Mamedyarov Crushes Adams, Catches MVL

Mamedyarov Crushes Adams, Catches MVL

| 24 | Chess Event Coverage

With a great attacking game Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated Michael Adams, and in doing so he joined Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the lead at the Sharjah Grand Prix. The other winner of the day was Li Chao, who beat Evgeny Tomashevsky.

After four rounds many chess fans would probably like to ask Agon/FIDE reconsider and add an anti-draw rule to the Grand Prixs for the next cycle. A board-one game between two huge stars finishing undecided in one hour and 12 minutes, is rather disappointing to many.

On the other hand, it's very understandable that Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave called it a day on move 18. Whereas the endgame might seem full of life, for players on their level it's completely equal and besides, you cannot blame them for taking some rest.

Round 4 in action.

However, these days top GMs are used to playing open tournaments without rest days. Both Nakamura and MVL just came from Gibraltar, where they played ten rounds in a row, and at that tournament draws before move 30 are not allowed. The Sharjah GP is one round shorter and has a rest day after round five.

"I think I looked at this line earlier but I didn't pay enough attention to it. I didn't play it in the most challenging way. In the end there's nothing to play for," said Nakamura.

MVL: "I was actually quite lucky to get into one of the lines that I had looked at carefully, maybe not this morning but in the last few months."

Caught by surprise, Nakamura had to settle for a quick draw today.

By then, another game had already finished in a draw as well. Alexander Grischuk was well prepared for Ian Nepomniachtchi's line in the 6.Be2 Najdorf and equalized very quickly.

Other fairly uneventful draws were seen in Rapport-Salem, Jakovenko-Ding, and Hammer-Vallejo.

Jon Ludvig Hammer scored his fourth draw, and so did Paco Vallejo.

Levon Aronian was a bit under pressure against Alexander Riazantsev after missing 23...Nd4!. The Armenian grandmaster said that he had seen the move in many different variations, but not in this one. After some accurate defensive moves he held his own.

Riazantsev and Aronian discussing their game.

The round saw two decisive results. The first winner was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who played a good game against Michael Adams.

He found a great pawn sacrifice in the opening, and also continued in the style of Garry Kasparov—a player for whom Adams was always a difficult opponent.

"The opening looks quite dangerous for Black somehow. I think there should be some way to play it somehow, but I didn't really see it," said Adams.

Black's position became even worse when Adams missed 21.Nf5! and White soon won a piece. In time trouble the defensive task was too difficult for the Englishman.

Mamedyarov, Adams next to FIDE Press Officer Goran Urosevic.

"I'm playing very badly in this tournament," said Evgeny Tomashevsky after losing to Li Chao. And indeed, he couldn't put up much of a fight in this round.

Li got his prep on the board and improved upon a recent game Kuzubov-Volokitin. Unlike Kuzubov, he pushed Harry the h-pawn to h6 before castling, and already there Tomashevsky found his position unpleasant.

However, feeling it was "close to lost" after 18.Qa2 was a bit too pessimistic from the Russian player, and this might have affected his play in the remainder.

Li Chao moved back to a 50 percent score whereas Tomashevsky is on minus two now.

The last game to finish was Pavel Eljanov vs Hou Yifan, a rather quiet maneuvering battle in which the white player kept a slight edge. Eljanov tried for long, but Hou just didn't falter.

At the end White was the one defending the draw, but that turned out to be easy thanks to the bishop of the wrong color. 

Four draws also for Hou Yifan. "She is improving!", commentator Viktor Bologan said.

Pairings for round 5:

Bo. No. Fed Name Rtg Pts. vs Pts. Fed Name Rtg No.
1 4 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2766 3 Nakamura Hikaru 2785 3
2 1 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2796 3 2 Aronian Levon 2785 2
3 5 Ding Liren 2760 2 2 Nepomniachtchi Ian 2749 8
4 9 Grischuk Alexander 2742 2 2 Eljanov Pavel 2759 6
5 7 Adams Michael 2751 2 2 Hammer Jon Ludvig 2628 18
6 13 Vallejo Pons Francisco 2709 2 2 Li Chao 2720 10
7 15 Riazantsev Alexander 2671 2 2 Jakovenko Dmitry 2709 12
8 16 Salem A.R. Saleh 2656 1 2 Hou Yifan 2651 17
9 11 Tomashevsky Evgeny 2711 1 Rapport Richard 2692 14

Club trainer GM Dmitry Komarov gives lessons
every day in the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club.

This new Grand Prix series consists of four legs. The other three tournaments will be in Moscow (in May this year), Geneva (in July) and in Palma de Mallorca (in November).

A total of 24 players are competing, with each tournament having 18 participants. The two best performing players will qualify for next year's Candidates' Tournament.

Games from TWIC.

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