Shamkir Round five: The Steamrollers

by Alejandro Ramirez
5/30/2016 – On a normal day, we would be reporting on Anish Giri's fabulous performance: He is on 4.0/5, is gaining enough rating points to put him back to fourth in the world now, yet today is not a normal day. Fabiano Caruana has even more points as he has won again, this time against Radjabov, and has now climbed back to World numero dos!

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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 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 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

Watch it live on Playchess!

Round Five

The distance between the leaders and the bottom of the table continues to grow. Eljanov's tournament is becoming a nightmare, Yifan is unable to find her pacing, and Giri would be the news of the tournament if it weren't for the fact that Caruana seems to be headed for his second epiphany.

Four decisive games out of four! Azerbaijanis playing each other don't count, of course

Safarli, Eltaj 0-1 Giri, Anish
Safarli seemed to be holding his ground, but at some point he just started playing too passively. Giri saw that the tactics worked in his favor, gained the initiative and found a swift mating attack in a queenless position.

2958 performance! #4 in the World!

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2016"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2016.05.30"] [Round "5"] [White "Safarli, E."] [Black "Giri, A."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B51"] [WhiteElo "2664"] [BlackElo "2790"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "86"] [EventDate "2016.05.26"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. c4 Ngf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. Ba4 O-O 8. h3 Nb6 9. Bb3 e5 10. d3 Ne8 11. Bg5 f6 12. Be3 f5 13. Bg5 Bf6 14. Bh6 Bg7 15. Bg5 Qd7 16. exf5 gxf5 17. a4 a5 18. Nb5 Kh8 19. Re1 Bf6 20. Bxf6+ Nxf6 21. d4 e4 22. dxc5 dxc5 23. Qxd7 Nbxd7 {It's hard to believe this endgame is not about even. Black might have the slightest of pulls, but White's pieces are ok and he should have enough counterplay against the pawns.} 24. Nd2 $6 {Putting the knight here is the first step towards passive play, which soon will cost Safarli dearly.} (24. Nh4 Ne5 25. Bc2 {with an idea of f3 coming up, for example} Nxc4 26. b3 Ne5 27. f3 $11) 24... Ne5 25. Bc2 Bd7 26. f3 Rad8 27. Rad1 Rg8 $1 28. Kh2 (28. fxe4 Bxb5 29. cxb5 Rxd2 30. Rxd2 Nf3+ {is a problem}) 28... Be8 $1 29. Nc7 (29. fxe4 Bh5 {is another problem}) 29... Bh5 30. Ne6 Rde8 31. Nc7 $6 (31. Nf4 exf3 32. Ra1 {is plain ugly, but surprisingly better than what was played}) 31... Re7 32. Nd5 Nxd5 33. cxd5 exf3 34. d6 Reg7 $1 {White is just getting mated now} 35. g4 Nxg4+ {Of course} 36. hxg4 Rxg4 37. Nxf3 (37. Kh3 Rg3+ 38. Kh2 Rg2+ 39. Kh3 f4 {mates in 10, though there were other ways of winning besides 39...f4}) 37... Rg2+ 38. Kh3 Bxf3 39. Bb3 R8g3+ 40. Kh4 Rg4+ 41. Kh3 Bxd1 42. d7 R4g3+ 43. Kh4 Rd3 {Black's up too much material and is threatening mate in two with Rg4 and Rh3.} 0-1

Caruana, Fabiano 1-0 Radjabov, Teimour
Simply put, a fabulous combination of positional chess and attacking destruction.

3096 performance! 2818 live rating! #2 in the World!

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2016"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2016.05.30"] [Round "5"] [White "Caruana, F."] [Black "Radjabov, T."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2804"] [BlackElo "2726"] [Annotator "Ramirez alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2016.05.26"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d3 Bg7 6. h3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Bf4 {Actually not the mainline, but played before. 8.Be3 is far more common.} b6 {Pretty rare. Black usually puts his f6 knight somewhere else.} (8... Nh5 { was played by Radjabov previously in 2012 against Grischuk. That game ended in a win for the Russian.}) 9. Qd2 Re8 10. O-O-O {Long castle makes a lot of sense in this position. Black's rigid structure on the queenside makes an attack on that flank difficult, while White has the option of going h4-h5 at any point.} a5 11. Ne5 $1 b5 12. Qe3 Qb6 13. Bh6 Bh8 14. f4 $1 {Also strong is to start via the f-file.} a4 15. Rhf1 {Black is making some threats on the queenside, but nothing quite concrete yet.} e6 $2 (15... Nd7 $1 {This was probably the only move. It was time to remove the powerful e5 knight.} 16. Nxd7 Bxd7 17. e5 {blocking off the bishop on h8.} f5 $5 {Blocking White's attack for now. The position is complicated and hard to evaluate.} 18. h4 b4 19. Nb1 Be6 {is just unclear.}) 16. g4 a3 (16... Nd7 17. Nxd7 Bxd7 18. e5 {is just positionally bad now with the f6 square being so weak.}) 17. b4 $1 {Brave! White accurately calculates that nothing is happening on the h8-a1 diagonal and he simply threatens the c5 pawn.} Nd7 18. Nxd7 Bxd7 19. e5 f5 20. Ne2 Bg7 21. Bxg7 Kxg7 22. h4 $1 {Excellent! Caruana senses that Black has no useful moves, so he starts with his own attack down the kingside.} (22. Qxc5 Qxc5 23. bxc5 {was also a great advantage}) 22... fxg4 23. h5 gxh5 24. Ng3 Kh8 25. Nxh5 Re7 26. Nf6 Be8 27. f5 {Black is already lost. There are too many pieces attacking the king and simply no counterplay.} exf5 28. Rxf5 Qc7 29. Rg5 Rg7 30. Rh1 Bg6 31. Rxg4 (31. bxc5 {was more accurate, killing off Black's ideas.}) 31... Qf7 32. Kb1 $2 (32. Qxc5 Qxa2 33. Qxc6 {is winning, but requires some calculation}) 32... cxb4 (32... c4 $1 {Was the best way to create counterplay, but White should still be winning after} 33. d4) 33. Qd4 Bf5 $2 (33... Qa7 { keeps Black alive for a little bit longer}) 34. e6 $1 {A nice little combination} Rxg4 35. exf7 Rxd4 36. Ne8 {Black has no defense against f8 queen. Brilliant finish!} 1-0

Simply no match for the Fabi steamroller

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar ½-½ Mamedov, Rauf
The players repeated 24 moves of Ponomariov-Shirov, 2011 and then drew three moves after that.

The most interesting game of the round, as you can see by the player's poses

Karjakin, Sergey 1-0 Hou Yifan
The candidate for the World Championship match was simply outplayed by Hou Yifan. However, when the key moment came, she failed to find the best continuation and found herself in a worst endgame. Even in the position down a piece I am not totally sure that she was losing, and it was even more complicated had she found the way not to get her king stuck on the last rank, but as it was Yifan erred and lost the game.

To say that Sergey today was against the ropes would be putting it mildly

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2016"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2016.05.30"] [Round "5"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Hou Yifan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C80"] [WhiteElo "2779"] [BlackElo "2663"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "105"] [EventDate "2016.05.26"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. Nbd2 Be7 10. c3 O-O 11. Bc2 f5 12. Nb3 Qd7 13. Nbd4 Nxd4 14. Nxd4 c5 15. Nxe6 Qxe6 16. f3 Ng5 17. a4 Rad8 18. axb5 axb5 19. Bxg5 Bxg5 20. f4 Be7 21. Kh1 Qb6 22. Qd3 c4 23. Qh3 g6 24. g4 d4 25. gxf5 Qc6+ (25... d3 $1 $17 {right away was more precise. Black doesn't have to fear the fxg6 intermezzo} 26. fxg6 Qc6+ 27. Rf3 (27. Kg1 Bc5+ $19) 27... hxg6 {and now White can't protect the bishop and the f4 pawn at the same time.}) 26. Qg2 Qxg2+ 27. Kxg2 d3 28. Bd1 Rxf5 { This position is rather tricky. One would think that with the protected passed pawn on d3 it is Black that is pushing for something, but upon closer inspection it is White that has pressure on the enemy pawns.} 29. Bg4 Rff8 30. Ra5 h5 {This move is perhaps a bit weakening, but it was already unpleasant to start defending everything.} 31. Bd1 b4 32. Ra6 bxc3 33. bxc3 Kh7 34. Ra7 Rf7 35. Rc7 {Very precise maneuvers by Karjakin. The c4 pawn falls, though thanks to the opposite colored bishops the endgame is not hopeless.} Rd5 36. Rxc4 Bf8 $6 (36... Rc5 37. Rxc5 Bxc5 {promised some drawing chances, but with the king marching to e4 it still looks grim.}) 37. Rc8 Rc5 38. Rd8 {Now Karjakin even gets to avoid the rook trade.} Bh6 (38... Rxc3 $1 {Since in the game Black had to give up the bishop anyway, perhaps this was the best way to do it.} 39. e6 Rf6 40. Rd7+ Kh6 41. e7 Bxe7 42. Rxe7 Rc4 43. Rd7 Rcxf4 44. Rxf4 Rxf4 {and now the king is not trapped in the last rank. If this is winning or not I will leave it up to Karsten Muller.}) 39. Rxd3 Rxf4 40. Rd7+ Kh8 41. Rxf4 Bxf4 42. e6 Bg5 43. e7 Bxe7 44. Rxe7 Rxc3 {We can see the stark difference in the variations. This seems impossible to hold.} 45. Bf3 Rc8 46. Kg3 Rg8 $2 (46... Rc3 $1 {I played around with the computer and was unable to crack Black's defense, but intuitively it just feels losing for Black. More analysis will be required in this endgame.}) 47. Kh4 {Now the result is clear.} Rg7 48. Re8+ Kh7 49. Kg5 Ra7 50. Bd5 Kg7 51. Re6 Kh7 52. Be4 Ra5+ 53. Kf6 {The win in this case is rather elementary.} 1-0

It's clear that Yifan can play with the top brass, but she needs to fix her accuracy

Harikrishna, Pentala 1-0 Eljanov, Pavel
The nightmare continues for Pavel Eljanov.

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2016"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2016.05.30"] [Round "5"] [White "Harikrishna, P."] [Black "Eljanov, P."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C49"] [WhiteElo "2763"] [BlackElo "2765"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2016.05.26"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bb4 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 Bxc3 7. bxc3 d6 8. Nd2 Bd7 9. f4 exf4 10. Rxf4 Ne7 11. Bxd7 Nxd7 12. c4 Ne5 13. Bb2 f6 14. Nf1 Qd7 15. Ne3 a6 16. Qh5 b5 17. Rh4 h6 18. Rf1 bxc4 19. d4 Nf7 20. Ng4 Qb5 21. Nxf6+ gxf6 22. e5 Kh8 23. Bc1 Ng8 24. Qg6 dxe5 25. Rxf6 Qb1 26. Rf1 {What a crazy position! White is down a full piece, but his attack is strong. For now his threat seems to be Bxh6 with a discovered attack against the queen. The logical thing would be to, well, move it out of the way.} exd4 $4 {Rather inexplicable. Even in time pressure I would not consider taking this silly pawn when I'm about to get mated.} (26... Nd6 {is some computer move that seeks to take advantage of the fact that f1 is under attack. It works rather well, for example:} 27. Rxf8 $2 (27. Bf4 $2 Qxf1+ 28. Kxf1 Rxf4+ 29. Rxf4 exf4 $17 {is too much material for the queen.}) (27. Rxh6+ Nxh6 28. Qxh6+ {just forces the draw}) 27... Qxc1+ $1 28. Rf1 Qe3+ 29. Kh1 Rf8 $1 $17) (26... Qb4 { also seems to be nothing more than a draw in most variations} 27. Rxf7 Qe1+ { is of course not playable}) 27. Bxh6 Qxf1+ 28. Kxf1 Nfxh6+ 29. Kg1 Rab8 30. Rxh6+ Nxh6 31. Qxh6+ {Eljanov must have underestimated how bad this endgame is for him. Hint: it's very bad.} Kg8 32. Qg6+ Kh8 33. h3 {The problem is that due to Black's weakened king all of Black's pawns fall like flies. In the ensuing endgame the two connected passed pawns on the kingside will be unstoppable.} d3 34. Qh6+ Kg8 35. Qxa6 dxc2 36. Qxc4+ Kh8 37. Qc3+ Kg8 38. Qxc2 Rfc8 39. Qc6 Kf7 40. a4 Ke7 41. a5 {The a-pawn is a rather big asset as well.} 1-0

Pentala took advantage of a huge blunder by Eljanov in what had been a very complicated game

Round Five Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Standings

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
-
Pavel Eljanov
Hou Yifan
-
Pentala Harikrishna
Rauf Mamedov
-
Sergey Karjakin
Teimour Radjabov
-
Shak Mamedyarov
Eltaj Safarli
-
Fabiano Caruana
Round 8 – June 3, 2016
Anish Giri
-
Hou Yifan
Rauf Mamedov
-
Pavel Eljanov
Teimour Radjabov
-
Pentala Harikrishna
Eltaj Safarli
-
Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana
-
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
-
Anish Giri
Shak Mamedyarov
-
Eltaj Safarli
Sergey Karjakin
-
Teimour Radjabov
Pentala Harikrishna
-
Rauf Mamedov
Pavel Eljanov
-
Hou Yifan
Round 9 – June 4, 2016
Shak Mamedyarov
-
Anish Giri
Sergey Karjakin
-
Fabiano Caruana
Pentala Harikrishna
-
Eltaj Safarli
Pavel Eljanov
-
Teimour Radjabov
Hou Yifan
-
Rauf Mamedov

Live commentary on Playchess

Date Round English German
01.6.2016 Round 6 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
02.6.2016 Round 7 Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff
03.6.2016 Round 8 Yasser Seirawan Klaus Bischoff
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 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.