Shamkir, Round 3: Carlsen takes the lead

by Johannes Fischer
4/3/2019 – World Champion Magnus Carlsen looks determined and focused at the Vugar Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir. After defeating Viswanathan Anand in Round 2, he also won in Round 3, beating David Navara with Black through good technique and energetic play. He is now the sole leader with 2½ out of 3 alone. The second win of the day was provided by Anand who bounced back from his prior day's loss to beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The remaining three games ended drawn. Report and analyses by GMs ARYAN TARI and DANIEL FERNANDEZ. | Photos:

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Navara tests Carlsen's Sveshnikov

So far in Shamkir World Champion Magnus Carlsen is very much on track to make a run at his fourth tournament title. After three rounds, he is also back over 2850 for the first time since his 2016 World Championship fight.

But world number three Ding Liren and Carlsen's 2016 challenger Sergey Karjakin both have one win to their names and are thus just a half point behind.

Let's take a look at each of the games of Round 3.

Results of Round 3

Name FED Elo Res. Name FED Elo
Alexander Grischuk
2771 ½ - ½ Anish Giri
Sergey Karjakin
2743 ½ - ½ Veselin Topalov
David Navara
2733 0 - 1 Magnus Carlsen
Teimour Radjabov
2756 ½ - ½ Liren Ding
Viswanathan Anand
2774 1 - 0 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

David Navara

White against the World Champ is fun for David Navara | Photo:

D. Navara 0-1 M. Carlsen

David Navara wanted to know what Carlsen had in reserve. In the Sveshnikov Sicilian, he opted for the variation with 7.d5, the Carlsen had played several times in the World Championship match against Fabiano Caruana (London, 2018). But Navara could not surprise the Magnus. Carlsen gained a comfortable and active game after the opening, which Navara sought to counter by an exchange. However, White did not get adequate compensation and he was soon fighting for a draw — no easy task given the legendary technique of the World Champion. Carlsen showed why activity in the endgame is often more important than material and could win in the end.

Notes by GM Aryan Tari

Endgames of the World Champions from Fischer to Carlsen

Let endgame expert Dr Karsten Müller show and explain the finesses of the world champions. Although they had different styles each and every one of them played the endgame exceptionally well, so take the opportunity to enjoy and learn from some of the best endgames in the history of chess.

V. Anand 1-0 S. Mamedyarov

A bitter defeat for Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. He had completely outplayed Vishy Anand and reached a winning position, but then, with little time left on the clock, he overlooked a tactical move that gave White chances to win, which Anand seized and converted without much difficulty.

Notes by GM Daniel Fernandez

Vishy Anand early in the game | Photo:

T. Radjabov ½-½ Ding Liren

Teimour Radjabov made another quick draw, this time with Ding Liren. They followed a game of Radjabov vs Aronian for 25 moves, and reached a balanced endgame. Another 28 moves later, only the two kings remained on board.

Notes by GM Daniel Fernandez

Teimour Radjabov: "Wait, I know that position?" | Photo: Shamkir

A. Grischuk ½-½ A. Giri

A quick draw was also seen in the game between Alexander Grischuk and Anish Giri. Grischuk sacrificed a pawn early in the opening, but Giri gave it back quickly, and the players then repeated moves.

Notes by GM Daniel Fernandez

A lifetime repertoire: Play the Nimzo Indian

This DVD provides everything you need to know to be able to play one of the most classical openings with Black, the Nimzo-Indian, arising after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4. Nearly every World Championship and top tournament features the Nimzo-Indian.

S. Karjakin ½-½ V. Topalov

Sergey Karjakin and Veselin Topalov opted for peace as well, although both made a keen start to the game: Karjakin attacked on the kingside, Topalov on the queenside — but when both had their pieces in position, the game ended quickly with a draw by repetition.

Notes by GM Daniel Fernandez

Standings after Round 3

Rg. Tit. Name Land Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pkt.
1 GM Magnus Carlsen
2845       1 ½         1 2.5
2 GM Liren Ding
2809     ½   ½       1   2.0
3 GM Sergey Karjakin
2743   ½       ½ 1       2.0
4 GM Viswanathan Anand
2774 0             1   ½ 1.5
5 GM Teimour Radjabov
2756 ½ ½           ½     1.5
6 GM Veselin Topalov
2740     ½       ½     ½ 1.5
7 GM Anish Giri
2797     0     ½     ½   1.0
8 GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
2793       0 ½       ½   1.0
9 GM Alexander Grischuk
2771   0         ½ ½     1.0
10 GM David Navara
2733 0     ½   ½         1.0

All games and Round 3 commentary webcast


Commentary by GM Arkadij Naiditsch

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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