Gashimov Memorial 2017: Three wins and Shak widens his lead

by Albert Silver
4/28/2017 – Though not quite as bloodthirsty as Grenke, the Gashimov Memorial has been very entertaining with good fighting chess overall. Round six epitomized this with three impressive wins, all in different conditions. Mamedyarov secured his lead as he defeated Kramnik in a key game, while Topalov beat Eljanov in a trademark attack, and So beat Karjakin in a fascinating technical bout explained in detailed instructive notes by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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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

Day Off

On the day off, several of the players went to a convention center to give a shared simul with TV and press present. Sergey Karjakin kindly donated some of his time.

Russian no. 1 Vladimir Kramnik was also there. Clearly the promise of a cakewalk game was not quite accurate judging by his face.

Even chess players are a part of the selfie fad

Wesley So was also there to the delight of the children...

... as was Michael Adams.

Photos and autographs were handed out to the young fans

Round six

A fascinating battle took place between tournament leader Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik played an Italian, and obtained an excellent position, missing opportunities where he might have gotten a near decisive advantage. Instead things got out of control and he got into trouble and subsequently lost. This effectively gave the Azeri a full point lead as none of those trailing him from the previous round won their games.

Vladimir Kramnik vs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Veselin Topalov was another player to notch a win, his second, as he defeated Pavel Eljanov emphatically

The smoothest win was the impressive victory by Wesley So over Sergey Kajrakin, beating him at his own game: defending a slightly unpleasant position. Enjoy the very instructive notes by GM Moradiabadi, a specialist in the opening they played.

Wesley So vs Sergey Karjakin (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

Mamedyarov now leds the tournament witha full point lead and only three rounds to go. He is a big favorite to win it a second straight time, especially as he beat So already, one of his would-be challengers, in the first round. Still, he also must face Topalov, another rival just a point behind. Should he lose that meet, anything goes.

Standings after six 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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