Caruana Clear Second in Shamkir, Two Rounds To Go
With a quick draw against Sergey Karjakin it's still Magnus Carlsen who is the sole leader at the Shamkir Chess tournament in Azerbaijan. Fabiano Caruana moved to clear second place with a win against Teimour Radjabov. On a bad day for Azeri chess, Hikaru Nakamura recovered with a win as Black against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Pavel Eljanov will most probably win the B group; he is a point clear after beating Gadir Guseinov in a model game, while Etienne Bacrot lost his second game in a row, to Alexander Motylev.
All photos © Ahmed Mukhtar
Before discussing round 8, first here's a video interview with Fakhriyar Jabbarov of Synergy Group, the main sponsor of the tournament. Mr Jabbarov is the Director of the Organizing Committee. He explains what his company is doing, where the tournament “suddenly” came from and more:
The eighth round started with a rather tame encounter between the two top players born in 1990. It was the eighth consecutive draw for Sergey Karjakin, who admitted at the press conference that by now he can be called the “king of draws”!
Carlsen did not manage to get anything out of the opening - a Queen's Indian with the not so popular 5.Nbd2 - and then miscalculated something. He intended 16.Nd4, but then spotted 16...Rxd4! and 17...Nd2 which leads to an equal position.
After the game Carlsen felt that he should have gone for it anyway, because he was a bit uncomfortable about his position. “It's me who has to work to coordinate my pieces.”
More generally, Carlsen said about the game: “Obviously I am not 100% satisfied but it was a normal game. I was trying to play for a win with no risk, but it turns out there was no risk for him! After all the adventures that happened in my other games, I think it's OK to play one normal game.”
Pity that Carlsen didnt manage to complicate today and break Karjak's draw streak, still an amazing event to follow #ShamkirChess2014— Robin van Kampen ( @GMRobinVK) April 28, 2014
Just like in the first half of the tournament Hikaru Nakamura bounced back from his loss against Carlsen with a win against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. “I played what I suspect is a dubious opening, but it's interesting,” he said.
It was a Slav with a fianchetto on g2 for White, where Black's set-up was a bit provocative. White got a chance to grab the center, develop his queen's bishop with tempo and castle queenside, and it was clear he had the better chances. But then he allowed ...b7-b6, and Black was getting counter play.
Nakamura saw the exchange sac 24.Rxe6 coming. “I think Black should be better but I am not sure.” When Mamedyarov committed two inaccuracies, Black was definitely better and won deservedly. “Probably a good game overall,” said Nakamura.
As the saying goes, when things are not going your way it is time to "dance all night and just shake it up, shake it up!"— Hikaru Nakamura ( @GMHikaru) April 28, 2014
If Fabiano Caruana and Teimour Radjabov had drawn their game, all results in rounds 6, 7 and 8 would have been completely mirrored from the first half. Instead, Caruana won as Radjabov overestimated his chances, and played a bit too aggressively.
The Azeri GM is still doing well with his King's Indian, and the position was rather unclear when Caruana went for a forced line that involved an Exchange sacrifice. Later Radjabov gave back the material and it was still more or less balanced, until he allowed the white c-pawn move to c7. If he hadn't been in time trouble he would certainly have noticed that that was decisive.
The B group has been more or less decided already. Etienne Bacrot, who has had problems in the past with final rounds, lost two his second game in a row while co-leader Pavel Eljanov easily won against Gadir Guseinov. It was another very instructive game by the Ukrainian GM, who is a point clear with one round to go:
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 8 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 | Round 8 Standings
- Carlsen Beats Nakamura in Shamkir, Clear First Again
- Shamkir: Carlsen Back in the Saddle, Beats Mamedyarov | Update: VIDEO
- Radjabov Also Beats Carlsen, Grabs Sole Lead in Shamkir | Update: VIDEO
- Carlsen Goes Down Against Caruana in Shamkir | Update: VIDEO
- Shamkir: Nakamura Beats Mamedyarov, Carlsen Maintains Lead | Update: VIDEO
- Carlsen Also Beats Nakamura in Shamkir | Update: VIDEO
- Carlsen Grabs Early Lead in Shamkir | Update: VIDEO
- Shamkir Chess Officially Opened at Touching Ceremony | VIDEO