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Caruana Clear Second in Shamkir, Two Rounds To Go

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 4/28/14, 8:37 AM.

With a quick draw against Sergey Karjakin it's still Magnus Carlsen who is the sole leader at the Shamkir Chess tournament in Azerbaijan. Fabiano Caruana moved to clear second place with a win against Teimour Radjabov. On a bad day for Azeri chess, Hikaru Nakamura recovered with a win as Black against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Pavel Eljanov will most probably win the B group; he is a point clear after beating Gadir Guseinov in a model game, while Etienne Bacrot lost his second game in a row, to Alexander Motylev

All photos © Ahmed Mukhtar

Before discussing round 8, first here's a video interview with Fakhriyar Jabbarov of Synergy Group, the main sponsor of the tournament. Mr Jabbarov is the Director of the Organizing Committee. He explains what his company is doing, where the tournament “suddenly” came from and more:

The eighth round started with a rather tame encounter between the two top players born in 1990. It was the eighth consecutive draw for Sergey Karjakin, who admitted at the press conference that by now he can be called the “king of draws”!

Carlsen did not manage to get anything out of the opening - a Queen's Indian with the not so popular 5.Nbd2 - and then miscalculated something. He intended 16.Nd4, but then spotted 16...Rxd4! and 17...Nd2 which leads to an equal position.

After the game Carlsen felt that he should have gone for it anyway, because he was a bit uncomfortable about his position. “It's me who has to work to coordinate my pieces.”

More generally, Carlsen said about the game: “Obviously I am not 100% satisfied but it was a normal game. I was trying to play for a win with no risk, but it turns out there was no risk for him! After all the adventures that happened in my other games, I think it's OK to play one normal game.”

Just like in the first half of the tournament Hikaru Nakamura bounced back from his loss against Carlsen with a win against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. “I played what I suspect is a dubious opening, but it's interesting,” he said.

It was a Slav with a fianchetto on g2 for White, where Black's set-up was a bit provocative. White got a chance to grab the center, develop his queen's bishop with tempo and castle queenside, and it was clear he had the better chances. But then he allowed ...b7-b6, and Black was getting counter play.

Nakamura saw the exchange sac 24.Rxe6 coming. “I think Black should be better but I am not sure.” When Mamedyarov committed two inaccuracies, Black was definitely better and won deservedly. “Probably a good game overall,” said Nakamura.

If Fabiano Caruana and Teimour Radjabov had drawn their game, all results in rounds 6, 7 and 8 would have been completely mirrored from the first half. Instead, Caruana won as Radjabov overestimated his chances, and played a bit too aggressively.

The Azeri GM is still doing well with his King's Indian, and the position was rather unclear when Caruana went for a forced line that involved an Exchange sacrifice. Later Radjabov gave back the material and it was still more or less balanced, until he allowed the white c-pawn move to c7. If he hadn't been in time trouble he would certainly have noticed that that was decisive.

The B group has been more or less decided already. Etienne Bacrot, who has had problems in the past with final rounds, lost two his second game in a row while co-leader Pavel Eljanov easily won against Gadir Guseinov. It was another very instructive game by the Ukrainian GM, who is a point clear with one round to go:

Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Pairings & results

Round 1 20.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 6 26.04.14 15:00 AZST
Carlsen 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov 0-1 Carlsen
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Caruana ½-½ Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov ½-½ Karjakin
Round 2 21.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 AZST
Mamedyarov ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov ½-½ Mamedyarov
Caruana ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin ½-½ Caruana
Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura   Nakamura 0-1 Carlsen
Round 3 22.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 8 28.04.14 15:00 AZST
Nakamura 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov 0-1 Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen ½-½ Karjakin
Radjabov ½-½ Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Radjabov
Round 4 23.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 9 29.04.14 15:00 AZST
Karjakin ½-½ Mamedyarov   Caruana - Mamedyarov
Radjabov ½-½ Nakamura   Radjabov - Carlsen
Caruana 1-0 Carlsen   Karjakin - Nakamura
Round 5 24.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 10 30.04.14 13:00 AZST
Mamedyarov 1-0 Caruana   Mamedyarov - Karjakin
Carlsen 0-1 Radjabov   Nakamura - Radjabov
Nakamura ½-½ Karjakin   Carlsen - Caruana

Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Round 8 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 2852 phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½½ 0 11 11 5.0/8
2 Caruana,Fabiano 2783 2813 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½½ ½1 ½½ 0 4.5/8
3 Karjakin,Sergey 2772 2785 ½½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png ½½ ½ ½ 4.0/8 16.75
4 Radjabov,Teimour 2713 2785 1 ½0 ½½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½½ 4.0/8 15.75
5 Nakamura,Hikaru 2772 2791 00 ½½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 11 4.0/8 13.50
6 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2760 2646 00 1 ½ ½½ 00 phpfCo1l0.png 2.5/8

Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Pairings & results

Round 1 20.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 2 21.04.14 15:00 AZST
Wojtaszek ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli 0-1 Bacrot
Eljanov ½-½ Mamedov   Guseinov ½-½ Wang Hao
Motylev ½-½ Abasov   Abasov ½-½ Safarli
Safarli ½-½ Guseinov   Mamedov 0-1 Motylev
Wang Hao ½-½ Bacrot   Wojtaszek 0-1 Eljanov
Round 3 22.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 4 23.04.14 15:00 AZST
Eljanov ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli 0-1 Guseinov
Motylev 0-1 Wojtaszek   Abasov ½-½ Bacrot
Safarli ½-½ Mamedov   Mamedov 1-0 Wang Hao
Wang Hao ½-½ Abasov   Wojtaszek 1-0 Safarli
Bacrot 1-0 Guseinov   Eljanov ½-½ Motylev
Round 5 24.04.14 15:00 CET   Round 6 26.04.14 15:00 AZST
Motylev ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli ½-½ Abasov
Safarli 0-1 Eljanov   Mamedov ½-½ Guseinov
Wang Hao ½-½ Wojtaszek   Wojtaszek ½-½ Bacrot
Bacrot 1-0 Mamedov   Eljanov 0-1 Wang Hao
Guseinov 0-1 Abasov   Motylev 1-0 Safarli
Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 CET   Round 8 28.04.14 15:00 AZST
Safarli ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli 1-0 Mamedov
Wang Hao 1-0 Motylev   Wojtaszek ½-½ Abasov
Bacrot 0-1 Eljanov   Eljanov 1-0 Guseinov
Guseinov ½-½ Wojtaszek   Motylev 1-0 Bacrot
Abasov ½-½ Mamedov   Safarli ½-½ Wang Hao
Round 9 29.04.14 15:00 AZST        
Wang Hao - Durarbayli        
Bacrot - Safarli        
Guseinov - Motylev        
Abasov - Eljanov        
Mamedov - Wojtaszek        

Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Round 8 Standings

Name Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Eljanov,Pavel 2732 2809 phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 5.5/8
2 Wang Hao 2734 2708 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 4.5/8 19.50
3 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2716 2700 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 4.5/8 17.00
4 Bacrot,Etienne 2722 2700 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 ½ 1 1 4.5/8 16.75
5 Motylev,Alexander 2685 2708 ½ 0 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 1 4.5/8 16.25
6 Guseinov,Gadir 2621 2665 0 ½ ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 ½ ½ 4.0/8
7 Abasov,Nijat 2516 2628 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 3.5/8 13.50
8 Durarbayli,Vasif 2584 2618 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 3.5/8 13.25
9 Mamedov,Rauf 2660 2568 ½ 1 0 0 ½ ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 3.0/8
10 Safarli,Eltaj 2656 2520 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 2.5/8

The rounds start at 12:00 Amsterdam, 6am New York and 3am Los Angeles time. The official website is www.shamkirchess.az. Chess.com offers daily live commentary at www.chess.com/tv. Games via TWICphpfCo1l0.png

9195 reads 37 comments
4 votes


  • 4 months ago



  • 4 months ago


    R8 Mamedyarov vs Nakamura:


  • 4 months ago


    Karjakin is only two draws away from a perfect 50%. I hope he makes it.
  • 4 months ago


    Like him or Loathe him....Magnus Carlsen is creating massive interest in the game of chess and even his most ardent ' Haters ' to a man will respect that as it can only be good for chess. That is of course, if they themselves truly like the game of chess.

    Once again an intruiging day of chess ahead...Radjabov with white against Carlsen must fancy his chances after his spectacular victory against the same just 5 days ago.

    Never a dull match with the highest ranked player in History!!

  • 4 months ago


    @Marcokim: I see you still refuse to learn your lessons my boy. You know how I feel about you. You should have read my last post on you. Once again your chess brain remains empty, but you think its full. What you need to do is leave Kenya, and return to your native land. Personally, I don't see why they stand you there. I would have run you out of the country by force, because of your silly statements on chess.com. You can't stand the truth - naysayer. That's expected, because of your race bred arrogant upbringing.

    "My remarks, were about Chess!" Have you not learn to read clearly...(sunshine)? Decode this slang word quiz...since you want to appear very smart, as none other than you, has (the always right opinon) on chess.com. The first letter of the word begins with the letter (A). I will never stand by and let you slander me; as you do others here. Get out of Africa, before you insult someone else again: you eurocentric transplant. Cool

  • 4 months ago


    @chessdogblack wrote

    Seems everyone is happy, but me! This is not a serious chess tournament at all, until these kids play some serious chess by whipping, the pants off Carlsen. Until then we are looking at kid stuff. I'am sick of this foolishness. Carlsen understands that he is playing young chess GM wanna bees.

    I don't think anyone reads your psycho fueled incoherent rants anymore - every market has a mad-man. But I wish you used your enormous time and energy to talk about chess. At the end of it all, those who play the better chess will win. Carlsen has had 4wins in a CAT21 tournament, thats as good as it gets - he lost 2 games to superior play by his opponents and thats great for chess. 

  • 4 months ago


    Last two games are the most exciting.

  • 4 months ago


    "This is not a serious chess tournament at all, until these kids play some serious chess by whipping, the pants off Carlsen. Until then we are looking at kid stuff. I'am sick of this foolishness"


  • 4 months ago


    "First Tie-Break criteria is "head-to-head" / for the time being this is in caruana's favor"

    No, it's number of wins.

  • 4 months ago


    Nakamura is back in the game. Win a beautiful bravoooo nakaLaughing

  • 4 months ago


    Seems everyone is happy, but me! This is not a serious chess tournament at all, until these kids play some serious chess by whipping, the pants off Carlsen. Until then we are looking at kid stuff. I'am sick of this foolishness. Carlsen understands that he is playing young chess GM wanna bees. This all has happen at the wrong time in the history of chess. All of our previous WCChamps were adults. Today, we are looking at kiddy chess. Carlsen is stronger than the rest of the kids; and will be for some time. All the really best chess players are dead; the rest of the expert senior class are on their way. This, is what we have today. So to all of you chess fans out there: here's cheers to you from the pub. I'am just not feeling it. Kiss

  • 4 months ago


    Great games.

  • 4 months ago


    Carlsen looks like the Godfather in the movie Goodfellas!

  • 4 months ago


    That last round Caurana vs Carlsen is going to be a deciding final game! Cant wait!

  • 4 months ago


    No, Drawnand has no competition. Anand is the draw king.

  • 4 months ago


    what I absolutely love about this "A" group is that they're all under 30yrs of age.

    caruana's 21 carlsen's 23 karjakin's 24 nakamura's 26 radjabov's 27 mamedyarov's 29

  • 4 months ago



    First Tie-Break criteria is "head-to-head" / for the time being this is in caruana's favor.

  • 4 months ago



    It's my understanding that they do that to avoid certain lines that they don't want to play.

  • 4 months ago


    Cool that Carlsen and Caruana play in the last round. But since the tiebreaker puts top priority on number of wins, Carlsen has a big advantage and should be able to win the tournament by drawing his last two games. Right?

  • 4 months ago


    I wonder if any top player had a longer string of draws in recent time. Leko also reached 14 in 2005 before beating van Wely, and Anand had 11 in 2011 before losing to Nakamura.

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