Shamkir: Nakamura Beats Mamedyarov, Carlsen Maintains Lead | Update: VIDEO

Shamkir: Nakamura Beats Mamedyarov, Carlsen Maintains Lead | Update: VIDEO

| 19 | Chess Event Coverage

In the third round of the Shamkir Chess 2014 tournament's A group Hikaru Nakamura defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. In a Caro-Kann Advance variation, the U.S. grandmaster profited from a risky pawn move on the kingside by his opponent, and won with an attack on the king. Magnus Carlsen came close to winning his third consecutive game, but he dropped his first half point as Black against Sergey Karjakin. Teimour Radjabov and Fabiano Caruana drew quickly in the theoretical 8.Rb1 line of the Grünfeld. In the B group Etienne Bacrot tops the standings after another win.

While a thunderstorm raged outside, the quiet auditorium of the Heydar Aliyev Center in Shamkir saw another exciting round of chess today. Tournament leader Magnus Carlsen had chances to win his third game, but after almost six hours he had to settle for a draw against Sergey Karjakin. The Norwegian maintained his one-point lead as Teimour Radjabov and Fabiano Caruana also drew their game. The fight between tail-enders Hikaru Nakamura and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was decided in favor of the American, who developed a winning attack when his opponent weakened the kingside too much.

Update: video report round 3

For both Caruana and Radjabov, whose game didn't add much new to the theory of the 8.Rb1 Grünfeld, it was the third draw in the tournament. At the press conference they were asked if they're satisfied with this.

Radjabov: “I'm just playing game after game, I'm not really considering the result. Today I wanted to press but Black played very precise. It's too early to draw conclusions.”

Caruana: “Three rounds is still early to say since game yesterday had very little content and today it was very forced.”

Caruana looks at other games shown on the electronic screen

There were also some questions about Carlsen. Caruana said he is not treating the Norwegian differently: “There's not much of a mystery to Carlsen. He simply plays good moves and that's why he wins games. Some people think it's about hypnosis. I don't really believe in that.”

Radjabov: “In the end he is a human. He also makes mistakes. A bit less recently, but he does.”

Caruana: “I think that it's possible to compete with him. All the players can play perfect computer games on any day. He manages to do it a bit more but I still think that you just have to approach it like any other player, like any other game. You should just play the best moves, and if you play well you shouldn't lose.”


The term “bouncing back” might be used a bit too often in chess reports, but it was certainly an apt description for Hikaru Nakamura today, after his loss against Carlsen the other day. He was helped by his opponent though, as the opening wasn't that successful for the American.

“I felt like being creative and it probably wasn't a good idea,” said Nakamura about taking on c5 on move 8. This probably won't be repeated on the highest level any time soon, because Black is just fine there.

But then it was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's turn to be “creative” with moves like 13…Qb4 and 17…h6, which were OK, but 18…g5 was way too dangerous. Soon after, a long and forcing line came on the board where the tactics clearly worked in White's favor.


During the press conference Nakamura said about his tournament thus far: “I feel like I've played two bad games and one good game with the exception of a few moves. Somehow [there are] different results than I've played in the games. But I haven't played well, that's for sure. Maybe I've had too much time off from chess, but I'm still on an even score. To win after yesterday is of course very nice. OK, I just have to play better though, in general.”

Nakamura wins, but still intends to improve

After about an hour into the round it seemed likely that Magnus Carlsen was going to score his third point. Against Sergey Karjakin's 4.f3 Nimzo-Indian he fared much better than the last two times he faced this opening, thanks to the move 6…Nh5.

Carlsen got “a pretty nice position out of the opening,” as he said himself, but this time he didn't manage to exploit it. “I started to worry very quickly,” smiled Karjakin. “Of course I didn't expect 6…Nh5 but this is probably a very big line which I didn't know. I prepared for five hours but still I didn't manage to guess this move.”

The Russian GM said that he played “a few very bad moves” in the opening and after that he feared for his life. “I felt I was much worse and I was very much down on time. Somehow I managed to reach the time control in a more or less good position - it could have been much worse. And then… I didn't lose.”

The battle between the best two players born in 1990

The B group saw another very exciting round with three interesting draws and two decisive games. Alexander Motylev had a “total collapse of preparation” and went down against Radek Wojtaszek, whose 7…Ne5 could be quite significant for theory. Perhaps White should indeed try 10.b4 next time.

A good game by Radek Wojtaszek after a disappointing start

Etienne Bacrot is the sole leader in the group after a second win, against Gadir Guseinov. This King's Indian variation with 7…exd4 is popular among Azeri players, but the Frenchman is a bit of an expert too.

Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Pairings & results

Round 1 20.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 6 26.04.14 15:00 AZST
Carlsen 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Carlsen
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Caruana - Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov - Karjakin
Round 2 21.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 AZST
Mamedyarov ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov - Mamedyarov
Caruana ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin - Caruana
Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura   Nakamura - Carlsen
Round 3 22.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 8 28.04.14 15:00 AZST
Nakamura 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen - Karjakin
Radjabov ½-½ Caruana   Caruana - Radjabov
Round 4 23.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 9 29.04.14 15:00 AZST
Karjakin - Mamedyarov   Caruana - Mamedyarov
Radjabov - Nakamura   Radjabov - Carlsen
Caruana - Carlsen   Karjakin - Nakamura
Round 5 24.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 10 30.04.14 13:00 AZST
Mamedyarov - Caruana   Mamedyarov - Karjakin
Carlsen - Radjabov   Nakamura - Radjabov
Nakamura - Karjakin   Carlsen - Caruana

Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 3047 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 2.5/3
2 Karjakin,Sergey 2772 2792 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.5/3 2.75
3 Caruana,Fabiano 2783 2753 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.5/3 2.25
4 Radjabov,Teimour 2713 2771 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/3 1.75
5 Nakamura,Hikaru 2772 2808 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.5/3 1.25
6 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2760 2510 0 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/3

Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Pairings & results

Round 1 20.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 2 21.04.14 15:00 AZST
Wojtaszek ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli 0-1 Bacrot
Eljanov ½-½ Mamedov   Huseinov ½-½ Wang Hao
Motylev ½-½ Abasov   Abasov ½-½ Safarli
Safarli ½-½ Huseinov   Mamedov 0-1 Motylev
Wang Hao ½-½ Bacrot   Wojtaszek 0-1 Eljanov
Round 3 22.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 4 23.04.14 15:00 AZST
Eljanov ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli - Huseinov
Motylev 0-1 Wojtaszek   Abasov - Bacrot
Safarli ½-½ Mamedov   Mamedov - Wang Hao
Wang Hao ½-½ Abasov   Wojtaszek - Safarli
Bacrot 1-0 Huseinov   Eljanov - Motylev
Round 5 24.04.14 15:00 CET   Round 6 26.04.14 15:00 AZST
Motylev - Durarbayli   Durarbayli - Abasov
Safarli - Eljanov   Mamedov - Huseinov
Wang Hao - Wojtaszek   Wojtaszek - Bacrot
Bacrot - Mamedov   Eljanov - Wang Hao
Huseinov   Abasov   Motylev - Safarli
Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 CET   Round 8 28.04.14 15:00 AZST
Safarli - Durarbayli   Durarbayli - Mamedov
Wang Hao - Motylev   Wojtaszek - Abasov
Bacrot - Eljanov   Eljanov - Huseinov
Huseinov - Wojtaszek   Motylev - Bacrot
Abasov - Mamedov   Safarli - Wang Hao
Round 9 29.04.14 15:00 AZST        
Wang Hao - Durarbayli        
Bacrot - Safarli        
Huseinov - Motylev        
Abasov - Eljanov        
Mamedov - Wojtaszek        

Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Bacrot,Etienne 2722 2925 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 2.5/3
2 Eljanov,Pavel 2732 2773 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ 2.0/3
3 Wang,Hao 2734 2620 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.5/3 2.50
4 Abasov,Nijat 2516 2691 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.5/3 2.25
5 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2716 2667 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 1.5/3 2.00
6 Motylev,Alexander 2685 2631 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.5/3 1.75
7 Safarli,Eltaj 2656 2599 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.5/3 1.75
8 Mamedov,Rauf 2660 2571 ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/3 1.75
9 Durarbayli,Vasif 2584 2602 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/3 1.75
10 Guseinov,Gadir 2621 2584 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/3 1.50

The rounds start at 12:00 Amsterdam, 6am New York and 3am Los Angeles time. The official website is offers daily live commentary at Games via TWICphpfCo1l0.png

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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