Qatar Masters: four GMs with perfect scores

by Frederic Friedel
11/29/2014 – Three rounds have finished in the strongest Open ever held (92 GMs, 56 over 2600, 14 over 2700). Four players have won all three games, 19 are half a point behind. Before they start battering each other down the ladder we have annotated chess highlights from the first two rounds for you, and a big pictorial report that shows the joys and suffering of the game we love.

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The Qatar Masters Open 2014 is being held from November 25 to December 5 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Doha, Qatar. There are 92 grandmasters participating, or 60% of the 154 total players. 56 GMs are over rated 2600, and an incredible 14 over 2700. Let those numbers sink in for a moment! This tournament truly is a convention of brilliant chess minds.

A pictorial report

Pictures, as the saying goes, speak more than 10^3 words, and with the Qatar Masters we are lucky to have two excellent photographers, Maria Emelianova and Dmitry Rukhletskiy, capturing the atmosphere of this top-class tournament. Not only do both have superb camera equipment – Maria for instance works with a Canon 1DX – but also an eye for special moments. The images they provide are quite extraordinary.

When entering the playing hall everyone is searched, even famous players like
what's-his-name (they found no hidden weapons, RPGs or cell phones on him)

Let the games begin: chief organiser GM Mohamad Al-Modiahki executes the first move
in the top board game Anish Giri vs Mikhail Antipov (Giri won in 37 moves)

Who the heck am I playing?? A photo by Maria Emelianova that went viral.

They keep making them smaller all the time! Another great shot by Maria.

Our friend Iranian WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan facing G.N. Gopal, who beat her in 34 moves

Another great friend, Harika Dronavalli, who is 23, a full GM and India's second-highest
ranked female. Harika was beaten in an 80-move marathon in round one by...

...GM Pentala Harikrishna, India's second highest ranked player (after you-know-who).
A Skype exchange after the game: Frederic: Bad, bad Hari! Harika: yes :( very bad Hari :)

French GM Romain Edouard, 2659, conceded one draw in round two and stands at 2.5/3

A former long-time Women's World Champion, Zhu Chen.
She is married to Qatari GM Mohamad Al-Modiahki (see first picture)

Suffering: Anand second GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly, who is 1.5/3

Another suffering Anand second: GM Sandipan Chanda, 50%

Also 1.5/3: famous GM and chess trainer Artur Jussupow

Anish doesn't like! Indian prodigy Aravindh Chithambaram, 15 years old and rated 2485,
has just played 20.f5 in his game against GM Ivan Saric, 2680. Aravindh lost in 41 moves.

The peripatetic GM (look it up, Anish) sees what's coming in the game of the number two seed...

What the...? Dutch GM Erwin l'Ami watches Vladimir Kramnik allow his opponent GM M. Shyamsunder,
rated almost 300 points below him, escape with a draw (position after 36...Rc8 if you replay the game)

Yeah, wasn't that a shocker? Anish chatting with Erwin's wife Alina, who is playing in the event
and will be providing us with a photo report (yes, Alina, we want one and are waiting)

GM Daniel King (right) doing postgame analysis with Super-GM Anish Giri

Pavel Eljanov, who finished his game in round one beautifully

All photos by Maria Emelianova and Dmitry Rukhletskiy

Highlights from Rounds one and two, annotated by IM Sagar Shah

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2014"] [Site "Doha QAT"] [Date "2014.11.26"] [Round "1.8"] [White "Karthikeyan, Murali"] [Black "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C69"] [WhiteElo "2497"] [BlackElo "2719"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/4k3/3b2p1/2pb3p/4N1PP/3B1K2/8 b - - 0 51"] [PlyCount "7"] [EventDate "2014.11.26"] {Black is definitely better. Eljanov here played a move that had to be very carefully calculated.} 51... c3 $1 52. Bxc3 {White takes his final chance.} ( 52. Bc1 Be4 53. gxh4 gxh4 54. Ke2 Bf6 55. Kf2 Bf5 56. Nxf5 Kxf5 $19 {Black wins.}) 52... Bxe3+ $1 {A very paradoxical idea going into an opposite coloured bishop endgame.} (52... Bxc3 $2 53. Nxd5 Kxd5 54. gxh4 gxh4 55. Kg2 $11 {is a draw because of the wrong coloured rook pawn.}) (52... hxg3+ 53. Kxg3 Bxe3 54. h4 $11) 53. Kxe3 {[#]} g4 $3 {What a beautiful move. The variations are pretty easy to work out. Mainly White is losing because he dos not have control over the e5 square.} 54. gxh4 gxh3 {A beautiful endgame display by Pavel Eljanov!} 0-1

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2014"] [Site "Doha QAT"] [Date "2014.11.26"] [Round "1.9"] [White "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Black "Ankit, R. Rajpara"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2719"] [BlackElo "2494"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2014.11.26"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Bg6 7. Nbd2 Nf5 8. c4 Be7 9. g4 Nh6 $5 {The start of a very interesting idea that was seen in a similar position in the game Shirov-Solak.} 10. h3 Ng8 $1 {[%cal Gg8e7,Ge7f5, Gf5h6,Gh6g8] The knight makes a full turn from g8-e7-f5-h6 back to g8! Black wants to open the kingside with h7-h5. An unusual concept worth taking note of. } 11. Ne1 h5 12. Ng2 hxg4 13. hxg4 dxc4 14. Nxc4 Be4 15. f3 Bd5 16. Nce3 c5 17. Nf4 Bc6 18. d5 exd5 19. Nfxd5 Bh4 20. Kg2 Bg3 $5 {A very brave sacrifice.} 21. Kxg3 $2 {Bad defense shown by Naiditsch.} (21. Nf6+ $1 gxf6 (21... Nxf6 22. Qxd8+ Kxd8 23. Kxg3 $16) 22. Qxd8+ Kxd8 23. Kxg3 fxe5 24. Bd2 $14 {White is a pawn down but with the two bishops he has an excellent position.}) 21... Qh4+ 22. Kf4 Qh2+ 23. Ke4 Nd7 $1 {Attacking the e5 pawn. Black is a piece down but with the king on e4 the attack bound to succeed.} 24. Kd3 (24. f4 O-O-O 25. Bc4 Ngf6+ 26. exf6 Nxf6+ $19) 24... O-O-O 25. Kc2 Nxe5 26. Qd2 $2 {A mistake but such mistakes don't happen in vacuum. It was because of the sustained pressure. } (26. Bd2 $1 {was the best.} Bxd5 27. Nxd5 Rxd5 28. Rh1 Qxh1 29. Qxh1 Rxh1 30. Rxh1 $11) 26... Nf6 27. Ne7+ Kb8 28. Nxc6+ Nxc6 29. Bd3 Nb4+ 30. Kb1 Qc7 $1 { Keeping the queen. The d3 bishop falls and White is totally lost.} 31. g5 Rxd3 32. Qe1 Nfd5 (32... Qh2 $1 33. Rf2 Qh7 $1 $19 {[%cal Gc7h2,Gh2h7] a difficult idea to see but totally crushing.}) 33. Ng4 Nb6 34. Qe5 Qxe5 35. Nxe5 Rd4 36. Nxf7 Rh2 37. Be3 $2 Nd3 $1 (37... Nc4 38. Bxd4 cxd4 39. Ne5 Nd2+ 40. Kc1 Nxf1 $19) 38. Bc1 Nc4 39. Rd1 Nxc1 $19 {Not a perfect game but very entertaining.} 0-1

[Event "Qatar Masters Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.11.27"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Socko, Bartosz"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C78"] [WhiteElo "2751"] [BlackElo "2614"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "49"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:32:52"] [BlackClock "0:11:24"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bb7 7. Re1 Bc5 8. c3 d6 9. d4 Bb6 10. Be3 O-O 11. Nbd2 exd4 12. cxd4 Nb4 {This position is quite popular and many games have been played, the most important one being Karjakin-Caruana. Now MVL plays an idea that was tried only by Smeets, and that too unsuccessfully, against Boruchovsky.} 13. Ng5 $5 Qe7 (13... Nd3 $2 14. Nxf7 Rxf7 15. Bxf7+ Kxf7 16. Qb3+ $18) 14. Ndf3 h6 (14... Nxe4 15. d5 $1 $18 { wins on the spot for White.}) 15. a3 $5 hxg5 (15... Nc6 16. e5 $1 dxe5 17. dxe5 hxg5 18. Bxg5 {transposes to the game.}) 16. Bxg5 Nc6 17. e5 dxe5 18. dxe5 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 {[%csl Gb3,Ge5,Gg5] The white pieces are very active and Black has to be very careful.} Qc5 $5 (19... Rae8 {was also possible.}) 20. Bh4 Ne4 $4 {A very poor made by Socko which gives White the win on the spot if he is alert.} 21. Nxf7 $2 (21. Qh5 $3 {There is absolutely no good way to defend f7.} Nxf2 ( 21... Bd5 22. Ng6 $3 $18) 22. Bxf7+ Rxf7 23. Qxf7+ Kh8 24. Bxf2 $18) 21... Rxf7 22. Qf3 Bd5 (22... Raf8 $1 23. Rxe4 Bxe4 24. Bxf7+ Rxf7 25. Qxe4 Qd4 $13) 23. Bxd5 Qxd5 24. Qxe4 Qxe4 25. Rxe4 $14 {White is a pawn up and went on to confidently convert the position.} 1-0

[Event "Qatar Masters Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.11.27"] [Round "2.8"] [White "Anton Guijarro, David"] [Black "Bu, Xiangzhi"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B23"] [WhiteElo "2607"] [BlackElo "2707"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:14:03"] [BlackClock "0:21:30"] {I have chosen this game to show that how innovative a player can be in the opening.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 g6 3. Bc4 Bg7 4. Qf3 $5 {[%csl Rf7][%cal Gf3f7,Gc4f7] Mate in one. If you didn't know it you might think that two patzers are playing here.} e6 5. Nb5 {The threat is Nd6+!} d6 6. Qg3 {Defending d6 is surprisingly difficult!} Ke7 $5 {Unusual moves keep happening.} (6... Be5 7. f4 Bf6 {Threatening Bh4.} 8. Nf3 d5 $1 {and Black is doing fine.} 9. exd5 exd5 10. Bxd5 a6 $1 $17) 7. d3 a6 8. Nc3 Nc6 9. Bb3 Nf6 10. Nf3 h6 11. h3 Re8 12. O-O Kf8 {Finally there is some normalcy in the game and it ended in a draw after 45 moves. But surely this game makes us believe that there is still a lot of scope for creativity in chess!} 13. Bf4 e5 14. Bd2 Be6 15. Bxe6 Rxe6 16. Nd5 Re8 17. c4 Kg8 18. a4 a5 19. Qh4 Nd7 20. Qxd8 Rexd8 21. Nh2 Nb4 22. Ra3 Kh7 23. Nc7 Rac8 24. Nb5 Nf8 25. f4 exf4 26. Bxf4 Rc6 27. Bc1 Rd7 28. Ng4 h5 29. Ne3 Ne6 30. Nd5 Nd4 31. Bd2 Be5 32. Kh1 Nxd5 33. exd5 Rc8 34. Nxd4 Bxd4 35. Rb3 Re8 36. Bxa5 Ra8 37. Rb5 Bxb2 38. Bd2 Bd4 39. a5 Re8 40. Bf4 Kg7 41. h4 Ree7 42. Rfb1 f6 43. Rb6 Be5 44. Bxe5 fxe5 45. Kg1 1/2-1/2

[Event "Qatar Masters Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.11.27"] [Round "2.9"] [White "Kryvoruchko, Yuriy"] [Black "Hovhannisyan, Robert"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A11"] [WhiteElo "2706"] [BlackElo "2591"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rn1r2k1/1b2qppp/pQp1p3/1p6/3P4/3N2P1/PP3PBP/2RR2K1 w - - 0 21"] [PlyCount "13"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:17:04"] [BlackClock "0:11:15"] {White is definitely better and even close to winning here. But the way in which 2013 Ukrainian champion finishes off the game is wonderful!} 21. d5 $3 { [%csl Rd5][%cal Rc6d5,Re6d5,Rd8d5,Rb7d5,Gd4d5] Breakthrough on the square that was defended four times!} cxd5 (21... exd5 22. Re1 $1 Qd7 23. Nc5 $18) 22. Rc7 Rd7 23. Rxd7 (23. Rdc1 {was stronger as Qxb7 cannot be stopped.} Bc6 24. Rc8+ $18) 23... Qxd7 24. Nc5 Qc8 25. Qxb7 Nc6 26. Qxc8+ Rxc8 27. Nxa6 {White has won a piece and soon won the game.} 1-0

[Event "Qatar Masters Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.11.27"] [Round "2.33"] [White "Cheparinov, Ivan"] [Black "Halkias, Stelios"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E16"] [WhiteElo "2684"] [BlackElo "2519"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/4kppp/8/P1R5/7P/5KP1/r4P2/8 w - - 0 48"] [PlyCount "25"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:03:57"] [BlackClock "0:00:41"] 48. Ke3 {White is better here and is easily winning, but I like the way he played on.} g6 49. h5 $1 {Creating another weakness. This is the key in playing good endgames. If White had wasted time and allowed Black to play h5, his task of winning would have been highly complicated.} (49. Rb5 h5 {Black has better defensive chances here, but he seems to be still winning after} 50. Rb7+ Ke6 51. Ra7 {and then bringing over his king to the queenside by sacrificing the f2-pawn.}) 49... h6 {If Black hasn't played this move then White would have created a new weakness with the move h6.} (49... gxh5 50. Rxh5 {[%csl Rh7] makes the h7-pawn very weak.}) 50. Rb5 Ke6 51. g4 Ra3+ 52. Kd4 Kd7 53. g5 $1 {A typical breakthrough. White is just winning now.} hxg5 54. h6 Kc7 {stopping Rb8.} (54... Rh3 55. a6 Rxh6 56. a7 Rh4+ 57. Kc5 Ra4 58. Kb6 $18) ( 54... Kc6 55. Rb8 $18) 55. f4 $6 (55. Ke5 $1 {was quite strong and winning the game.} Rf3 56. Rc5+ Kb7 57. a6+ Kxa6 58. Rc8 Rh3 59. Rh8 f5 60. h7 Kb7 61. Kf6 $18) 55... Ra4+ $2 {Unnecessary check} (55... gxf4 56. Rh5 $1 {is a nice finishing touch!} Ra4+ 57. Kc3 gxh5 58. h7 Rxa5 59. h8=Q {Black cannot really build a fortress, as his f7-pawn is falling and hence White should win this.}) (55... g4 $1 {was the best defensive try.} 56. f5 (56. Rh5 g3 $1 57. Rg5 Ra4+ 58. Ke3 Ra2 $11) 56... gxf5 57. Rxf5 g3 58. Rxf7+ Kd6 (58... Kc6 $2 59. a6 Rxa6 60. Rf6+ Kb7 61. Rxa6 Kxa6 62. Ke3 $18) (58... Kb8) 59. a6 g2 60. Rg7 Rxa6 $11) 56. Kd5 Rxf4 $2 57. a6 Rf5+ 58. Kc4 Rf4+ 59. Kd3 Rf3+ 60. Ke2 {A very interesting endgame which White complicated to a great extent.} 1-0

[Event "Qatar Masters Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.11.27"] [Round "2.35"] [White "Berkes, Ferenc"] [Black "Thejkumar, M. S."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D31"] [WhiteElo "2669"] [BlackElo "2443"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/7p/3k2p1/8/1PR5/7P/1r4PK/8 w - - 0 42"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:22:39"] [BlackClock "0:20:10"] {Another very interesting rook endgame. Black defends in the most accurate fashion in this game.} 42. Kg3 Ke5 43. Rc5+ Kf6 44. b5 h5 $1 {An important move gaining some space on the kingside.} 45. h4 {Many people at this point might think that White will win with the idea of Rg5 followed by g3 and then bringing the king over. But Thejkumar shows that it is not possible.} Rb4 $1 { The h4 pawn needs constant attention of the white king and hence he cannot make progress.} 46. Rc6+ Kf5 47. Rc5+ Kf6 48. Rg5 Kf7 49. Re5 Kf6 50. Rc5 Rg4+ 51. Kh3 Rb4 52. Rd5 Ke6 53. Rg5 Kf7 54. Kg3 Kf6 55. Rc5 Rg4+ 56. Kh3 Rb4 57. Rc6+ Kf5 58. Rb6 Rb3+ 59. g3 Rb2 $1 {The last crucial move caging in the white king.} 60. Rb7 Ke6 61. Rb8 Kf6 62. b6 Kg7 63. Rb7+ {Excellent defence by black in this game.} 1/2-1/2

Top standings after three rounds

Rk Sd Ti Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 1 GM Giri Anish NED 2776 3.0 3393 4.0 6.0
2 10 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2714 3.0 3369 3.5 4.5
3 69 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2573 3.0 3348 4.0 4.5
4 44 GM Oleksienko Mikhailo UKR 2620 3.0 3305 3.0 3.5
5 52 GM Van Kampen Robin NED 2612 2.5 2869 4.5 4.5
6 4 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2751 2.5 2857 4.5 5.5
7 3 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2757 2.5 2853 3.0 4.0
8 11 GM Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2707 2.5 2843 3.0 4.0
9 8 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2719 2.5 2839 3.5 3.5
10 62 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2586 2.5 2838 3.5 3.5
11 12 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2706 2.5 2836 4.0 5.0
12 13 GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2705 2.5 2830 4.5 6.5
13 37 GM Dubov Daniil RUS 2629 2.5 2830 4.5 6.0
14 60 GM Guseinov Gadir AZE 2592 2.5 2827 4.0 4.0
15 19 GM Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2673 2.5 2821 4.0 5.0
16 25 GM Movsesian Sergei ARM 2659 2.5 2807 3.5 3.5
17 24 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2659 2.5 2803 3.5 4.0
18 70 GM Cornette Matthieu FRA 2566 2.5 2794 3.5 4.5
19 35 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2632 2.5 2757 3.0 4.0
20 39 GM Volokitin Andrei UKR 2627 2.5 2753 3.0 3.0
21 41 GM Salgado Lopez Ivan ESP 2622 2.5 2735 3.0 3.5
22 45 GM Perunovic Milos SRB 2619 2.5 2707 3.0 4.5
23 43 GM Naroditsky Daniel USA 2620 2.5 2706 3.0 4.5

Links

The top games will be 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 and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Topics: Qatar

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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Pentium Infinite Pentium Infinite 11/30/2014 07:44
Great great photos. Thank you. That one of "what's-his-name" and of "husband-of-the-photographer" made my day.
Niima Niima 11/30/2014 05:34
@ prail

I respect your opinion but disagree. I for one do not perceive disrespect and enjoy this site's articles partly because of the humour. I think you need to lighten up. As for confusing those who are new to chess, ChessBase is a site for chess aficionados and if someone is so new to the game to not know, for example, who Anand is, then they can look it up.
Eigenfunction Eigenfunction 11/30/2014 01:46
The photos and commentary were very entertaining!
prail prail 11/29/2014 06:29
I enjoyed the photos and game replays in this story, but did not appreciate referring to famous players as "what's-his-name" and "you-know-who." Although these inside-joke names are, no doubt, humorous to the writer, it reads as disrespectful to the players. Even worse, it confuses those who are new to chess, hindering learning about chess players and culture.
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