Mamedyarov beats Sanal in hard-fought match

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
7/11/2020 – The 16-game match between Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Vahap Sanal, played from Tuesday to Friday on the PlayChess platform, was won by the rating favourite, but not by a big margin. Mamedyarov defeated his Turkish colleague 9:7 in a hard-fought battle that saw Sanal winning four games against his famed opponent. | Photo: Niki Riga / World Chess

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Better to play Black

Vahap Sanal, Shakhriyar MamedyarovShakhriyar Mamedyarov faced Vahap Sanal in a 16-game match played on July 7-10 on the PlayChess platform. This was the second in a series of matches organized by the Turkish Chess Federation, which is giving its players a chance to face strong international grandmasters. In the first “Grandmaster Battle”, Mustafa Yilmaz defeated Germany’s number one Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 8½:7½.

Each player had 15 minutes for the whole game plus 10-second increments per move. The games were broadcast live on our server, with live commentary, in Turkish, on the Federation’s YouTube channel.

Mamedyarov was the clear favourite rating-wise, although Sanal has proven to be very strong in rapid chess. In the end, ‘Shak’ beat his younger opponent 9:7 after getting six wins, four losses and four draws. Out of the ten decisive results, seven favoured the player that had the black pieces.

While Mamedyarov played 1.d4 in all his games with White, Sanal went for 1.e4 every time he moved first. The Azerbaijani showed he can play a wide variety of systems against e4, playing the French, the Petroff, the Sicilian, systems with 1.e5 and even the Scandinavian. This attitude pushed the players to show their creative side, lowering the relevance of reiterative theoretical discussions in a specific line.

In game 6, ‘Shak’ had gained a considerable advantage with the white pieces, but things turned upside down for him when he blundered on move 33:

 

White is a pawn up and, more importantly, has the safer king. Mamedyarov here played 33.Rf6+, noticing that after 33...Nxf6 he had 34.Qd6+ gaining the rook. However, he did not see that Black could respond to the check with 33...Qxf6 and if 34.exf6 there follows 34...Nf2+ with material advantage for Black. White went 34.Qd4 instead and resigned after 34...Qxf4.


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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.

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