
Teimour Radjabov 2710

Michael Adams has performed very well so far, with a plus one score, leaving him tied 2nd-3rd with Pavel Eljanov at 3.0/5. In round five he drew against Teimour Radjabov.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek has been struggling a bit with the field, having scored 2.0/5

Needless to say, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov leads with 3.5/5, with two wins and three draws. In the last couple of rounds, he has benefitted from the wins not being from his nearest rivals, but he will need to protect his top spot with more wins if he wishes to repeat his 2016 result (he won).

The biggest result of the day was clearly the game between the two 2800+ players in the field. Not only is this crucial for their tournament standings, but there is the matter of rating average to earn a free berth into the next Candidates tournament.

Wesley So vs Vladimir Kramnik (annotated by GM Tiger Hillarp-Persson)

A setback for the former world champion, but nothing he cannot overcome

The other big win of the day was Sergey Karjakin's crushing win over...

...Veselin Topalov, leaving both players at 50%.

Sergey Karjakin vs Veselin Topalov

[Event "4th Shamkir Chess 2017"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2017.04.25"] [Round "5"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2783"] [BlackElo "2741"] [Annotator "A. Silver"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Bxc5 6. Nf3 Ne7 7. Bd3 Ng6 8. O-O Nc6 9. b4 Bb6 10. Bb2 Nf4 11. c4 Nxd3 12. Qxd3 dxc4 13. Qxc4 Ne7 $146 (13... O-O 14. Nc3 Ne7 15. Rad1 Nd5 16. Qg4 f5 17. exf6 Nxf6 18. Qh4 Nd5 19. Qe4 Qe8 20. Nxd5 exd5 21. Qxd5+ Qf7 22. Qg5 Bf5 23. Ne5 Qf6 24. Qxf6 Rxf6 25. Nc4 Rc6 26. Nxb6 Rxb6 27. h3 a5 28. Bd4 Rg6 29. Kh2 axb4 30. axb4 Be4 31. f3 Bc6 { 1/2-1/2 (69) Istratescu,A (2654)-Grachev,B (2688) Basel 2013}) 14. Nc3 Bd7 15. Qg4 Bc6 16. Rad1 (16. Qxg7 $2 {would be everything Black could wish for.} Rg8 17. Qf6 Nf5 18. Qxd8+ Rxd8 $17) 16... Qc7 17. Ng5 (17. Qxg7 $2 {... See note above.}) 17... Qxe5 18. b5 $1 {'Poisoned' doesn't begin to describe the pawn.} h5 (18... Bxb5 $2 {would just lose.} 19. Nxb5 {If Black takes the knight with} Qxb5 {then White continues} ({Taking the bishop with} 19... Qxb2 20. Nd6+ Kf8 21. Ngxf7 {is also deadly}) 20. Bxg7 Rg8 21. Ne4 {and Nf6+ is fatal}) 19. Qh4 $1 Bxb5 {[#]} 20. Rfe1 $1 $18 {AKA 'inviting everyone to the party'.} Qf5 21. Nxb5 Qxb5 {The computer complains about this, and suggests 0-0 as best. But of course, if Black is going to openly accept the piece is lost, then he would just resign. At least here White can still conceivably go wrong.} 22. Bxg7 { With the idea of Ne4 and Nf6+} Nf5 23. Nxe6 $3 {Qf4 was also winning, but you can't fault Karjakin's sense of style!} fxe6 24. Rxe6+ Kf7 25. Qf6+ Kg8 26. Bxh8 {Threatening mate with Re7.} Bxf2+ 27. Kh1 Qa4 28. Red6 (28. Rd8+ { was mate in 8, but the move played is also crushing.} Rxd8 29. Qxd8+ Kh7 30. Be5 Ng3+ 31. hxg3 Qd1+ 32. Qxd1 Bc5 33. Qxh5+ Kg8 34. Qh8+ Kf7 35. Qe8#) 28... Rf8 29. Qg6+ Kxh8 30. Rd7 1-0

Standings after five rounds

(click for high-res)

Photos from official site


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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