Second Shamkir Victory For Magnus Carlsen

Second Shamkir Victory For Magnus Carlsen

| 64 | Chess Event Coverage

He won last year and today GM Magnus Carlsen also won the second edition of the Shamkir Chess tournament. He finished undefeated, winning his final round game after a blunder by GM Rauf Mamedov.

GM Viswanathan Anand drew his black game with GM Fabiano Caruana to remain undefeated as well. The Indian GM came second in the standings, and is now also second in the live ratings. In a very long game GM Anish Giri came very close to beating GM Vladimir Kramnik.

Playing all his games on the central board on the stage, GM Magnus Carlsen scored one of his career's best tournaments results in the second edition of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial. Helped by his opponent GM Rauf Mamedov, who celebrated his 27th birthday, Carlsen finished with his fifth win and a 2981 performance.

The game started as a Chebanenko Slav; the same variation as in Giri-Mamedyarov earlier in the tournament and also Carlsen-Nakamura from last year. “Maybe it's time to call it the Shamkir variation,” said commentator GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko.

Carlsen was better out of the opening, then didn't handle it well but in a drawish position Mamedov just blundered.

A blunder by Mamedov decided the game in Carlsen's favor.

Carlsen: “I liked my position, I think I was a bit better but then I think I misplayed it; he defended well. At the end, if he doesn't blunder I don't think I have many chances to win. I mean, I could try for a while but it doesn't seem very realistic.”

Mamedov could only mutter that his position out of the opening wasn't bad. He was too devastated to say more.

Carlsen compared his victory to last year's tournament: “It was a bit of the same: with a good start, a good finish, five wins total but yeah, this time I managed to avoid the collapse in the middle. That was the difference between a good performance and a very good performance.”

A young kid got the microphone, and asked him “who will be the next world champion.” Carlsen: “I have no clue. I will do my best to play some decent chess also in the years forthcoming. I prefer not to think about who will eventually... yeah, kick my ass.”

Carlsen's ass is safe for the near future it seems.

More interesting was the question (and Carlsen's answer) about staying motivated: “I feel that in such a tournament there are still many things that I can improve on, even though the score was good. Maybe another time, if my opponents had punished my mistakes, the score could have been different.

“For me I feel that it's motivating enough, it's enough of a challenge to play against the best in the world, that I really don't need to look too much at the games of the younger ones. I can deal with that problem when it arises.

“I'm still learning all the time. The difficult part is to be able to use what you've learnt in your games. That's something that I, and also others, don't find easy. You always know more than you're able to show in the games.

“I feel that I'm learning. I'm improving and I feel that is motivation enough to keep going.”

Carlsen also commented on the first part of the Kasparov-Short match in St. Louis. We've added these remarks to our report here.

Carlsen with his second Shamkir trophy.

Before the round GM Viswanathan Anand still had a small chance to win the tournament, but he didn't really come close. If anyone was better it was GM Fabiano Caruana, but the game really was about equal all the time.

Anand-Caruana was more or less balanced all the time.

After this tournament Anand is back to the second spot in the live world rankings. Looking back at his tournament, he said: “I won some very nice games. I'm quite pleased. It's a pity about the first game, because you don't get too many like those, but afterwards I think I made up for it.”

Anand back to being the world #2. asked Caruana about his next event, the FIDE Grand Prix, arguably the most important tournament of the year for him.

“I won't say it's the most important event of the year but yeah, it's quite an important event for me. I hope that I'll be playing better than the last couple of months. Although here the last couple of games I've been relatively satisfied. I got a bit lucky against Kramnik but in general I haven't played so poorly as I have in the games before that.

“So yeah, I hope that I can continue with decent form in the Grand Prix. But yeah, I don't try look at any single event as the most important, I mean, I think that just puts extra pressure on yourself. I'll just take it as any other one.”

Shamkir Chess 2015 was GM Vladimir Kramnik first tournament where he lost three games in a row, and it could have been even worse. After almost six hours of play, thereby seriously postponing the closing ceremony, GM Anish Giri missed a win in a complicated ending.

Giri: close, but no cigar.

GM Wesley So started strongly in Shamkir: he was leading after four rounds. After that there were some setbacks but eventually his plus one score, in this group, playing the tournament right after the U.S. Championship, was just fine.

So ended with a draw against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, whose preparation finally worked out well. So must have missed something in the morning, because White got a very pleasant position. The ending was even close to winning for White.

Don't miss MVL's deep calculation of 36(!) half-moves, comparing two positions of pawn endings. Very impressive!

A good last-round battle between MVL and So.

After finishing his tournament, So said: “It hasn't really gone that well. I did better than some other players but generally I made a lot of mistakes and there is a lot of things to improve upon.

“It's a very tough thing, two tough tournaments in a month. They moved the U.S. Championships to accomodate Hikaru's schedule and I got this invitation to Azerbaijan two months ago and I simply couldn't decline it.

“It's a really hard thing; a lot of games and for that, my rating and my play has to suffer a bit. At the same time this is the life of a professional chess player.

“Maybe in the future I'll plan my schedule better but in general when you have a tough schedule like this you just need a lot of rest and a lot of energy to play well, which is maybe one of the things I can improve upon.

“I would to congratulate Magnus for simply dominating. Whenever he's around it feels like the tournament is just about second place. I would also like to congratulate Vishy. As the oldest participant he played extremely well without losses. Maybe I could learn a thing or two from him.”

So congratulated both Carlsen and Anand.

Vachier-Lagrave will play many more games this year: “I have a lot of tournaments coming up, especially wit this new circuit to which I was invited a few days ago. Of course this makes my schedule extremely full up until November or even December. But I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be fun, and a lot of good action against top guys.

“I hope to do better than here. I think here mainly my problem was in the opening with white, I mean today I managed to get good preparation, but in the other games I was not even close to pressing. Also my shape was not very good, I had a lot of miscalculations.”

The last game in this report was in fact the first to finish. GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov didn't hide the fact that against GM Michael Adams he was playing for a draw from the start:

“Before the game, when I was preparing, I saw I had not too many points and if I'd won, I would stay in the same place but if I would lose, I would finish last in the tournament. I don't want this, losing the last two games is not easy. A draw is a draw.”

Mamedyarov had enough of it and went for a quick draw.

Adams substituted for Teimour Radjabov and only heard that he would play the tournament a few weeks before the start. That did not affect his games too much, he said.

“I'm not sure preparation was such a big problem. In most of the games I had decent positions in the opening. Maybe against Kramnik, he was pushing me a little bit in the opening. But OK, clearly the first three rounds I did all the damage. I'm fairly satisfied with 50 percent in the last six games. It's not too bad considering how I started.”

Shamkir Chess 2015 | Schedule & Results

Round 1 17.04.15 15:00 AZST   Round 2 18.04.15 15:00 AZST
Kramnik 1-0 Adams   Adams ½-½ Caruana
So 1-0 Giri   Carlsen 1-0 Mamedyarov
Mamedov ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave   Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Anand
Anand ½-½ Carlsen   Giri ½-½ Mamedov
Mamedyarov ½-½ Caruana   Kramnik ½-½ So
Round 3 19.04.15 15:00 AZST   Round 4 20.04.15 15:00 AZST
So 1-0 Adams   Adams ½-½ Carlsen
Mamedov ½-½ Kramnik   Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Caruana
Anand ½-½ Giri   Giri ½-½ Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave   Kramnik ½-½ Anand
Caruana 0-1 Carlsen   So 1-0 Mamedov
Round 5 21.04.15 15:00 CET   Round 6 23.04.15 15:00 AZST
Mamedov ½-½ Adams   Adams ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Anand 1-0 So   Giri ½-½ Carlsen
Mamedyarov 1-0 Kramnik   Kramnik 0-1 Caruana
Caruana ½-½ Giri   So ½-½ Mamedyarov
Carlsen 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave   Mamedov ½-½ Anand
Round 7 24.04.15 15:00 CET   Round 8 24.04.15 15:00 AZST
Anand 1-0 Adams   Adams 1-0 Giri
Mamedyarov ½-½ Mamedov   Kramnik 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave
Caruana 1-0 So   So ½-½ Carlsen
Carlsen 1-0 Kramnik   Mamedov ½-½ Caruana
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Giri   Anand 1-0 Mamedyarov
Round 9 25.04.15 15:00 AZST        
Mamedyarov -½-½ Adams        
Caruana ½-½ Anand        
Carlsen 1-0 Mamedov        
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ So        
Giri ½-½ Kramnik        


Shamkir Chess 2015 | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Carlsen 2863 2981 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 7.0/9
2 Anand 2791 2892 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 6.0/9
3 Caruana 2802 2809 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 5.0/9 21.00
4 So 2788 2811 ½ 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 5.0/9 19.75
5 Kramnik 2783 2735 0 ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 4.0/9 16.00
6 Mamedyarov 2756 2738 0 0 ½ ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.0/9 16.00
7 Giri 2790 2694 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 ½ 3.5/9 16.50
8 Vachier-Lagrave 2765 2697 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 3.5/9 15.25
9 Adams 2745 2699 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 3.5/9 15.00
10 Mamedov 2658 2708 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 3.5/9 14.75


More from PeterDoggers
Gender Bias Research Shows Parents, Mentors Shortchange Girls’ Chess Potential

Gender Bias Research Shows Parents, Mentors Shortchange Girls’ Chess Potential

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory