Gashimov Memorial 2017: Mamedyarov wins second title!

by Albert Silver
5/1/2017 – There were few surprises in the final round of the Gashimov Memorial, and kudos to Alex Yermolinsky for so astutely predicting the action (or lack thereof). Shakhriyar Mamedyarov capped his great run by taking clear first for a second year in a row, showing the event inspires him. Most games were quiet cautious affairs with one exception: Eljanov-Kramnik that had swings and study-like wins. Here is the report with fascinating analysis by GM Elshan Moradiabadi. | Photos:

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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

The in spite of a fairly sedate final round, quite expected as predicted by Alex Yermolinsky who signed the report for round eight, the Gashimov Memorial was hardly dull. There were numerous wonderful battles, and it is a sign of how combative it was that not one player can claim an unblemished campaign.

Neither player saw fit to take great risks in the last round | Photo:

In fact, only two players will leave without scoring a win: Radjabov, who didn’t actually seem to be trying all that hard, and Harikrishna, who tried but never seemed to get the momentum rolling.

Pavel Eljanov, who lost in the final round, will need to do some serious self-analysis, since he has started so strong, and even had he not won anymore, it was hardly natural to have him then lose no fewer than four games. Consider his game in round nine against Vladimir Kramnik.

Pavel Eljanov vs Vlaimir Kramnik (annotated by Elshan Moradiabadi)

Vladimir Kramnik had an uneven event, and it is saying something that he had the fewest draws in the event, barring the last place finisher, which he was not. A final blitz with strong play suggests that with a slightly more consistent demeanor, he could have seriously challenged for the top spot.

Fighting chess, but with fewer losses Vladimir Kramnik might have challenged for gold | Photo:

Wesley So had arrived with huge momentum, and it was to be expected that his run would end one day. Still, in spite of the shock loss in round one, he recovered soon enough after a few draws and ended tied for 2nd in the end. He will have a chance to ‘rectify’ this in the next months though.

Wesley So took second on tiebreak with a plus one score | Photo:

Finally, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov did the unexpected, which often characterizes his chess, by winning the event outright for a second year in a row. It might seem odd to call this unexpected in view of his elite rating and as the reigning champion, but Wesley So and Vladimir Kramnik were the pundit favorites due to recent results and rating. A hearty congratulations to the Azeri player who did his home crowd proud.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is the champion of the 2017 Gashimov Memorial | Photo:

Final standings

(click for high-res)


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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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