Shamkir: Five draws in Round 4

by Johannes Fischer
4/4/2019 – Five draws — that was the result of the fourth round of the "Gashimov Memorial" in Shamkir, Azerbaijan. As days go, there have been others more exciting. David Navara, who played Black against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, had the best chance of winning. But after more than five hours of play, this game also ended in a draw, leaving Magnus Carlsen with 3 out of 4, as the sole leader. Report with analysis by GM DANIEL FERNANDEZ. | Photo:

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Carlsen keeps half point edge

Perhaps the most notable feature of the day was the curious fact that the final position of the game Topalov vs Carlsen was almost identical to the final position of the game Karjakin vs Grischuk. With only five games in play, that's a pretty freak occurrence. Magnus himself mused that he would have been amused to see the exact same final position.


Alexander Grischuk no doubt chuckled as well | Photo:

Results of Round 4


GM Daniel Fernandez takes you for a spin through all the day's play:

V. Topalov ½–½ M. Carlsen

The game between Veselin Topalov and Magnus Carlsen was unspectacular. Already after 20 moves a balanced rook ending was on the board, and another 16 moves later, the game was drawn by repetition. 


A World Champion's Repertoire against the Queen's Gambit Declined

This DVD offers a complete repertoire for handling this solid opening, often featuring a dynamic approach to pose the opponent more practical problems. Both of the main continuations 3...Nf6 and 3...Be7 are covered in two separate parts.

S. Karjakin ½–½ A. Grischuk

Karjakin and Grischuk got to their strikingly similar endgame despite some minor skirmishes in the middlegame — after 26 moves and a lot of exchanges the excitement dwindled.


Sergey Karjakin | Photo:

Ding Liren ½–½ V. Anand

Much more lively was the encounter between Ding Liren and Vishy Anand. Ding played aggressively and stormed out early with his g-pawn to attack the black king. But Anand parried the white threats on the kingside without much difficulty and generated counterplay on the queenside. After beating Mamedyarov in the third round, however, he did not seem to want to try his luck for the second time, so the game ended drawn in a double-edged position after 34 moves.


Ding Liren | Photo:

A Giri ½–½ T. Radjabov

The fourth draw of the day was played by Anish Giri and Teimour Radjabov. In the Queen's Gambit with 5.f4 there arose a very closed position in which Black had no problems, but also little prospects. After 40 moves, the game ended in a draw by perpetual check.


Anish Giri | Photo:

S. Mamedyarov ½–½ D. Navara

In round three, Mamedyarov lost to Anand, and he again was on the defensive in round four against David Navara. The game initially followed Mamedyarov's loss to Vidit in Wijk aan Zee, but Navara deviated, and soon returned the gambited pawn. Mamedyarov sacrificed another pawn, aiming for a kingside attack, but when it fizzled he was left with a worse position. He finally succeeded in limiting the damage and held on for a draw in the rook ending.


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov | Photo:

Standings after Round 4


Round-up show with GM Daniel King

All games


Round 4 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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