Gashimov R6: Back on Track

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/26/2014 – The World Champion has recovered quickly from his two consecutive losses by demolishing Mamedyarov. A combination of questionable opening play from the Azeri and very powerful chess from Carlsen resulted in a quick 25-move victory for the Norwegian. The other two games were hard fought draws in endgames; in both,the chances for either side winning were slim. But we did get a Stalemate!

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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 Six

Round 6 – 26.04.14
Mamedyarov
0-1
Carlsen
Caruana
½-½
Nakamura
Radjabov
½-½
Karjakin

An audience waiting to see if Carlsen recovered

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 0-1 Carlsen, Magnus
The game heated up from the beginning as Mamedyarov sacrificed a pawn for central control and some typical Catalan-esque compensation. However, it doesn't seem to have been quite enough, although the engines disagree with my evaluation:

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2014"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2014.04.26"] [Round "6"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D38"] [WhiteElo "2760"] [BlackElo "2881"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "54"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. Nf3 {This is not really a move I can recommend, White's position isn't equipped properly, in my opinion, to deal with Black's extra pawn.} (5. cxd5) (5. a3 {are by far and away more popular alternatives.}) 5... dxc4 6. Bg5 b5 7. a4 c6 {By a very strange move order we reach a typical structure in which Black has accepted a sacrifice on c4 and will try to hold on to his extra pawn while White looks for compensation. That being said, the queen on c2 doesn't exactly look misplaced, but I get the feeling that something more useful could have been done with that tempo.} 8. g3 Bb7 9. Bg2 Nbd7 10. O-O Qb6 {Both sides have developed quite logically. White will eventually control the center, but this is not necessarily enough to justify the sacrificed pawn. The game is full of practical chances for both sides, that much is certain.} 11. e4 (11. Ne5 $5 O-O (11... Nxe5 12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. dxe5 fxe5 14. Qe4 O-O-O $13 {is hard to evaluate, but Black should be ok.}) 12. Be3 {is surprisingly annoying for Black as the queen doesn't have any great retreat squares, for example:} Qc7 (12... c5 13. dxc5 Bxc5 14. Bxb7 Qxb7 15. Bxc5 Nxc5 16. Nxb5 $14) 13. axb5 Nxe5 14. dxe5 Nd5 15. Nxd5 cxd5 16. Rxa7 {and now it is Black that does not have full compensation.}) 11... a6 12. Rfd1 h6 13. Be3 O-O 14. d5 c5 {Black is very close to making his pawn a free asset. If the structure in the center is simplified there will be no counterplay for Mamedyarov.} 15. a5 Qd8 (15... Bxa5 16. dxe6 fxe6 17. e5 {leaves Black pieces in a little bit of trouble, as now his kingside is open to attacks, for example} Nd5 18. Bxh6 $1) 16. dxe6 fxe6 17. Nh4 Bxc3 18. bxc3 Qe8 19. f4 {White still fights to establish a bind on the center.} Rd8 20. h3 Rf7 21. Rd6 (21. e5 Bxg2 22. Nxg2 Nd5 $17 {achieves very little, so White cannot really push e5.}) 21... e5 22. f5 Nf8 $1 {A powerful move. Black exchanges his extra pawn for positional compensation and takes over the initiative, using the fact that e4 is particularly weak.} 23. Bxc5 Rxd6 24. Bxd6 Rd7 {White is, surprisingly, already lost.} 25. Bxf8 (25. Bb4 N8h7 26. Ng6 Ng5 27. Re1 Rd3 {And White has no way of protecting all of his weaknesses, much less of creating any kind of counterplay.}) 25... Qxf8 26. Rd1 (26. Re1 Rd3 {was hardly any better. Black has threats of Qa3, Rxg3, e4 is hanging and the White knight on h4 cannot return to the game.}) 26... Qc5+ 27. Kh2 Bxe4 (27... Bxe4 28. Bxe4 Rxd1 29. Qxd1 Nxe4 {is a hopeless position for White.}) 0-1

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov lost both of his games against Carlsen,
he will need to recover soon to leave the last position

Back to popularity!

Daniel King shows the game Mamedyarov vs Carlsen

Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ Nakamura, Hikaru
Nakamura used the Open Spanish, not the most popular guest at the top level nowadays but a variation of the Spanish that has never been refuted by any means. The typical battle of whether Black's passed pawn on d3 is weak or strong has been going on for decades without a clear solution. Caruana in this game was able to capture it, but in the process he allowed Black's pieces to become very active and his own structure was ruined, giving the American enough counter-chances to secure a draw.

Fabiano Caruana might have been surprised by the American's choice of opening

Hard to predict: Hikaru Nakamura

Radjabov, Teimour ½-½ Karjakin, Sergey
Another rare guest in 1.e4 Openings: the Italian Game. After very quick exchanges Radjabov got a miniscule advantage in the form of rook activity in the endgame. Karjakin confidently sacrificed a pawn to reach a theoretically drawn endgame, and although his stalemate trick at the end was cute it was certainly not the only way to secure the draw.

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2014"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2014.04.26"] [Round "6"] [White "Radjabov, Teimour"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C53"] [WhiteElo "2713"] [BlackElo "2772"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1R6/5p2/1P5p/6kP/6p1/6P1/1r3P2/5K2 w - - 0 39"] [PlyCount "19"] [EventDate "2014.04.20"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 39. Ke1 Kxh5 {Taking this pawn looks weak as Black's king will be without moves and it is possible to Zugzwang it, but Karjakin has everything under control.} 40. b7 f5 41. Kd1 {White brings his king in taking advantage of the fact that the rook cannot leave the b-file.} Rb1+ 42. Ke2 Rb2+ 43. Kd3 Rb3+ 44. Kd4 Rb4+ 45. Kd5 Rb2 46. Ke6 Rb6+ 47. Kxf5 (47. Kd7 Rb1 {is of no help for White. As soon as he enters the c-file he will be barraged with checks until the king crosses to the 3rd rank, when Black will return the rook to b1 and the process begins anew.}) 47... Rxb7 {fancy, but not the only way to draw.} ( 47... Rb2 48. Ke6 Re2+ 49. Kd6 Rd2+ 50. Kc6 Rc2+ 51. Kb5 Rb2+ 52. Kc4 Rb1 { still leaves White with no way of making progress, but of course the move in the text is clear-cut.}) 48. Rxb7 1/2-1/2

Confident in his endgame technique,
Sergey Karjakin obtained a relatively effortless draw

Teimour Radjabov's +1 score is still good for a share of first place

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Standings

Images from the official web site

Video of round six

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
1-0
Mamedyarov
Karjakin
½-½
Carlsen
Radjabov
½-½
Caruana
Round 5 – 24.04.14
Mamedyarov
1-0
Caruana
Carlsen
0-1
Radjabov
Nakamura
½-½
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
½-½
Mamedyarov
Radjabov
½-½
Nakamura
Caruana
1-0
Carlsen
Round 6 – 26.04.14
Mamedyarov
0-1
Carlsen
Caruana
½-½
Nakamura
Radjabov
½-½
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
½-½
Durarbayli
Motylev
0-1
Wojtaszek
Safarli
½-½
Mamedov
Wang Hao
½-½
Abasov
Bacrot
1-0
Huseinov
Round 5 – 24.04.14
Motylev
½-½
Durarbayli
Safarli
0-1
Eljanov
Wang Hao
½-½
Wojtaszek
Bacrot
1-0
Mamedov
Huseinov
1-0
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
0-1
Bacrot
Huseinov
½-½
Wang Hao
Abasov
½-½
Safarli
Mamedov
0-1
Motylev
Wojtaszek
0-1
Eljanov
Round 4 – 23.04.14
Durarbayli
0-1
Huseinov
Abasov
½-½
Bacrot
Mamedov
1-0
Wang Hao
Wojtaszek
1-0
Safarli
Eljanov
½-½
Motylev
Round 6 – 26.04.14
Durarbayli
½-½
Abasov
Mamedov
½-½
Huseinov
Wojtaszek
½-½
Bacrot
Eljanov
0-1
Wang Hao
Motylev
1-0
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
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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