Shakhriyar Mamedyarov joined Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the Sharjah Grand Prix lead by beating Mickey Adams in Round 4 on a day when Nakamura and MVL set the tone by drawing their top board encounter in 18 moves. The only other decisive action was an attacking win for Li Chao over Tomashevsky that Pepe Cuenca has analysed for us. Pepe got to cover a very different game in Round 5, when Adams bounced back to beat Jon Ludvig Hammer in one of his trademark positional masterclasses.
You can check out all the games and pairings from the Sharjah Grand Prix using the selector below – click a result to go to the game or hover over a player’s name to see their results so far:
Round 4: Mamedyarov joins MVL in the lead
It was impossible to avoid the topic of draws on Tuesday as games ended in 18, 29, 28, 19, 23 and 26 moves. The lack of restrictions on draw offers is clearly a factor, while the 18-player Swiss format has also so far failed to encourage decisive action, with the players adopting a safety-first approach as they jockey for position. There were only three exceptions. Pavel Eljanov tested Hou Yifan for 67 moves, but despite the Women’s World Champion having Black three times in her first five games she’s held firm with five draws.
The other two games were decisive, with Li Chao not hiding his aggressive intentions when he rammed his pawn up to h6 by move 13. Pepe Cuenca takes a look at how the game unfolded:
The other encounter was no less spectacular but was a much more evenly balanced affair. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov found a strong pawn sacrifice, but you had to admire Mickey Adams’ ingenuity when he first took the pawn on g4 and then offered the sacrifice of a full piece himself with 20…Rad8!?