Radjabov Also Beats Carlsen, Grabs Sole Lead in Shamkir | Update: VIDEO

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 4/24/14, 11:28 AM.

After an excellent day for the local fans Teimour Radjabov is suddenly topping the standings of the Shamkir Chess 2014 tournament's A group. The 27-year-old grandmaster from Baku inflicted the second consecutive loss upon Magnus Carlsen, while co-leader Fabiano Caruana lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Etienne Bacrot maintained his lead in group B with a quick win against Rauf Mamedov.

In a bizarre turn of events, both tournament leaders Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana lost their games in round 5 of the Shamkir Chess tournament. This means the leaderboard has shaken up considerably: at half-time it's one of the Azeri players, Teimour Radjabov, who is in sole lead!

Update: video!

Everyone was wondering how Carlsen would fare after his first loss in nine months, and the answer was: not great. His game with Radjabov became his first series of two losses in a row in three and a half years.

Radjabov returned to his beloved King's Indian against the World Champion, who chose the interesting 5.Nge2 variation. “I wasn't exactly sure what's the main line at the moment, but I tried to play in a classical way,” he said.


As early as move 12 Carlsen committed an inaccuracy which allowed Black to equalize. Then the Norwegian took too much risk with taking on f5, misjudging the subsequent complications. His Exchange sacrifice was more or less correct, but certainly not better for White. “To be honest I thought I was doing well here at first, but then I realized I was probably not,” said Carlsen. “I thought there was no way for him to improve his position. But then this …b5 stuff came and I couldn't keep things under control.”


In his opponent's time trouble Carlsen realized that his position was beyond repair. Despite having little time on the clock, Radjabov found the strongest moves and reached a winning ending on move 40.

They were. Radjabov had to wait a minute or two downstairs in the hall for his opponent to come down for the press conference. One security guard, who wouldn't be miscast as the bad guy's assistant in the next James Bond movie, asked him how he had played, and then congratulated the grandmaster.

The World Champion said about his bad form: “Right now I just don't have any energy. My opponents are playing well; they're fighting better than I am. I really need a rest day now to somehow try and regroup because right now it's not working.”

Spotted in the audience: Teimour Radjabov's father next to Vladimir Chuchelov,
and behind them Henrik Carlsen and Peter Heine Nielsen

Radjabov was obviously happy with his first win against Carlsen in six years. “We played many interesting games. This one is certainly the most memorable in terms of recent results.”

By the way, strictly speaking Carlsen could have lost the game much earlier. He appeared about two minutes late for the round, and since there is no mention of special rules for appearing late (such as 30 minutes, or the traditional 60 minutes) in the regulations (in PDF here), the standard FIDE zero-tolerance rule should apply. But common sense prevailed, and Chief Arbiter Faik Gasanov decided to let it be.

Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Karjakin drew an interesting game that started with a topical line from the Symmetrical English where Black fianchettoes both his bishops. “I think I walked into some preparation,” said Nakamura at the press conference and Karjakin, sitting right next to him, was smiling expressively. And indeed, while the American grandmaster started pondering at move 14, his opponent only had his first big think at move 22!

But Nakamura didn't get into trouble - on the contrary. Karjakin's nifty way of reaching an ending wasn't actually that good as White was the only one who could play for a win there. Nakamura tried that for a while, but the advantage wasn't big enough.


Nakamura easily reached the top 3 of best quotes thus far with the following: “I've played good chess, I've played bad chess and I've played ugly chess. Frankly I actually wish I could play tomorrow because it would give me a chance to play better chess.”

Nakamura would have liked to play tomorrow

The other day Sergey Karjakin warned about a likely comeback for Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who also started the Candidates badly but then started winning. And indeed, the tail-ender scored his first point today against Fabiano Caruana, who was very close to a draw.

In an interesting sideline of the Grünfeld, Mamedyarov managed to drag his opponent into unknown territory. Caruana decided to sacrifice a pawn for activity on the queenside, but in the long run his compensation evaporated. With queens and opposite-colored bishops the position was still drawn, but Caruana missed an important idea and then a nice king march by Mamedyarov decided the game.


Etienne Bacrot maintained his lead most comfortably by beating Rauf Mamedov in a mere 26 moves. He described the position after the opening as “an Accelerated Dragon where the move …f5 does't belong“, and so White had a pleasant edge. And then, after a careless 21st move from Black, he could already deliver the decisive blow.

Bacrot, still in the lead in B

Tomorrow is a rest day for the players. An excursion through Shamkir is scheduled, in the afternoon football will be played and in the evening there is a concert at the players' hotel. The tournament resumes on Saturday for the second half.

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 - Carlsen
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Caruana - Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov - Karjakin
Round 2 21.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 AZST
Mamedyarov ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov - Mamedyarov
Caruana ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin - Caruana
Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura   Nakamura - Carlsen
Round 3 22.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 8 28.04.14 15:00 AZST
Nakamura 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen - Karjakin
Radjabov ½-½ Caruana   Caruana - 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 5 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Radjabov,Teimour 2713 2864 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/5
2 Caruana,Fabiano 2783 2780 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 0 2.5/5 6.50
3 Karjakin,Sergey 2772 2781 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 6.25
4 Nakamura,Hikaru 2772 2781 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 2.5/5 6.00
5 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 2760 0 0 ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2.5/5 5.75
6 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2760 2714 ½ 1 ½ 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/5

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 - Abasov
Safarli 0-1 Eljanov   Mamedov - Guseinov
Wang Hao ½-½ Wojtaszek   Wojtaszek - Bacrot
Bacrot 1-0 Mamedov   Eljanov - Wang Hao
Guseinov 0-1 Abasov   Motylev - Safarli
Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 CET   Round 8 28.04.14 15:00 AZST
Safarli - Durarbayli   Durarbayli - Mamedov
Wang Hao - Motylev   Wojtaszek - Abasov
Bacrot - Eljanov   Eljanov - Guseinov
Guseinov - Wojtaszek   Motylev - Bacrot
Abasov - Mamedov   Safarli - 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 5 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Bacrot,Etienne 2722 2863 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/5
2 Eljanov,Pavel 2732 2807 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 3.5/5
3 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2716 2748 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ 1 3.0/5 5.75
4 Guseinov,Gadir 2621 2712 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 ½ 3.0/5 5.25
5 Motylev,Alexander 2685 2642 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ 2.5/5
6 Wang Hao 2734 2577 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 2.0/5 6.00
7 Abasov,Nijat 2516 2613 ½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/5 5.00
8 Mamedov,Rauf 2660 2636 0 ½ 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/5 4.50
9 Durarbayli,Vasif 2584 2549 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.5/5 4.50
10 Safarli,Eltaj 2656 2502 0 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.5/5 3.50

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

20398 reads 73 comments
4 votes


  • 3 years ago


    9 months without a loss?  Capa went 8 years

  • 3 years ago


    Adrian_Kinnersley: Ironically, 0.001% of the population is around 73,000 people. If you think Carlsen may have harmed that many people then you're not being very generous either ;)

  • 3 years ago


    And...Carlsen lost 2 games in a row.  Hes human, it happens, move on.

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    What a crazy result! How often does someone set the all-time live rating record twice, and then lose twice, all within five days?

    People seem so confused by this, ping-ponging back and forth between 'Carlsen is unstoppable!' and 'Carlsen is finished!' Let's keep things in perspective, eh? The available evidence still says that the best player right now by a wide margin, but clearly he's not perfect and is capable of getting severely psyched out for more than one game at a time.

    Some people might prefer to live in a world where the best player always wins, while others might prefer to live in a world where anything is possible in every game, but in the end it doesn't matter so much what is pleasing to the fans, as this is simply the result: the best player usually wins, but sometimes he (or she) doesn't. Sometimes he (or she) might even go up in smoke for a time.

    It reveals something very nasty in people's personalities when they revel in someone else's defeat. What has Carlsen, or Anand, or Nakamura, or whoever, ever done to harm you personally? For 99.999% of the population, the answer has got to be "nothing at all".

  • 3 years ago


    Wow, time to cut back on the OJ, Magnus!

  • 3 years ago


    Yes, Magnus will still probably win.

  • 3 years ago


    Radjabov is a very strong player, all the credits for him. I'm glad to see him on the chess elite one more time. Welcome back!

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen will win the tourney despite the losses. Now that will be the comeback of the best player ever. Easy to have faith on a true champion!

  • 3 years ago


    Strange to see Magnus losing twice in a row; Carlsen vs Radjabov:


  • 3 years ago


    My bet is carlsen will come back and win the tournament. He needs a day to relax, but I think he will come back and dominate as he's still only half a point behind. Keep in mind he still has the most wins, just happens to have the most losses as well. Also it's funny how so many people are apparently enjoying carlsen'a bad form. Well enjoy it while it's here because it never lasts. Soon he'll be back to not dropping any games for a long stretch of time. I personally think he put too much energy in trying to win the third game and overstepped a little tiring him out. Class is permanent.

  • 3 years ago


    Love it, love it, love it... wonderful to see the underdog leading the pack. Go Teimour!

  • 3 years ago


    wonder how all the carlsen fanboys are feeling today? not so invincible now, eh?

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen blames all his losses to his "being tired".  Or does he mean "tired of winning all games"!

    How about all the players losing against Carlsen; claiming the same reason; "being tired"!!

  • 3 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    excellent technique and preparation by radjabov.  after black's 16th move Kh7, practically it's difficult for white to find a plan.

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen having brain lag. Happens.Needs to defrag.Laughing

  • 3 years ago


    No clear favorite after five rounds; even Shak is only a point away from the current leader Radjabov. Magnus can still win if he gets his mojo back.

  • 3 years ago


    What just happened? Dang! Anand better be taking some notes.

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen on full tilt.

  • 3 years ago


    Its great to see Carlsen's ego getting crushed! Haha

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