Gashimov R2: Clear leader already

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/22/2014 – Only two rounds have been played in the Gashimov Memorial, but already Carlsen has taken a full point lead. He played like a machine against Nakamura despite the American's stiff resistance. Karjakin and Caruana drew, as did Radjabov and Mamedyarov, leaving three players with 1.0/2. Carlsen used his two whites to begin the tournament perfectly, and is now 2889 in the live rating list.

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The Vugar Gashimov Memorial, is being held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, from the 20th to 30th of April, in memory of the great Vugar Gashimov, who passed away on the 10th of January 2014. The tournament is divided into two groups. The A Group features six players: 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 B group consists of ten players, the top five seeds from various countries and the bottom five are all from Azerbaijan.

Round Two

Round 2 – 21.04.14
Mamedyarov
½-½
Radjabov
Caruana
½-½
Karjakin
Carlsen
1-0
Nakamura

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar ½-½ Radjabov, Teimour
The Azeri players battled it out in a Meran System of the Semi-Slav. The game followed the recent Wojtaszek-Motylev encounter from the European Championship in Yerevan earlier this year. Mamedyarov, who had employed this system with Black previously, came up with a small improvement with the move 15.Ba3!?

Radjabov however kept his cool and he quickly counter-sacrificed his extra pawn to rid himself of weaknesses before White finished his development. The resulting passed pawn was certainly an asset for White, but Mamedyarov had to deal with Black's passed pawn on the a-file as well. These pawns balanced each other and when they were swapped the game became an obvious draw.

Teimour Radjabov's counter-sacrifice was enough for equality and a draw

Did we mention chess is popular in Azerbaijan?

Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ Karjakin, Sergey
Karjakin has lately added the Berlin Wall as his main defense against 1.e4. The solid approach suits him perfectly and he has no quarrels with defending a passive position, and counter-attacking when the time is right. Caruana seemed to not be able to even put the slightest problems on Karjakin, as the quick trade of pieces and the opposite colored bishops secured Black's position.

Fabiano Caruana could not break Sergey Karjakin's Berlin, and the press wants to know why

A short but mandatory press conference to analyze a relatively short draw

Karjakin, like Radjabov and Caruana, starts with two draws

Carlsen, Magnus 1-0 Nakamura, Hikaru
Lately there has been some slight banter between these two stars over the Internet, and this was thought as an interesting grudge match in which Nakamura would try to finally topple Carlsen. However, this was not to be. The World Champion took a slight advantage and he made it grow, and grow, and grow! Every move was precise and striking, and it set back the American every time more and more. Eventually Nakamura despaired and he could not hold his position together anymore.

2889 in the live rating list. Not bad.

Nakamura just can't seem to keep up with Carlsen's style

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2014"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2014.04.21"] [Round "2.2"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D12"] [WhiteElo "2881"] [BlackElo "2772"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "121"] [EventDate "2014.04.20"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 {A favorite move of Carlsen's.} (6. Qb3 b5 $5 {is complicated and interesting.} (6... Ra7 {is also possible, a line that Carlsen has used himself with Black in a blitz game against Gelfand.})) 6... h6 7. Bd3 {This is certainly a hard move to understand. h6 does not seem to be a particularly weakening move, but Bd3 the World Champion has some deep idea in this system, but it is not obvious at all. } Bxd3 8. Qxd3 e6 9. O-O Bb4 {Exchanging this bishop to control e4 has become somewhat popular lately (without the move h6) but the solid approach with Be7 allowing e4 is also hard to crack.} (9... Be7) 10. Bd2 O-O 11. Rfd1 Bxc3 12. Bxc3 Nbd7 {Black is very solid but is at a slight space disadvantage and White's bishop can become a nuisance later. It is hard to stop it from becoming active as it always has the a3-f8 diagonal to go to as well as maneuvering around with be1-g3.} 13. b3 Qe7 14. Rac1 Rac8 15. Qe2 Ne4 16. Bb2 Rfd8 17. Ne1 {The knight was on the way from the pawn push f3, which would give White control over e4. Also it will be overall better placed on d3. White holds the slightest of edges in a quiet position, and it seems that the World Elite has had some problem surviving these kinds of situations against Carlsen. } Nd6 $6 {The start of a strange series of moves. Black was maybe going to be kicked out of e4, but he might as well wait for f3.} (17... dxc4 18. Qxc4 Ndf6 $14 {isn't quite equal but it seems more solid than what Nakamura followed up with.}) (17... a5 $5 {Was also possible, trying to get some dark squares back.} ) 18. Ba3 f5 {Nakamura plans to fully control e4, but it is a questionable plan. His dark squares are too weak and he position will not remain closed forever.} 19. Nd3 Nf6 20. Bb4 $1 {A slight repositioning of the bishop, which is annoying as Ba5 can be an idea once in a while.} Qc7 21. Qf3 (21. f3 { seemed more natural, but Carlsen wants to put his queen on the great square g3 first.}) 21... dxc4 22. bxc4 Nf7 23. a4 a5 24. Be1 b6 25. Qg3 {The queen is very well placed here, eyeing all of the dark squares in the center. Black has no choice but to trade off.} Qxg3 26. hxg3 Ra8 27. f3 Rdb8 {White's structure is simply better now. Black is confined to passive play and his weaknesses have a permanent nature. It is very unpleasant to play such positions, and Nakamura is known for being an aggressive player who handles the initiative wonderfully, not for his backwards defenses.} 28. Rc2 b5 {Breaking through, in typical Nakamura style, but this does not solve all the problems yet.} 29. Nc5 bxc4 30. Rxc4 Nd5 31. Bd2 e5 32. e4 $1 {Exposing more of Black's pawns.} fxe4 33. Nxe4 Nb6 $2 (33... Rb6 {Passive but necessary} 34. dxe5 Nxe5 35. Rc5 Nd7 $1 36. Rcc1 (36. Rxa5 Rxa5 37. Bxa5 Ra6 $11 {Black regains his pawn and has excellent chances of fully equalizing.}) 36... Ne5 37. Bf4 $5 $14) 34. Rxc6 Nd8 (34... Nxa4 35. Ra1 Nb2 (35... Nb6 36. Rxa5 Rxa5 37. Bxa5 Na4 38. dxe5 Nxe5 39. Rc7 $16 {looks very dangerous as Black's knight is stranded on a4 and his kingside needs some protection, but on the other hand he did manage to eliminate all the pawns from the queenside.})) 35. Rg6 Nc4 36. dxe5 Kh7 37. Rg4 Nxe5 38. Rh4 {White's rook is not bad on h4, actually, as it can easily move to h5 to eye the a5 pawn.} Ndf7 39. Bc3 Rb3 40. Rd5 $1 {White is playing all over the board. Black cannot hold on to the kingside, which is currently defended by the two knights, and his weakness on a5. He also is not in time to counterattack the a4 pawn.} Re8 41. Rf4 $1 {Beautiful precision, the pawn on a5 will fall and there is no reason to give Black any activity.} (41. Rxa5 Ng6 42. Rg4 Rxe4 43. Rxe4 Rxc3 44. Ra7 Nd6 $16 {is better for White, but Black has hope.}) (41. Bxa5 Rxf3 $1 {is a nice trick!}) 41... Re7 42. Bxa5 Ng6 43. Rff5 Nfe5 44. Rd1 Nc4 45. Rc1 Nxa5 46. Rxa5 {White has basically consolidated and now he is simply up two pawns. The rest is simple technique for the World Champion.} Ra3 47. Rcc5 Ra2 48. Kh2 Rd7 49. Ra6 Ne7 50. g4 Rb7 51. Rb5 Rc7 52. Nc5 Rc6 53. Rxc6 Nxc6 54. Rb7 Nd4 55. Kh3 Kg8 56. Rb4 Ne2 57. g5 Ng1+ 58. Kg3 Ne2+ 59. Kg4 hxg5 60. Kxg5 Ng1 61. Rg4 {Black's g7 pawn will eventually fall. Carlsen played with immaculate precision.} 1-0

Nakamura was very gracious in the press conference,
giving plenty of analysis and showing a great attitude despite a tough loss

Daniel King shows the game Carlsen vs Nakamura

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Standings

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Video of round 2

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
½-½
Radjabov
Caruana
½-½
Karjakin
Carlsen
1-0
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
Round 1 – 20.04.14
Wojtaszek
½-½
Durarbayli
Eljanov
½-½
Mamedov
Motylev
½-½
Abasov
Safarli
½-½
Huseinov
Wang Hao
½-½
Bacrot
Round 3 – 22.04.14
Eljanov
-
Durarbayli
Motylev
-
Wojtaszek
Safarli
-
Mamedov
Wang Hao
-
Abasov
Bacrot
-
Huseinov
Round 5 – 24.04.14
Motylev
-
Durarbayli
Safarli
-
Eljanov
Wang Hao
-
Wojtaszek
Bacrot
-
Mamedov
Huseinov
 
Abasov
Round 7 – 27.04.14
Safarli
-
Durarbayli
Wang Hao
-
Motylev
Bacrot
-
Eljanov
Huseinov
-
Wojtaszek
Abasov
-
Mamedov
Round 9 – 29.04.14
Wang Hao
-
Durarbayli
Bacrot
-
Safarli
Huseinov
-
Motylev
Abasov
-
Eljanov
Mamedov
-
Wojtaszek
 
Round 2 – 21.04.14
Durarbayli
-
Bacrot
Huseinov
-
Wang Hao
Abasov
-
Safarli
Mamedov
-
Motylev
Wojtaszek
-
Eljanov
Round 4 – 23.04.14
Durarbayli
-
Huseinov
Abasov
-
Bacrot
Mamedov
-
Wang Hao
Wojtaszek
-
Safarli
Eljanov
-
Motylev
Round 6 – 26.04.14
Durarbayli
-
Abasov
Mamedov
-
Huseinov
Wojtaszek
-
Bacrot
Eljanov
-
Wang Hao
Motylev
-
Safarli
Round 8 – 28.04.14
Durarbayli
-
Mamedov
Wojtaszek
-
Abasov
Eljanov
-
Huseinov
Motylev
-
Bacrot
Safarli
-
Wang Hao

Live commentary on Playchess

Date Roound English German
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

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.


Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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earl of moray earl of moray 4/22/2014 03:01
Just wanted to say, brilliant idea to have the ability to comment on the articles, Shame about Gashimov, top bloke, kind regards from Scotland.
zookid zookid 4/22/2014 02:23
Did not like Hikaru's 4,5 and 6 moves today against Magnus.
Bg4 is better, and then taking the Knight if h3 is played.
e6 over a6, developing the other Bishop.
Aggressive play is needed, and he is perhaps intimidated, but who isn't?
Play the board, and develop your pieces.
iSeeThis iSeeThis 4/22/2014 03:05
2400 is impossible for the entire life of most of us. But now Carlsen is a mile away to 2900! Goodness bless.
anairo anairo 4/22/2014 02:06
Carlsen is obviously over the pack the question is, can he reach the 3000 elo bar if he do it there will be a before and after Carlsen
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