Qatar Masters: Five co-leaders on 3/3, Carlsen bounces back

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
10/14/2023 – Five players are sharing the lead with perfect scores after three rounds at the Qatar Masters in Doha. Arjun Erigaisi, Javokhir Sindarov (pictured), Narayanan S L, Rinat Jumabayev and Robby Kevlishvili are the co-leaders after Friday’s round. Due to the controversy surrounding Magnus Carlsen’s defeat and ensuing social media post on Thursday, the organizers put forth new anti-cheating regulations. Carlsen bounced back from the shocking loss by beating Al Muthaiah with the white pieces. | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

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New fair play measures

About half an hour before the start of round 3, the organizers of the Qatar Masters shared a post on X announcing new “fair play measures”. This was a reaction to Thursday’s controversy surrounding Magnus Carlsen’s comments after his upset loss against 23-year-old Kazakh grandmaster Alisher Suleymenov (rated 2512).

The new measures included:

  • Games are broadcasted with a 15-minute delay.
  • The refreshment area and toilets are exclusively reserved to the players and arbiters, to the exclusion of any other participants.
  • After the first 10 minutes of the game, only authorised personnel may carry a phone when in areas restricted to the players, and shall not use it in the playing area and refreshment area.
  • Pens that are provided for the games by the organizer are expected to be used and left at the board at the end of each game.
  • Items that trigger the security scanners during checks at the entrance of the playing venue (e.g. pens, wallets, watches …), may have to be left at the security checkpoint.

Even Vladimir Fedoseev, who in round 2 had left the board in a losing position with 94 minutes on his clock and not signed the scoresheet afterwards, showed up to play on Friday — he beat FM Khumoyun Begmuratov and now stands on 1/3 points. Apparently, he was satisfied with the new anti-cheating measures.

Out of the 21 players who entered the round with 2/2 scores, only five managed to score full points to remain atop the standings. Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri, seeded second and third in the tournament, do not belong to this group, as they signed draws with Shamsiddin Vokhidov and Aditya Mittal respectively.

The five co-leaders are now Arjun Erigaisi, Javokhir Sindarov, Narayanan S L, Rinat Jumabayev and Robby Kevlishvili. In this group, only Kevlishvili defeated a higher-rated opponent in round 3, as he got the better of Jakhongir Vakhidov with the white pieces.

Carlsen also won to join the large group with 2/3 points. His queen and knight turned out to be a stronger tandem than Al Muthaiah’s queen and bishop.

The white king escaped the checks via the dark squares, and once it was safe on f4, Carlsen manoeuvred his knight to f6, with a mating attack.

50.Nf6+ Kg7 51.Nh5+ (double check) Kf8 52.Qd6+ Kg8 53.Qd8+ and Black resigned.

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Qatar Chess Association

Co-leader Sindarov showed good endgame technique to beat veteran Gregory Kaidanov on Friday, and had also demonstrated his technical prowess in the previous round, when he got the better of Kazybek Nogerbek — find below expert analysis by GM Karsten Müller.

Standings after round 3

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Erigaisi, Arjun 3 6
2 Sindarov, Javokhir 3 12
3 Narayanan.S.L, 3 13
4 Jumabayev, Rinat 3 25
5 Kevlishvili, Robby 3 43
6 Nakamura, Hikaru 2,5 2
7 Giri, Anish 2,5 3
8 Gukesh, D 2,5 4
9 Abdusattorov, Nodirbek 2,5 5
10 Salem, A.R. Saleh 2,5 16
11 Yakubboev, Nodirbek 2,5 19
12 Karthikeyan, Murali 2,5 20
13 Kuybokarov, Temur 2,5 26
14 Vokhidov, Shamsiddin 2,5 28
15 Aditya, Mittal 2,5 30
16 Fawzy, Adham 2,5 40
17 Yilmazyerli, Mert 2,5 41
18 Madaminov, Mukhiddin 2,5 61
19 Vaishali, Rameshbabu 2,5 75
20 Laxman, R.R. 2,5 144

...158 players

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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.