Carlsen Gets 1st Win In Shamkir Chess; Topalov Leads
Veselin Topalov and Silvio Danailov. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

Carlsen Gets 1st Win In Shamkir Chess; Topalov Leads

| 28 | Chess Event Coverage

Veselin Topalov maintained his lead at the Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir as he won (again from a worse position) vs David NavaraMagnus Carlsen scored his first win in round five vs Radoslaw Wojtaszek in an offbeat Sicilian.

With only draws, the first three rounds saw quite a lot of fighting on the chessboards so perhaps it's not so strange that decisive games are starting to appear now in Shamkir. Yesterday one, today two—we're going in the right direction!

Magnus Carlsen seemed pretty inspired today. His offbeat opening moves against Radek Wojtaszek's Sicilian revealed a clear will to win, and that win came in the end although he did admit he "misplayed it" a bit.

The Qxd4 Sicilian is a known sideline, but pretty old in fact, and coming with a decent amount of theory. Carlsen played it creatively, delaying development of his king's knight, which eventually went to h3. It which worked out well when Wojtaszek decided to avoid g2-g4 with ...h7-h5—good in many modern Sicilians, but probably not in this one.

However, at the critical moment, when Carlsen could strike, he didn't.

Here, the typical Sicilian sac 17.Nd5! was crushing.

"Frankly speaking, I relaxed because I thought such a position should win itself," said Carlsen. "My intuition told me that 17.Nd5 was winning but I could not calculate it till the end. I thought there was no need. I thought I could win prosaically but of course that is a terrible attitude."

Wojtaszek grabbed his chance to get back into the game, and he was actually hanging on. But then, on move 25, a big mistake ended the game prematurely anyway.

Dejan Bojkov, Game of the Day

Magnus Carlsen Shamkir 2018

Finally a win for the favorite. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

For a moment Carlsen had caught Veselin Topalov in (virtual) first place, but that didn't last long. Again from a worse position, the Bulgarian grandmaster ended up winning his game, or should we say, David Navara ended up losing it.

"I started to play very badly. I completely lost control," Navara said about the second half of the game, where Black's bishops initially gave enough compensation, and that transformed into more than enough compensation.

Veselin Topalov Shamkir

Veselin Topalov, still in the lead. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

Sergey Karjakin played an identical game as the day before, where a huge amount of theory was thrown on the board quickly and the game reached a draw basically right out of preparation. He had forgotten about Rauf Mamedov's 18.Qb3!? but needed only five minutes to calculate the complications there.

Karjakin Khismatullin

Karjakin with his second Denis Khismatullin. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

Ding Liren and Teimour Radjabov played the 5.Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined, and followed a line that was very popular a few years ago. The Chinese player opened up the game and made things more interesting, but mostly for his opponent. Radjabov got a slight edge, but Ding played it perfectly to keep the draw.

The game Mamedyarov-Giri can be found in the PGN file.

2018 Shamkir Chess | Round 5 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Topalov,Veselin 2749 2919 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 3.5/5
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2843 2822 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/5
3 Radjabov,Teimour 2748 2770 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 7
4 Ding,Liren 2778 2760 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 6.5
5 Giri,Anish 2777 2774 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 6.5
6 Mamedov,Rauf 2704 2771 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 6
7 Karjakin,Sergey 2778 2764 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 5.75
8 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2814 2708 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 5
9 Navara,David 2745 2694 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 5
10 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2744 2707 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 4.5

Shamkir Chess runs from April 19-28, with a rest day on April 24. The games start at 3 p.m. local time, which is 1 p.m. Central Europe, noon London, 7 a.m. New York, and 4 a.m. Pacific. The prize fund is €100,000 ($123,689) with a first prize of €30,000 ($37,107).

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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.

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