Shamkir: Caruana Catches Carlsen Before Tomorrow's Clash
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Fabiano Caruana caught Magnus Carlsen in first place in the penultimate round of the Shamkir Chess tournament in Azerbaijan. Both scored 5.5/9 and will face each other in tomorrow's final round. Caruana defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov today while Carlsen tried for long to beat Teimour Radjabov, but had to settle for a draw. Pavel Eljanov finished half a point ahead of Alexander Motylev in the B group and dedicated his victory to Vugar Gashimov.
The Shamkir Chess tournament will see an exciting last round where the two tournament leaders, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, face each other behind the board. Caruana defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who lost the thread in a terribly complicated middlegame.
It was quite a fascinating game which started as a Slav. It looked quite similar to Mamedyarov-Nakamura played on Monday. The difficult queenless middlegame mostly required calculation, and so both players got low on time. In the end it was Mamedyarov who started to make mistakes.
Karjakin and Nakamura played some kind of hybrid of the h3 variation and the Petrosian variation of the King's Indian. Black could trade the dark-squared bishops early in the game, and the white king lost the possibility to castle. But there was never any real crisis; both players played accurately and many pieces and pawns were traded until Karjakin's ninth draw was a fact.
Radjabov and Carlsen played a Closed Ruy Lopez and it's not exactly clear which variation it was: the Zaitsev, the Smyslov or the Breyer. In any case, the position was rather closed, and after the queens were traded the game seemed to be heading towards a draw but Carlsen kept on trying. Eventually the draw was agreed on the 101st move!
In case Carlsen and Caruana draw their game tomorrow, tournament victory will go to the world champion. The tournament regulations might have been formulated somewhat ambiguously, but Chief Arbiter Faik Gasanov confirmed to Chess.com that number of wins will decide in this case.
Caruana said about his and Carlsen's play, and tomorrow's clash: “It's hard to say who's played the best chess. I think every chess has had some good moments and some bad moments. It was a tough tournament. I don't know when Magnus lost two games in any tournament, especially two games in a row. It's quite a rare occasion. Still wide open tomorrow, anything can happen. I'll just try to play a normal game and I don't want to worry about the result. I'll just see what happens.”
There was no doubt that Pavel Eljanov, who was a point clear, would win the B group. With a quick and boring draw with Nijat Abasov (an Exchange Slav where, except for two knights, everything got exchanged, not just the c-pawns) the Ukrainian GM secured the first prize. In the end it was European Champion Alexander Motylev who finished second. In the last round he defeated Gadir Guseinov.
At night, many players of the B group, who are now done in Shamkir, could be found in the hotel bar to watch the Bayern-Real match. However, since this match was decided at such an early stage, they quickly started playing blitz. Sarkhan Gashimov, who won the San Sebastian blitz tournament a few years ago, also joined. The king of the evening was Guseinov, a remarkably strong blitz player!
@ChessVibes) April 29, 2014
@ChessVibes) April 29, 2014
Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Pairings & results
|Round 1||20.04.14||15:00 AZST||Round 6||26.04.14||15:00 AZST|
|Round 2||21.04.14||15:00 AZST||Round 7||27.04.14||15:00 AZST|
|Round 3||22.04.14||15:00 AZST||Round 8||28.04.14||15:00 AZST|
|Round 4||23.04.14||15:00 AZST||Round 9||29.04.14||15:00 AZST|
|Round 5||24.04.14||15:00 AZST||Round 10||30.04.14||13:00 AZST|
Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Round 9 Standings
Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Pairings & results
|Round 1||20.04.14||15:00 AZST||Round 2||21.04.14||15:00 AZST|
|Round 3||22.04.14||15:00 AZST||Round 4||23.04.14||15:00 AZST|
|Round 5||24.04.14||15:00 CET||Round 6||26.04.14||15:00 AZST|
|Round 7||27.04.14||15:00 CET||Round 8||28.04.14||15:00 AZST|
|Round 9||29.04.14||15:00 AZST|
Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Final Standings
- Caruana Clear Second in Shamkir, Two Rounds To Go
- Carlsen Beats Nakamura in Shamkir, Clear First Again
- Shamkir: Carlsen Back in the Saddle, Beats Mamedyarov
- Radjabov Also Beats Carlsen, Grabs Sole Lead in Shamkir
- Carlsen Goes Down Against Caruana in Shamkir
- Shamkir: Nakamura Beats Mamedyarov, Carlsen Maintains Lead
- Carlsen Also Beats Nakamura in Shamkir
- Carlsen Grabs Early Lead in Shamkir
- Shamkir Chess Officially Opened at Touching Ceremony