Gashimov R1: Carlsen with a flying start

by Sagar Shah
4/21/2014 – The Gashimov Memorial has started in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, with six very strong players, all under 30 years of age. The average Elo is 2780, making it a category 22. In the first round Magnus Carlsen not surprisingly won his game, the other two were drawn. The B group, with ten players, is a category 17 with an average 2662 (more on it later). We bring you extensive analysis of the three Group A games.

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Magnus Carlsen leads at the Gashimov Memorial

The Vugar Gashimov Memorial kicked off on Sunday with its first round. The tournament is being held in the town on Shamkir in Azerbaijan, from the 20th to 30th of April, in the memory of the great player Vugar Gashimov who passed away on the 10th of January 2014.

The tournament is divided into two groups. The A Group features six players: the World Champion Magnus Carlsen (2881), Fabiano Caruana (2783), Sergey Karjakin (2772), Hikaru Nakamura (2772), and the two Azeri players Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2760) and Teimour Radjabov (2713). The wonderful thing about the A group is that no player was born before 1985! A field that is very young and energetic, and we can expect to witness a lot of fighting games.

The B group consists of ten players. The top five seeds are players from various countries and the bottom five are all from Azerbaijan. The players are Wang Hao from China, Pavel Eljanov from Ukraine, Etienne Bacrot from France, Wojtaszek Radoslaw from Poland, the latest European champion Alexander Motylev from Russia and the five Azeri players Rauf Mamedov, Eltaj Safarli, Gadir Guseinov, Vasif Durarbayli and Nidjat Abasov.

Magnus Carlsen – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 1-0
Magnus opened with the queen pawn, and Mamedyarov replied with a Slav. With Magnus playing 5.Bg5 it seemed that we were going to be treated to a sharp and complex game in the Botvinnik or the Moscow Variation. It was not to be as Mamedyarov chose the super solid Cambridge Springs Variation. This variation has received a surge in popularity since Carlsen won with the black pieces against Boris Gelfand in Candidates 2013. Mamedyarov got a decent position out of the opening but there was one factor which required some attention. The Azeri player had his bishop on a3 which was out of the game. With skilful play and making moves like Rxd5 instead of the more attractive cxd5, Carlsen played on the kingside with an extra piece. His move 20.h4!? in the middlegame was so original and beautiful it makes us understand what is so different about this Norwegian. As more and more pieces got exchanged, White’s advantage kept growing until a stage was reached when Black had to give up. The black bishop on a5 stood almost for the entire game as a spectator. A characteristic flawless and effortless victory by the world champion, who is off to a flying start!

Daniel King shows the game Carlsen vs Mamedyarov

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2014"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2014.04.20"] [Round "1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D52"] [WhiteElo "2881"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 {Will we witness some sharp Botvinnik or Moscow variation?} Nbd7 {Mamedyarov goes for Cambridge Springs Variation.} 6. e3 Qa5 7. cxd5 $5 (7. Nd2 Bb4 8. Qc2 O-O 9. Be2 e5 $5 {is one of the main lines of this opening.}) 7... Nxd5 8. Rc1 {This move was played by Boris Gelfand against Magnus Carlsen in the Candidates 2013. With reversed colours I am sure that Carlsen had prepared some improvement over that game for White.} (8. Qd2 Bb4 9. Rc1 $14 {is the main line}) 8... Nxc3 9. bxc3 Ba3 ( 9... Qxa2 10. Bd3 {gives White good compensation for the pawn. Postny points out an interesting variation:} Bd6 11. O-O O-O $2 12. Ra1 Qb2 13. Bxh7+ $1 Kxh7 14. Qd3+ Kg8 15. Rfb1 $18) 10. Rc2 b6 11. Be2 (11. Bd3 {was played by Gelfand. Carlsen maybe wants his queen to be on e2 instead of d3, after the exchange of the light squared bishop.}) 11... Ba6 12. O-O Bxe2 13. Qxe2 O-O {White has two ways to expand in this position, one with c4 and other with e4. The former is safer as White is not left with many weaknesses, but latter is more aggressive as White tries to attack Black's kingside.} 14. e4 {Carlsen looks to be in an aggressive mood today} Rac8 15. e5 Qa4 (15... c5 {this move looks extremely logical but is met with a strong retort} 16. d5 $1 exd5 17. e6 $1 Nb8 (17... fxe6 18. Qxe6+ Rf7 19. Ne5 $1 $18) 18. exf7+ Rxf7 19. Qe6 Rc6 20. Qxd5 $18) ( 15... Rfe8 {trying to prepare c5 also looks logical.}) 16. c4 Rfe8 {White looks very active, but Black is solid. Maybe this is the kind of position Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was looking for against the World Champion.} 17. Rd1 c5 ( 17... Bf8 {seeing how the bishop fares in the rest of the game it could have been a very good idea to bring it back into the game before going for the c5 break.}) 18. d5 {A very sharp battle has now ensued.} exd5 19. Rxd5 $5 { Carlsen played this move after a long thought. Let's try to understand why he made this move. First of all White can have complete control on the d-file because he already has a rook and the bishop on g5 controls the d8 square. Secondly by keeping the pawn on c4 the pawn on c5 is blocked, which keeps the bishop on a3 out of the game. However Black does get some stability in return due to the e6 square for his knight.} (19. cxd5 {I wonder why he rejected this move.There were a lot of practical chances for White in this position.} Nxe5 $5 (19... f6 $2 20. e6 $1 fxg5 21. Rc4 $3 Qb5 22. Nxg5 {With the two central passers White is winning.}) (19... c4 {reactivating his a3 bishop could have been the reason why Carlsen didn't like this position.}) 20. Nxe5 Rxe5 (20... f6 21. Qc4 $18) 21. Qxe5 Qxc2 22. Re1 {Now the d5 pawn coupled with the back rank weakness looks extremely dangerous. Also the Ba3 is out of the game. We realise that Black is in grave difficulties.} Qa4 (22... h6 23. d6 $1 hxg5 24. d7 Rf8 25. Qd6 Rd8 26. Qc7 Rxd7 27. Qxd7 $14 {White has an advantage here, but its difficult to evaluate the this position as the black c-pawn is extremely dangerous.}) 23. d6 c4 24. Qd5 $16) 19... Nf8 (19... Bb4 {I thought this was an interesting move preventing Rd2 and improving the position of the bishop.} 20. Qd3 Nf8) 20. h4 $5 {The problem with chess notation is that it gives only a few ways to annotate a move. Either a move is good, excellent, bad, blunder, dubious or interesting. I would like to break the norm here and say that this is a very "Carlseny" move. The computer will never suggest such a move, but it has its own venom. It reminds me of the Qd3 move in the opening of game five of the Anand-Carlsen Wch match. Over here thanks to h4, the backrank problems have now been solved and h5-h6 is a threat. Mamedyarov must also figure out what to do with the a3 bishop. All in all it is not an earth-shattering move, but it improves the white position.} h6 21. Be3 Ng6 22. Qd3 {The computer might consider this position close to a draw, but it is very difficult for Black to play here.} Re6 23. h5 Ne7 24. Rd6 (24. Rd8+ {seemed like a pretty good move for White} Rxd8 25. Qxd8+ Kh7 26. Rd2 {with the threat of Rd7} Bc1 27. Rd7 Bxe3 28. fxe3 {Black cannot save his knight.} Qxa2 (28... Nc6 29. Qf8 $1 $18) 29. Rxe7 Rxe7 30. Qxe7 Qxc4 31. Qxa7 $16 {Black has some counterplay, but White is close to winning.}) 24... Bb4 25. Rc1 Re8 26. Rxe6 fxe6 27. Nh4 Qc6 28. a3 $1 {Pushing the bishop back to a further passive post on a5.} Ba5 29. Rd1 Qc7 30. Ng6 (30. f4 $1 {keeping up the pressure seemed even stronger.}) 30... Nxg6 31. Qxg6 {Effectively Black is a piece down as his bishop is doing absolutely nothing on a5.} Qf7 {The only way to prevent Bh6 and Qe8 threats.} 32. Rd3 $1 {With this move Carlsen prevents the bishop on a5 from coming back into the game.} a6 {Planning b5 to bring the bishop back into the game which Carlsen will not of course not allow.} 33. a4 Rf8 (33... b5 $2 34. axb5 axb5 35. cxb5 c4 36. Qxf7+ Kxf7 37. Ra3 $18) 34. g4 Qe8 35. Rd6 {The e6 pawn is dead, the position is completely losing. Mamedyarov goes for a last-ditch attempt to complicate matters.} Qxa4 36. Qxe6+ Kh8 (36... Kh7 37. Rd7 $18) 37. Bxh6 Qa1+ 38. Kg2 Rxf2+ 39. Kxf2 {Carlsen is not one to be afraid of a few spite checks.} Qe1+ 40. Kg2 Qe4+ 41. Kh3 (41. Kh2 $1 {would have been more accurate} Qe2+ 42. Kh3 Qf3+ 43. Kh4 Qf2+ 44. Kg5 Qe3+ 45. Kf5 $18) 41... Qh1+ 42. Kg3 Qe1+ 43. Kf4 Bd2+ 44. Rxd2 Qxd2+ 45. Kf5 gxh6 46. Qe8+ Kg7 47. Qe7+ { And Mamedyarov resigned before White could enter with Kg6. A great start to the tournament for the World Champion, who played an excellent game right from the start. His moves at the crucial juncture like taking Rxd5 and h4!? really made this game extremely interesting and worth studying.} 1-0

Sergey Karjakin- Teimour Radjabov 1/2-1/2
Karjakin (above) played 1.e4 and met with the French Defense by Radjabov (below). The Qxd5 line in the Tarrasch Variation has received quite some popularity, thanks to recent books being written on it. White had a small lead in development, but it wasn’t too significant as he couldn’t cause much harm to Black. Radjabov completed his development and castled kingside. In the meantime Karjakin was able to play Bxf6 gxf6 and weaken the white king. With moves like Qh5 and Re3 being made, it seemed as if Radjabov was in deep trouble. But the very strong move Be4 with the idea of relocating the bishop to g6 solved all of Black’s problems. In the endgame that arose, White was a tad better but Black was always within the drawing zone. A fighting game by the two players.

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2014"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2014.04.20"] [Round "1"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Radjabov, Teimour"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C07"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2713"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 {The Tarrasch Variation, one of the most popular ways to meet the French Defense.} c5 4. exd5 Qxd5 (4... exd5 {gone are the days when White would try to defend this IQP positions for many moves. In this modern era Qd5 is almost exclusively played.}) 5. Ngf3 cxd4 6. Bc4 Qd6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Nb3 Nc6 {As white tries to win back the pawn, Black catches up in development.} 9. Nbxd4 Nxd4 10. Nxd4 a6 $1 {A crucial move in this opening, taking away the b5 square from the white pieces. Black is behind in development, but can White take advantage of it?} 11. Re1 {A very logical move, putting the rook on a semi-open file.} Qc7 {With the idea of developing the bishop either to d6 or c5.} 12. Qe2 Bc5 (12... Bd6 {is the main move in this position, but White scores heavily after} 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Bd3 {with dangerous attacking chances.}) 13. c3 b5 14. Bb3 (14. Bd3 {is more popular, but a recent game ended in Black's favour after} O-O 15. Bg5 Nd5 16. Qh5 g6 17. Qh4 Be7 18. Bxe7 Qxe7 19. Qxe7 Nxe7 {and the position was close to equal in Azarov-Fridman March 2014.}) 14... O-O 15. Bg5 Bb7 (15... Nd5 {was a decent move here, but White could count on a small edge with} 16. Bxd5 exd5 17. Rad1 $14) 16. Bxf6 $5 gxf6 17. Qh5 Bxd4 (17... Kh8 {might be a better defensive move.}) 18. cxd4 Qf4 {The position looks quite scary for Black, but the black pieces are coming back in time to save position.} 19. Re3 (19. Bc2 f5 20. Re3 Qxd4 21. Rh3 Rfc8 $1 $15 {The black king will be safe on e7.}) 19... Be4 {Trying to cement the bishop on g6.} 20. g3 (20. d5 $5 {This seemed like an interesting choice.} exd5 21. Bxd5 Bxd5 22. Qxd5 $14 {White should have miniscule edge, but with correct defence Black will make a draw.}) 20... Qf5 21. Qxf5 Bxf5 22. g4 Bg6 (22... Bxg4 $2 23. Rg3 h5 24. h3 $18) 23. f4 f5 24. g5 Kg7 25. Rd1 h6 26. gxh6+ Kxh6 27. Kf2 Kg7 28. d5 exd5 29. Rxd5 {Lets assess this position: White should be slightly better because he has the better pawn structure. However the black king will be well placed on f6 after one rook is exchanged, and the h2 pawn can be attacked via the h pawn. All in all this seems closer to equality than a white advantage.} Rae8 30. Rxe8 Rxe8 31. Bc2 Rh8 32. Kg3 Re8 33. Rd2 (33. Bxf5 Bxf5 34. Rxf5 Re2 $11) 33... Re3+ 34. Kf2 Rh3 35. Kg2 Re3 36. Kf2 Rh3 37. Ke1 {Karjaking shows good fighting spirit with the intention to win} Bh5 (37... Kf6 {is a normal move.} 38. Rd6+ Kg7 39. Rxa6 Rxh2 $11) 38. Bxf5 {Now White is a pawn up and can try to keep pressing in this position. Though it is extremely difficult to win as White here.} Re3+ 39. Kf1 b4 40. Bd3 Rf3+ 41. Kg2 Rxf4 42. Bxa6 f5 43. Rf2 Rg4+ 44. Kf1 Rh4 45. Be2 Bf7 46. Bd3 f4 47. a4 bxa3 48. bxa3 Rh3 49. Rd2 Be8 50. Ke1 Kf6 51. Kd1 Ke5 52. Re2+ Kd4 53. Bf5 Ba4+ 54. Kd2 $11 {Black is just too active for White to have any realistic chances to win. Besides the a3 pawn is falling. So a draw was agreed.} 1/2-1/2

Hikaru Nakamura - Fabiano Caruana 1/2- 1/2
What a thriller this game was! It started with an English Opening in which White managed to get the Maroczy Bind with the pawns e4 and c4. Black had his typical Hedgehog setup with pawns all nicely established on the third rank and pieces placed behind them. Nakamura kept expanding on all sides of the board with moves like b4, f4 and a4. However, everyone knows that Hedgehog is a tenacious creature. Once Nakamura lost his chance of getting some advantage, Caruana took over! First the excellent move a5 secured the c5 square for his knight, and then he activated his hitherto passive b7 bishop. It was so surprising to see the white position crumble in a matter of few moves. Caruana’s queen had penetrated into the heart of Nakamura’s position, and his rook was going to join in. Just when the victory was a few moves away the Italian made a horrible mistake, letting the American come back into the game and save his position. Many people would have been dejected and made a mistake of dragging the game along. But not Caruana. The moment he saw that his advantage was gone, he agreed to a draw. A wonderful objective decision showing the high level of chess maturity.

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2014"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2014.04.20"] [Round "1"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A33"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2783"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "121"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 e6 6. a3 Bc5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 b6 10. O-O Ba6 ({Two very interesting games in this line were played by Gashimov and Carlsen.} 10... Bb7 11. Bf4 d6 12. Rc1 Rc8 13. Re1 Ne5 14. Nd2 Nfd7 15. Be3 $1 {Carlsen's improvement over Van Wely. The bishop is better placed on e3 than on g3} (15. b4 Kh8 16. Bg3 g5 $5 {getting very interesting play on dark squares. Van Wely,L (2692)-Gashimov,V (2761) Wijk aan Zee 2012}) 15... Qc7 (15... g5 $5 {could have been an interesting idea.}) 16. b4 $14 {Carlsen,M (2848)-Polgar,J (2705) London 2012}) 11. Bf4 d6 12. Nd2 Rc8 13. Re1 Nd7 14. b4 Bb7 15. Rc1 a6 16. Bf1 Re8 (16... Nce5 17. Be3 g5 {is what I was thinking. It could be a very interesting idea and just what Gashimov had played a few years ago against Van Wely.}) 17. Qe2 Nce5 18. Be3 Nf6 19. Na4 Ned7 20. Bd4 Qc7 21. f3 Bc6 22. Nc3 Qb8 23. Kh1 Bd8 24. a4 Bc7 25. g3 Qa8 ( 25... h5 {is another typical idea in the Hedgehog.}) 26. Ra1 Bb7 27. Bg2 h6 28. Rec1 Qb8 29. Re1 Qa8 30. Rec1 Qb8 31. f4 {Finally we are getting ready for some action.} e5 32. fxe5 Nxe5 (32... dxe5 33. Be3 $14 {The knight coming to d5 gives White an edge.}) 33. Nd5 (33. Bh3 {could have been considered, but it looks very dangerous to keep your king opposite the bishop on b7.} Rcd8 34. Nd5 $16 Nxd5 35. cxd5 {the white pieces are superior to black counterparts.}) 33... Nxd5 34. cxd5 Bd8 35. Nf3 Nd7 36. Qd3 Bf6 37. Bh3 Bxd4 38. Qxd4 Rxc1+ 39. Rxc1 Qd8 40. Kg1 Re7 {Though White has the open c-file, Black is pretty solid and has the e5 square in his control, which makes his position defensible.} 41. Rc3 a5 $1 {Excellent move by Caruana fighting for the c5 square.} 42. b5 $6 (42. Bxd7 axb4 (42... Qxd7 43. b5) 43. Qxb4 Qxd7 44. Kf2 $11 {would have been a better choice.}) (42. bxa5 bxa5) 42... Nc5 $1 43. Re3 Bc8 $1 {Slowly and steadily Caruana is not only fighting back but also snatching the initiative.} 44. Bg2 Bg4 45. Ne1 Bh5 $6 (45... Qc8 {is an accurate move to try to press White. The point is that after} 46. Nd3 Nxd3 47. Qxd3 Rc7 $17 {Black has a huge advantage.}) 46. Nc2 (46. Nd3 Nxd3 47. Rxd3 {in order to contest the c-file was better.}) 46... Bg6 47. Qc4 Re8 {Making way for the queen to go to f6.} 48. Nd4 Qf6 (48... Qg5 $1) 49. Nb3 Nxb3 50. Rxb3 Qa1+ 51. Kf2 f5 $1 { Suddenly the white king finds himself in grave trouble. The black queen is inside the white position and the rook is ready to take the f-file. All in all the position is lost for white.} 52. Re3 fxe4 53. Bxe4 Qe5 54. Kf3 Bxe4+ $4 { Amnesty!} (54... Bh5+ {would have completely sealed the deal} 55. Kg2 (55. Kf2 Qf6+ 56. Kg2 Qb2+ 57. Kh3 Qf2 $19) 55... Qb2+ 56. Kg1 Qd2 $19 {White loses a piece.}) 55. Rxe4 Qf5+ 56. Ke3 Rc8 57. Qd3 {Black has some pressure, but White is now back in the game.} Rf8 58. Kd2 Qg5+ 59. Kc2 Rf2+ 60. Kb3 Qf6 $2 (60... Rxh2 {The pawn was there to be taken. Black will have some material advantage and can put pressure on White.}) 61. Re2 $1 {White has defended his position perfectly and now a draw was agreed! Nakamura was better in the middlegame but didn't take his chances. He lost his advantage and got into an inferior position which he managed to spoil so badly that saving the game was beyond his powers. A huge blunder by Caruana allowed him to claw his way back into the game and make a draw. It was a very objective decision by the Italian to concede a draw in the final position as it was equal.} 1/2-1/2

Images from the official web site

Video of round one

Schedule and results

Round 1 – 20.04.14
Carlsen
1-0
Mamedyarov
Nakamura
½-½
Caruana
Karjakin
½-½
Radjabov
Round 3 – 22.04.14
Nakamura
-
Mamedyarov
Karjakin
-
Carlsen
Radjabov
-
Caruana
Round 5 – 24.04.14
Mamedyarov
-
Caruana
Carlsen
-
Radjabov
Nakamura
-
Karjakin
Round 7 – 27.04.14
Radjabov
-
Mamedyarov
Karjakin
-
Caruana
Nakamura
-
Carlsen
Round 9 – 29.04.14
Caruana
-
Mamedyarov
Radjabov
-
Carlsen
Karjakin
-
Nakamura
 
Round 2 – 21.04.14
Mamedyarov
-
Radjabov
Caruana
-
Karjakin
Carlsen
-
Nakamura
Round 4 – 23.04.14
Karjakin
-
Mamedyarov
Radjabov
-
Nakamura
Caruana
-
Carlsen
Round 6 – 26.04.14
Mamedyarov
-
Carlsen
Caruana
-
Nakamura
Radjabov
-
Karjakin
Round 8 – 28.04.14
Mamedyarov
-
Nakamura
Carlsen
-
Karjakin
Caruana
-
Radjabov
Round 10 – 30.04.14
Mamedyarov
-
Karjakin
Nakamura
-
Radjabov
Carlsen
-
Caruana

Live commentary on Playchess

Date Roound English German
20.04.2014 Round 1 Yasser Seirawan Thomas Luther
21.04.2014 Round 2 Yasser Seirawan Thomas Luther
22.04.2014 Round 3 Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff
23.04.2014 Round 4 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
24.04.2014 Round 5 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
25.04.2014 Free day    
26.04.2014 Round 6 Simon Williams Thomas Luther
27.04.2014 Round 7 Simon Williams Oliver Reeh/Karsten Müller
28.04.2014 Round 8 Yasser Seirawan Klaus Bischoff
29.04.2014 Round 9 Yasser Seirawan Klaus Bischoff
30.04.2014 Round 10 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff

– A separate report on the opening ceremony and the B group will follow shortly –


Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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pipooo pipooo 4/21/2014 02:35
Thanks sagar shah , very good annotations sir.
Decade Decade 4/21/2014 09:49
Carlsen turns chess really into a boxing game.
augustinekts augustinekts 4/21/2014 09:19
The world champion is getting stronger every time I see him play!! That's danger for the other players
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