Gashimov Memorial: Mamedyarov shines in blitz

by André Schulz
12/22/2021 – Richard Rapport, co-winner of the rapid section, is leading the overall standings table after the first seven rounds of blitz at the Gashimov Memoarial in Baku. The strongest on day 1 of the blitz was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, though, who scored 5 out of 7 points despite losing his last game of the day against Fabiano Caruana. | Photos: Official site

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


No more mini-matches

In contrast to the rapid chess tournament, the blitz tournament at the Vugar Gashimov Memorial in Baku is played as a single round-robin — no three-point rule, no Armageddon, no mini-matches.

On Wednesday, the first seven rounds were played. The strongest of the day was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who started with a draw against David Navara and then beat Vugar Asadli, Sergey Karjakin and Rauf Mamedov. A draw against Vishy Anand was followed by a win over Richard Rapport before Mamedyarov suffered his only defeat against Fabiano Caruana. The Azerbaijani will thus enter the second half of the tournament with 5 points.

Caruana and Rapport ended the first day of blitz sharing second place with 4½ points each. The American finished the day with two wins, over Anand and Mamedyarov. In round 4, Caruana had suffered his only loss of the day, against David Navara.

Richard Rapport was doing very well. Until round 5, the Hungarian had only given up half a point against Caruana and defeated Karjakin, Anand, Asadli and Mamedov. Then he lost two in a row, against Mamedyarov and Navara. The game against Mamedyarov was a complete disaster for Rapport.

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar (2767) - Rapport, Richard (2763)
7th Gashimov Memorial-Blitz 2021 (6)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 0–0 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0–0 a6 8.e4 Rb8 9.c5 [9.h3 leads to the main variation.]


9...b5 [9...dxc5?! 10.d5; 9...Bg4!? 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 dxc5]

10.d5 Na5 11.b4 Nc4 12.Nd4 Qe8 13.a4 e5? [13...dxc5 offered more counter-chances: 14.bxc5 b4 15.Nc6 Nd7]


14.Nc6 Rb7 15.axb5 axb5 16.Ra8 Qd7 17.Qd3 [Intending to play Nxb5 and Qxc4. Black has been completely outplayed.]

17...Nxe4 A last-ditch attempt...


18.Nxe4 f5 19.Ng5 e4 20.Qe2 dxc5 21.bxc5 Re8 [21...Qxd5 22.Ne7+]

22.Rd1 Bh6 23.Na7 Rxa7 24.Rxa7 e3 25.Ne6 exf2+ 26.Qxf2 1–0

Facing top-notch opposition, young Vugar Asadli is keeping up quite well in blitz. With 4 points, he and David Navara are in the middle of the pack. Asadli played an endgame against Rapport for 80 moves until he finally had to resign.


Which is better here: the knight or the bishop? The knight it is.

26.Nc5 Bc8 27.h4 Ke7 28.Kf1 Kd6 29.Ke2 b6 30.Nd3 Bf5 31.Ke3 Kc6 [If 31...Bxd3 32.Kxd3 White had no reason to fear, e.g.: 32...b5 (32...a5 33.bxa5 bxa5 34.f4+–) 33.g3 f5 34.b3 Ke6 35.c4+–]

32.Nf4 Bc2 33.g3 Kd6 34.f3 Bd1 35.Ng2 a5 36.bxa5 bxa5 37.Nf4 Kc6 38.Kf2 a4 39.Ng2 Bc2 40.Ne3 Bd3 41.g4 Kd6 [41...hxg4 42.fxg4 and White gets a passed pawn on the h-file.]

42.gxh5 gxh5 43.Ng2 Kc6 44.Nf4 Bg6 45.Ke3 Kd6 46.Kd2 Kc6


47.Ke2 [Very much worth considering was 47.c4!? dxc4 48.Kc3 preparing 48...Kb5 49.Nd5 f5 50.Nf4]

47...Kd6 48.Ke3 Kc6 49.Kd2 Kd6 50.Nd3 Kc6 51.Nb4+ Kd6 52.Na6 Kc6 53.Nc5 Kb5 54.Nd7 f5 55.f4 Kc4 56.Kc2 Kb5 57.b3 axb3+ [57...a3 58.Nf6+–]

58.Kxb3 f6 59.Nc5 Be8 After the black bishop has finally escaped, Black has good drawing chances again.

60.Ne6 Bf7 61.Nc5 Be8 62.Nd3 Bd7 63.Nb4 Be6 64.Nc2 Bf7 65.Ne3 Be6 66.Ka3 Triangular march.

66...Ka5 67.Kb2


67... Kb5? [Correct was 67...Ka6 68.Kb3 Kb5 and Black keeps the opposition. 69.Nf1 Bf7 70.Ng3 Bg6]

68.Kb3 Ka5 69.Nf1 Bf7 70.Ng3 Bg6 71.c4 The key move.

71...Bf7 [71...dxc4+ 72.Kxc4 Kb6 73.Kd5 Bf7+ 74.Kd6 winning.]

72.c5 [72.cxd5!? Bxd5+ 73.Kc3 Bf7 74.d5+–]

72...Bg6 73.Kc3 Kb5 74.Nf1 White’s winning path is a bit more complicated, but it also gets the job done.

74...Nf7 75.Ne3 Be6 76.Kb3 Ka5 77.Nc2 Kb5 78.Nb4 Bf7 79.Kc3 Be6 80.Nd3 Bf7 81.Nf2 Be8 82.Kb3 Bf7 83.Nd1 Be6 84.Nc3+ Ka5 85.Ka3 Bf7 86.Na4 Kb5 87.Kb3 Be6 88.Nb6 Ka5 89.Na8 Bd7 90.Nc7 Ba4+ 91.Kc3 Bc6 92.Ne6 Be8 93.c6 Kb6 94.c7 Kb7 95.Kb4 Bd7 96.Nc5+ Kxc7 97.Nxd7 Kxd7 98.Kc5 Ke6 99.Kc6 Ke7 100.Kc7 Ke6 101.Kd8 Kd6 102.Ke8 Kc6 103.Kf7 Kb5 104.Kxf6 Kc4 105.Ke5 1–0

Standings after round 7 - Blitz


Overall standings

Rk Name Rtg Rapid Blitz Pts
1 Rapport, Richard 2750



2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2727 14



3 Caruana, Fabiano 2770 14


4 Karjakin, Sergey 2757 16



5 Navara, David 2706 8



6 Mamedov, Rauf 2690 9


7 Asadli, Vugar 2309 4



8 Anand, Viswanathan 2748 3

All games - Blitz



André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register