Rewind and Repeat

The good things in life and in chess do not only happen once. Check the game by Viswanathan Anand against Shakh Mamedyarov from round eight of the Gashimov memorial in Shamkir.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.25"]
[Round "8.4"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2791"]
[BlackElo "2754"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:43:44"]
[BlackClock "0:50:22"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 {Mamedyarov has been very successful in his lat six game
in the Petrov- 5.5/6! Who dares claiming that the opening can be borning after
that?} 3. Nc3 {Surprise! Anand has played the Four Knights back in 1992-96 via
a different move order though...} Nc6 4. Bb5 Bb4 ({Ruinstein's recipe is
sharper and more forceful. Ivanchuk has used it twice against the Indian} 4...
Nd4 5. Ba4 Bc5 6. Nxe5 O-O 7. Nd3 Bb6 8. e5 Ne8 9. Nd5 d6 {with compensation
for a pawn, Anand,V (2715)-Ivanchuk,V (2700) Monte Carlo 1995}) 5. O-O O-O 6.
d3 d6 7. Ne2 Ne7 8. c3 Ba5 9. Ng3 Ng6 {Diagram [#] Funnily enough, the
position now is similar to some lines of the Ruy Lopez. Yep, the Berlin ones.}
10. d4 Bb6 11. Re1 c6 12. Bd3 Re8 13. h3 h6 14. Be3 Be6 {Both sides developed
their pieces harmoniously and naturally.} 15. Qc2 ({Also possible is the
development of the queen on the c1-h6 diagonal.} 15. Qd2 Qc7 16. Nf5 Bxf5 17.
exf5 Nf8 {And now the typical Italian sacrifice with} 18. Bxh6 $2 {does not
work because of the cool} N8h7 $1 ({not because of} 18... gxh6 19. Qxh6 Qe7 20.
dxe5 dxe5 21. Nxe5 {and White should be winning}) 19. g4 e4 20. g5 Nh5 21. Bxe4
gxh6 {with advantage for Black, Adhiban,B (2481)-L'Ami,E (2593) Dieren 2009})
15... Qc7 16. a3 $146 {[%cal Gb2b4] Diagram [#] A novelty. White wants to
expans on the queenside.} ({A predecessor saw} 16. c4 exd4 17. Nxd4 Ne5 18. Be2
Ng6 19. Rad1 $14 {1-0 (43) Nguyen,A (2496)-Markus,R (2436) Budapest 2000})
16... a5 17. c4 a4 {It is not quite clear why the inserted moves a2-a3 and
a5-a4 should favour White. More likely they should favour Mamedyarov.} 18. Red1
{Anand moves the rook away from a possible tempo on a5.} ({However, the line
after} 18. Rad1 exd4 19. Bxd4 Ba5 $6 {leads to favourable complications for
White after} 20. Bxf6 $1 Bxe1 21. Nh5) 18... exd4 {Because of the annoying
threat of c4-c5 Black should do this sooner or later. Now the pawn structure
modifies to one which is similar to some lines of the Bogoljubov defense.} 19.
Bxd4 ({Black is OK after} 19. Nxd4 Bd7 20. Ndf5 Bxe3 21. Nxe3 Nf4 $11) 19...
Ne5 20. Be2 {Diagram [#] Mamedyarov more or less solved the opening problems.
If Anand has any advantage it is symbolic.} Bc5 ({Instead, one good away to
exploit the hole on b3 was} 20... Bxd4 $5 21. Nxd4 Ned7 {followed by Nd7-c5-b3
with equality.} ({But not} 21... Nfd7 $2 22. f4)) 21. Rd2 Nfd7 22. Rad1 Red8 $6
{Up to now Mamedyarov defended flawlessly, but this move is a mistake. In a
cramped position it is always good to trade some pieces.} (22... Nxf3+ {was
mandatory when Black is still good after} 23. Bxf3 Red8 ({Not} 23... Rad8 24.
Qxa4 Nb6 25. Qa5 $1 $16)) 23. Nh4 $1 {[%csl Ye5,Ye6,Rf5][%cal Gh4f5,Gg3f5,
Rf2f4,Rf4f5] Diagram [#] Now f2-f4-f5 is a constant threat and the knights are
eager to get closer to the enmy king with Nh4(g3)-f5.} Bxd4 24. Rxd4 c5 $5 {
The only chance of a counter play.} ({Or else Black loses a pawn after} 24...
Nc5 25. Nhf5 Bxf5 26. Nxf5) 25. Rxd6 Nc6 {The d4 square is usually good
compensation in these positions, but..} 26. Nhf5 $1 {Powerplay!} Nd4 27. Qd2 ({
Worse is} 27. R6xd4 cxd4 28. Nxd4 Nc5 $11) ({Or} 27. Nxd4 Qxd6 {and White does
not have any (good) discovered attack.}) 27... Ne5 {This was the position that
Mamedyarov was heading to. The black knight seem perfect on their outposts,
the active rook on d6 will be traded and the compensation is obvious. However,
Anand had foreseen something in advance...} ({Since otherwise Black is down a
pawn for nothing} 27... Nf6 28. Rxd8+ Rxd8 29. Nxd4 cxd4 (29... Rxd4 30. Qc2
$16) 30. Qb4) 28. Rd5 $1 {[%csl Gd5] Diagram [#] Deja vu! Like yesterday, the
former world champion sacrifices the exchange for a pawn and attack and wins!}
({Instead} 28. Rxd8+ $6 Rxd8 29. Nxd4 $6 cxd4 {would be dream come true for
Mamedyarov.}) 28... Bxd5 29. cxd5 Qb6 ({The trade of a knight pair multiplies
the attacking potential of the first player.} 29... Nxf5 30. Nxf5 Qa5 31. Qe3
Qb6 32. f4 Nd7 33. Qc3 {and Black should not survive.}) 30. f4 $1 {[%cal Ge4e5,
Gd5d6] Diagram [#] Anand has a clear plan. Advance the pawns in the center as
much as possible, disconnect the flanks, checkmate.} ({The endgame is also
great for White} 30. Nxd4 cxd4 31. Qxd4 Qxd4 32. Rxd4 {but why to get here
when there is mate instead?}) 30... Ng6 ({Or} 30... Nxe2+ 31. Qxe2 c4+ 32. Kh2
Nd3 33. Qg4 {which wins a second pawn for White.}) 31. Bc4 {Anotehr deja vu!
The Indian GM used the same diagonal to grind down Michael Adams yesterday..}
Qa5 32. Qf2 b5 {Black tries his inly chance to distract the opponent.} ({
Nothing can stop the pawns} 32... Nxf5 33. Nxf5 Re8 34. e5) 33. Nxd4 ({Also
good is} 33. Ba2 Nb3 34. Nh5) 33... cxd4 34. Ba2 b4 35. Nf5 bxa3 {Alas, after}
(35... b3 36. Bb1 {the bishop will work again on the other diagonal.}) 36. bxa3
Qc3 37. e5 {Perhaps the only slip in Anand's phenomenal play.} (37. d6 {was
more subtle, with transposition into the game after} Rab8 (37... Qxa3 $2 38.
Qxd4) 38. Rd2) 37... Rab8 ({Another transposition is} 37... Qxa3 38. d6 Rab8
39. Rd2) 38. Rd2 Qxa3 ({The computer suggests} 38... d3 {as a good defense,
but it is hard to believe that White is not mating after} 39. d6 Qxa3 {Diagram
[#]} 40. Bxf7+ $1 Kxf7 41. Qa7+ Ke6 42. Ne3 {For example} Rb1+ (42... Rd7 $2
43. Qxb8) 43. Kh2 Qb4 (43... Rd7 44. f5+ Kxe5 45. Qxd7 {and wins.}) 44. Rf2 $1
Qb7 45. Qd4 {and the analyzes can go for another twenty moves but I will leave
that to you. My feeling says that the attack should be sufficient.} ({Even
better than} 45. f5+ Kd7 46. Qxa4+ Qc6 47. Qa2 Qc5 (47... Rb7 48. Qe6#) 48. e6+
Kxd6 49. Qxb1 Qxe3 50. Rf3 Qe5+ 51. Kh1 {which Black some chances of survival
thanks to his passed pawn.} Kc6 52. fxg6 d2 53. Qc2+ Qc5 54. Qa4+ Qb5 55. Rc3+
Kb6 56. Qd1 {White is better, but not necessarily winning.})) 39. Nxd4 {Now
everything is under control.} Qc1+ 40. Kh2 Rbc8 41. d6 a3 42. Nf5 Rf8 43. d7 {
Diagram [#] One more jewel in Anand's rich collection of masterpieces!
Mamedyarov had had enough of it. After} (43. d7 Rcd8 44. Qd4 {the only way to
stop the checkmate (e5-e6) is to sacrifice a whole rook with} Qf1 45. e6 Qxf4+
46. Qxf4 Nxf4 47. e7) 1-0

The last round of the tournament on the next day was rather peaceful with only one game being decisive. The world champion Magnus Carlsen exploited a blunder by the birthday boy Rauf Mamedov to finish the tournament clear first a full point ahead of Vishy Anand.


The Exchange Sacrifice

Shamkir continues to please the chess lovers all over the world. Round seven saw an interesting battle between Vishy Anand and Mickey Adams. The Indian GM sacrificed the exchange and...
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.24"]
[Round "7.2"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2791"]
[BlackElo "2746"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "101"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:24:04"]
[BlackClock "0:30:18"]

1. c4 {These days the top players try to mainly surprise their opponents in
the opening and to avoid the heavy home preparation. To get some psychological
advantage too. This aproach is quite unpleasant against a player who is not
doing well in the opening. And Anand chooses the English opening which he
plays very rarely.} e5 2. g3 c6 {Adams also replies with a surprise in return.
He had used the reversed Alapin in 2008 and for Anand this is already new.} 3.
Nf3 ({That only game of the Englishman went} 3. d4 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Bxd2+ 5. Qxd2 d6
6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Bg2 O-O 8. e3 Nbd7 $11 {Miezis,N (2540)-Adams,M (2735) Liverpool
2008}) 3... e4 4. Nd4 d5 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6. Nc2 Nf6 7. Nc3 Qh5 8. Ne3 {[%csl Ye4]
[%cal Gf1g2,Gg2e4,Gc3e4,Gd1c2,Gc2e4] Diagram [#] This position is already very
fresh and has been since only once in over-the-board game. White prepares to
pressurize the exposed e4 pawn and opens the road for the queen.} ({The
complications arising after} 8. d3 exd3 9. Qxd3 Na6 10. Bg2 Bh3 $5 11. Bf3 Qg6
12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Qxa6 Rd8 {are not everyone's cup of tea, Svidler,P (2753)
-Topalov,V (2772) Flor & Fjaere 2014}) (8. h3 {is another move.}) 8... Bc5 {A
solid reaction. In case of} (8... Bh3 9. Qb3 $1 b5 10. Qc2 Bxf1 11. Rxf1 Qe5
12. f3 exf3 13. Rxf3 $14 {Black's position has too many lose ends, Berkes,F
(2606)-Borisek,J (2508) Heraklio 2007}) (8... Na6 $5 {deserves attention in
order to torture the queen anytime it comes to c2.}) 9. Qc2 Bxe3 ({Or else
Black loses the pawn} 9... O-O 10. Nxe4) 10. fxe3 {[%csl Ye4,Rf6][%cal Gf1g2,
Gh1f1,Gf1f4,Gf4e4,Yf4f6] Diagram [#] Anand wants to use the half-open file to
possibly lift the rook on f4 and increase the pressure on e4. And for
something more...} Qe5 11. Bg2 Bf5 12. O-O O-O 13. b3 $146 {The novelty.} ({An
email game went} 13. b4 Nbd7 14. Bb2 Qe6 15. b5 Rac8 16. Qb3 Rfd8 17. Rac1 Nc5
18. Qxe6 Bxe6 19. Rc2 Bd7 20. bxc6 Bxc6 {and Black managed to solve the
problem of the e4 pawn, Littke,H (2254)-Kolek,P (2399) ICCF email 2011}) 13...
Nbd7 14. Bb2 Qe6 {One more move and Adams will cement his position for good
with Bf5-g6. But...} 15. Rxf5 $1 {Diagram [#] A nice positional sacrifice of
the exchange. White wins the cetral pawn for it and the bishop pair. It is
interesting that both players did not evaluate the position similarly. Adams
considered it perfectly OK, while Anand thought it is easier to play as White.}
Qxf5 16. Nxe4 Qg6 $1 {The best defense. Or else White will point his bishops
towards the kingside with} (16... Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Qh5 18. Rf1 {[%cal Gf1f4,Gf4h4,
Rc2h7,Rb2g7] followed by Rf4-h4 and attack (Anand).}) 17. Rf1 Rfe8 18. Bxf6 {
Tit for tat. White destroys the pawn structure in front of the enemy king.}
Nxf6 19. Nxf6+ gxf6 20. e4 Rad8 21. Rf4 {[%cal Gg2h3,Gh3f5,Rf4h4,Rh4h7,Yc2d2,
Yd2h6,Yd2d3] Diagram [#] Anand's plan is to bring the bishop on f5, play d2-d3,
bring teh rook to h4 and attack the kingside with Qd2-h6.} Qh5 $1 {Adams
hurries to escape from the danger zone.} 22. d3 Qe5 23. Bh3 Kg7 24. Kg2 h5 $5 {
An interesting pawn sacrifice. Black manages to temporary exclude the rook
from the game.} ({Something solid like} 24... Rh8 {was also possible.}) 25. Rf5
Qd4 26. Rxh5 {[%csl Yh5] Diagram [#]} Qe3 27. Rh4 ({One point behind the pawn
sacrifice is demonstrated by Anand. The rook cannot come back at once} 27. Rf5
$2 Rxe4 $1 {works well for Black with the idea} 28. dxe4 Rd2 29. Qc4 b5 30. Qc5
Rxe2+ 31. Kh1 Re1+ 32. Bf1 Rxf1+ 33. Kg2 Rf2+ 34. Kh3 Qh6+ {and Black wins.})
27... Re5 28. Rf4 {White's chances are connected with the kingside attack and
for this reason he should not allow any trades of the heavy pieces.} ({Another
problem is revealed by the line} 28. Bf5 Rh8 $1 29. Rf4 $2 ({Black would be
happy to trade the rooks and kill the attacking potential of his opponent} 29.
Rxh8 Kxh8 {when only Black can play for the win.}) 29... Rc5 30. Qb2 Rc1 {and
wins.}) 28... Rc5 29. Qb2 Rd6 30. Rf1 a5 {Adams placed his pieces in a very
good way and now improves the mobile pawns.} 31. Bf5 b5 32. h4 {Diagram [#]} ({
Anand also considered the pawn sacrifice} 32. b4 axb4 33. Rf3 Qd4 34. Qd2 {in
order to return to his original idea of kingside attack, but at the end
decided that it was too risky.}) 32... Rd8 $2 {"The decisive blunder" (Anand)
"Awful move" (Adams). The English GM missed a nice tactical regroupment.
Instead many moves lead to dinamic equality:} (32... b4 $5 $11) (32... a4 $5 {
In both case White cannot effectively use his queen in the attack due to the
weakness of the b3 and e2 pawns.}) ({They also considered} 32... Qd4 {good for
Black, but this is questionable as it allows the white queen a kingside sortie}
33. Qd2 Rd8 34. h5 {and White is definitely better.}) 33. a3 b4 34. axb4 axb4
35. Be6 $1 {[%csl Gc4,Rd8,Rf6,Yg7][%cal Ge6c4,Rb2f6,Rf6d8,Gb3c4,Gd3c4] Diagram
[#] The bishop is rerouted to the optimal c4 square from where it cements the
queenside while attacking the f7 pawn. Black's position immediately becomes
bad.} Rc3 ({The bishop is full of poison} 35... fxe6 36. Qxf6+ {is mate in
seven.}) ({Noweven the endgame is lost for Black as Anand explained} 35... Qd4
36. Qxd4 Rxd4 37. Bc4 {[%csl Ge3][%cal Gg3g4,Gg2f3,Gf3e3] followed by g3-g4,
Kg2-f3-e3, and later g4-g5 which will win the pawn on f7.}) 36. Bc4 {White
cemented the position and can get rid of the opponent's queen easily. After
that his queen comes into the game and the step-by-step attack is unstoppable.}
Ra8 37. Rf5 Ra7 38. Rf3 Qc5 (38... Qh6 $5 {was more stubborn.}) 39. Qd2 Qd6 40.
Qe3 {Diagram [#] The former world champion is not in a hurry.} (40. Rf5 {with
the threat Rf5-h5 was faster as if} Ra8 41. e5 $1 {destroys the barricades.})
40... Ra5 41. Rf2 Rc2 42. g4 Qd7 43. Qg3 Rc5 44. g5 $1 {The decisive break. It
is again the Bc4 to blame for Black's misery.} (44. e5 {would also do.}) 44...
fxg5 45. Rxf7+ Qxf7 46. Bxf7 Kxf7 47. Qf3+ Kg7 48. h5 {The rest is easy for
Anand.} Ra5 49. Kf2 Rb2 50. h6+ Kg6 51. h7 {Diagram [#] An inspired and
interesting battle!} ({Black resigned as he loses the rook} 51. h7 Kxh7 52.
Qf7+ Kh6 (52... Kh8) 53. Qf6+) 1-0



Stubborn Defense

Fabiano Caruana significantly improved his tournament situation in Shamkir after an important win with the Black pieces against the former world champion Vladimir Kramnik.The Italian GM had to survive at first the strong pressure that his opponent put on him. The moment in which Kramnik decided to open up the game was not chosen right and the tables have turned into Caruana's favour.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.23"]
[Round "6.5"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2802"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "108"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:10"]
[BlackClock "0:09:02"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 {Just like Carlsen the other day, Vladimir Kramnik also
decided to avoid the Gruenfeld.} g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. c3 O-O 5. Nbd2 d5 {This is
considered the most reliable move against teh Torre Attack.} 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2
c5 {Diagram [#] The Torre Attack represents in this case the reversed Slav
defense. To which Caruana replies with something like a reversed Catalan. My
tongue got reversed as well.} 8. O-O b6 9. a4 {A standard reaction to the
fianchettoe similar to the one that Carlsen used against the same Caruana in
round three.} a6 ({Alternatively} 9... a5 {weakens the light squares and the
pull for White} 10. Bb5 Ba6 11. Bxa6 Rxa6 12. Qe2 $14 {Petrosian,T (2649)
-Gopal,G (2522) Golden Sands 2013}) 10. b4 {White shows aggression on the
queen's flank but his plan is deeper than that. Kramnik wants to force his
opponent to close that side of the board in order to concentrate his forces in
the center and the kingside.} Bb7 11. a5 $146 {Diagram [#] A novelty, in the
spirit of the above-mentioned plan. Previously only} (11. bxc5 bxc5 12. Qb3 {
has been tried without much success for White} Bc6 13. Qa3 h6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15.
dxc5 e5 {with good compensation for a pawn in Bogdanovski,V (2435)-Mista,A
(2579) Paracin 2013}) 11... cxb4 {Now Caruana will have at least one open file
to keep his opponent busy .} 12. cxb4 b5 13. Rc1 Ne8 {Carlsen already proved
in his game with Mamedyarov earlier that the structure arising after} (13...
Ne4 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Nd2 {favours White.}) 14. Nb3 Nd6 {Both parties seek and
find the optimal squares for their pieces.} 15. Ne1 Nc4 16. Nd3 $14 {Diagram
[#] It becomes apparent that White has a lot of small advantages in comparison
to his opponent. To start with- the space advantage. The little pawn on a5
takes away the b6 square from the black Nd7 while the white knights are
feeling very comfortable. White's bishops are also more active and all of
this leads us to the conclusion that Kramnik succeeded with his opening
strategy. Now he starts slowly torturing his opponent. The grand plan is to
prepare and carry out the e3-e4 advance. Caruana's position lacks any
weaknesses, but is passive and it is overall quite unpleasant to play.} Ra7 (
16... Rc8 {is less precise as after} 17. Nbc5 Nxc5 18. Nxc5 {the pawn on a6
will hang.}) 17. Bh4 Ba8 18. Bf3 ({Also interesting is} 18. Re1 {intending
Be2-f1, f2-f3 and later e3-e4 but the former world champion prefers a more
aggressive set up.}) 18... Nf6 19. Qe2 Ne8 20. g4 $5 {[%cal Gh4g3,Gf3g2,Rf2f3,
Re3e4,Rf3f4] Diagram [#] Intending Bf3-g2, Bh4-g3 (the point behind g2-g4) and
further advance of the f and e pawns.} Ned6 21. Bg2 Qc8 22. Nbc5 Re8 23. Bg3
Qd8 {Caruana prepared his position as much as he could for the possible
assault.} 24. Rcd1 ({White could have also provoked a weakening with} 24. Be5
$5 {as} Nxe5 25. dxe5 Ne4 26. f4 {is good for him.}) 24... e6 25. f3 Qe7 26.
Kh1 Bh6 {Black does not want to change the pawn structure and play with
isolated pawn after} (26... e5 $5 {but this definitely interesting.}) 27. Nf4 {
The time trouble is approaching and Kramnik decided that this is a good moment
to complete his idea. However, as he later confessed at the press-conference
he missed an important tactical detail.} ({He did not like} 27. Bf2 {due to} f5
{"and Black holds" (Kramnik), but White still has better position without any
risk after say} 28. Ne5 fxg4 29. Nxg4 Bg7 30. e4) 27... Nb7 28. Ncd3 {Or else
Black might take on c5 and put his bishop on c6.} Nd8 $1 {Strong maneuver
before the decisive central clash.} 29. e4 Nc6 $1 {Diagram [#] The point. Now
it is not clear who attacks more.} 30. exd5 (30. Qf2 {simply loses a pawn} Nxb4
) 30... Nxb4 31. dxe6 {Only here did Kramnik realize that he had missed a
strong queen sacrifice.} ({His original intention was} 31. d6 {but then he saw}
Nxd3 $5 ({Caruana on his turn thought that} 31... Qf6 {is also good for him.
Indeed after} 32. Nh5 gxh5 33. Nxb4 Bf4 34. Nd3 Bxd6 35. Be5 Bxe5 36. dxe5 Qg5
{Black seems in good shape.}) 32. dxe7 Nxf4 {[%csl Gc4,Ye2,Gf4] Diagram [#]
and Black in complete control.}) 31... Nxd3 32. Rxd3 {The black pieces came
into life and his position is stronger now.} fxe6 ({Even better was} 32... Qf6
33. Re1 Rae7 {with clear advantage for the second player.}) 33. Qe1 Qd8 {There
are too many weaknesses in White's camp and he tries to compensate with
kingside activity.} 34. h4 Rf7 ({Kramnik suggested a more simple alternative}
34... Bxf4 $1 35. Bxf4 Bd5 36. Qg3 Qxa5 37. h5 Rf7 {with clear edge for Black.}
) 35. g5 Bg7 36. Bh3 $6 {In time trouble Kramnik blunders for the second time.}
({However, his position is already difficult even after his analyzes suggestion
} 36. Rd1 Qxa5 37. Qe2 (37. Qxa5 Nxa5 38. Ra1)) 36... Rxf4 $1 {Diagram [#] A
powerful central blow. Caruana opens the archers.} 37. Bxf4 e5 38. Bg3 e4 39.
Rd1 Bd5 ({Not} 39... exf3 $2 40. Be6+ Kh8 41. d5 $16 {which they both saw.})
40. Be5 exf3 41. Qf2 (41. Kg1 $5 {was suggested by Black as a more tenacious
alternative, but Black is much better anyway.}) 41... Qxa5 42. Bg4 Rf8 {For
the exchange Black has two pawns and strong central grip.} 43. Rd3 ({Instead}
43. Rfe1 {allows "my most typical trick" (Caruana)} Nb2 $1 44. Rd2 Nd3 $1 45.
Rxd3 {Diagram [#] with the idea} Qxe1+ $1 46. Qxe1 f2+ {and wins.}) 43... Qb4
$1 {Kramnik spend a lot of time here calculating pretty much everything but
could not find salvation. Below are given some of the beutiful lines that the
opponents calculated during the game:} (43... Bxe5 $6 {may lead to a darw after
} 44. dxe5 Nxe5 45. Qd4 Qa2 46. Qxd5+ Qxd5 47. Rxd5 Nxg4) (43... Be4 $2 {loses
to} 44. Be6+ Kh8 45. Bxg7+ Kxg7 46. d5) (43... Nxe5 44. dxe5 Bc4 $6 {stumbles
on} 45. Rxf3 Rxf3 (45... Bd5 46. Be6+ $1) (45... Rd8 46. e6 $1) 46. Qxf3 Bxf1
$4 47. Be6+ Kh8 48. Qa8+ {and mate (Kramnik)}) 44. Bg3 {Some more lines by
Kramnik and Caruana:} (44. Bxg7 Kxg7 45. Bxf3 (45. Qg3 Qe7 $1 46. Bxf3 Qe2 $3 {
is especially cute.}) {and now the key move is} 45... Be4 $3 {Diagram [#]} ({
Rather than} 45... Rxf3 46. Rxf3 Nd2 47. Qe1 $1)) (44. Bxf3 {is answered in a
similar way} Rxf3 45. Rxf3 Bxe5 46. Qg2 Ne3 47. Rf8+ Qxf8 48. Rxf8+ Kxf8 $19) (
{Black also wins after} 44. Bf6 Bxf6 45. Bxf3 Bxf3+ 46. Rxf3 Bg7) 44... h5 $1
45. gxh6 Bxh6 {Now the knight gets a chance to come closer to the kingside
with Nc4-e3(d2). The end is getting closer.} 46. Kh2 {Nothing helps:} (46. Ra1
Nd2 $1) (46. Bxf3 {is simlar as above} Rxf3 47. Rxf3 Nd2 48. Qe1 Qf8 (48... Qb3
{also wins})) 46... Nd2 $1 47. Ra1 Ne4 {Diagram [#] Without the dark-squared
bishop White's position falls apart.} 48. Qc2 Nxg3 49. Rxa6 Be4 50. Bxf3 Qe1
51. Qb3+ Kh8 52. Bxe4 Rf2+ 53. Kh3 (53. Kxg3 Qg1+ 54. Kh3 Rh2#) 53... Qf1+ 54.
Kg4 Rf4+ {Kramnik resigned before the mate. Overall, he had the advantage,
led the game, but a couple of inaccuracies proved enough for Fabiano Caruana
to show his best qualities- stubborness in defense and iron nerves. I believe
that this was Black's first win in the event.} (54... Rf4+ 55. Kxg3 Qf2+ 56.
Kh3 Rxh4# {Diagram [#]}) 0-1



Magnus Grabs the Lead

Round five of the Gashimov Memorial was crucial for the leaders. Wesley So suffered his first loss to the former world champion Vishy Anand who showed his best chess so far in Azerbaijan. In the meanwhile the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway produced a real masterpiece to take the sole lead. His opponent in this game Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France also appreciated the greatness of the game and did not look too disappointed at the end of it. Instead the two players spend a lot of time analyzing the game at a press-conference full of benevolence and positivness.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.21"]
[Round "5.3"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2863"]
[BlackElo "2762"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "107"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:15:45"]
[BlackClock "0:41:19"]

1. Nf3 {Magnus Carlsen managed to get his opponent away from his beloved
Gruenfeld early in the opening.} Nf6 2. g3 b5 3. Bg2 ({The two players spent a
lot of time analyzing some interesting possibilities after} 3. c3 e6 4. Qb3 {
an idea typical for the Sokolsky opening with colors reversed} a6 5. a4 Bb7 6.
axb5 Bd5 {an old trick, said Carlsen} 7. Qc2 (7. c4 $2 Bxc4 $1 {this is the
point} 8. Qxc4 axb5 $17) 7... axb5 8. Rxa8 Bxa8 9. Qb3 Bxf3 10. exf3 c6 {with
about equal position.}) 3... Bb7 4. Na3 {Diagram [#] A fresh position arose on
move number four!} a6 ({The immediate} 4... b4 {was also possible when after}
5. Nc4 a5 6. d3 {[%cal Ge2e4] "I liked my knight on c4" (Carlsen)}) 5. c4 b4 {
"I decided to play b5-b4 as in the QID the knight is not very well placed on
c2"(Vachier-Lagrave), "Yeah, but then you have to waste a lot of moves"
(Carlsen)} (5... e5 {was teh othe rmove that the two players analyzed. They
had a lot of fun in the arising original lines with Carlsen appologizing at
the end that they are wasting the time of the journalists.} 6. O-O e4 7. Nd4 (
7. Nh4 d5 8. cxd5 Qxd5 9. d3 g5 {Diagram [#]} 10. Nf3 $5) 7... d5 8. d3 (8.
cxb5) 8... c5 9. Nf5 g6 10. Ne3 d4 11. Nd5 Nxd5 12. Bxe4 Bg7 {with equality.})
6. Nc2 e6 ({It is somewhat surpring but this has already been seen before in a
total of 26 games. Here is a recent one} 6... c5 7. O-O e6 8. d4 cxd4 9. Ncxd4
$14 {Efimenko,Z (2648)-Moiseenko,A (2707) Dubai 2014}) 7. d4 a5 {The players
agreed that White is somewhat better after} (7... Be7 8. a3 bxa3 9. b3 $14) 8.
O-O Be7 9. d5 Na6 10. Nfd4 Nc5 11. Re1 $146 {[%cal Ge2e4] Diagram [#] Only
this is a novelty. White prepares e2-e4.} ({Another recent game saw} 11. dxe6
fxe6 12. Bxb7 Nxb7 13. Bf4 O-O 14. Nb5 Ne8 15. e4 {with slight edge for White,
Neiksans,A (2559)-Kulaots,K (2563) Wroclaw 2014}) 11... O-O {Carlsen was
surprised that his opponent allowed the move e2-e4 that easily and suggested
instead} (11... Nfe4 12. f3 (12. Nb3 Nxb3 13. axb3 Nc5 14. e4 e5) 12... Nd6 13.
e4 O-O (13... Nxc4) 14. b3 e5 {with a better version to what had happened in
the game later.}) 12. e4 e5 ({Maybe} 12... d6 13. dxe6 Nfxe4 {but this is what
I was unhappy about (Vachier)} 14. Qg4 Nf6 15. Qe2 $16) 13. Nf5 d6 14. Bg5 $1 {
[%csl Yg5][%cal Rf6d5] Diagram [#] A wonderful positional sacrifice of a pawn.}
({The immediate} 14. f4 {is also possible but less appealing to the world
champion} Nfd7 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. f5 c6 {"too many loose ends, should be OK
for Black" (Carlsen)}) 14... Nxd5 {Vachier decided to bite the bullet. "So
Magnus, you were considering this move?" asked the jounalist and WGM Elmira
Mirzoeva. "I am capable of missing it, but not today..."(Carlsen)} (14... Bc8
15. Nce3 h6 16. Bh4 {looks terrible for Black (Carlsen)}) 15. Bh6 $1 {The
point of White's sacrifice. In return for the pawn he will ruin the black
castle and cement the knight on the wonderful outpost on f5. He will also
dominate on the light squares.} gxh6 16. Qg4+ (16. cxd5 Kh8 17. Qh5 {also
looks fun for White.}) 16... Bg5 17. cxd5 Kh8 18. h4 $1 {[%csl Yg5][%cal Gg2h3,
Yg4f3,Gh3g4,Gg4h5,Gc2e3] Diagram [#] The beginning of a nice regroupment on
the light squares that clearifies the situation.} Bf6 19. Nce3 Bc8 20. Qf3 Bg7
21. Bh3 $1 Rg8 22. Bg4 Qf6 23. Bh5 {With the bishop coming out all the white
pieces stand nicely. Now he can think of including the rooks into the battle.}
Bxf5 24. Nxf5 c6 {"If you do not play this then you will lose at some moment
because of the rook coming on f3" (Carlsen). "Even rook on the g file and
g3-g4 I thought. And g4-g5 at some moment" (Vachier).} 25. dxc6 Rac8 26. Qd1
Rxc6 (26... Nxe4 {does not work due to} 27. Bg4 $1) 27. Qd5 Rgc8 28. Rad1 Bf8
29. Qxf7 (29. Bxf7 Na4 {did not appeal to the Norwegian although this also
looks close to winning for White.}) 29... Qxf7 30. Bxf7 {White won the pawn
back and kept the dominant position of his pieces. He owes everything- the
bread, the butter and the knife.} Na4 31. Re2 Rc1 32. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 33. Kg2 Nc5
34. b3 {[%csl Gb3] Diagram [#] "I was very happy to play this move and to stop
any counterplay" (Carlsen). "I am playing a bishop and a king down" (Vachier).}
Rc3 35. Kh3 Nd7 36. Be6 Nc5 37. Bd5 Nd7 38. Ne3 Nf6 39. Be6 Rc5 40. Nc4 Kg7 ({
Vachier was always looking for counter-play but it never worked. Here for
instance} 40... a4 {fails to} 41. bxa4 d5 42. Ne3 (42. Nxe5 {should do as well}
)) 41. f3 $1 {Even in such a great position the world champion does not lose
focus! He rejected his original plan} (41. Kg2 {after seeing the tactical
continuation} Nxe4 $1 42. Rxe4 Kf6 43. Bg8 d5 {Diagram [#] which would have
complicated matters.}) 41... Ne8 42. Rd2 Nc7 43. Bg4 {It is over, Black's
position falls appart.} a4 (43... Nb5 44. Nxa5 {drops a pawn.}) 44. Nxd6 Bxd6
45. Rxd6 a3 46. Bd7 ({Vachier Lagrave suggested an alternative win after} 46.
Rd7+ Kf8 47. Rxh7 Rc2 48. f4 exf4 49. gxf4 Nb5 50. e5 Rxa2 51. e6) 46... Rc2 {
The last chance for Black is connected with the sacrifice of the knight.} 47.
Bc6 Rxa2 48. Rd7+ Kf6 49. Rxc7 Rc2 50. Rxh7 Kg6 (50... Rxc6 51. Rxh6+) 51. Rc7
{Now White is waiting for the pawn to come on a2 to play Rc7-a7.} Kf6 52. h5 $1
{Finishes the game in style with checkmate.} Rc1 53. Rh7 a2 54. Bd5 {[%csl Rf6]
[%cal Gh7f7] Diagram [#] Vachier resigned due to the checkmate.} (54. Bd5 a1=Q
55. Rf7+ Kg5 56. Rf5# {What a game by the world champion!}) 1-0



An Excellent Technique

Just like Magnus Carlsen in the second round Wesley So demonstrated great technique against Rauf Mamedov. Round four saw the Philippine-born American Grandmaster take the lead in Shamkir with remarkable start- 3.5/4!
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.20"]
[Round "4.4"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Mamedov, Rauf"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2788"]
[BlackElo "2651"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:04:30"]
[BlackClock "1:00:27"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 {The Accelerated Dragon has a
reputation of a solid but passive opening. The main reason for this is White's
next move.} 5. c4 {Which leads to the Maroczy bind.} Nf6 6. Nc3 d6 7. f3 ({A
game of Mamedov's coach recently went} 7. Be2 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Bg7 9. Be3 O-O 10.
Qd2 a5 11. O-O a4 12. f3 Qa5 {and transposed into one of the main lines, Van
Wely,L (2665)-Khalifman,A (2613) Jurmala 2015}) 7... Bg7 8. Be3 O-O 9. Be2 Nh5
{Mamedov decided to weaken the kingside before trading the knights.} ({It
makes sense to trade a pair of knights at once with} 9... Nxd4 {Then after} 10.
Bxd4 Be6 11. Rc1 Qa5 12. Qd2 Rfc8 13. b3 a6 14. Be3 b5 15. Nd5 {The things
have developed more or less normally with White enjoying his usual slight
space advantage until Black came up with the spectacular} Nxd5 $1 16. Qxa5 Nxe3
17. Kf2 Bd4 {and White could not prove advantage in Negi,P (2633)-Istratescu,A
(2671) Graz 2014}) 10. g3 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 {Diagram [#]} Be6 $146 {I suspect an
over-the-board novelty and a very logical move.} ({Previously only the
immediate} 11... Qa5 12. O-O Bh3 {has been tried in an email game. After} 13.
Re1 (13. Rf2 $5 $14) 13... Qg5 {Black did well in Huzita,S (1865)-Hassim,U
(2308) ICCF email 2011}) ({The move} 11... Bh3 {looks suspicious as the bishop
can easily can get trapped there, say} 12. Bxg7 Kxg7 13. Qd4+ Nf6 14. g4) 12.
f4 Nf6 13. O-O Rc8 14. b3 Qa5 $6 {[%csl Ra5,Ye6][%cal Gf4f5] Diagram [#] The
beginning of Black's problems. The next move should not have been allowed.} ({
Instead} 14... Bh3 15. Rf2 {and only then} Qa5 {is somewhat better for White,
but playble for the second player.}) ({Normally Black wants to trade the
dark-squared bishop but here the straightforward attempt simply loses} 14...
Nd7 $4 15. f5) 15. f5 $1 {Now White grabs a lot of space and slowly squeezes
his opponent.} Bd7 ({The pawn is poisoned} 15... gxf5 $2 16. exf5 Bxf5 17. b4
Qxb4 18. Rxf5 {wins a piece for White.}) 16. a3 e6 {Black has to defend
passively as any pawn push creates weaknesses in his camp.} ({For example}
16... e5 17. b4 Qc7 18. Be3 {with a huge hole on d5.}) ({And if} 16... b5 17.
b4 Qc7 (17... Qd8 18. Nxb5) 18. Bxf6 $1 Bxf6 19. Nd5 Qd8 20. Nxf6+ exf6 21.
cxb5 {will clear edge for White.}) 17. b4 Qd8 ({In case of} 17... Qc7 {White
can continue in a similar way as in the game} 18. fxe6 fxe6 19. e5 dxe5 20. Bc5
Rf7 21. Bd6 {with advantage.}) 18. fxg6 fxg6 ({White is also much better after
} 18... hxg6 19. e5 dxe5 20. Bxe5) 19. e5 $1 {[%csl Ga3,Ya7,Gb4,Yb7,Gc4,Ye6]
Diagram [#] Wesley So modifies the pawn structure into his favour with the
last two moves. Now he will have a queenside majority, which is always useful
whenever the game approaches the endgame. Mamedov on his turn will have a weak
pawn on e6.} dxe5 20. Bxe5 {White wants to further improve his position with
Qd1-b3, Ra1-d1(e1), c4-c5. His play is very simple and obvious and Black
decided to try his luck in the edngame.} Bc6 21. b5 Ne4 22. Qxd8 Rcxd8 {"I
think this was a mistake" said So at the press-conference. meaning that this
was the mistake in the game. He suggested instead} (22... Rfxd8 {as best. But
as we shall see from the analyzes, White has a strong continuation which both
the players missed.} {White indeed has nothing in case of} 23. Bxg7 ({But after
} 23. bxc6 Nxc3 {[%csl Yb7,Yc3,Yg7][%cal Rc6b7,Re5g7,Re5c3] Diagram [#] White
is not obliged to take the pawn on b7 as they both thought} 24. Bxc3 {as this
indeed leads White nowhere after} ({White has however a clear road to the
advantage with} 24. cxb7 $1 Nxe2+ 25. Kg2 Rb8 ({Or else Black loses one of the
light pieces with} 25... Bxe5 26. bxc8=Q Rxc8 27. Rae1) 26. Bxb8 Rxb8 27. Rad1
{This is more precise than} (27. Rab1 Nc3 28. Rb3 Na4 {with chances for a draw.
}) 27... Nd4 ({The back rank is weak after} 27... Rxb7 $2 28. Rd8+) 28. Rb1 {
A rook and a pawn are usually much better than the two light pieces in the
endgame. Especially when the rook is assisted by a pawn on the seventh rank!})
24... Bxc3 25. cxb7 Bxa1 26. Rxa1 (26. bxc8=Q Bd4+ 27. Kg2 Rxc8 {is equal
instead.}) 26... Rc7 27. Rb1 Rb8 28. Bf3 Rxc4 {when only Black can be better.})
23... Kxg7 24. Nxe4 ({Or} 24. Na4 Be8 25. Rad1) 24... Bxe4 25. Rad1 {(So)}) 23.
Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Rc1 Nxc3 26. Rxc3 Bd7 {[%csl Ga3,Ya7,Gb5,Yb7,Gc4]
Diagram [#]} ({The bishop cannot stay active on the long diagonal due to the
pawn loss after} 26... Be4 27. Re3 Bf5 28. g4) 27. c5 {White achieved his
dream endgame with well advanced queenside pawn majority and active pieces. As
his king is easily entering the play the game is practically decided.} Rc8 28.
a4 Kf6 29. Kf2 Ke5 30. Ke3 Be8 31. Bf3 Rc7 32. Kd3 $1 {[%cal Gd3c4] Diagram [#]
Excellent technique! Before advancing the pawns So activates his pieces to the
maximum.} g5 33. Kc4 h5 34. a5 g4 35. b6 axb6 36. axb6 Rd7 37. Re3+ Kf6 38. c6
bxc6 39. Bxc6 Rd8 40. Bxe8 Rxe8 41. b7 {Diagram [#] Next Re3-b3 will follow
and march of the white king to c7. Just like in the second round Magnus
Carlsen needed only one mistake to defeat his opponent, Wesley So won a nice
positional game to grab the sole lead!} 1-0



The Clash of the Top Seed

Round three of the Gashimov Memorial saw the long-awaited clash of the world's top players. The Stonewall suited Carlsen well again after his memorable win against Vishy Anand in Baden-Baden earlier this year. Caruana's time trouble prevented him from splitting the point, which would not been that difficult otherwise.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.19"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2802"]
[BlackElo "2863"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "104"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:43:20"]
[BlackClock "1:02:50"]

{This was the third encounter between the former number two and the world
champion after the incredible Sinquefield tournament this summer. After the
memorable string of seven wins plenty of people hurried to claim that Fabiano
Caruana is the main threat for the world champion. Magnus Carlsen is obviously
well stimulated by these statements and wants to prove that there is no
rivalry at the moment.} 1. d4 {In the last two games Caruana chose 1.e4 but
did not get much out of the opening.} f5 {The Dutch is a recent addition to
Carlsen's repertoire which show his real intentions. No slow, boring positions
but real battle.} 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 c6 {Carlsen also used the
Stonewall to defeat his great predecessor in February.} 5. Nf3 (5. Nh3 {
remains a viable option for White.} d6 6. O-O Be7 7. b3 e5 {Zhou,J (2625)-Wang,
Y (2702) Xinghua 2012}) 5... d5 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 Qe7 {Diagram [#] To stop
Bc1-a3 with favourable trade of the dark-squared bishops.} 8. Bb2 {Caruana
decided to play solid.} (8. Ne5 {was Anand's choice and after} O-O 9. Nd2 a5 {
[%csl Yb4][%cal Ga5a4]} 10. Bb2 Nbd7 11. Qc2 a4 12. Ndf3 Ne4 {Anand came up
with a novelty} 13. e3 {which however did not yield White much, Anand,V (2797)
-Carlsen,M (2865) Baden-Baden 2015}) ({Another solid plan is the bishop trade
after} 8. a4 O-O 9. Ba3 Bxa3 10. Nxa3 b6 11. Qc1 Bb7 12. Nc2 a5 $11 {Vachier
Lagrave,M (2745)-Radjabov,T (2713) Beijing 2013}) 8... b6 9. Ne5 Bb7 10. Nd2
O-O 11. Rc1 a5 {The same move as in the game with Anand.} 12. e3 Na6 13. Nb1 ({
Also possible is} 13. Qe2 a4 14. bxa4 Bxe5 15. dxe5 Nd7 16. a5 Nac5 17. Bc3 {
when instead of} bxa5 {Possible improvements would be} (17... Ba6 $1) ({Or}
17... Na4 $5) 18. Nb3 Nxb3 19. axb3 $14 {So,W (2656)-Reinderman,D (2573) Wijk
aan Zee 2010}) 13... Bxe5 14. dxe5 Ne4 15. Qe2 {Diagram [#]} a4 $146 {
Carlsen's novelty. It is funny how similar his ideas are so far in comparison
to the game with Anand.} ({Previously only} 15... Nc7 {has been seen} 16. f3
Ng5 {but this does not look active enough and White is somewhat better after}
17. Nc3 ({Instead of} 17. h4 Nf7 18. e4 fxe4 19. fxe4 dxc4 20. Qxc4 c5 21. Rfd1
{with a draw, Komarov,D (2575)-Gleizerov,E (2540) Leeuwarden 1995})) 16. Nc3
axb3 17. axb3 Qb4 $132 {Black generated enough counter play on the queenside.}
18. Nxe4 {This more or less should have forced a draw. the next moves are very
logical and push the game towards the logical outcome.} dxe4 (18... fxe4 {
would weaken the c8-h3 diagonal and will be favourable for White after} 19. Bh3
Nc5 20. Bd4 $14) 19. Qc2 Nc5 20. Bc3 Qxb3 21. Qxb3 Nxb3 22. Rb1 Nc5 23. Rxb6
Na4 {[%csl Yb6,Yc3] Diagram [#] The bishop pair is taken off the board and
Black has a strong knight versus a relatively passive bishop. This however
should not be for very long and White has an active rook as compensation. One
problem for Caruana was that he was getting low on time.} 24. Rxb7 Nxc3 25. Re7
Rfe8 26. Rxe8+ {An easier draw would have been} (26. Rc7 Rec8 27. Re7 Re8 28.
Rc7 {as if the other rook attacks} Rac8 {it will no longer has an open file}
29. Ra7 $11) 26... Rxe8 27. Ra1 (27. f3 {"was an immediate draw. I was very
surprised the way that the things have happened". (Carlsen)}) 27... Rd8 28. Bf1
c5 {[%csl Gc3,Yf1] Diagram [#] "I thought that the position was a draw no
matter what I play and then I somehow drifted. The next idea was a disaster"
(Caruana)} 29. Ra3 (29. Ra5 {should draw indeed in the line that both the
players showed at the press conference} Rd1 ({Caruana was more concerned about
} 29... Rd2 {but Carlsen did not think he has anything after} 30. Rxc5 Nd1 31.
Rc8+ Kf7 32. Rc7+ Kf8 33. Rc8+ Ke7 34. Rc7+ Kd8 35. Rxg7 Nxf2 36. c5 Ng4 37.
Bb5 $11) 30. Rxc5 Nb1 31. Rc6 (31. Rc8+ Kf7 32. Kg2 Nd2 33. Rd8 {was also
equal.}) 31... Nd2 32. Rd6 Rxf1+ 33. Kg2 Rd1 34. c5 Rc1 35. Rxd2 Rxc5 $11 {"I
could not see anything better" (Carlsen)}) 29... Nb1 30. Ra1 Nd2 {Now White is
in trouble and the lack of time does not contribute to solving his problems.}
31. Be2 ({Or else White loses a pawn after} 31. Kg2 Nf3 32. Ra5 Rc8) 31... Nf3+
32. Bxf3 (32. Kg2 Nxe5) 32... exf3 {The endgame is difficult for White and the
world champion plays very neatly.} 33. h3 h5 $1 {[%csl Yg1][%cal Rh5g4,Rf5g4]
Diagram [#] It is important to keep the white king in a box.} 34. g4 (34. Ra5
Rd1+ 35. Kh2 Rf1 36. Rxc5 Rxf2+ 37. Kh1 (37. Kg1 Rg2+) 37... Rf1+ 38. Kh2 Rc1 {
and the f pawn promotes.}) 34... fxg4 35. hxg4 h4 $1 {Now the king is trapped
forever.} 36. Kh2 ({There is no way out} 36. g5 Kh7 37. Kh2 Kg6 38. Kh3 Kh5 $1)
36... Rd2 37. Kh3 g5 38. e4 Rd4 {Carlsen avoids the rampant rook idea possible
after} (38... Rxf2 $4 39. Ra8+ Kg7 40. Ra7+ Kg6 {Diagram [#]} 41. Rg7+ $1 Kh6
42. Rh7+ Kxh7 {and stalemate.}) 39. Ra8+ Kf7 40. Ra3 ({The players also
discussed the line after} 40. Ra7+ {but cme to the conclusion that Black is
winning anyway.}) 40... Rxc4 41. Rxf3+ Ke7 42. Re3 Rd4 {The rest is a matter
of technique for the world champion.} 43. f3 c4 44. Ra3 Rd3 45. Ra7+ Kd8 46.
Kg2 c3 47. Ra4 c2 48. Rc4 Rd2+ 49. Kh3 Kd7 50. Rc5 Rf2 51. f4 (51. Rc3 Rxf3+)
51... Rf3+ 52. Kh2 Rxf4 {Diagram [#] A somewhat misterious win by the world
champion.} 0-1



One Mistake

The only decisive game in round two of the Shamkir Tournament was the one between the world champion and the Azerbaijani's highest rated representative. Mamedyarov committed just one mistake in the opening but this proved one too many:

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.18"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2863"]
[BlackElo "2754"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:39:35"]
[BlackClock "0:25:47"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 {Mamedyarov chose the solid, but someone
passive Schlechter line of the Slav defense. The arising positions transform
into Gruenfeld set-ups.} 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be2 {This move is considered more
precise than} (6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O {which allows} Bg4) 6... O-O 7. O-O b6 ({Four
years ago Vugar Gashimov won a nice game against the world champion's second
after} 7... Nbd7 8. h3 b6 9. b3 Bb7 10. Bb2 c5 11. Qc2 Rc8 12. Rad1 dxc4 13.
Bxc4 Bxf3 14. gxf3 cxd4 15. Rxd4 Ne8 16. Rd2 Nd6 {Nielsen,P (2681)-Gashimov,V
(2760) Khanty-Mansiysk 2011}) ({The guru of the Schlechter line Gata Kamsky
prefers to play} 7... a6 {This should mean something.}) 8. a4 {The idea is
either to expand on the queenside or to weaken the b5 point. Also interesting
is} (8. b4 Ne4 9. Bb2 ({Please note that the capture on e4 leads only to
equality after} 9. Nxe4 dxe4 10. Nd2 e5 $11) 9... Nxc3 10. Bxc3 Bb7 $14 {Anton
Guijarro,D (2607)-Li,C (2711) Germany 2015}) 8... a5 {Mamedyarov had some
doubts about this move.} (8... Ba6) (8... Bf5 {were tested as well previously.}
) 9. cxd5 {Diagram [#]} cxd5 $146 {Mamedyarov tries to improve upon a game by
Anand that saw:} (9... Nxd5 10. e4 Nb4 11. Be3 Bg4 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Bxf3 $14 {
with long-lasting edge for White, Anand,V (2800)-Wang,Y (2732) Nanjing 2010})
10. b3 Ne4 $2 {Both players didn't like this move. It is quite common in the
Gruenfeld but here is just bad as Black cannot free himself in the center.} ({
Instead both} 10... Nc6 11. Ba3 Nb4) ({Or} 10... Ba6 {and only after} 11. Nb5
Ne4 {are playable for Black.}) 11. Nxe4 dxe4 12. Nd2 Bb7 {Mamedyarov is forced
to get into passive defense.} ({The point is that the usual freeing move} 12...
e5 {(see the note to move eight) can be refuted in two ways. Either with the
preliminary} 13. Ba3 $1 ({Or after the immediate} 13. d5 $1 Qxd5 14. Ba3 Rd8
15. Nxe4 $16) 13... Re8 14. Nxe4 exd4 15. Nd6 $16 {In both cases with large
advantage for White.}) 13. Ba3 f5 14. Rc1 {A clever move. Carlsen does not
want to put a piece yet on c4.} Kh8 {In case that Black continues he
development with} (14... Nd7 {White has} 15. Bb5 Nf6 16. Nc4 {with a bind. One
line goes} Nd5 17. Ne5 Rc8 18. Rxc8 Qxc8 19. Bd7 Qa8 20. Be6+ Kh8 21. Nf7+ Kg8
{Quite strangely White does not win material after the many discovered attacks,
but this does not change the evaluation of the position as clearly better for
White} 22. Nd8+ Kh8 23. Nxb7 Qxb7 24. Qc2 $16) 15. Nc4 Nd7 16. d5 $1 {[%csl
Rd5] Diagram [#]} Rc8 17. d6 {Carlsen: "Once I get the pawn to d6 then the
position is, I think, very unpleasant for Black. He cannot get serious
counterplay against the king and I break through on the queenside quickly.
Mamedyarov agreed with the world champion: "It was very easy to play for White.
"} e6 ({Black loses material after} 17... exd6 18. Nxd6 (18. Qxd6 {is also
great for him.}) 18... Rxc1 19. Qxc1 Bd5 20. Rd1 Bxb3 21. Nb7 $16) 18. b4 $1 {
Strong play by Carlsen. One weakness is not enough to win the game and he
opens the road for his pieces while the black ones are busy with the d6 passer.
} axb4 19. Bxb4 Bd5 20. a5 bxa5 21. Bxa5 Qe8 22. Qa4 Bc6 23. Qb4 Rb8 24. Nb6 {
The white pieces are easily improving themselves. Now the best blockader is
challenged.} Ne5 ({For good or for bad Black had to try} 24... Nxb6 25. Bxb6
Qd7 {It is doubtful that Black can say himself after say} 26. Ba6 {White
controls the open c file and will soon break in, but this was Mamedyarov's
best chance.}) 25. Qc5 Ba8 {This loses on the spot. Once that the blockade is
gone White wins with direct attack along the seventh rank.} ({Some extra
control of the seventh rank was needed, although I suspect that both the
players had already considered Black's position hopeless after} 25... Rf7 26.
Bc3 Nd7 27. Nxd7 Bxd7 28. Bxg7+ Kxg7 29. Qe5+) 26. Bc3 {[%csl Ye5,Yh8][%cal
Ra7h7,Ra1h8] Diagram [#] Domination.} Nd7 27. Bxg7+ Kxg7 28. Nxd7 Qxd7 29. Qe5+
{Black resigned due to the checkmate (or queen loss) after} (29. Qe5+ Kh6 (
29... Kg8 30. Rc7) 30. Rc7 Qd8 31. Qg7+ Kg5 32. h4+ Kxh4 33. Qh6# {Magnus
Carlsen needed only one mistake from his opponent to punish him harshly.}) 1-0



Shamkir Starts with Two Decisive Games

The first round of the super tournament in memory of Vugar Gashimov Shamkir started with two white wins and three draws. The former world champion Vladimir Kramnik won in his trademark style against the English GM Michael Adams.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.17"]
[Round "1.2"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2746"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:31"]
[BlackClock "0:00:05"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. d4 {It seems as the
Catalan is an opening specifically designed for Vladimir Kramnik. Small, but
lasting edge, no couterplay at all for the opponent, this suits his style
perfectly fine.} dxc4 7. Ne5 Nc6 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. Nxc6 Qe8 10. Nxe7+ Qxe7 {
Kramnik had tried this line twice at two different Candidates tournament.} 11.
Na3 {[%csl Yc4][%cal Ga3c4] Diagram [#] This is what he also did against Anand
in Khanty an year ago.} ({Against the future world champion he tried} 11. Qc2
e5 12. Rd1 Rb8 13. Nc3 h6 14. dxe5 Qxe5 15. Bf4 Qe7 16. Rd4 Be6 17. Rad1 {with
slight edge for White, Kramnik,V (2810)-Carlsen,M (2872) London 2013}) ({The
main move remains} 11. Qa4) 11... c5 ({Marin's recommendation was recently
tested by Naroditsky} 11... Rd8 12. Qc2 Rxd4 13. Nxc4 Qc5 14. b3 Rd8 15. Ba3
Qh5 16. f3 {although Black managed to win later, the opening seems to favor
White, Kjartansson,G (2439)-Naroditsky,D (2601) Saint Louis 2014}) 12. dxc5
Qxc5 13. Be3 Qc6 $146 {[%csl Rg2][%cal Rb7g2] Diagram [#] A novelty. It has
been though already mentioned by GM Marin as well.} ({Taken by surprise in
Khanty Anand chose} 13... Qh5 14. f3 c3 $1 15. bxc3 Qa5 16. Qc1 Ba6 17. c4 Rac8
{and kept the game leveled, Kramnik- Anand, FIDE Candidates, Khanty Mansiysk
2014. Or perhaps this was a perfect preparation by Black?}) ({Nakamura solved
the opening problems after} 13... Qb4 14. Qc1 Ba6 15. Bd4 Rfd8 16. Rd1 Rac8 17.
Qc3 Qa4 18. Qc2 Qxc2 19. Nxc2 c3 20. Bxc3 Rxd1+ 21. Rxd1 Bxe2 {Aronian,L (2797)
-Nakamura,H (2767) Saint Louis 2014}) 14. Rc1 Bb7 15. f3 Ba6 ({The
counter-attacking attempt fails after} 15... Ng4 16. Bd4 e5 17. Rxc4 Qh6 18.
fxg4 $16) 16. Nxc4 Bxc4 17. Qd4 {An improvement upon Marin's line that goes} (
17. b3 Bxb3 (17... Bxe2 {might be better}) 18. Rxc6 Bxd1 19. Rxd1 {with slight
advantage for White (Marin).}) 17... Rfc8 $6 {This does not seem optimal.
Critical is the queen sacrifice after} (17... Nd5 $5 18. Rxc4 {Diagram [#]}
Qxc4 $1 19. Qxc4 Nxe3 20. Qa6 Nxf1 21. Kxf1 {White has a queen and a pawn for
the two rooks and chances for the advantage, but the rooks seem quite strong
as well.}) 18. b3 Qa6 19. bxc4 Qxa2 20. Kf2 $14 {Now White is a little better.
His pieces are more centralized and the bishop is clearly stronger than the
knight.} (20. Bg5 $5 {at once is also interesting.}) 20... a5 21. Bg5 {This
move is definitely part of White's plan but White should have prepared it with}
(21. Rfd1 $14) 21... e5 $1 {Strong play by Adams who almost equalizes after
this.} 22. Qd6 ({Naturally not} 22. Qxe5 $2 Re8) 22... Rd8 23. Qb6 {Diagram [#]
} Rab8 $6 {It is somewhat reliefing that even at the top level players tend to
chose the wrong rook. After the correct:} (23... Rdb8 $1 {White will lack the
nice resource that he used in the game. He will still be somewhat better after}
24. Qe3 ({Or} 24. Qc6 Rc8 25. Qb5 Rab8 26. Ra1 Rxb5 27. Rxa2 Rxc4 28. Rfa1 $11)
24... a4 25. Bxf6 gxf6 26. c5 a3 27. c6 Qb2 28. c7 Rc8 29. Rc4 {but Adams
would have decent chances for a draw.}) 24. Rfd1 $1 {Kramnik immediately
seizes the chance to occupy the open file with a tempo.} Re8 ({Alas, the queen
is untouchable} 24... Rxb6 25. Rxd8+ Ne8 26. Rxe8#) 25. Qe3 a4 ({In the line}
25... Re6 26. Bxf6 Rxf6 27. Qxe5 {Black has no time to play Rf6-e6 as the
other one hangs.}) 26. Bxf6 gxf6 27. Qe4 {Kramnik opened the enemy king and
now intends to combine the threats against the king with the advance of the
passed c pawn. Black's defense is extremely difficult.} ({The computer claims
that a better idea is to push at once} 27. c5 {but Kramnik remained true to
his style and avoided any counter-play connected with} e4) 27... a3 28. Rd7 {
Diagram [#] The culmination of the game.} Rbd8 $2 {Once again Adams chooses
the wrong rook!} (28... Red8 {would have been better, keeping both the open
files under control. If Black manages to trade a pair of rooks, he would
survive.} 29. Rcd1 (29. Ra7 Qb2 {and there is no Rc1-b1!}) 29... Rxd7 30. Rxd7
Qb3 {Compare this position with the one after 30...Qc3 from below.}) 29. Ra7 $1
Qb2 30. Rb1 {Two rooks in the attack and a queen can paint plenty of checkmate
pictures...} f5 {Desperation, but there was no way out.} ({Like the one after}
30... Qc3 31. Rxf7 $1 {[%csl Rg8][%cal Gb1b7,Ge4h7] Diagram [#]} Kxf7 32. Rb7+
{This is the difference. One rook is destroying the king's castle, the second
one assists the queen. Black is checkmated after both} {and} Kf8 (32... Ke6 33.
Qc6+ Kf5 34. g4+ Kg6 (34... Kg5 35. Rg7+ Kh4 36. Qxf6+ Kh3 37. Qh6#) 35. Qe4+)
33. Qxh7) 31. Rxb2 fxe4 32. Rxa3 Rd4 33. Rc2 Rc8 34. c5 exf3 35. Rxf3 {Kramnik
won a pawn and all his pieces are ideally placed.} Rc6 36. Rd3 Rxd3 37. exd3 f5
38. d4 $1 {[%csl Yc6][%cal Gf2e2,Ge2d3,Gd3d4,Gd4d5] Opens the road for the
king. Black resigned after} exd4 39. Ke2 {An excellent start for the former
world champion!} 1-0

Full report by Peter Doggers.