Carlsen Beats Caruana in Final Round, Wins Shamkir Chess 2014

Carlsen Beats Caruana in Final Round, Wins Shamkir Chess 2014

| 63 | Chess Event Coverage

On Wednesday Magnus Carlsen won the first edition of the Shamkir Chess tournament in Azerbaijan. In the last round the world champion defeated Fabiano Caruana with the white pieces to finish clear first, with a score of 6.5/10. Sergey Karjakin drew all his games; in the last round he split the point with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Hikaru Nakamura and Teimour Radjabov also drew their last round game.

For a while the World Champion seemed vulnerable, and there was the possibility that someone else would win in Shamkir, but in the end he added yet another tournament victory to his growing list. On Wednesday Magnus Carlsen silenced all discussions about the tiebreak rules (and about whether he was really struggling wit his form) by winning his last-round game against Fabiano Caruana. The Norwegian finished in clear first place with 6.5 points and a performance slightly below his rating, but a full point ahead of runner-up Caruana.

Carlsen hadn't spent much time preparing for his last round game as he enjoyed the Bayern-Real match on Tuesday night instead. He went for something non-theoretical: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 c5 5.c3 and when Caruana played the natural 5...d5, Carlsen took on c5. “I liked my position out of the opening. He has some compensation but White should be better,” he said.

“I probably overestimated my position. It seems that my compensation was not fully sufficient. But I think I had a decent position at some point although I'm not sure where. I just didn't have enough time to find the way,” said Caruana.

In his game with Sergey Karjakin, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov needed a lot of time on the clock, and at several moments he had his head resting on the table in front of the chess board. This was most probably related to the fact that he had joined the players of the B group in the morning for another football match!

But even though he was quite tired, he calculated reasonably well in a very complicated middle game - it was the same variation Nakamura and Karjakin had played earlier in the tournament. At one moment Mamedyarov could perhaps even have gained the upper hand, but as it went, the game was drawn with a perpetual check that was stretched out a bit longer than necessary.

Karjakin said about his ten draws: “If anyone says it's easy to draw with Carlsen, Caruana and everybody else, I can say: it's not! And also, I've played three tournaments in a row. Now I will have a one month break and then I will come back playing chess again.”

In the month of May he has other plans, as Teimour Radjabov today revealed on Twitter. Karjakin will marry for the second time in his life, with Galiya Kamalova, a charming girl who has accompanied him at many recent tournaments, including this one.

Sergey Karjakin, about to get married again

Hikaru Nakamura and Teimour Radjabov played a bit of a strange game. Radjabov surprised with the Berlin Ending, but Nakamura went for it anyway has he felt he had plenty of experience from the black side.

Up till move 27 it was a pretty normal game, but from that moment the players kept on maneuvering without doing much. Four hours later, at move 77 (!) a draw was agreed in almost the same position!

“After 27.f4 we could have drawn four hours earlier. I figured if Mangus can play for twenty hours against Teimour yesterday I might as well try the same,” smiled Nakamura. Radjabov said that at some point he realized that his opponent wasn't trying anything, but ”that he has nothing special to do until the closing ceremony.”

Looking back at another tournament victory, Carlsen said: “My play has been OK. A little bit sluggish at times. [After the two losses] obviously I was motivated to get those points back. I had the necessary combination of skill and luck I suppose, and I won three complicated games. I wouldn't say that I was at my best energy-wise in the second half either, but fortunately it was enough to handle the complicated positions better than my opponents.”

Sarkhan Gashimov asked Carlsen if he wants to play against a computer, because “he is beating everybody”. The reply: “For now the struggle against humans is much more interesting to me. As you can see from this tournament, although I won it in the end the games are very interesting, fighting. It's never easy. Not yet, anyway!”

At the different press conferences, all the players agreed that they had played in an event that was organized at the highest level. The last day's activities underlined that fact a bit more: after the closing ceremony held in the venue, everyone was taken to the Shamkir sports stadium to attend a spectacular music and dance show - thousands of spectators were already present when the chess delegation arrived and took the front seats. It was an event held in connection with the tournament, but intended for all inhabitants of Shamkir. 

After that, another dinner party in the back garden of the hotel was thrown and that ended the tournament. On Thursday most players will fly back to Baku, from where they will continue their trip back home. But not Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura; they will travel via Istanbul to Italy to play in the national league there.

The biggest events in May will be the Sigeman tournament in Malmö, the Karpov Tournament in Poikovsky and the Capablanca Memorial in Havana. The next super tournament will be Norway Chess, in June.

A group photo with players, organizers and sponsors
Pavel Eljanov receiving his trophy
Magnus Carlsen with his
In the first row, on the football pitch of the Shamkir stadium...
Watching a show of traditional music and dance

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 1-0 Mamedyarov
Radjabov ½-½ Nakamura   Radjabov ½-½ Carlsen
Caruana 1-0 Carlsen   Karjakin ½-½ Nakamura
Round 5 24.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 10 30.04.14 13:00 AZST
Mamedyarov 1-0 Caruana   Mamedyarov ½-½ Karjakin
Carlsen 0-1 Radjabov   Nakamura ½-½ Radjabov
Nakamura ½-½ Karjakin   Carlsen 1-0 Caruana

Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 2868 phpfCo1l0.png 01 ½½ 11 11 6.5/10
2 Caruana,Fabiano 2783 2814 10 phpfCo1l0.png ½1 ½½ ½½ 01 5.5/10
3 Radjabov,Teimour 2713 2793 ½0 phpfCo1l0.png ½½ ½½ ½½ 5.0/10 25.50
4 Karjakin,Sergey 2772 2781 ½½ ½½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png ½½ ½½ 5.0/10 25.00
5 Nakamura,Hikaru 2772 2781 00 ½½ ½½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png 11 5.0/10 21.50
6 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2760 2638 00 10 ½½ ½½ 00 phpfCo1l0.png 3.0/10

The rounds start at 12:00 Amsterdam, 6am New York and 3am Los Angeles time. The official website is offers daily live commentary at Games via TWICphpfCo1l0.png

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