Carlsen Beats MVL, Back In Shamkir Lead

Carlsen Beats MVL, Back In Shamkir Lead

| 62 | Chess Event Coverage

In an exciting fifth round of the Shamkir Chess tournament GM Magnus Carlsen took over the lead from GM Wesley So. Carlsen won against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave shortly after GM Viswanathan Anand beat So just as convincingly.

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov managed to beat GM Vladimir Kramnik for the first time in a classical game. GM Anish Giri escaped with a draw against GM Fabiano Caruana and the same result was seen in GM Rauf Mamedov vs GM Michael Adams.

With fascinating openings on all five boards, about half an hour into the round it was clear that it was going to be a good day. The fifth round ended up being the most exciting so far. Carlsen won his third game and enjoys a half-point lead over So, who lost his first game.

Several times GM Wesley So had stated that he was looking forward to his first-ever game with GM Viswanathan Anand, a player he admires greatly. The young U.S. grandmaster was unlucky to face an Anand playing his best chess so far in Shamkir.

Anand was in excellent shape on Tuesday.

At the press conference the Indian GM said he was impressed with how quickly So drew his black game with Caruana in Wijk aan Zee. This involved the Breyer maneuver Nc6-b8-d7 in the Ruy Lopez with 6.d3.

So played it again, but afterward he regretted that. Anand had prepared a very interesting knight sortie: “Yesterday my second showed me this idea.”

GM Grzegorz Gajewski, Anand's second, apparently has a feeling for dynamic possibilities in the Spanish, since the line 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 0-0 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 d5!? was also introduced by him in tournament practice!

Anand's remarkable move was 10.Ng5!? while Black hadn't even played ...Re8 yet.

Was White really going to give up that knight after 10...h6? So played differently: he moved his knight back from b8 to c6!

What followed was a one-way game where Anand kept the initiative, and So couldn't find the best defense at several moments. Eventually a queen ending was reached where a protected passed pawn on g6 completely paralyzed Black.

Anand was happy with the game, and rightly so: “Today was a very nice win against the tournament leader who was just dominating so that is quite nice.” So was a good sport as he admitted: “Vishy played very well today, completely outplayed me.”

On the question if he'd join the football tomorrow, Anand replied: “OK, two words. Peter Svidler.” With that he referred to Svidler's accident last month when he broke his arm while playing football, prompting his wife to post the following on Facebook:

GM Magnus Carlsen defeated GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and was visibly happy with his game as well. “To play interesting chess and also to win, you cannot have it better than that. I'm very happy with the game.”

The start was already fascinating: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b5!? 3.Bg2 (after 11 minutes) 3...Bb7 4.Na3!? (after three more minutes). “I think we were both quite happy with a fresh position. When you play 3...b5 you invite moves like 4.Na3 to happen [smiles] and that will lead to unusual positions. This was very much fun to play,” said Carlsen.

The players had so much fun, that after analyzing the opening phase for a bit, Carlsen apologized for wasting the journalists' time!

The players enjoying the post-mortem/press conference.

The Norwegian was allowed to build up a strong center and got a knight to f5. He used the configuration to come up with the remarkable pawn sac 14.Bg5 Nxd5 15.Bh6, which gave wonderful long-term compensation.

At the press conference Vachier-Lagrave was full of praise for his opponent: “At first I was confused but it was just that Magnus played extremely well today. 

“This idea with Bg5 and Bh6... it doesn't really come obviously to the mind, I would say. Some other moves were also impressive, 22.Bg4, 23.Bh5... “[It's] the same with Magnus: it always looks very simply when it's played but it's not easy to notice.”

Even MVL himself praised his opponent after the game.

About his tournament, MVL said: “At last I played an interesting game. (...) Maybe this is the game that warms me up for the rest of the tournament; maybe afer a good rest tomorrow.”

Our annotator GM Dejan Bojkov was also much impressed by Carlsen's game. He wrote: “Perhaps we just had to leave it without any comments, only exclamation marks for pretty much every move.”

A superb game by Magnus.

Carlsen was asked which players he would like to have in his football team tomorrow. “I hope Maxime will play, that's alway fun,” he said. He smiled when asked which five football players he'd choose, but evaded the question: “That's for another day. I don't wanna create any controversy!”

The third winner of the day was GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. He had enough reason to be very happy: he defeated chess giant GM Vladimir Kramnik for the first time ever. This was yet another very interesting game!

Unfortunately Kramnik did not show up for the press conference — the first time a player went back to the hotel immediately in this tournament. Some of the notes Mamedyarov gave are included in the game. Don't miss the classic Polugaevsky-Tal, which was very relevant today:

Mamedyarov scores his first-ever win against Kramnik.

GM Anish Giri was in big trouble today against GM Fabiano Caruana. The Italian came to the board well prepared, and Giri couldn't find a good response to the Italian's new idea. 

It seems that move 23 was critical; the computer points out that White can win at least an exchange there. Caruana went for a line that looked promising, but like in his game with Anand, Giri started to defend extremely well.

“Today I was heading for a clean win. I played a new idea and everything seemed to be going according to plan but somehow it didn't work out,” said Caruana. 

Caruana: “Somehow it didn't work out.”

Giri gave an explanation for why his opponent didn't see the win: “Why would he consider it? He just thought he found a win which was not there.”

At the press conference Giri said: “For me it will be very good to have some rest because I have a suspicion that I still need to sleep some seven hours that I missed back in the plane. Maybe tomorrow is the time to get them back.”

Like the author of these lines, Giri travelled to Shamkir in the middle of the night last Wednesday.

Caruana confirmed that he was planning to join the football tomorrow, and remembered the clash between Carlsen and chief arbiter Faik Gasanov on the football pitch last year: I said I would play tomorrow. I am just wondering whom Magnus will kick this time!”

WGM Elmira Mirzoeva, who hosted the press conferece, asked: “Are you in his team?” when Giri quickly jumped in: “I think it doesn't matter for Magnus!”

The game between GM Rauf Mamedov and GM Michael Adams was also very theoretical. They played the 9.d4 line of the Ruy Lopez and the English grandmaster seemed to know what he was doing: he followed one of the main lines and played a novelty on move 19.

There was more harmony among White's pieces, but his kingside was weakened. After many exchanges not much happened in an ending with queens and knights.


Shamkir Chess 2015 | Schedule & Results

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 1-0 Adams   Adams ½-½ Carlsen
Mamedov ½-½ Kramnik   Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Caruana
Anand ½-½ Giri   Giri ½-½ Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave   Kramnik ½-½ Anand
Caruana 0-1 Carlsen   So 1-0 Mamedov
Round 5 21.04.15 15:00 CET   Round 6 23.04.15 15:00 AZST
Mamedov ½-½ Adams   Adams - Vachier-Lagrave
Anand 1-0 So   Giri - Carlsen
Mamedyarov 1-0 Kramnik   Kramnik - Caruana
Caruana ½-½ Giri   So - Mamedyarov
Carlsen 1-0 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 5 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Carlsen 2863 3012 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 1 ½ 4.0/5
2 So 2788 2900 phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 1 1 1 3.5/5
3 Anand 2791 2868 ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 3.0/5
4 Kramnik 2783 2748 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 1 2.5/5 5.75
5 Mamedyarov 2756 2800 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 5.50
6 Giri 2790 2689 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 2.0/5 4.75
7 Vachier-Lagrave 2765 2704 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 2.0/5 4.75
8 Caruana 2802 2714 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/5 4.00
9 Mamedov 2658 2703 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/5 4.00
10 Adams 2745 2632 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.5/5

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).


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