Qatar 2015 Round 5: The Magnus Attack

by Sagar Shah
12/25/2015 – It was edge of the seat entertainment from Qatar as Magnus Carlsen beat Li Chao in an opposite side castling attack and moved in to sole lead with 4.5/5. A pack of nine players including Anish Giri, Wesley So and Vladimir Kramnik follow him on 4.0/5. 25th December is a rest day. We bring to you some indepth analysis and exciting basketball pictures from Doha that show World Cup 2015 winner Sergey Karjakin in action.

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Qatar Masters 2015 Round five – the Magnus attack

Full report from Doha will follow...

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The Torch, Doha – one of the official hotels in this event

That guy on e8, I am going to get him today! Magnus Carlsen before the start of ...

... the game of the day, which was Carlsen’s emphatic kingside attack against Li Chao

Slow positional grinds, ultra-prophylactic moves and exploiting minute edges – this is what Magnus Carlsen excels in. But when the opponent waves a red flag at him, it is obvious that the World Champion doesn’t hold back! He goes for his opponent’s throat, and what we get is a beautiful attacking game where it’s one tempo that makes all the difference. The fifth round game against Li Chao was one of the most entertaining games of the Qatar Masters Open 2015. It started with the f3 system against the Grunfeld. There was a small positional battle for one tempo that went on for quite a while. Magnus wanted to play Nf4 only when Li Chao had committed himself with …Be6. Both players made plenty of preparatory moves and when they finally ran out of it Li Chao had to play …Be6. Magnus replied with Nf4 and the opposite side attack began. Li Chao grabbed the a2 pawn and pushed his a-pawn down the board, while Magnus did the same with his h-pawn. It was just so exciting, everything hinged on one tempo. Magnus was the one who reached Black’s gates first and with some wonderful sacrifices ended the battle in his favour. On the surface it seems as if the game is too complicated for mere mortals like us to understand. But if you spend some time and break it down move by move, as done in the analysis below, you will understand that it is all so very logical.

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2015"] [Site "Doha QAT"] [Date "2015.12.24"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Li, Chao B"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D70"] [WhiteElo "2834"] [BlackElo "2750"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2015.12.20"] {If there was a competition for the most entertaining game of the Qatar Masters 2015 until round five, it has to be this duel between the World Champion and Li Chao. Let us dive in to this beautiful game.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O f5 10. e5 Nb4 11. Nh3 {In this position Be6 is the main move, but Li Chao played a novelty with Qe8. However it doesn't really alter the nature of the position and hence the impact of the new move is not so great.} Qe8 (11... Be6 12. Kb1 Qd7 13. Nf4 {is how play usually proceeds.}) 12. Kb1 {With this move starts some sort of a tempo war. White would like to play Nf4 but only when Black goes Be6. Hence both sides keep making improving moves and not committing to Nf4/Be6.} (12. Nf4 Qf7 13. Kb1 g5 $5) 12... a5 13. Be2 c6 {In the post game interview Magnus said that c6 was a good move but he was happy to see it because now the queen on e8 cannot really go to a4 and there will be no mate!} 14. Rc1 Kh8 15. Ka1 {All the useful moves have been made and Black has to play Be6 finally.} (15. a3 {is possible but Magnus didn't really want to create a target on the queenside.}) 15... Be6 16. Nf4 Qf7 {[#]} 17. h4 $1 {Once you see how interesting this move is you really go for it, although the consequences are not at all easy to calculate.} (17. Nxe6 Qxe6 18. h4 Rfd8 19. h5 g5 $11 { With Bxe5 coming up Black should be alright here.}) 17... Bxa2 (17... Rfd8 { could have been a much more safe way for Li Chao to play.} 18. h5 g5 $1 19. Nxe6 Qxe6 20. f4 (20. Bxg5 $2 Bxe5 $17) 20... gxf4 21. Bxf4 c5 $132) 18. h5 $1 Kg8 (18... g5 19. Ng6+ $1 {Of course this is the point. If the rook was not on f8 this was not possible and hence Rfd8 instead of Bxa2 could have been better. }) 19. hxg6 hxg6 20. g4 $1 {As Magnus rightly said, "It clearly feels that White should be the one coming first." Although for a normal player a4-a3 looks just as threatening.} Bb3 {Black now has the deadly threat of a4-a3. How do you deal with it?} (20... a4 21. gxf5 a3 22. b3 $1 {Closing things down.} Qxb3 23. Nxg6 $18) 21. Bd1 $1 {A great move that was missed by Li Chao. Well, truth be told it has only one purpose: to clear the second rank for the white queen to go to h2 and mate the black king. So Bf1 would also have worked but on d1 the bishop stays in the thick of things.} a4 22. Qh2 Rfd8 23. Qh7+ Kf8 24. d5 $1 {The idea of this move is to sever the connection of the queen on f7 and the bishop on b3, and also to open an attack on the knight on b6. But the main thing is the interference. So now if a3 then the bishop on b3 is hanging. Also the move e5-e6 becomes a killer move.} (24. Nxg6+ Ke8 {is not at all clear because how do you continue your attack? And at the same time a3 looks pretty strong.}) (24. e6 $2 Bxe6 $19) 24... Nc4 {A very interesting move by Li Chao. He is ready to even give up his queen if he can get in the move a3.} ( 24... a3 25. Bxb3 $1 {That was the point of 24.d5: to cut the communication between the bishop on b3 and the queen on f7.}) (24... N6xd5 25. e6 $1 Qf6 26. Nxg6+ Ke8 27. Qg8+ Bf8 28. Rh8 $18) (24... Bxd5 25. Bxb6 $18) (24... Bxd1 25. Ne6+ (25. e6 $6 a3 $1 26. exf7 axb2+ 27. Kxb2 Nc4+ 28. Kb1 Na3+ 29. Kb2 Nc4+ $11) 25... Ke8 26. Nxg7+ Kf8 27. Qh8+ $18) 25. Nxg6+ $1 Ke8 26. e6 $1 a3 27. exf7+ {A queen falling with check must be taken. Later other things can be thought about!} Kd7 28. Ne5+ $1 (28. f8=N+ $4 {looks cute but truth be told it loses to Ke8 as avoiding mate on the queenside is impossible. But also Magnus didn't want to get up from the board and ask for another knight!} Ke8 29. bxa3 Rxa3+ 30. Kb1 Rda8 $1 $19) 28... Bxe5 (28... Kc7 29. Nxc4 $18) 29. Qxf5+ Kc7 30. Qxe5+ $1 Nxe5 31. Bxb3 axb2+ 32. Kxb2 Nbd3+ 33. Kb1 Nxc1 (33... Ra3 34. Nb5+ $18) 34. Rxc1 {White is now completely winning.} Kc8 35. dxc6 bxc6 36. f4 {A beautiful game with lot of unusual moves. But when you think deeply about it, each and every move had a clear purpose behind it. Computer engines might give White a clear edge since the 17th move, but in a practical game when your king is under such an attack it is not so simple.} 1-0

The super-elite encounter between Anish Giri and Wesley So ended in a tame draw

Vladimir Kramnik displayed some high-class endgame technique to beat Maxim Matlakov

The thing that separates players like Vladimir Kramnik from other strong grandmasters is that he always knows what he is trying to achieve in a specific position. Take for example today’s game against Maxim Matlakov. After 31 moves it was as good as drawn. Both sides had a queen, bishop and five pawns each. By the time we reached the 50th move Kramnik had centralized his bishop, activated his king and fixed his opponent’s pawns. It was one of those cases where you just couldn’t understand where the opponent (Matlakov) had gone wrong. At the end of 73 moves Kramnik had pushed his d-pawn all the way up to the queening square and Maxim could do nothing better than to resign. How does he do it? Well, have a look at the game and see for yourself!

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2015"] [Site "Doha QAT"] [Date "2015.12.24"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Matlakov, Maxim"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D55"] [WhiteElo "2684"] [BlackElo "2796"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "146"] [EventDate "2015.12.20"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 Nbd7 8. Rc1 c5 9. dxc5 dxc4 10. Bxc4 Nxc5 11. O-O a6 12. Nd4 Nfe4 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Qc2 Nxc3 15. Qxc3 Na4 16. Qc2 Bd7 17. b3 Nb6 18. Be2 Rac8 19. Qe4 Nd5 20. Bd3 f5 21. Qe5 Nc3 22. Nc6 Rxc6 23. Rxc3 Rxc3 24. Qxc3 Rc8 25. Qd2 Rd8 26. Qe2 Bc6 27. a4 Qg5 28. f3 Rd6 29. Rd1 Kf7 30. Bc2 Rxd1+ 31. Bxd1 {[#] First of all if you want to learn how to create something from nothing, to squeeze water from a stone, you must study this game carefully from this point onwards. The position is very drawish and it is not clear why any side should be better but Kramnik makes use of his trumps excellently.} f4 $5 {A very counter-intuitive move. This spoils the structure and isolates the e6 pawn. But there are some upsides to it too. It White replies e4, all his pawns are fixed on the light squares and if he takes on f4 as in the game then the d5 square is a fixed outpost for the light squared bishop. Of course it is not much but there is some progress!} 32. exf4 Qxf4 33. Qd3 Qe5 34. h3 (34. Kf2 Qxh2 $17) (34. g3 { It might be positionally desirable, to place your pawns on the opposite colour from your bishop but after} Qb2 {there will always be some problems with the f3 or the b3 pawns although} 35. Bc2 {might hold out here.}) 34... Ke7 { A micro edge that Black has in this position is that his king is much more active than White's king. It is a joy to see how Kramnik makes use of that imbalance. And also the pawns a4, b3 are currently on light squares, and so are f3-g2-h3. Vladimir fixes them so that they will remain targets for his bishop.} 35. Bc2 Qc5+ 36. Kh1 a5 {b3 pawn fixed forever. Something to bite on!} 37. Qd2 (37. Qg6 Qc3 $15) 37... Qe5 38. Bd3 Qa1+ 39. Kh2 Qd4 {Not allowing Bc4 at least for the time being.} 40. Qc2 Kd6 41. Bc4 {White has been able to activate his bishop and it stands wonderfully on c4. The position should be equal now.} Be8 42. Kh1 h5 $1 {The h-pawn threatens to go to h4 to fix more pawns.} 43. Qc1 Bd7 44. Qa3+ Kc7 45. Qc1 Kd6 46. Qa3+ Kc7 47. Qc1 Kb6 $1 { No draw!} 48. Qc2 h4 49. Bd3 Bc6 50. Be4 Bd5 $1 {A curious situation: if the bishop is taken it gives Black a passed pawn and if it is not then there is constant pressure on the b3 pawn. It's quite a confusing situation for Matlakov. Besides his king is caged on h1.} 51. Kh2 (51. Qc8 $5 Bxe4 52. fxe4 Qxe4 53. Qd8+ {leads to a draw by perpetual.} Kc5 54. Qxa5+ Kd4 {This is similar to the game, but the pawn is on e6 and not on d5 and this increases the drawing chances for White.}) 51... Qe3 52. Bxd5 Qe5+ 53. Kh1 exd5 54. Qc8 Qe1+ 55. Kh2 Qe5+ 56. Kh1 Qd6 57. Qe8 Kc5 $1 {A bold decision, playing for a win. You can see how this position is a picture of complete victory for Black's play, how he made use of all the imbalances to his favour while White did not. The king is active on c5 and the white pawns have been fixed by a5 and h4. The margin of error is very small here. Only one move gives equality and Matlakov wasn't able to find it.} (57... d4 58. Qb5+ Ka7 59. Qxa5+ Kb8 60. Qd2 $11) 58. Qb5+ $6 (58. Qe1 $1 {Stopping the march of the black king was the only way to draw.}) 58... Kd4 59. Qxa5 Kd3 $17 {The d-pawn shepherd by the king and the queen will spell White's doom.} 60. Qb5+ Kc3 61. Qa5+ Kc2 62. Qe1 d4 (62... Qf4 {might have been more accurate as after} 63. Qf2+ Qd2 64. Qc5+ Kb2 $19 {There are no more checks and the d-pawn starts running down.}) 63. Qe2+ Kxb3 64. Qd1+ Kb4 65. Qb1+ Kxa4 66. Qxb7 d3 67. Qb2 d2 68. Qa2+ Kb5 69. Qb2+ Qb4 70. Qc2 (70. Qe5+ Kc4 71. Qe4+ Kc3 72. Qe3+ Kc2 $19) 70... Qd4 71. Qb3+ Kc5 72. Qc2+ Kb4 73. Qd1 Qb2 {A beautiful technical grind by the ex-World Champion.} 0-1

Breaking just about every rule in the book: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov beat Denis Khismatullin

When a beginner learns chess one of the first thing he is taught is to take care of his f2/f7 point. This Achilles heel in the position is only defended by the king. But when you become a 2750+ super GM these general rules are no longer so important. What matters is the concrete situation and accurate calculations. So when Khismatullin moved his knight to g4 and bishop to c5 in order to attack the f2 pawn, Mamedyarov, without a care in the world, played b4!? and after Bxf2+ moved his king to e2. It was a wild and crazy game where Denis was surely better for quite some time. In the end he blundered and Shakhriyar scored the full point. After his crazy game against Lenderman, Mamedyarov adds one more to his list of creative attacks.

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2015"] [Site "Doha QAT"] [Date "2015.12.24"] [Round "5.5"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Khismatullin, Denis"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E12"] [WhiteElo "2748"] [BlackElo "2654"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2015.12.20"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. a3 Ba6 5. Qc2 Bb7 6. Nc3 c5 7. e4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bc5 9. Nf3 (9. Nb3 {is the more common move.}) 9... Ng4 {So how is White planning to defend his f2 point? Krasenkow thought Bg5-h4 was the best idea while two other players went Nd1. Mamedyarov has his own ideas when it comes to having some fun!} 10. b4 $5 {This was immediately played by Shakhriyar, which meant that he was well prepared.} Bxf2+ {When you have said A you must say B. Khismatullin takes the pawn but spent 17 minutes on this decision.} 11. Ke2 Bh4 12. h3 Nh6 $6 {The knight gets sidelined on h6.} (12... Nf6 $1 { This was the most appropriate move. But when you have been surprised over the board it is not easy to find resources like these.} 13. Nxh4 Nh5 $1 {[%cal Gh5g3,Gd8h4]} 14. Nf3 Ng3+ $15 {Black is better.}) 13. g4 $1 {g5 is coming up next and hence the bishop has to retreat.} Be7 14. g5 $1 Ng8 {One by one all of black pieces are pushed back.} 15. Bf4 a6 16. Rd1 h6 17. g6 $1 {With such a lead in development the position is not at all easy for Black to play. But you can bank on Khismatullin to find the resources. After all a creative player like him thrives on such positions.} f5 $1 18. Ne5 $1 {Blow for blow! Nf7 fork is threatened.} Qc7 19. Bh2 (19. Ke3 $6 Bg5 $1 $17) 19... Nf6 $1 $17 {Black pieces are coming out once again and White is under pressure to prove his compensation.} 20. Nf7 Qxc4+ 21. Ke1 Qc8 22. Bg2 (22. Nxh8 Bxe4 $17) 22... Nxe4 23. Nxh8 Nxc3 24. Rd3 Bh4+ 25. Bg3 Bxg2 $1 (25... Bxg3+ $2 26. Rxg3 Bxg2 27. Rxc3 Qb7 28. Rc8+ $18) 26. Bxh4 (26. Qxg2 Bxg3+ 27. Qxg3 Ne4 $19) 26... Bxh1 ( 26... Qc4 $1 {attacking the h4 bishop would have been stronger. If the knight on c3 is not taken then Qe4+ is a dangerous threat.} 27. Qxc3 (27. Rxc3 Qxh4+ 28. Kd1 Bxh1 $19) 27... Qxh4+ (27... Qxc3+ 28. Rxc3 Bxh1 29. Rc8#) 28. Kd1 Nc6 {Black is an exchange down but has a bunch of pawns and the exposed position of the white king gives him an excellent position.} 29. Qxg7 O-O-O $15) 27. Nf7 Kf8 28. Rxc3 Nc6 {Black is three pawns up but little does Shakhriyar care about things like that. He has the dark squared bishop and tries to complicate the play.} 29. Bg3 Qe8 30. Bd6+ Kg8 31. Qd2 {This is the problem in opposite coloured bishop endgames. No matter how many pawns you are up, until you lose control on the other square complex these pawns are often blockaded and the extra material is not felt.} Ne7 32. Nxh6+ $1 gxh6 33. Qxh6 Qxg6 34. Rg3 $1 Kf7 35. Rxg6 Nxg6 36. Qh7+ Kf6 37. h4 Nf8 38. Be7+ {Objectively the game was not very high on quality. But what about the entertainment quotient? Both players try to stir up the complications to the maximum extent! In the end it was Mamedyarov who emerged victorious and in this tournament he has already played some excellent games.} 1-0

Although it is always a sad feeling to lose a game, the creative soul
inside Denis Khismatullin must have enjoyed the see-saw battle

Surya Shekhar Ganguly beat David Howell to move on to 4.0/5
and currently leads the Indian challenge at the event

The 6…dxc4 variation in the Catalan has come under a cloud from the black side thanks to the 8.a4!? variation followed by Bg5. Many strong players like Giri, Nakamura, etc. have used it from the white side to beat stalwarts like Leko and Anand. It was a refreshing change to see the black side emerge victorious for a change. David Howell had an acceptable position out of the opening but soon went wrong and not only lost a pawn but also had his king exposed. It was a smooth victory for Surya Shekhar Ganguly.

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2015"] [Site "Doha QAT"] [Date "2015.12.24"] [Round "5.10"] [White "Howell, David W L"] [Black "Ganguly, Surya Shekhar"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A14"] [WhiteElo "2688"] [BlackElo "2648"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "130"] [EventDate "2015.12.20"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 Bd7 9. Qxc4 Bc6 10. Bg5 Bd5 11. Qc2 Be4 12. Qd1 {This is the line where White has been scoring really well recently. Giri beat Leko with white, and Nakamura got the better of Anand. In both the games Black played c5 in this position. Surya goes for the second most popular move:} h6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Nc3 Bxf3 15. Bxf3 c6 {Black makes the typical exchange of light squared bishop and putting his pawn on c6. This position should be slightly better for White, but bordering very much on the edge of equality.} 16. Qb3 Qc7 17. e3 (17. Rfd1 { is definitely more popular.}) 17... a5 18. Be2 Na6 19. Ne4 Be7 20. Rac1 Nb4 21. Bc4 Rae8 22. f4 Bd8 23. Qd1 Qe7 {Ganguly tries to remain as solid as he can without making any committments.} 24. Qf3 Nd5 25. Rc2 Qb4 26. Nc5 Re7 27. e4 Bb6 $1 {Being tactically alert. Now it was important to get the king out to g2. However, Howell seemed to be surprised with the move Bb6 and instead took on d5.} 28. exd5 $6 (28. Kg2 $1 Bxc5 29. dxc5 Nf6 30. e5 Nd5 31. Qe4 $11 {with a round about equal position.}) 28... cxd5 $1 {The bishop cannot move as Qxd4 will lose two pawns as well as the c5 knight.} 29. Qb3 (29. Ba2 Qxd4+ 30. Qf2 Qxf2+ $1 31. Rfxf2 Rc7 $1 $19 {The knight on c5 is lost.}) 29... Bxc5 30. dxc5 Qxc5+ 31. Rff2 dxc4 32. Qxc4 Qa7 $17 {For a player of Ganguly's calibre rest is not very difficult. He is not only a pawn up but also has the safer king. It took him so time to convert but the result wasn't really in doubt at any point in the game.} 33. Kg2 Rd7 34. Rfd2 b6 35. Qc6 Rfd8 36. Rxd7 Rxd7 37. h4 h5 38. Kh2 Kh7 39. Qe4+ g6 40. Qc6 Rd1 41. b3 Rd3 42. Qb5 Rd6 43. Rc8 Rd2+ 44. Kh3 Qb7 45. Qc6 Qa6 46. Rh8+ Kxh8 47. Qc3+ e5 48. Qxd2 exf4 49. gxf4 Qc8+ 50. Kh2 Qc5 51. Qb2+ Kh7 52. Qd2 Qe7 53. Qf2 Qf6 54. Kh1 Qe6 55. Qg3 Qg4 56. Qe3 Qxh4+ 57. Kg2 Qf6 58. Kh2 Qe6 59. Qd3 Qf5 60. Qe3 Qc2+ 61. Kg3 Qc5 62. Qe1 Qd4 63. Qe8 Qg1+ 64. Kf3 Qg4+ 65. Ke3 Qe6+ 0-1

So after five rounds we finally have a sole leader in Magnus Carlsen, who has 4.5 points. Nine players – Anish Giri, Wesley So, Vladimir Kramnik, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin, Yu Yangyi, Dariusz Swiercz and Surya Shekhar Ganguly follow the World Champion, with 4.0/5. 25th of December is a rest day. On the 26th we have a very interesting top board pairing for the sixth round.

Wesley So with white will battle it out against Magnus Carlsen on the first board in the sixth round

Kramnik taking on Mamedyarov is another interesting encounter. Giri will face Ganguly and Karjakin will be up against Swiercz. Defending Champion Yu Yangyi will face stiff challenge from Li Chao.

Standings after five rounds

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1 
1 1 GM Carlsen Magnus NOR 2834 4,5 2946
2 3 GM Giri Anish NED 2784 4,0 2915
3 4 GM So Wesley USA 2775 4,0 2888
4 5 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2766 4,0 2848
5 2 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 2796 4,0 2848
6 7 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2748 4,0 2848
7 34 GM Swiercz Dariusz POL 2646 4,0 2827
8 11 GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2736 4,0 2807
9 30 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar IND 2648 4,0 2778
10 6 GM Li Chao B CHN 2750 3,5 2822
11 43 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2622 3,5 2817
12 102 IM Vignesh N R IND 2422 3,5 2809
13 14 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2723 3,5 2756
14 21 GM Matlakov Maxim RUS 2684 3,5 2722
15 9 GM Harikrishna P. IND 2743 3,5 2720
16 17 GM Ponomariov Ruslan UKR 2710 3,5 2711
17 62 GM Al-Sayed Mohammed QAT 2520 3,5 2691
18 27 GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2654 3,5 2690
19 18 GM Ni Hua CHN 2693 3,5 2684
20 10 GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2737 3,5 2684
21 22 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2683 3,5 2676
22 33 GM Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2646 3,5 2673
23 13 GM Vitiugov Nikita RUS 2724 3,5 2646
24 24 GM Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2664 3,5 2610
25 52 GM Tregubov Pavel V. RUS 2589 3,5 2610
26 35 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2644 3,5 2601
27 36 GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son VIE 2642 3,5 2579
28 78 IM Gagare Shardul IND 2470 3,0 2756
29 79   Xu Yinglun CHN 2470 3,0 2750
30 39 GM Piorun Kacper POL 2637 3,0 2718
31 56 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra RUS 2542 3,0 2683

Standings for all 132 players here

Zhang Zhong, Wei Yi and Ni Hua chat before the start of the game. While many wanted a Carlsen- Wei Yi encounter at the Qatar Masters, this no longer seems possible as the Norwegian is 1.5 points ahead of the Chinese.

India number two Pentala Harikrishna is happy to receive an early Christmas gift from the organizers

All the players at the event were gifted a power bank embossed with Qatar Masters on it

Alexander Moiseenko and Pavel Tregubov analyze like in the good old royal days

“Stare as much as you want to, I am not going to look back!”
Alex Lenderman beat Aleksandra Goryachkina in round five

A chess family: 2013 French Champion GM Hichem Hamdouchi,
his wife WGM Adina-Maria Hamdouchi and their son.

One of ChessBase’s finest authors Viktor Bologan is back in form
after his second round loss, and is currently on 3.5/5

Three super performers of the event who have a rating performance of above 2750:

  1. IM N.R. Vignesh has 3.5/5 and a performance of 2809. He has beaten Wei Yi and Mateusz Bartel and drawn against Truong Son Nguyen Ngoc, Samuel Shankland and Vladimir Fedoseev.
  2. IM Shardul Gagre (upper right) is on 3.0/5 and has a performance of 2756. After beating Wei Yi in round one, he has drawn against Daniil Dubov, Hou Yifan, Truong Son Nguyen Ngoc and Vasily Ivanchuk.
  3. Xu Yinglun has 3.0/5 and a rating performance of 2750. He lost to Yu Yangyi in the fifth round but prior to that he had already beaten Nikita Vitiugov and S.P. Sethuraman and drawn with Sanan Sjugirov and Vidit Gujrathi.

Le Thao Nguyen Pham (2319), wife of Truong Son Nguyen Ngoc,
is playing a great tournament. She is on 3.0/5 and has a performance of 2614.

The super solid Sarasadat Khademalsharieh has faced five higher rated opponents
and has scored four draws against them

Black and white squares are everywhere – Harikrishna’s pen,
Natalia Zhukova’s purse, David Howell’s wrist band and Bela Khotenashvili’s shirt.

After an action packed football session it was time for basketball. Sergey Karjakin was the big star,
with Official Qatar commentator and ChessBase author Alejandro Ramirez not giving him an easy time!

Karjakin is pretty good at it …

… but GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Vidit Gujrathi were surely the best players

Football with Magnus, basketball with Sergey, ten-year-old
Nodirbek Abdusattorov is having the time of his life in Qatar!

All photos by Amruta Mokal of ChessBase India

Video impressions of Round five by Vijay Kumar

Christmas puzzle

Before we end this article we would like to wish all the readers a Merry Christmas. Here’s a beautiful Christmas puzzle for you to solve. I gave this position to GM Vidit Gujrathi (2644) and he solved it in 20 seconds! I also gave it to Wesley So blindfold, and he called out the correct first move in eight seconds.

Lu Shanglei – Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh

White to play

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2015"] [Site "Doha QAT"] [Date "2015.12.24"] [Round "5.34"] [White "Lu, Shanglei"] [Black "Mohammad, Nubairshah Shaikh"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B10"] [WhiteElo "2618"] [BlackElo "2414"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2015.12.20"] 1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Nd7 7. Bc4 Nf6 8. Ne5 e6 9. Qe2 Be7 10. c3 O-O 11. d4 Nd7 12. h4 Nxe5 13. dxe5 c5 14. Qe4 Bd7 {[#]It looks like Black is going to have a fine position if he is going to get in the move Bc6. Taking the pawn on b7 doesn't look appetising with the king still on e1. Here the former World Junior Champion found a brilliant move.} 15. Bh6 $3 {You can bank on a tactical genius like Lu Shanglei to find moves like this.} f5 (15... gxh6 16. Bd3 f5 17. exf6 Rxf6 18. Qxh7+ Kf8 19. Bg6 Rxg6 20. Qxg6 $16 {White is not 100% winning yet but there is no doubt that he is better.}) (15... Bc6 16. Qg4 $18) 16. exf6 Rxf6 17. O-O-O $1 (17. Bg5 {was also strong.}) 17... Rxh6 18. Qxb7 Rb8 19. Qxa7 Bxh4 20. Kb1 $1 {Getting out of the Bg5+ threats.} Qf8 21. Rxd7 $18 {White has won back his piece and has a clearly winning position.} Kh8 22. f3 Qf5+ 23. Bd3 Qe5 24. Qc7 Bf6 25. Rc1 Rh2 26. Qxe5 Bxe5 27. Bf1 h5 28. Re7 h4 29. Rxe6 h3 30. Rxe5 hxg2 31. Be2 Rd8 32. Kc2 Kh7 33. Rg1 Kh6 34. a4 g5 35. a5 1-0

Pairings/Results Round 5 on 24.12.2015

Bo. Ti. Name Rtg
Pts.
Res.
Pts.
Ti. Name Rtg
1 GM Carlsen Magnus 2834
1-0
GM Li Chao B 2750
2 GM Giri Anish 2784
½-½
GM So Wesley 2775
3 GM Matlakov Maxim 2684
0-1
3
GM Kramnik Vladimir 2796
4 GM Karjakin Sergey 2766
3
1-0
3
GM Dubov Daniil 2655
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2748
3
1-0
3
GM Khismatullin Denis 2654
6 GM Yu Yangyi 2736
3
1-0
3
  Xu Yinglun 2470
7 GM Bologan Viktor 2654
3
½-½
3
GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2723
8 GM Korobov Anton 2713
3
0-1
3
GM Swiercz Dariusz 2646
9 GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2622
3
½-½
3
GM Ni Hua 2693
10 GM Howell David W L 2688
3
0-1
3
GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2648
11 GM Sjugirov Sanan 2646
3
½-½
3
GM Hou Yifan 2683
12 IM Vignesh N R 2422
3
½-½
3
GM Fedoseev Vladimir 2664
13 GM Harikrishna P. 2743
1-0
GM Ipatov Alexander 2619
14 GM Bromberger Stefan 2521
0-1
GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2737
15 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2724
1-0
GM Zhang Zhong 2619
16 IM Gagare Shardul 2470
½-½
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2710
17 GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2710
1-0
GM Bluebaum Matthias 2590
18 GM Moiseenko Alexander 2689
0-1
GM Tregubov Pavel V. 2589
19 GM Adhiban B. 2669
0-1
GM Al-Sayed Mohammed 2520
20 IM Wang Yiye 2438
½-½
GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 2663
21 GM Akopian Vladimir 2648
½-½
GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2542
22 GM Khairullin Ildar 2647
½-½
IM Yuffa Daniil 2504
23 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2644
1-0
GM Sundararajan Kidambi 2513
24 WGM Abdumalik Zhansaya 2390
0-1
GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 2642
25   Raja Harshit 2325
½-½
GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2638
26 IM Pham Le Thao Nguyen 2319
½-½
GM Grandelius Nils 2632
27 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2521
2
0-1
2
GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2744
28 GM Harika Dronavalli 2513
2
+ - -
2
GM Shankland Samuel L 2646
29 GM Sethuraman S.P. 2639
2
1-0
2
IM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan 2494
30 GM Schroeder Jan-Christian 2511
2
0-1
2
GM Piorun Kacper 2637
31 GM Naroditsky Daniel 2628
2
1-0
2
IM Puranik Abhimanyu 2442
32 WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra 2493
2
0-1
2
GM Lenderman Aleksandr 2626
33 GM Shoker Samy 2489
2
0-1
2
GM Bartel Mateusz 2620
34 GM Lu Shanglei 2618
2
1-0
2
  Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh 2414
35 IM Sagar Shah 2441
2
0-1
2
GM Hamdouchi Hicham 2597
36 GM Vocaturo Daniele 2597
2
½-½
2
IM Abhishek Kelkar 2393
37 IM Aryan Chopra 2436
2
½-½
2
GM Bok Benjamin 2594
38 GM Esen Baris 2562
2
1-0
2
  Firouzja Alireza 2372
39 FM Rohan Ahuja 2426
2
½-½
2
GM Rambaldi Francesco 2560
40 IM Lin Chen 2532
2
1-0
2
IM Tissir Mohamed 2346
41 GM Xu Jun 2526
2
1-0
2
  Roy Prantik 2370
42 WGM Saduakassova Dinara 2407
2
0-1
IM Svane Rasmus 2529
43 IM Vogel Roven 2439
0-1
GM Wei Yi 2730
44 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2496
½-½
FM Basso Pier Luigi 2438
45   Fang Yuxiang 2438
½-½
GM Zhukova Natalia 2488
46 IM Padmini Rout 2437
0-1
GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 2486
47 IM Saiyn Zhanat 2394
½-½
IM Tabatabaei M.Amin 2482
48 GM Krush Irina 2468
0-1
IM Karavade Eesha 2379
49 FM Li Di 2389
1-0
FM Moroni Luca Jr 2466
50 IM Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 2385
0-1
IM Ma Zhonghan 2463
51 IM Ali Marandi Cemil Can 2454
1-0
  Dai Changren 2328
52 IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2380
½-½
IM Lorparizangeneh Shahin 2454
53 IM Guramishvili Sopiko 2368
½-½
IM Kashlinskaya Alina 2448
54 WIM Pratyusha Bodda 2260
½-½
IM Firat Burak 2446
55 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2559
1
1-0
FM Goriatchkin Jouri 2318
56 IM Nezad Husein Aziz 2425
1
1-0
1
IM Batsiashvili Nino 2498
57 IM Ezat Mohamed 2490
1
½-½
1
IM Seyb Alexander 2425
58 IM Sanal Vahap 2487
1
1-0
1
WGM Pourkashiyan Atousa 2322
59 GM Neelotpal Das 2475
1
½-½
1
FM Gholami Aryan 2422
60 IM Ly Moulthun 2462
1
1-0
1
IM Konguvel Ponnuswamy 2377
61 FM Haria Ravi 2416
1
0-1
1
GM Carlsson Pontus 2433
62 FM Abdusattorov Nodirbek 2429
1
0-1
1
WFM Vaishali R 2313
63 IM Li Ruofan 2372
½
0-1
½
GM Venkatesh M.R. 2451
64 WGM Bartel Marta 2271
½
1-0
½
  Siva Mahadevan 2400
65 IM Slavin Alexey 2388
½
0-1
½
WIM Bivol Alina 2344
66 WIM Derakhshani Dorsa 2307
½
½-½
0
IM Piasetski Leon 2287

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Schedule for Playchess Commentary

Day Round Time English German
Wed 23 December  Round 4 3 PM Daniel King Thomas Luther
Thu 24 December  Round 5 3 PM Simon Williams Thomas Luther
Fri 25 December  Rest day      
Sat 26 December  Round 6 3 PM Mihail Marin Thomas Luther
Sun 27 December  Round 7 3 PM Simon Williams Sebastian Siebrecht
Mon 28 December  Round 8 3 PM Daniel King Sebastian Siebrecht
Tue 29 December  Round 9 12 PM Yasser Seirawan Sebastian Siebrecht

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Sagar Shah 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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ubernomics ubernomics 12/26/2015 06:25
@ ulyssesganesh
My prediction of hypothetical Wei-Carlsen match isn't based on rating, but more along the dynamics of how Shirov couldn't ever defeat Kasparov.

Because while prime Shirov was a tactical monster, he had no advantage over Kasparov in that respect, and yet the latter had a fundamentally sound game. In the same way, IMO Carlsen would one-sidedly pick apart a young Wei in a manner not reflected in mere rating differential.

Remember, Wei has virtually no supertournament experience, even now. None of the young Chinese GMs (Ding, Yu Yangi, Li Chao, Wei) have extensive supertournament proving and battle-hardening.
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 12/26/2015 05:16
dear ubernomics, regarding your prediction of a magus=wei match, your statistics is flawed!!!!!
lostapawn lostapawn 12/26/2015 03:04
The analysis of Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar - Khismatullin, Denis is utterly horrible. One dubious move by Black, good moves by both sides, and then suddenly Black is clearly better? Come on, don't just take your pay Sagar! Do your job properly too.
ubernomics ubernomics 12/26/2015 02:36
Although it would be interesting to see Wei Yi versus Carlsen, at this point Carlsen would merely finger all the holes in the youngster's game. For example, in a hypothetical 20-game match, I'd imagine Carlsen winning something like 15-5 (ten wins, ten draws).

I just checked to confirm that Wei Yi is indeed playing in Corus A - something like that would be a more interesting test of what he has/has not.
KchessK KchessK 12/26/2015 12:53
Magnus Carlsen vs Wei Yi would have been spectacular. Thank you for the complete report. Merry Christmas
Bojan KG Bojan KG 12/25/2015 11:56
Big Vlad is strong again. Huge disappointment for me that he will not play Candidates.
Kurt Utzinger Kurt Utzinger 12/25/2015 10:47
In the game Matlakov-Kramnik I think that the regrouping 49.Bd3 and 50.Be4 was wrong. Why to go with a very strong placed piece to other squares and allowing Kramnik to create a passed pawn??
johnmk johnmk 12/25/2015 07:32
Possibly;
18... g5 19 Ng6ch Kg8 20 Nxf8 f4! 21 e6 Qxf8 22 Nxa2 fxe3 23 Qxe3 Qf5 24 Nc3 a4!? (24 ... Nc2ch 25 Rxc2 Qxc2 26 Bd3 +-) 24... a4 unclear.

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