Carlsen Beats Mamedyarov Quickly In Shamkir

Carlsen Beats Mamedyarov Quickly In Shamkir

| 41 | Chess Event Coverage

In round two of the Shamkir Chess tournament GM Magnus Carlsen easily beat GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who played some dubious moves in the opening. All other games ended in a draw and so Carlsen joined leaders GM Vladimir Kramnik and GM Wesley So in first place.

A black knight moving to a central square was the “central” theme of the day in Shamkir. Four times ...Nf6-e4 was played, and one time ...Nc6-d4.

In the only game where the knight maneuver was wrong, Black ended up losing quickly. GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played it on move ten against GM Magnus Carlsen, but after the game both players agreed that it wasn't good.

Mamedyarov might have been inspired by GM Vugar Gashimov himself, who, besides the Benoni, used to play the Schlechter System with an early ...b6. The Azerbaijani GM, who is remembered with this tournament, even used it to eliminate Carlsen's second GM Peter Heine Nielsen in the 2011 Word Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk!

As GM Dejan Bojkov points out in his annotations below, Carlsen only needed that one mistake to win. Pushing the pawn to d6 was very powerful, and swapping all pawns on the queenside helped him to quickly break through on the queenside.

Not the best day for Mamedyarov.

In the first game to finish, the excellent maneuver Nd7-b8-c6-d4 by GM Fabiano Caruana was good for equal play against GM Mickey Adams. The Englishman is one of the few traditional 1.e4 players at the highest level who isn't yet expanding his white repertoire. Isn't the Berlin giving him nightmares? His answer is in today's video below the game.

After 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 Nf6 5. 0-0 0-0 GM Vladimir Kramnik played the rare move 6.Nbd2!?, and there GM Wesley So's 6...Nf6-e4 was fine as well — but not enough for complete equality. 

White kept a slight plus, and So needed to play very accurately throughout the game — which he did.

At the press conference Kramnik said about his play: “Today I tried something, I had certain chances, I had some pressure. My opponent defended well for the draw so nothing to be worried about.”

Then the Russian started to smile, and added: “It's not that I'm trying to play especially cautious. I just play my normal chess. It's just that my chess is boring and cautious, what can I do about it!”

Mr Boring & Cautious? Nah, that wasn't serious!

So said that he “grew up studying his opponent's games.” It was the first time for him to play Kramnik, and it will also be the first time that he faces Anand. He's already looking forward to that game in round five.

In GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs GM Viswanathan Anand the move ...Nf6-e4 was pretty standard in this Carlsbad structure. (If you only search for “Carlsbad” in our video section you will realize how many instructive videos is offering!)

Before that, something peculiar happened in the opening: Anand surprised his opponent with the rare move 7...Bf5 in this Ragozin, but in fact this was played by his second GM Grzegorz Gajewski at the recent European Championship in Jerusalem.

Vachier-Lagrave wasn't aware of this, which implies that studying the games of your opponent's second might not be a bad idea! (If you find the time...)

The Ne4 move became more significant later, because Black got the possibility to play the knight to c4 via d6, another standard idea in these positions. This, in fact, got Anand to refer to the famous game Karpov-Spassky game which decided their 1974 Candidates’ match. The similarity is indeed striking.

MVL and Anand, both knew that Karpov-Spassky game very well | Photo Shamkir Chess.

Continuing the theme, GM Rauf Mamedov's natural 13...Nf6-e4 was a novelty. The opening was a Slav, which Mamedov doesn't play often but here we might see the influence of his coach GM Alexander Khalifman.

Perhaps surprised by his opponent's choice, GM Anish Giri avoided theoretical lines with 4.Qb3. Not feeling comfortable, the Dutch GM traded queens (“before I blunder one”) but there was not much for him in the ending.

He tried to fight for an advantage, but started “missing many ideas”. At some point he lost all his coordination, and it was Mamedov who had the better chances. At the end the Azerbaijani was too tired to try for more.

Spotted in the audience: Henrik Carlsen & Peter Heine Nielsen (top left), GM Vladimir Chuchelov,
GM Vladimir Tukmakov, IM Sopiko Guramishvili and GM Alexander Beliavsky.

Shamkir Chess 2015 | Schedule & Pairings

Round 1 17.04.15 15:00 AZST   Round 2 18.04.15 15:00 AZST
Kramnik 1-0 Adams   Adams ½-½ Caruana
So 1-0 Giri   Carlsen 1-0 Mamedyarov
Mamedov ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave   Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Anand
Anand ½-½ Carlsen   Giri ½-½ Mamedov
Mamedyarov ½-½ Caruana   Kramnik ½-½ So
Round 3 19.04.15 15:00 AZST   Round 4 20.04.15 15:00 AZST
So - Adams   Adams - Carlsen
Mamedov - Kramnik   Vachier-Lagrave - Caruana
Anand - Giri   Giri - Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov - Vachier-Lagrave   Kramnik - Anand
Caruana - Carlsen   So - Mamedov
Round 5 21.04.15 15:00 CET   Round 6 23.04.15 15:00 AZST
Mamedov - Adams   Adams - Vachier-Lagrave
Anand - So   Giri - Carlsen
Mamedyarov - Kramnik   Kramnik - Caruana
Caruana - Giri   So - Mamedyarov
Carlsen   Vachier-Lagrave   Mamedov - Anand
Round 7 24.04.15 15:00 CET   Round 8 24.04.15 15:00 AZST
Anand - Adams   Adams - Giri
Mamedyarov - Mamedov   Kramnik - Vachier-Lagrave
Caruana - So   So - Carlsen
Carlsen - Kramnik   Mamedov - Caruana
Vachier-Lagrave - Giri   Anand - Mamedyarov
Round 9 25.04.15 15:00 AZST        
Mamedyarov - Adams        
Caruana - Anand        
Carlsen - Mamedov        
Vachier-Lagrave - So        
Giri - Kramnik        


Shamkir Chess 2015 | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 So,W 2788 2977 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/2 1.25
2 Kramnik,V 2783 2957 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.5/2 1.25
3 Carlsen,M 2863 2964 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/2 1.00
4 Anand,V 2791 2814 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 1.25
5 Vachier Lagrave,M 2765 2725 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 1.00
6 Mamedov,R 2658 2777 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 0.75
7 Caruana,F 2802 2751 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.0/2 0.50
8 Giri,A 2790 2533 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2 0.50
9 Mamedyarov,S 2756 2642 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2 0.50
10 Adams,M 2745 2602 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2 0.50

The tournament runs April 17-26 with a rest day on April 22. The location is the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Shamkir. The total prize fund is 100,000 Euros.

The rate of play will be 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move from move 61 onwards.

The official English-language commentary, by GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko, is available every round on starting at 3 pm local time (12 pm Amsterdam, 11 am London, 6 am New York, 3 am Los Angeles, 8 pm Sydney).


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

Company Contact and News Accreditation: 

Phone: 1 (800) 318-2827
Address: 877 E 1200 S #970397, Orem, UT 84097

More from PeterDoggers
Stephane Bressac Wins Unique 1st Blindfold Chess Challenge, Open To Everyone

Stephane Bressac Wins Unique 1st Blindfold Chess Challenge, Open To Everyone

Caruana Wins Superbet Chess Classic Romania In Playoff After Dramatic Final Day

Caruana Wins Superbet Chess Classic Romania In Playoff After Dramatic Final Day