Mamedyarov Scores Big For Winning Siberia, Now World #6

Mamedyarov Scores Big For Winning Siberia, Now World #6

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

Having lost their title to St. Petersburg last year, star-studded Siberia-Sirius reclaimed the top prize of the Russian Team Championship's Premier League this week in Sochi, Russia. Anish Giri and Vladimir Kramnik were part of the team but the big star was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who moved to number six in the world.

Two years ago the Russian Team Championship saw a brand new team that came, saw and conquered. Supported by Siberian oil money, a very strong team was created, which even included Vladimir Kramnik—who had never before played for a club in his life. [Edit: a Russian club, that is.]

Together with Levon Aronian, Dmitry Jakovenko, Wang Yue and other GMs, Siberia won the title at first attempt, but things didn't go so well in their second year. St. Petersburg claimed first place in 2016, when only five teams played a double round robin.

Named Siberia-Sirius this time, the 2017 team was even stronger than before. Kramnik's companions were Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Anish Giri, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk, Dmitry Andreikin, Anton Korobov, and Denis Khismatullin. Together they scored the full 14 match points in what was a single round robin with eight teams, this time around.

Kramnik and Mamedyarov came to Sochi straight from the Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir. Whereas the 14th world champion's performance for Siberia was modest (three draws, one win), Mamedyarov continued his great form. The Azerbaijani won all four games he played, and has now won a staggering 22.9 points in his last 13 games!

In the live ratings Mamedyarov has climbed to world number six, the same as his peak in the July 2007 FIDE rating list


Mamedyarov's third win, as Black vs Evgeniy Najer, was highly spectacular. His 16...b5 move, ultimately leading to an open b-file and a decisive sacrifice on b2, is exactly why the Benoni and King's Indian have so many followers.


Mamedyarov is the new world number six after two successful events in a row. | Photo Polina Barskaya, Russian Chess Federation.

Anish Giri came straight from winning the Reykjavik Open. In Sochi he started with four draws against some tough Russians (Vladislav Artemiev, Maxim Matlakov, Vadim Zvjaginsev and Alexandr Predke) but then he defeated two lower rated players, Evgeny Romanov and Andrey Esipenko.

Romanov just took on d4. Can you see what was wrong with that?


Anish Giri in Sochi. | Photo Polina Barskaya, Russian Chess Federation.

One noteworthy participant in Sochi, for the Malakhite team, was Anatoly Karpov. In recent years the 12th world champion has played the occasional league games in Germany, and in fact just before going to Sochi he drew with Viktor Laznicka, on 30 April in Berlin.

That encounter has been included in the notes to Karpov's draw with Peter Svidler in Sochi, which was Karpov's only game there. Svidler had to work hard to get his half point: 


Karpov also seemed much interested in many other games. | Photo Polina Barskaya, Russian Chess Federation.

Another star in Sochi was Vladimir Fedoseev. The 22-year-old grandmaster from St. Petersburg made the headlines recently by winning the Aeroflot Open (thus qualifying for Dortmund), and after good performances in St. Louis (Winter Classic) and Karlsruhe (Grenke Open), a sublime 6/7 score in Sochi made Fedoseev break 2700 for the first time.

His final move in Sochi was cute. How would you sacrifice that queen there? A firm chop? Or slowly moving the queen to c6 and picking up that knight elegantly?


Vlad Fedoseev has been doing very well recently. | Photo Polina Barskaya, Russian Chess Federation.

2017 Russian Team Championship, Premier League | Final Standings

Rank Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Rds BP MP
1 Siberia-Sirius 4.0 3.5 3.5 5.5 5 4.5 5 7 31 14
2 ShSM Legacy Square Capital 2.0 3.0 3.5 4.5 3.5 4.0 4.0 7 24.5 11
3 Malakhit 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0 3 4.0 5.0 7 23.5 8
4 Bronze Horseman 2.5 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.0 7 22.5 8
5 Central Federal District 0.5 1.5 3.0 3.0 2.0 4.0 3.0 7 17 5
6 Sports School 1.0 2.5 3.0 2.5 4.0 2.0 3.0 7 18 4
7 Ladya 1.5 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 4.0 3.5 7 17 4
8 Zhiguli 1.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 3.0 2.5 7 14.5 2


The winning team, with Giri holding his son Daniel who traveled with him and his wife
Sopiko Guramishvili to Sochi. | Photo Polina Barskaya, Russian Chess Federation.

Like the last two years, the tournament was held in Sochi. Besides the Premier League there was also a Major League with 16 teams, and a championship for women with 9 teams, as well as senior and youth events. Ugra, with e.g. Natalija Pogonina and Olga Girya, won the women's tournament.

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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