Shamkir Rd9: Mamedyarov beats Caruana in playoff

by Albert Silver
6/4/2016 – In an astonishing round that had to have Gashimov smiling, the final round saw three of his compatriots winning their final games. However, the biggest result was of course Mamedyarov who defeated Giri in a superb rook endgame he played to perfection, right after beating Caruana in the previous round. In a nail-biting playoff, he defeated Caruana and snatched the title. Final report.

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Third Shamkir Tournament in memory of Vugar Gashimov

The Vugar Gashimov Memorial, is being held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, from the May 26 to June 4, 2016, in memory of the great Vugar Gashimov, who passed away on the 10th of January 2014. The tournament features ten world-class players: Fabiano Caruana (2795), Anish Giri (2790), Sergey Karjakin (2779), Pavel Eljanov (2750), Pentala Harikrishna (2763), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2750), Teimour Radjabov (2726), Eltaj Safarli (2664), Hou Yifan (2663) and Rauf Mamedov (2650). The time control is 120/40 moves + 60/20 moves + 15 minutes + 30 seconds/move at the 61st move.

All games start at 3 p.m. local time = 1 p.m. in Europe (CEST), one hour earlier in Britain, and 2 p.m. in Moscow. You can find the starting time at your location here. Today's pairings:

Round 9 – June 4, 2016
Shak Mamedyarov
1-0
Anish Giri
Sergey Karjakin
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
Pentala Harikrishna
0-1
Eltaj Safarli
Pavel Eljanov
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Hou Yifan
0-1
Rauf Mamedov

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Final round

The stage, the players, the spectacle

What a finale for what turned out to be a very unpredictable tournament. After five rounds, the outcome of the Gashimov Memorial seemed all but certain with a re-invigorated Fabiano Caruana on 4.5/5 and seemingly poised to run away with it much as he had the Sinquefield Cup in2014. The only possible rival was Anish Giri, chasing hard with 4.0/5, and shedding himself of the draw master title he had acquired in the Candidates earlier this year.

Fabiano Caruana seemed poised to run away with the event after the first half

Only Anish Giri seemed to have a chance to challenge him

The rest of the field seemed to be struggling, with Hou Yifan going through a very rough event, while Karjakin was at plus one, and the local players all seemed to be not only scoring 50% with each other, but against the rest as well. The top-rated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was at 50% himself, with a win and a loss.

It just wasn't her tournament as nothing seemed to click for Hou Yifan

Then it all turned around in the most incredible way. Mamedyarov broke the Azeri peace treaty and went for his compatriot’s throat in a wild game, defeating Safarli, while Caruana acceded to a draw in a dead won position with Giri. While some argued the difficulty in finding the win, the fact is that playing on presented no risk as it was the Dutch player’s king in the wide open, not his. No one could have foreseen it, but this turned out to be as pivotal as the last two rounds.

In round eight, Mamedyarov showed Fabiano’s luck had run out, inflicting his first and only defeat, and leaving himself with genuine chances for a playoff… if he managed to defeat Anish Giri in the last round. Evading the well-trodden paths of theory, the Azeri outplayed Anish reaching an endgame with a clear extra pawn on the c-file.

Mamedyarov's only chance was to beat the ultra solid Giri. If Giri had held, he would have
made it to the playoff against Caruana.

It wasn't for lack of support with GM Erwin L'Ami as his second and his wife Sopiko Giri there

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Anish Giri

[Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A49"] [WhiteElo "2748"] [BlackElo "2790"] [PlyCount "105"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. d4 {(13s)} Nf6 {(7s)} 2. Nf3 {(11s)} g6 {(20s)} 3. g3 {(9s)} Bg7 {(47s)} 4. Bg2 {(7s)} d5 {(59s)} 5. O-O {(6s)} O-O {(3s)} 6. c3 {(2s)} Nbd7 {(38s)} 7. Bf4 {(30s)} b6 {(336s)} 8. a4 {(382s) Calling this the novelty seems a bit of a strenth, even if technically true. White has gone his own way in the opening as is typical for him, and neutralized any preparation Giri might have had in store.} c5 {(92s)} 9. Nbd2 {(41s)} Bb7 {(440s)} 10. a5 {(62s)} bxa5 {(292s)} 11. Nb3 {(659s)} Qb6 {(85s)} 12. dxc5 {(223 s)} Nxc5 {(40s)} 13. Be3 {(1102s)} Qxb3 {(908s)} 14. Bxc5 {(18s)} Qxd1 {(910s)} 15. Rfxd1 {(45s)} Rfe8 {(61s)} 16. Rxa5 {(18s)} a6 {(6s)} 17. Ne5 {(316s)} Rad8 {(524s)} 18. Bb6 {(119s)} Rb8 { (27s)} 19. Ba7 {(74s)} Rbd8 {(39s)} 20. Bb6 {(58s)} Rb8 {(12s)} 21. Bd4 {(61s)} e6 {(190s)} 22. e3 {(321s)} Red8 {(8s)} 23. Bb6 {(367s)} Rdc8 {(5s)} 24. Ba7 { (23s)} Ra8 {(2s)} 25. Bd4 {(9s)} Rc7 {(114s)} 26. Rda1 {(210s)} Nd7 {(37s)} 27. Nxd7 {(96s)} Rxd7 {(112s)} 28. Bf1 {(1s)} e5 {(274s)} 29. Bc5 {(16s)} d4 { (184s)} 30. cxd4 {(339s)} exd4 {(6s)} 31. Bxa6 {(65s)} Rxa6 {(353s)} 32. Rxa6 { (18s)} Bxa6 {(5 s)} 33. Rxa6 {(3s) White is threatening Ra8+ Bf8 Bxf8, so Black needs to parry this first.} f5 {(8s)} 34. exd4 {(520s)} Bxd4 {(3s)} 35. b4 {(450s)} Bxc5 {(517s)} 36. bxc5 {(6s)} Rd1+ {(7s)} 37. Kg2 {(2s)} Rc1 {(4s)} 38. Rc6 {(330s) White is up a pawn in this rook endgame and the question is whether he can convert it. Defending it will be an uphill proposition.} Kf7 { (169s)} 39. Kf3 {(475s)} g5 {(177s)} 40. Ke3 {(0s)} Rc3+ {(0s)} 41. Kd4 {(496s) } Rf3 {(564s)} (41... Rc2 {offers no relief, and White strikes with} 42. f4 gxf4 43. gxf4 Rxh2 44. Ke5 Ke7 ({Passive defense leads to a swift defeat.} 44... Rh5 45. Rd6 {followed by c6.}) 45. Re6+ Kd7 46. c6+ Kc7 47. Kxf5 { and Black cannot hold.}) 42. Ke5 {(31s)} Rxf2 {(5s)} 43. Rf6+ {(3s)} Ke8 { (1046s)} (43... Ke7 {seemed more logical, though it too fails. The real point is that it also forces White to find some extremely precise moves, making the win that much more precarious. After} 44. Rh6 f4 45. Rxh7+ Kd8 {White only has one single winning move, others failing to do the job.} 46. Rh5 $3 {is the winner.} (46. gxf4 {leads nowhere.} Rxf4 47. h3 Kc8 48. Kd5 Rf6 49. Kc4 g4 50. hxg4 Rf4+ 51. Kb5 Rxg4 {and this is a technical draw.}) 46... f3 {What else?} 47. Ke4 {and Black is out of moves.} Rc2 {Anything else runs into Rxg5.} 48. Kxf3 Rxc5 49. Kg4 {and after g5 falls it is over.}) 44. Rxf5 {(193s)} Rxh2 { (13s)} 45. Kd6 {(235s)} Rd2+ {(1120s)} 46. Kc7 {(20s)} Rd7+ {(792s)} 47. Kb6 { (18s)} g4 {(15s)} 48. Re5+ {(404s)} Kd8 {(15s)} 49. Rg5 {(8s)} Rd3 {(383s)} 50. Rg8+ {(40s)} Ke7 {(3s)} 51. Rxg4 {(10s)} Rb3+ {(35s)} 52. Kc7 {(9s)} Kf6 {(11s) } 53. c6 {(34s)} 1-0

A magnificent result that ensured a chance at the title in a playoff, but his was not the only success story of the players from Azerbaijan. As if the spirit of Vugar were present and smiling upon them, Eltaj Safarli and Rauf Mamedov also scored their first victories of the event, meaning three Azeri wins in the last round.

Vugar Gashimov was no doubt smiling upon his friends and compatriots this round

It should be noted that Safarli’s came after a dramatic turnaround in his game against Harikrishna. The Indian had completely outplayed his opponent, but at a serious cost on his clock. He had a massive position, with a rook roaming the seventh at will, and all he needed to do was trade off the other pieces. Somehow he suffered a few moments of blindness and in a handful of moves was dead lost. This tale of chess myopia was symptomatic of the great Indian player's tournament, and in spite of never giving up, will power alone was not enough to overcome the self-inflicted handicaps.

Whether fatigue or something else, Harikrishna (left) will be examining what went wrong

Pentala Harikrishna - Eltaj Safarli

[Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Harikrishna, Pentala"] [Black "Safarli, Eltaj"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2763"] [BlackElo "2664"] [PlyCount "124"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. d4 {(4s)} Nf6 {(10s)} 2. c4 {(5s)} e6 {(8s)} 3. Nf3 {(4s)} b6 {(28s)} 4. g3 {(7s)} Ba6 {(119s)} 5. Nbd2 {(6s)} Bb4 {(100s)} 6. Qa4 {(16s)} c5 {(100s)} 7. dxc5 {(6s)} Bxc5 {(51s)} 8. Bg2 {(10s)} Bb7 {( 4s)} 9. b4 {(9s)} Be7 {(86s)} 10. Bb2 {(14s)} O-O {(292s)} 11. O-O {(8s)} Nc6 {(477s)} 12. a3 {(82s)} a6 { (158s)} 13. Qc2 {(333s)} h6 {(312s)} 14. Rad1 {(1073s)} Qc7 {(145s)} 15. Ne4 { (120s)} Nxe4 {( 224s)} 16. Qxe4 {(125s)} f5 {(38s)} 17. Qe3 {(229s)} Rad8 { (163s)} 18. Rd2 {(803s)} Bf6 {(476s)} 19. Bxf6 {(361s)} Rxf6 {(27s)} 20. c5 { (83s)} bxc5 {(39s)} 21. Qxc5 {(56s)} d6 {(271s)} 22. Qc4 {( 114s)} Qb6 {(70s)} 23. Rc1 {(48s)} d5 {(604s)} 24. Qc5 {(136s)} Qxc5 {(120s)} 25. Rxc5 {(14s)} g5 {( 191s)} 26. e3 {(270s)} f4 {(1870s)} 27. Nd4 {(90s)} fxe3 {(346s)} 28. fxe3 { (15s)} Ne5 {(32s)} 29. Rc7 {(165s)} Ba8 {[#] (381s) Put simply, White is completely winning. Not only does he have a monster rook on the seventh unchecked, but his knight is attacking the e6 weakness with more pieces to follow. Add to that Black's imprisoned bishop and poor piece coordination, and it should be a matter of technique. The problem here is time though, in very short supply.} 30. Re7 {(385s)} (30. Rf2 {was White's easiest solution, trading off one of Black's only useful pieces, and preparing to do major damage with the one currently on c7.} Rxf2 31. Kxf2 Re8 {Note also that Black cannot remove the rook from the eighth due to Rc8+ winning the bishop the second he does.} 32. Ke2 Nc4 33. a4 Rb8 {and Black can either die a slow death while White pushes ahead or give up the bishop, and die a quick one.}) 30... Rc8 {(90s)} 31. Rd1 {(178s)} Ng4 {(32s)} 32. Bh3 $4 {(58s) From hero to villain in a move. White blunders in time trouble.} (32. Rf1 {was still the best idea.} Rxf1+ 33. Bxf1 e5 34. Nf5 Rf8 35. Bh3 Rxf5 36. Bxg4 Rf8) 32... Nf2 $1 {(19s)} 33. Bxe6+ {(137s)} Rxe6 {(5s)} 34. Rxe6 {(6s)} Nxd1 {(2s)} 35. Nf5 $2 {(9s) Now White is lost.} (35. Rxh6 {would still have given chances. Since Black's bishop is still dead weight, and White's wing pawns can still cause serious trouble.}) 35... Rc1 {(112s)} 36. Re8+ {(56s)} Kh7 {(12s)} 37. Kg2 { (55s)} (37. Rxa8 Nxe3+ 38. Kf2 Nxf5) 37... Bc6 {(10s)} 38. Re7+ {(52s)} Kg6 { (19s)} 39. Nd4 {(9s)} Bb5 {(19s)} 40. h4 {(0s)} Bd3 {(0s)} 41. Re6+ {(530s)} Kf7 {(428s)} 42. Kf3 {(53s)} Be4+ {(139s)} 43. Ke2 {(23s)} Nc3+ {(198s)} 44. Kd2 {(156s)} Rd1+ {(134s)} 45. Kxc3 {(5s)} Rxd4 {(10s)} 46. Rxa6 {(141s)} Rd3+ {(21s)} 47. Kb2 {(5s)} Rxe3 {(78s)} 48. b5 {(34s)} Ke7 {(549s)} 49. Rxh6 { (387s)} d4 {(265s)} 50. b6 {(209s)} Re2+ {(251s)} 51. Kb3 {(8s)} d3 {(139s)} 52. b7 {(4s)} d2 {(92s)} 53. Rd6 {(5s)} Bxb7 {(4s)} 54. Rd4 {(3s)} g4 {(23s)} 55. Kc3 {(92s)} Rg2 {(66s)} 56. h5 {(231s)} Rxg3+ {( 295s)} 57. Kxd2 {(5s)} Rg1 {(61s)} 58. h6 {(7s)} g3 {(389s)} 59. Rh4 {(39s)} g2 {(22s)} 60. h7 {(0s)} Rd1+ {(0s)} 61. Kc3 {(57s)} g1=Q {(136s)} 62. h8=Q {(8s)} Qc5+ {(43 Kd4s)} 0-1

A fantastic final sprint with three wins including two over the event's top-rated players

The press room in full hustle and bustle

Replay games of round nine (with times per move)

[Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C80"] [WhiteElo "2779"] [BlackElo "2804"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. e4 {(9s)} e5 {(5s)} 2. Nf3 {(4s)} Nc6 {(4s)} 3. Bb5 {(5s)} a6 {(3s)} 4. Ba4 {(4s)} Nf6 {(4s)} 5. O-O {(7s)} Nxe4 {(5s)} 6. d4 {(5s)} b5 {(4s)} 7. Bb3 {(3s)} d5 {(9s)} 8. dxe5 {(10s)} Be6 {(4s)} 9. Nbd2 {( 48s)} Nc5 {(13s)} 10. c3 {(19s)} Be7 {(9s)} 11. Bc2 {(39s)} d4 {(9s)} 12. Nb3 {(40s)} d3 {(9s)} 13. Nxc5 {(292s)} dxc2 {(6s)} 14. Qxd8+ {(4s)} Rxd8 {(7s)} 15. Nxe6 {(5s)} fxe6 {(4s)} 16. Be3 {(36s)} Rd5 {(9s)} 17. Rfc1 {(52s)} Nxe5 {(9s)} 18. Nxe5 {(5s)} Rxe5 {(4s)} 19. Rxc2 {(6s)} Rd5 {(677s)} 20. c4 {(229s)} Rd7 {(5s)} 21. cxb5 {(1326s)} axb5 {(23s)} 22. a4 {(6s)} bxa4 {(36s)} 23. Kf1 {(5s)} Kf7 {(104s)} 24. Rxa4 {(31s)} Rb8 {(22s)} 25. Rac4 {(25s)} c5 {(165s)} 26. Bxc5 {(640s)} Bxc5 {(8s)} 27. Rxc5 {(4s)} Rd1+ {(4s)} 28. Ke2 {(4s)} Rb1 {(4s)} 29. g3 {(9s)} R1xb2 {(6s)} 30. Rxb2 {(6s)} Rxb2+ {( 3s)} 31. Kf3 {(5s)} Rb3+ {(4s)} 32. Ke2 {(3s)} Rb2+ {(4s)} 33. Kf3 {(5s)} Rb3+ {(2s)} 34. Ke2 {(5s)} 1/2-1/2 [Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Black "Radjabov, Teimour"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A45"] [WhiteElo "2765"] [BlackElo "2726"] [PlyCount "88"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. d4 {(19s)} Nf6 {(5s)} 2. Bf4 {(4s)} g6 {(14s)} 3. Nc3 {(8s)} d5 {(417s)} 4. e3 {(59s)} Bg7 {(240s)} 5. Be2 {(32s)} c6 {(522s)} 6. h4 {(577s)} h6 {(773s)} 7. Nf3 {(52s)} Qa5 {(678s)} 8. Qd2 {(1167s)} Bg4 {(356s)} 9. Ne5 {(677s)} Bxe2 {(5s)} 10. Qxe2 {(11s)} Qa6 {(692s)} 11. Qf3 {(176s)} Nbd7 {(96s)} 12. a3 {(677s)} Nxe5 {(1174s)} 13. Bxe5 {(39s)} O-O {(51s)} 14. g4 {(389s)} Nd7 {(73s)} 15. Bxg7 {(7s)} Kxg7 {(3s)} 16. h5 {(575s)} g5 {(39s)} 17. e4 {(184s)} e6 {(307s)} 18. Qe3 {(191s)} dxe4 {(345 s)} 19. Nxe4 {(144s)} Qa5+ {(1s)} 20. c3 {(43s)} Qc7 {(247s)} 21. O-O-O {(276s)} Nb6 {(35s)} 22. Kb1 {(115s)} Nd5 {(10s)} 23. Qd2 {(275s)} b5 {(67s)} 24. Nc5 {(86s)} a5 {(196s)} 25. Rhe1 {(25s)} Qf4 {(91s)} 26. Qe2 {(271s)} Rad8 {(102s)} 27. Nd3 {(36s)} Qd6 {(10s)} 28. Qd2 {(126s)} Rb8 {(15s)} 29. Qc2 {(270s)} Rfd8 {(62s)} 30. Nc5 {(27s)} Nf4 {(70s)} 31. Qe4 {(185s)} Qd5 {(41s)} 32. Nd3 {( 87s)} Qxe4 {(173s)} 33. Rxe4 {(5s)} Nxd3 {(31s)} 34. Rxd3 {(5s)} a4 {(44s)} 35. Kc2 {(188s)} Rd5 {(4 s)} 36. Re5 {(41s)} Rbd8 {(27s)} 37. Rde3 {(26s)} R8d7 {(11s)} 38. Kd3 {(33s)} Kf8 {(34s)} 39. Ke4 {(71s)} Ke7 {(32s)} 40. Kf3 {(0s)} R7d6 {(0s)} 41. Ke2 {(981s)} Rd8 {(259s)} 42. Kf3 {(97s)} R8d6 {( 226s)} 43. Ke2 {(17s)} Rd8 {(16s)} 44. Kf3 {(13s)} R8d6 {(11s)} 1/2-1/2 [Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Mamedov, Rauf"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A06"] [WhiteElo "2663"] [BlackElo "2655"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. Nf3 {(3s)} d5 {(36s)} 2. c4 {(13s)} c6 {(5s)} 3. g3 {(23s)} g6 {(4s)} 4. Qa4 {(66s)} d4 {(895s)} 5. e3 {(600s)} dxe3 {(182s)} 6. dxe3 {(58s)} Na6 {(447s)} 7. Nc3 {(13s)} Nc5 {(42s)} 8. Qc2 {(196s)} Bg7 {(39s)} 9. h3 {(657s)} Nf6 {(369s)} 10. e4 {(213s)} O-O {(53s)} 11. Be3 {(18s)} Qa5 {(15s)} 12. Bd2 {(152s)} Qb6 {(164s)} 13. Rd1 {(509s)} Rd8 {(328s)} 14. Be2 {(367s)} Be6 {(307s)} 15. Kf1 {( 680s)} h6 {(55s)} 16. g4 {(143s)} Qc7 {(540s)} 17. b4 {(232s)} Ncd7 {(113s)} 18. g5 {(11s)} hxg5 {( 32s)} 19. Nxg5 {(6s)} Nf8 {(75s)} 20. Kg2 {(212s)} N6h7 {(104s)} 21. h4 {(200s)} a5 {(175s)} 22. a3 {(16s)} axb4 {(12s)} 23. axb4 {(3s)} Nxg5 {(146s)} 24. hxg5 {(72s)} Qe5 {(155s)} 25. Rc1 {(244s)} b5 {(1156s)} 26. Be3 {(977s)} Bxc4 {(69s)} 27. Bxc4 {(6s)} bxc4 {(3s)} 28. Ne2 {(4s)} c3 {(560s)} 29. Nxc3 {(452s)} Qe6 {(171s)} 30. Rh3 {(197s)} Ra3 {(71s)} 31. Nb1 {(164s)} Rb3 {(109s)} 32. Nd2 {( 148s)} Rc3 {(57s)} 33. Qd1 {(104s)} Rcd3 {(323s)} 34. Rc2 {(108s)} Nh7 {(49s)} 35. Qh1 {(52s)} Nxg5 {(58s)} 36. Bxg5 {(34s)} Qg4+ {(4s)} 37. Rg3 {(16s)} Rxg3+ {(8s)} 38. fxg3 {(1s)} Qxg5 {(24s)} 39. Nf3 {(7s)} Qb5 {(41s)} 40. Qe1 {(0s)} Qa4 {(0s)} 41. Rd2 {(337s)} Rb8 {(351s)} 42. e5 {(7s)} Bh6 {( 138s)} 43. Rd4 {(134s)} Qc2+ {(150s)} 44. Qf2 {(317s)} Qb3 {(88s)} 45. Qe1 {(88s)} Be3 {(312s)} 46. Rh4 {(268s)} Ra8 {(79s)} 47. Kh3 {(128s)} Qd3 {(126s)} 48. Rg4 {(77s)} e6 {(124s)} 49. Ng5 {(228s)} Bxg5 {(200s)} 50. Rxg5 {(3s)} Qf3 {(8s)} 51. Rg4 {(208s)} Kg7 {(9s)} 52. Rh4 {(60s)} g5 {(64s)} 0-1 [Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Harikrishna, Pentala"] [Black "Safarli, Eltaj"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2763"] [BlackElo "2664"] [PlyCount "124"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. d4 {(4s)} Nf6 {(10s)} 2. c4 {(5s)} e6 {(8s)} 3. Nf3 {(4s)} b6 {(28s)} 4. g3 {(7s)} Ba6 {(119s)} 5. Nbd2 {(6s)} Bb4 {(100s)} 6. Qa4 {(16s)} c5 {(100s)} 7. dxc5 {(6s)} Bxc5 {(51s)} 8. Bg2 {(10s)} Bb7 {( 4s)} 9. b4 {(9s)} Be7 {(86s)} 10. Bb2 {(14s)} O-O {(292s)} 11. O-O {(8s)} Nc6 {(477s)} 12. a3 {(82s)} a6 {(158s)} 13. Qc2 {(333s)} h6 {(312s)} 14. Rad1 {(1073s)} Qc7 {(145s)} 15. Ne4 {(120s)} Nxe4 {( 224s)} 16. Qxe4 {(125s)} f5 {(38s)} 17. Qe3 {(229s)} Rad8 {(163s)} 18. Rd2 {(803s)} Bf6 {(476s)} 19. Bxf6 {(361s)} Rxf6 {(27s)} 20. c5 {(83s)} bxc5 {(39s)} 21. Qxc5 {(56s)} d6 {(271s)} 22. Qc4 {( 114s)} Qb6 {(70s)} 23. Rc1 {(48s)} d5 {(604s)} 24. Qc5 {(136s)} Qxc5 {(120s)} 25. Rxc5 {(14s)} g5 {( 191s)} 26. e3 {(270s)} f4 {(1870s)} 27. Nd4 {(90s)} fxe3 {(346s)} 28. fxe3 {(15s)} Ne5 {(32s)} 29. Rc7 {(165s)} Ba8 {(381s)} 30. Re7 {(385s)} Rc8 {(90s)} 31. Rd1 {(178s)} Ng4 {(32s)} 32. Bh3 {(58s)} Nf2 {(19s)} 33. Bxe6+ {(137s)} Rxe6 {(5s)} 34. Rxe6 {(6s)} Nxd1 {(2s)} 35. Nf5 {(9s)} Rc1 {(112s)} 36. Re8+ {(56s)} Kh7 {(12s)} 37. Kg2 {(55s)} Bc6 {(10s)} 38. Re7+ {(52s)} Kg6 {(19s)} 39. Nd4 {(9s)} Bb5 {(19s)} 40. h4 {(0s)} Bd3 {(0s)} 41. Re6+ {(530s)} Kf7 {(428s)} 42. Kf3 {(53s)} Be4+ {(139s)} 43. Ke2 {(23s)} Nc3+ {(198s)} 44. Kd2 {(156s)} Rd1+ {(134s)} 45. Kxc3 {(5s)} Rxd4 {(10s)} 46. Rxa6 {(141s)} Rd3+ {(21s)} 47. Kb2 {(5s)} Rxe3 {(78s)} 48. b5 {(34s)} Ke7 {(549s)} 49. Rxh6 {(387s)} d4 {(265s)} 50. b6 {(209s)} Re2+ {(251s)} 51. Kb3 {(8s)} d3 {(139s)} 52. b7 {(4s)} d2 {(92s)} 53. Rd6 {(5s)} Bxb7 {(4s)} 54. Rd4 {(3s)} g4 {(23s)} 55. Kc3 {(92s)} Rg2 {(66s)} 56. h5 {(231s)} Rxg3+ {( 295s)} 57. Kxd2 {(5s)} Rg1 {(61s)} 58. h6 {(7s)} g3 {(389s)} 59. Rh4 {(39s)} g2 {(22s)} 60. h7 {(0s)} Rd1+ {(0s)} 61. Kc3 {(57s)} g1=Q {(136s)} 62. h8=Q {(8s)} Qc5+ {(43 Kd4s)} 0-1 [Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A49"] [WhiteElo "2748"] [BlackElo "2790"] [PlyCount "105"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. d4 {(13s)} Nf6 {(7s)} 2. Nf3 {(11s)} g6 {(20s)} 3. g3 {(9s)} Bg7 {(47s)} 4. Bg2 {(7s)} d5 {(59s)} 5. O-O {(6s)} O-O {(3s)} 6. c3 {(2s)} Nbd7 {(38s)} 7. Bf4 {(30s)} b6 {(336s)} 8. a4 {(382s)} c5 {(92s)} 9. Nbd2 {(41s)} Bb7 {(440s)} 10. a5 {(62s)} bxa5 {(292s)} 11. Nb3 {(659s)} Qb6 {(85s)} 12. dxc5 {(223 s)} Nxc5 {(40s)} 13. Be3 {(1102s)} Qxb3 {(908s)} 14. Bxc5 {(18s)} Qxd1 {(910s)} 15. Rfxd1 {(45s)} Rfe8 {(61s)} 16. Rxa5 {(18s)} a6 {(6s)} 17. Ne5 {(316s)} Rad8 {(524s)} 18. Bb6 {(119s)} Rb8 {(27s)} 19. Ba7 {(74s)} Rbd8 {(39s)} 20. Bb6 {(58s)} Rb8 {(12s)} 21. Bd4 {(61s)} e6 {(190s)} 22. e3 {(321s)} Red8 {(8s)} 23. Bb6 {(367s)} Rdc8 {(5s)} 24. Ba7 {(23s)} Ra8 {(2s)} 25. Bd4 {(9s)} Rc7 {(114s)} 26. Rda1 {(210s)} Nd7 {(37s)} 27. Nxd7 {(96s)} Rxd7 {(112s)} 28. Bf1 {(1s)} e5 {(274s)} 29. Bc5 {(16s)} d4 {(184s)} 30. cxd4 {(339s)} exd4 {(6s)} 31. Bxa6 {(65s)} Rxa6 {(353s)} 32. Rxa6 {(18s)} Bxa6 {(5 s)} 33. Rxa6 {(3s)} f5 {(8s)} 34. exd4 {(520s)} Bxd4 {(3s)} 35. b4 {(450s)} Bxc5 {(517s)} 36. bxc5 {(6s)} Rd1+ {(7s)} 37. Kg2 {(2s)} Rc1 {(4s)} 38. Rc6 {(330s)} Kf7 {(169s)} 39. Kf3 {(475s)} g5 {(177s)} 40. Ke3 {(0s)} Rc3+ {(0s)} 41. Kd4 {(496s)} Rf3 {(564s)} 42. Ke5 {(31s)} Rxf2 {(5s)} 43. Rf6+ {(3s)} Ke8 {(1046s)} 44. Rxf5 {(193s)} Rxh2 {(13s)} 45. Kd6 {(235s)} Rd2+ {(1120s)} 46. Kc7 {(20s)} Rd7+ {(792s)} 47. Kb6 {(18s)} g4 {(15s)} 48. Re5+ {(404s)} Kd8 {(15s)} 49. Rg5 {(8s)} Rd3 {(383s)} 50. Rg8+ {(40s)} Ke7 {(3s)} 51. Rxg4 {(10s)} Rb3+ {(35s)} 52. Kc7 {(9s)} Kf6 {(11s)} 53. c6 {(34s)} 1-0

Final standings

Note: in case of a tie for first place, the winner of the tournament will be decided by a playoff. First a mini-match
of two games at 10 minutes plus 3 seconds, then, if necessary, a second mini-match of two games of 5 minutes
and 3 seconds, and finally, if still drawn, an Armageddon game in which white has 5 minutes and black has 6.

The Playoff

No one could have foreseen it, but it all came down to this playoff

Tied for first, both Fabiano Caruana and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov faced each other in a Playoff shortly after the end of Mamedyarov's game against Giri. In the first mini-match of games at 10 minutes plus 3 seconds, Fabiano Caruana achieved a decisive advantage in both games, but each time failed to deliver the killing blow and the Azeri managed to escape. With two draws and a score of 1-1, the momentum had to seem to swing to Mamedyarov's side, if only for psycholgical reasons: escaping 'certain defeat' twice in a row had to be a confidence booster, feeling the opponent is just not firing all cylinders at this point. Furthermore, Caruana is not known to be the best blitz player (his FIDE Blitz rating is not a fluke), an area where Shakh might now feel he had the edge.

It was a thrilling finale that had everyone glued to their screens

Mamedyarov seemed to have a bulletproof guardian angel as he escaped two near losses

Whatever the truth of it, Mamedyarov won the first game in a very tense battle that had everyone on the edge of their seats. Vishy Anand, watching online, was no less riveted and commented about their great fighting spirit, "We are not worthy!". Game two saw Caruana in a must win situation with black, but being blitz, anything goes. After reaching a clear advantage in a rook and opposite-colored bishop ending, it was the opinion of grandmaster pundits that Fabiano was going to win it and level the score, but everything went south for the American and after a wild scramble he was suddenly worse with no chance of winning whatsoever, and the players shook hands.

An ebullient Shakhriyar Mamedyarov comes down to applause and congratulations

Playoff games (with times per move)

[Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016-TB"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "1"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D90"] [WhiteElo "2748"] [BlackElo "2804"] [PlyCount "108"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "600+3"] 1. d4 {(0s)} Nf6 {(0s)} 2. c4 {(0s)} g6 {(1s)} 3. Nc3 {(1s)} d5 {(1s)} 4. Nf3 {(1s)} Bg7 {(1s)} 5. Qa4+ {(1s)} Bd7 {(2s)} 6. Qb3 {(1s)} dxc4 {(3s)} 7. Qxc4 {(1s)} O-O {(9s)} 8. Bf4 {(2s)} c6 {(1s)} 9. e4 {(1s)} b5 {(1s)} 10. Qd3 {(2s)} c5 {(11s)} 11. e5 {(23s)} Nh5 {(17s)} 12. Bg5 {(1s)} cxd4 {(32s)} 13. Qxd4 {(2s)} Nc6 14. Qe3 {(81s)} b4 {(133s)} 15. Nd5 {(59s)} Be6 {(5s)} 16. Nf4 {(33s)} Nxf4 {(2s)} 17. Bxf4 {(2s)} Qa5 {(9s)} 18. b3 {(39s)} Bd5 {(31s)} 19. Be2 {(4s)} Rad8 {(17s)} 20. O-O {(101s)} Bxf3 {(2s)} 21. Bxf3 {(2s)} Nxe5 {(3s)} 22. Bxe5 {(29s)} Bxe5 {(7s)} 23. Rad1 {(17s)} Bf6 {(37s)} 24. Qe2 {(3s)} e6 {(11s)} 25. g3 {(1s)} Bd4 {(8s)} 26. Kg2 {(7s)} Rd6 {(6s)} 27. Rd2 {(5s)} Rfd8 {(17s)} 28. Rfd1 {(5s)} e5 {(5s)} 29. Be4 {(7s)} Qb6 {(11s)} 30. Qc4 {(63s)} Kg7 {(9s)} 31. f4 {(10s)} exf4 {(50s)} 32. gxf4 {(1s)} a5 {(63s)} 33. h3 {(4s)} R8d7 {(25s)} 34. Bf3 {(8s)} Bg1 {(37s)} 35. Qc2 {(17s)} Rxd2+ {(29s)} 36. Rxd2 {(2s)} Rc7 {(3s)} 37. Qe4 {(6s)} Qe3 {(44s)} 38. Qe5+ {(5s)} Qxe5 {(2s)} 39. fxe5 {(1s)} Be3 {(5s)} 40. Re2 {(6s)} Bg5 {(8s)} 41. Bd5 {(3s)} Bf4 {(34s)} 42. Kf3 {(13s)} g5 {(2s)} 43. h4 {(46s)} h6 {(15s)} 44. hxg5 {(24s)} hxg5 {(1s)} 45. Kg4 {(10s)} Rc5 {(6s)} 46. e6 {(2s)} fxe6 {(16s)} 47. Bxe6 {(1s)} Kf6 {(2s)} 48. Bc4 {(2s)} Rc6 {(1s)} 49. Re4 {(8s)} Rd6 {(1s)} 50. Re8 {(4s)} Rd2 {(6s)} 51. Re2 {(28s)} Rxe2 {(4s)} 52. Bxe2 {(1s)} Ke5 {(3s)} 53. Bb5 {(0s)} Kd4 {(1s)} 54. Ba4 {(1s)} Kc3 {(1s)} 1/2-1/2 [Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016-TB"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B35"] [WhiteElo "2804"] [BlackElo "2748"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "600+3"] 1. e4 {(0s)} c5 {(0s)} 2. Nf3 {(0s)} Nc6 {(0s)} 3. Nc3 {(1s)} g6 {(1s)} 4. d4 {(1s)} cxd4 {(2s)} 5. Nxd4 {(1s)} Bg7 {(1s)} 6. Be3 {(2s)} Nf6 {(2s)} 7. Bc4 {(2s)} O-O {(6s)} 8. Bb3 {(2s)} Qa5 {(2s)} 9. O-O {(10s)} d6 {(3s)} 10. h3 {(3s)} Bd7 {(1s)} 11. f4 {(12s)} Rfc8 {(27s)} 12. Nf3 {(16s)} Be8 {(4s)} 13. Qe1 {(39s)} e6 {(86s)} 14. Rd1 {(21s)} Rd8 {(3s)} 15. g4 {(78s)} b5 {(35s)} 16. f5 {(35s)} b4 {( 20s)} 17. Ne2 {(11s)} d5 {(39s)} 18. fxe6 {(25s)} Nxe4 {(67s)} 19. Nf4 {(8s)} Ne7 {(7s)} 20. Bd4 {( 21s)} Qc7 {(73s)} 21. Bxg7 {(7s)} Kxg7 {(1s)} 22. Nd4 {(108s)} f6 {(8s)} 23. Bxd5 {(94s)} Nxd5 {(7s)} 24. Qxe4 {(4s)} Nxf4 {(54s)} 25. Rxf4 {(10s)} Qe5 {(52s)} 26. Qb7+ {(56s)} Kg8 {(22s)} 27. Qf3 {(2 s)} Rac8 {(16s)} 28. e7 {(58s)} Qxe7 {(29s)} 29. Rxf6 {(16s)} Rxd4 {(59s)} 30. Rxd4 {(1s)} Qe1+ {(1s)} 31. Qf1 {(1s)} Qe3+ {(1s)} 32. Qf2 {(3s)} Qc1+ {(1s)} 33. Qf1 {(12s)} Qe3+ {(1s)} 34. Qf2 {(7s)} Qc1+ {(1s)} 35. Qf1 {(1s)} 1/2-1/2 [Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016-TB"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "3"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B35"] [WhiteElo "2804"] [BlackElo "2748"] [PlyCount "124"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "300+3"] 1. e4 {(0s)} c5 {(0s)} 2. Nf3 {(0s)} Nc6 {(0s)} 3. Nc3 {(1s)} g6 {(0s)} 4. d4 {(1s)} cxd4 {(0s)} 5. Nxd4 {(1s)} Bg7 {(0s)} 6. Be3 {(2s)} Nf6 {(1s)} 7. Bc4 {(3s)} O-O {(4s)} 8. Bb3 {(1s)} Qa5 {(3s)} 9. O-O {(3s)} d6 {(1s)} 10. h3 {(1s)} Bd7 {(1s)} 11. f4 {(2s)} Nxd4 {(1s)} 12. Bxd4 {(3s)} Bc6 {(1s)} 13. Qe2 {(29s)} Nd7 {(5s)} 14. Bxg7 {(5s)} Kxg7 {(1s)} 15. Rad1 {(14s)} Nc5 {(23s)} 16. Kh1 {(15s)} Rac8 {(29s)} 17. Qe3 {(21s)} Nxb3 {(10s)} 18. axb3 {(1s)} Qc5 {(2s)} 19. Qe1 {(95s)} b5 {(6s)} 20. Rf2 {(8 s)} b4 {(19s)} 21. Nd5 {(2s)} e6 {(3s)} 22. Nxb4 {(26s)} Bxe4 {(4s)} 23. c3 {(17s)} d5 {(7s)} 24. Nc2 {(4s)} a5 {(11s)} 25. Nd4 {(2s)} Qe7 {(14s)} 26. Ra1 {(2s)} Ra8 {(5s)} 27. Qe3 {(3s)} f6 {(25s)} 28. c4 {(26s)} e5 {(41s)} 29. Nb5 {(14s)} exf4 {(59s)} 30. Qxf4 {(2s)} dxc4 {(4s)} 31. bxc4 {(2s)} f5 {(10s)} 32. Rd1 {(10s)} Rad8 {(5s)} 33. Rfd2 {(12s)} Rxd2 {(30s)} 34. Rxd2 {(1s)} g5 {(37s)} 35. Qf2 {(10s)} g4 {(3s)} 36. Qg3 {(24s)} Kh8 {(12s)} 37. Nd6 {(19s)} gxh3 {(14s)} 38. Qxh3 {(1s)} Qg5 {(9s)} 39. Rf2 {(20s)} Rf6 {(12s)} 40. c5 {(9s)} Qc1+ {(1s)} 41. Kh2 {(1s)} Kg8 {(2s)} 42. Qg3+ {(5s)} Rg6 {(1s)} 43. Qf4 {(1s)} Rh6+ {(2s)} 44. Kg3 {(2s)} Rg6+ {(1s)} 45. Kh2 {(1s)} Qxf4+ {(10s)} 46. Rxf4 {(1s)} Rxg2+ {(0s)} 47. Kh3 {(0s)} Rxb2 {(1s)} 48. Nxe4 {(2s)} fxe4 {(1s)} 49. Rxe4 {(1s)} Rc2 {(0s)} 50. Re5 {(3s)} a4 {(1s)} 51. Re4 {(4s)} a3 {(1s)} 52. Ra4 {(3s)} Rc3+ {(0s)} 53. Kg4 Kf7 54. Kf4 {(8s)} h5 {(8s)} 55. Ra7+ {(13s)} Ke6 {(2s)} 56. Ke4 {(1s)} h4 {(9s)} 57. Kd4 {(1s)} Rg3 {(1s)} 58. Ra6+ {(2 s)} Ke7 {(6s)} 59. Ke5 {(4s)} h3 {(3s)} 60. c6 {(8s)} h2 {(8s)} 61. Ra7+ {(1s)} Kd8 {(1s)} 62. c7+ {(7s)} Kc8 {(2s)} 0-1 [Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016-TB"] [Site "Shamkir"] [Date "2016.06.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A41"] [WhiteElo "2748"] [BlackElo "2804"] [PlyCount "138"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "300+3"] 1. d4 {(0s)} d6 {(0s)} 2. Nf3 {(0s)} Nf6 {(0s)} 3. g3 {(2s)} g6 {(1s)} 4. Bg2 {(0s)} Bg7 {(1s)} 5. O-O {(3s)} O-O {(2s)} 6. c4 {(0s)} Bf5 {(10s)} 7. Nc3 {(22s)} Ne4 {(2s)} 8. Bd2 {(6s)} Nc6 {(34s)} 9. Nxe4 {(9s)} Bxe4 {(2s)} 10. Bc3 {(1s)} d5 {(12s)} 11. Qb3 {(26s)} dxc4 {(45s)} 12. Qxc4 {(1s)} Qd7 {(14s)} 13. Rfd1 {(11s)} Rfd8 {(8s)} 14. d5 {(39s)} Bxd5 {(2s)} 15. Qh4 {(1s)} Qf5 {(23s)} 16. Rxd5 {(28s)} Rxd5 {(48s)} 17. e4 {(9s)} g5 {(1s)} 18. Nxg5 {(88s)} Qxg5 {(4s)} 19. exd5 {(1s)} Qxh4 {(3s)} 20. gxh4 {(1s)} Nd4 {(16s)} 21. Bxd4 {(9s)} Bxd4 {(1s)} 22. Rc1 {(1s)} Bb6 {(23s)} 23. Be4 {(6s)} Kg7 {( 11s)} 24. Rc3 {(7s)} h6 {(5s)} 25. Rf3 {(18s)} a5 {(12s)} 26. a4 {(4s)} Bd4 {(10s)} 27. b3 {(9s)} Ra6 {(3s)} 28. Kg2 {(12s)} Rb6 {(2s)} 29. Bc2 {(3s)} Be5 {(12s)} 30. Re3 {(3s)} Bd6 {(7s)} 31. Re4 {(12s)} Kf6 {(2s)} 32. h3 {(7s)} Be5 {(1s)} 33. Re3 {(3s)} Rd6 {(17s)} 34. Be4 {(2s)} Bf4 {(14s)} 35. Re2 {(3 s)} Rb6 {(11s)} 36. Bc2 {(1s)} Rd6 {(12s)} 37. Be4 {(1s)} Rd8 {(1s)} 38. Kf3 {(15s)} Bd6 {(1s)} 39. Bd3 {(12s)} Rg8 {(3s)} 40. Re1 {(0s)} Bb4 {(1s)} 41. Rc1 {(1s)} Bd6 {(2s)} 42. Re1 {(1s)} Be5 {(5s)} 43. Rc1 {(5s)} Rd8 {(4s)} 44. Be4 {(2s)} Bd6 {(1s)} 45. Rg1 {(3s)} Ke5 {(1s)} 46. Rd1 {(24s)} Bc5 {(4 s)} 47. Rc1 {(3s)} Bb6 {(1s)} 48. Re1 {(5s)} Rd6 {(3s)} 49. Kg2 {(8s)} Rf6 {(2s)} 50. Bf3+ {(2s)} Kd6 {(1s)} 51. Re4 {(5s)} Rf5 {(1s)} 52. Rg4 {(5s)} Ba7 {(24s)} 53. Rc4 {(8s)} Rf6 {(8s)} 54. Rg4 {(2s)} Bc5 {(6s)} 55. Rg8 {(3s)} Bd4 {(2s)} 56. Rd8+ {(4s)} Kc5 {(4s)} 57. Rd7 {(2s)} Kb4 {(4s)} 58. Rxc7 {( 4s)} Kxb3 {(3s)} 59. Rxb7+ {(8s)} Kxa4 {(1s)} 60. Rxe7 {(1s)} Kb4 {(6s)} 61. Rb7+ {(3s)} Kc3 {(4s)} 62. Rc7+ {(0s)} Kd3 {(8s)} 63. Rc6 {(2s)} Rf4 {(4s)} 64. d6 {(2s)} Bf6 {(8s)} 65. d7 {(0s)} Bxh4 {(4s)} 66. Rxh6 {(5s)} Be7 {(4s)} 67. Rd6+ {(6s)} Rd4 {(1s)} 68. Rxd4+ {(2s)} Kxd4 {(1s)} 69. Bh5 {(3s)} f5 {(8s)} 1/2-1/2

Schedule and results

Round 1 – May 26, 2016
Rauf Mamedov
½-½
Anish Giri
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Hou Yifan
Eltaj Safarli
½-½
Pavel Eljanov
Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna
Shak Mamedyarov
½-½
Sergey Karjakin
Round 3 – May 28, 2016
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Anish Giri
Eltaj Safarli
½-½
Rauf Mamedov
Fabiano Caruana
1-0
Hou Yifan
Shak Mamedyarov
1-0
Pavel Eljanov
Sergey Karjakin
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna
Round 5 – May 30, 2016
Eltaj Safarli
0-1
Anish Giri
Fabiano Caruana
1-0
Teimour Radjabov
Shak Mamedyarov
½-½
Rauf Mamedov
Sergey Karjakin
1-0
Hou Yifan
Pentala Harikrishna
1-0
Pavel Eljanov
Round 6 – June 1, 2016
Anish Giri
½-½
Pavel Eljanov
Hou Yifan
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna
Rauf Mamedov
½-½
Sergey Karjakin
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Shak Mamedyarov
Eltaj Safarli
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
Round 8 – June 3, 2016
Anish Giri
½-½
Hou Yifan
Rauf Mamedov
½-½
Pavel Eljanov
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna
Eltaj Safarli
½-½
Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana
0-1
Shak Mamedyarov
 
Round 2 – May 27, 2016
Anish Giri
1-0
Sergey Karjakin
Pentala Harikrishna
1-0
Shak Mamedyarov
Pavel Eljanov
0-1
Fabiano Caruana
Hou Yifan
½-½
Eltaj Safarli
Rauf Mamedov
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Round 4 – May 29, 2016
Anish Giri
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna
Pavel Eljanov
½-½
Sergey Karjakin
Hou Yifan
½-½
Shak Mamedyarov
Rauf Mamedov
0-1
Fabiano Caruana
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Eltaj Safarli
May 31, 2016
Free day
Round 7 – June 2, 2016
Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Anish Giri
Shak Mamedyarov
1-0
Eltaj Safarli
Sergey Karjakin
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Pentala Harikrishna
½-½
Rauf Mamedov
Pavel Eljanov
1-0
Hou Yifan
Round 9 – June 4, 2016
Shak Mamedyarov
1-0
Anish Giri
Sergey Karjakin
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
Pentala Harikrishna
0-1
Eltaj Safarli
Pavel Eljanov
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Hou Yifan
0-1
Rauf Mamedov

Live commentary on Playchess

Date Round English German
04.6.2016 Round 9 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff

Links

The games are being 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 there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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bondsergey bondsergey 6/8/2016 09:41
Karyakin has the best seconds (Mamedyarov + probably Kramnik) for the match with Carlsen.
airman airman 6/7/2016 04:34
" It's mostly about the individual talent and of course coaching of that talent by experienced chess coaches."
hmm excalibur2 talented coaching that have experience you say? Maybe strong tournaments so the coaches can coach up the players. In other words Infrastructure. See you do agree.
malfa malfa 6/6/2016 07:49
@yesenadam, apart from having always taken Botvinnik's claim as not completely serious (he sometimes would display a certain sharp humor), top-level blitz competitions are relatively recent in the history of chess, so I was largely referring to post-war champions.
Balthus Balthus 6/6/2016 03:44
Aighearach, such an insightful and calm and totally true comment! Congratulations!
Karbuncle Karbuncle 6/6/2016 09:31
Without even consulting an engine, I could immediately see 42.Qg3 was a horrible move. It's too bad because Caruana was technically winning that game. So twice now he has missed 1st place while in a winning position. That's gotta be frustrating.
yesenadam yesenadam 6/6/2016 04:39
"It should also not be forgotten that every world champion has been dominant in blitz play" - I take your point, but (off the top of my head) didn't Botvinnik claim to have played only 1 blitz game in his life, on a train? So I don't think that's true, is it.

Personally, I couldn't care less how well a player can play a whole game in a couple of minutes. That should be called some another name than "chess".
Bertman Bertman 6/5/2016 03:24
@TheSame

No accusations are made, though if one looks at the games from previous rounds, there didn't seem to be much effort to try to beat each other. In any case, in such a short event (9 rounds) agreeing to a number of draws would be a serious disadvantage rather than advantage, not to mention the players left to beat are the highest rated ones...
Rama Rama 6/5/2016 01:55
@Aighearach

re: "why should Caruana care about trying to play better in the least meaningful games, when he is a top player and a likely future world championship challenger? Should he study classical chess less to make time for that, or just sleep less?"

I don't know what he should do but sometimes you need better fast skills to actually get 1st place in classical chess. Also, when Caruana finally challenges for the World Championship, Carlsen will have a big advantage in a tiebreak. This may influence Carlsen's match strategy.
TheSame Wastrel TheSame Wastrel 6/5/2016 01:22
"Mamedyarov broke the Azeri peace treaty" is a very interesting remark. One hopes that this is not meant to suggest that the Azeris were drawing games with each other intentionally. I have seen others make that suggestion, and I don't like the sound of it.
malfa malfa 6/5/2016 12:01
Rama, of course appropriate training may improve ability at blitz chess, but not one's basic mental structure: Caruana is a calculating machine, but lacks the natural positional sensibility of players like Carlsen, Kramnik or Smyslov, who in the majority of the positions are able to quickly grasp the optimal placement of their pieces. This is a major problem in the perspective of becoming world champion, especially nowadays that rapid or blitz tiebreaks may determine the new title holder. It should also not be forgotten that every world champion has been dominant in blitz play, which is something Fabiano is far from being.
sayros87 sayros87 6/5/2016 10:29
Sadly Giri does not have what it takes to become a champion. did Giri ever win a super tournament ?
nice preperation as always , solid , but when it comes to killing instincts and winning games " in this case he needed only a draw " he failed as expected.
Aighearach Aighearach 6/5/2016 10:02
The US has almost no chess infrastructure. We don't have a national policy of supporting sports or culture; it is left to the people to do whatever cultural things they want to support.

Russia no longer has the chess infrastructure they once had. After the available money was reduced in the 90s, they stopped producing as many top players. Now they are not very well represented in the top 10. However, chess is still more popular in Russia than in most places, and they still have a lot more national support than a place like the US, or India.

Norway has a single special player. Like the US did with Fischer. It causes an increase in interest, which generates a bunch of lower level players, but it shouldn't be expected to produce any other top players at all.

It amazes me that people can mention coaches without considering that government-paid coaching is exactly the sort of thing that the phrase "chess infrastructure" is referring to.

Look at how many great players China has been producing. Is that just random chance? Perhaps chessbase readers think it is mere coincidence that after adding chess as a State-sponsored sport with paid players and assigned, paid coaches, they suddenly have very strong teams, and the Women's World Champion? China now has the sort of program that Russia had 30 years ago, and it producing similar results. That isn't talent, that is skill, it is the result of training. Carlsen, that is talent. Anand, that is talent. There is no reason to expect talent to sprout up in their neighbors children just by proximity of birth. Whereas development of skill requires money, and in chess, it requires national support to be clustered in a nation, because chess is not naturally profitable. It is certainly not profitable at the pre-GM level where the potential skill is being developed in large numbers of young players to produce a small number of GMs.

@Rama: why should Caruana care about trying to play better in the least meaningful games, when he is a top player and a likely future world championship challenger? Should he study classical chess less to make time for that, or just sleep less?
linkedlist linkedlist 6/5/2016 07:06
how many world champions US produced after Fischer in chess or after Agassi and Sampras in tennis? It is not easy to produce world champions in any sport, and 10 year is a very good time period if you manage to do that. Even most of the current elite GMs in US are imported.
thlai80 thlai80 6/5/2016 12:24
Steven E Ducharm, Hou Yifan will graduate in a month or two, and that's when she can fully focus on improving her game. Retirement is definitely not part of the plan but she needs an experienced coach not for ideas but for shaping her endgame better.
excalibur2 excalibur2 6/4/2016 10:32
"but very little chess infrastructure." -- Little to do with producing chess geniuses. Chess was almost non-existent in India when Vishy came along. Similar in Norway with Carlsen. Russia has a great chess infrastructure but they aren't producing geniuses like before. It's mostly about the individual talent and of course coaching of that talent by experienced chess coaches.
Steven E DuCharm Steven E DuCharm 6/4/2016 10:06
i predict hou will retire before 2017
Rama Rama 6/4/2016 10:01
I'm surprised that Caruana, after achieving a "decisive advantage in both games" (10 + 3) failed to convert. I doubt this would have happened to Carlsen. Caruana is probably the 2nd best player at slow time controls; why won't he train to improve his fast play?
CostaMaison3 CostaMaison3 6/4/2016 09:41
Hou Yifan is out of the top 100 player according to the live rating list.
Aighearach Aighearach 6/4/2016 09:28
VVI: If India could produce an Anand every 10 years, they'd be the strongest chess country in history. They have lots of Anand fans, but very little chess infrastructure. It is unrealistic as a goal, and it is certainly unrealistic as an expectation.

There is a lot more to chess than nationality + winning. I just hope Harikrishna had fun, and played some games he was happy with. He was the only person to beat the eventual tournament winner, so there is no way to claim he a bad tournament. There were 10 players, all of them very strong, and not all of them can expect to be in the winner's circle. That doesn't mean that most of them are a "joke." It is the responsibility of the fan to find value in the play of the person they're rooting for; don't make your support into a "joke," just switch it to a player whose games you enjoy win or loss!
Denix Denix 6/4/2016 07:38
Mamedyarov's Blitz games are fun to watch. His moves are very straightforward. Congratulations!
VVI VVI 6/4/2016 05:56
Harikrishna`s performance has been a joke both in Norway and Shamkir; losing crucial games.
It will take India 10 years to produce another Vishy Anand.
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