Gashimov Memorial: Carlsen Beats Giri, Back To Sole Leader
Magnus Carlsen leads with two rounds to go. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

Gashimov Memorial: Carlsen Beats Giri, Back To Sole Leader

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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20 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen is back to being the sole leader at the Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir, Azerbaijan. The world champion defeated Anish Giri today while the other four games ended in draws.

In the Game of the Day (especially in terms of results!) Carlsen defeated Giri convincingly, even though the computer showed at least one quicker win. In what looked like a rather innocuous English Opening, Carlsen found a plan that still brought him some play.

Carlsen: Usually when there are no knights on the board it's very dry and it's nothing for White..."
Giri: "That's what I also thought."
Carlsen: ..."but in this case I feel like I'm getting some quick play and at least practically it feels easier to play."

Carlsen Giri Shamkir Chess Gashimov Memorial 2019
A convincing win for Carlsen vs Giri. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

The plan involved the f2-f4 break, where Giri expected the d3-d4 one instead. The Dutchman regretted removing his bishop from the g1-a7 diagonal, and also that he didn't play ...f7-f5.

Carlsen sacrificed a pawn but got his f-pawn to the fifth rank, strong bishops, an active queen and an open g-file. All this was just too much, and his attack was quickly winning.

Instead of going for a killer blow, Carlsen went for an endgame instead (admitting it was "extremely prosaic") but helped by Giri's time trouble he won that easily anyway.

Carlsen Giri Shamkir Chess Gashimov Memorial 2019
The Carlsen-Giri press conference. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Ding Liren was a rather quiet game for a long time, until all pieces left the board and we got a pawn endgame. With three breakthrough pawn sacrifices in a row (actually four, if we include Black's), Mamedyarov got himself a passed pawn but so did Ding and eventually the queen endgame was a draw. Very nice!

Mamedyarov Ding Shamkir Chess Gashimov Memorial 2019
An interesting pawn endgame in Mamedyarov vs Ding Liren. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

Teimour Radjabov played the Scotch against Veselin Topalov and it became the Mieses variation. Black's king was forced to d8 early in the game, but it didn't really matter (and it was theory!) as the queens left the board early. Black was always OK.

Radjabov Topalov Shamkir Chess Gashimov Memorial 2019
Radjabov vs Topalov. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

David Navara and Sergey Karjakin drew an English/Catalan game where the whole queenside got traded off in a long and seemingly forced variation.

Round 7 Shamkir Chess Gashimov Memorial 2019
Round 7 in action. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

Alexander Grischuk held Vishy Anand to a draw in an Anti-Berlin, where the players followed a game Giri-Sethuraman from the 2018 Chess.com Isle of Man Tournament for 15 moves. With a temporary pawn sacrifice Black held the balance here.

Grischuk Shamkir Chess Gashimov Memorial 2019
Clever play from Grischuk today. | Photo: Shamkir Chess.

2019 Gashimov Memorial | Round 7 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2845 2932 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 5.0/7
2 Karjakin,Sergey 2753 2872 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.5/7
3 Ding,Liren 2812 2777 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 3.5/7 13
4 Radjabov,Teimour 2756 2786 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.5/7 12.25
5 Topalov,Veselin 2740 2778 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 3.5/7 11.75
6 Grischuk,Alexander 2771 2775 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 3.5/7 11.5
7 Navara,David 2739 2788 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.5/7 11.5
8 Anand,Viswanathan 2779 2786 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 3.5/7 9.75
9 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2790 2676 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 2.5/7
10 Giri,Anish 2797 2610 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 2.0/7

The Gashimov Memorial has a prize fund of 100,000 euros ($112,266) with a first prize of 30,000 euros ($33,678). The venue is the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Shamkir, Azerbaijan. The playing days are March 31-April 9 with a rest day on April 5.

The games start at 3 p.m. local time (last round 2 p.m.), which is 1 p.m. Central Europe, noon London, 7 a.m. New York, and 4 a.m. Pacific. The time control is two hours for the first 40 moves, then one hour for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game with a 30-second increment from move 61 onwards. No draw agreements by the players are allowed before move 41.

The official website is ShamkirChess.com. You can watch the games live at Chess.com/events.


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