Gashimov Memorial 2016
Posted: 26 May 2016 04:50 PM  
Administrator
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  295
Joined  2011-11-18

Round 1

The third Gashimov Memorial, a super tournament hosted in the city of Shamkir, Azerbaijan, in honor of the late GM Vugar Gashimov, this year is missing the World Champion, who has won the first two editions. Nonetheless, the line-up is very interesting, with world #2 Fabiano Caruana, world #4 Anish Giri, the Candidate Sergey Karjakin, the women World Champion Hou Yifan, and strong GMs such as Pavel Eljanov, Pentala Harikrishna, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Eltaj Safarli and Rauf Mamedov. The first round ended with 5 draws, but at least two games were quite interesting. GM Max Dlugy shows us Caruana vs. Harikrishna and Safarli vs. Eljanov, in his Game Of the Day recap video.

GM Dlugy’s RECAP VIDEO

Profile
Posted: 27 May 2016 07:01 PM   [ # 1 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  295
Joined  2011-11-18

Round 2

After a first round with 5 draws, round 2 featured 3 decisive games, to turn the Gashimov memorial into a lively event. Harikrishna played well in Norway earlier this year,  almost overtaking in the rating list his legendary countryman Vishy Anand, and it looks like he’s back for more now, in Shamkir. After today’s win vs. Mamedyarov, Pentala sits only 0.7 points behind Anand in the live rating list. After 25 years we may be witnessing a generational shift in India. Karjakin lost with Giri. Giri, probably tired about jokes that want him be the draw-master, went for a random English opening, keeping the game swell alive; no King’s Indian drawish lines for the young Anish. Karjakin, inexplicably, spent a lot of time on apparently simple moves, to find himself in time trouble early in the game: 5 minutes for 13 moves to make the first time control. And there was where the Candidate started going wrong. In a complicated position the clock ticking doesn’t help, unless your name is Alexander Grischuk. Giri kept a steady hand, accumulating advantage patiently, and eventually crushing into black’s defensive lines. Former Italian talent and current number 2 of the world Fabiano Caruana won vs. Eljanov with black. Caruana showed once again that he’s able to keep a super-high level of play tournament after tournament. Today Fabiano played a very good game, pressing Pavel for a long time, until the strong Ukrainian GM had to give up, falling into an unavoidable mating net. Quite a round in Shamkir! 

GM Alex Yermolinsky’s VIDEO RECAP

Image Attachments  Gashimov16_Standings_Rd2.jpg
Profile
Posted: 28 May 2016 05:49 PM   [ # 2 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  295
Joined  2011-11-18

Round 3

Another exciting round in Shamkir today! Three decisive games out of five, for a great round. Hou Yifan went for a an Open Ruy Lopez against Caruana. An odd choice in a way, though Hou has used this opening (as white) in the recent Women World Championship. It Is not a common opening at this level. Caruana went out of theory at move 18 with h4. Hou didn’t seem to handle the novelty too well, and 27 … h5 was a huge mistake, that allowed Fabiano to overcome the Women World champion and win the game rather easily. Caruana now leads solo, with a fantastic +2 after 3 rounds. Harikrishna today played Karjakin, and chose the Petroff, which everyone knows be Sergey’s home ground. At move 12 Pentala played the incredible h6, allowing Karjakin to unleash a vicious attack, sacrificing the dark square bishop on the pawn. Harikrishna understood immediately that taking the bishop would have led to immediate disaster; so he tried c4, but it was already too late to recover the blunder. Karjakin forced the Indian into a lost endgame, after Harikrishna had to dodge a number of mortal threats.  Mamedyarov beat Eljanov, who is now the tail end of the standings, with -2. 11. bxc3 was the key move of the game. Mamedyarov played this strange-looking move perhaps to avoid a super-boring line - had he taken the pawn with the Queen - that would have most probably led to a draw. From there on, a bold Mamedyarov payed a modern classic, inspired and precise, to win his first game in the third Gashimov Memorial. tomorrow round 4, starting at 7AM EDT - -13:00 CEST.

IM Sielecki’s VIDEO RECAP

Image Attachments  Gashimov16_Standings_Rd3.jpg
Profile
Posted: 29 May 2016 05:19 PM   [ # 3 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  295
Joined  2011-11-18

Round 4

Only two decisive games in Shamkir today, but a lot of action for another interesting round. Giri won with Harikrishna, who lost the second game in a row, after a good start. In a highly theoretical position played a lot of times - even by the Indian GM - Harikrishna blundered horribly and Giri was able to end the game in one move. Odd to see such a strong GM blunder two games in a row. Caruana and Mamedov played a good game in the trending Italian opening, getting into a tense, not easy to play position. Fabiano, with his proverbial technique prowess, was able to force Rauf into a lost endgame, bishop and 3 pawns vs. 5 pawns, with Mamedov’s king in zugzwang. Mamedov resigned, facing the loss of all his pawns. A great game by Caruana, who leads solo at 3.5/4, followed by Giri at 3.0. The rest of the crowd looks at the duo from some distance: at 50% (2.0/4) Karjakin, Radjabov, Mamedyarov and Safarli. Tomorrow Round 5, at 7AM EDT—13:00 CET. 

GM Ronen Har-Zvi’s VIDEO RECAP

Image Attachments  Gashimov16_Standings_Rd4.jpg
Profile
Posted: 30 May 2016 06:22 PM   [ # 4 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  295
Joined  2011-11-18

Round 5

Fabiano is playing phenomenal chess, and today he won again. Anish Giri is the only one able to keep the incredible pace, at least for now. Four decisive results today, for the most lively round in Shamkir so far. Safarli played a good opening against Giri, and the players reached a critical position at move 21, when Giri played e4. At this point Safarli started playing a bit passively, and Giri took advantage of this attitude, maximizing the potentiality of all his pieces, getting a clear edge that led Anish to a relatively quick victory. Harikrishna beat Eljanov, who’s having a nightmarish event, after the not-so-brilliant performance in Norway. Harikrishna played an excellent game, highly tactical. Karjakin won his game against Hou Yifan, to climb in solitary third position with 3 points, looking from some distance at the fantastic duo up there. In a typical double-sided Sicilian scheme, Radjabov in his game against Caruana had a pawn storm going on the queen side, whereas Fabiano concentrated his forces toward black’s king side. But Teimour slowed down his attack, and Caruana paralyzed the advancing pawns. From there on, Fabiano made it look easy, playing precisely and prying open the enemy’s king defense. Despite Radjabov’s attempts to organize and build a fortress around his exposed Sire, Caruana was able to finish him off in elegant style, with a pawn on the 7th rank shielded and protected by a knight on the 8th, leaving no chances whatsoever to the Azeri GM. Tomorrow is a rest day. Play resumes Wednesday June the 1st at 7AM EDT - 13:00 CEST.

GM Larry Christiansen’s VIDEO RECAP

Image Attachments  Gashimov16_Standings_Rd5.jpg
Profile
Posted: 01 June 2016 05:05 PM   [ # 5 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  295
Joined  2011-11-18

Round 6

The rest day didn’t help the fight-mode of the 10 contenders in Shamkir. Today 5 draws. Most of the people out there were already talking about Caruana doing another “Sinquefield” but, despite Fabiano today got an edge and tried to win, Safarli played a good game in defense, nailing the super-strong American number two in the world to a draw. Giri seemed to be in trouble against Eljanov, but the alleged advantage of the Ukrainian was never converted into something real, and Anish drew the game without much worry, to stamp there a not-too-shabby rating performance so far: 2918. With three rounds to go Caruana, whose rating performance so far is a stunning 2979, leads solo, pursued only by Giri half a point behind. Far, far distant, the Candidate looks up at the two monsters with little hope to catch them. Caruana-Giri, the game that will most likely decide the tournament, takes place tomorrow. Round 7 at 7AM EDT - 13:00 CEST: Caruana-Giri, Mamedyarov-Safarli, Karjakin-Radjabov, Harikrishna-Mamedov, Eljanov-Hou Yifan.

GM John Fedorowicz’s VIDEO RECAP

Image Attachments  Gashimov16_Standings_Rd6.jpg
Profile
Posted: 02 June 2016 04:34 PM   [ # 6 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  295
Joined  2011-11-18

Round 7

A very theoretical game led to a draw by repetition in the big clash at the top between Caruana and Giri today. The two top players went for an open Ruy Lopez, with no great chances for either to push and try to win. Safarli missed a great opportunity to draw his game vs. Mamedyarov, as IM voja shows in his analysis. After today’s win, Mamedyarov shares 3rd-4th with Karjakin, turning a so far opaque performance into a decent result. Eljanov went with his pet line in the London system against Hou Yifan. It was an interesting game, with Hou fighting hard and getting into an apparently won position, with a bunch of extra pawns ready to become dangerous. But Eljanov had calculated the ending implications very efficiently, forcing the women’s champion into a lost endgame, with her pawns not able anymore to sting and Pavel’s “c” pawn free to storm the board undisturbed, to reach promotion in a few moves. Hou Yifan is actually playing good chess, and her score in the event doesn’t reflect her level of play. Karjakin vs. Radjabov is a game that takes us some years back, when the two then-prodigies used to battle at the top level. Today’s game was not exciting at all, with the two players trying nothing to make it interesting. Karjakin is probably with heart and mind at the match of his life, which will take place in a few months, and Radjabov, at least in this event, doesn’t seem to be anymore the brilliant player he used to be. So, the standings at the top stay unchanged, with Caruana leading at 5.5/7 followed by Giri with 5.0/7. A full point behind Karjakin and Mamedyarov. tomorrow, in the penultimate round, Caruana plays Mamedyarov and Giri plays Hou Yifan. Round 8 starts at 7AM EDT—13:00 CEST.

IM Voja Milanovic’s VIDEO RECAP

Image Attachments  Gashimov16_Standings_Rd7.jpg
Profile
Posted: 03 June 2016 06:01 PM   [ # 7 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  295
Joined  2011-11-18

Round 8

And when you think it’s all over… BOOM! Only one decisive game today in round 8, but what a result! Mamedyarov beat Caruana and, with Giri drawing Hou, now the two top players share first going into the last round. Mamedyarov, after a rough start, is playing great chess. In today’s game he challenged Fabiano in the Sveshnikov,. Caruana got a comfortable position, but Mamedyarov found a brilliant move to avoid the squeeze and start harassing white on the queen side: 16 Qb7. Caruana spent a lot of time to organize his troops, to found himself in time trouble. After the time control at move 40, it was clear that Memedyarov had got the upper hand in the game. The strong Azeri didn’t let it go, and played very well to bring home the full point. now Mamedyarov follows the two co-leaders by only half a point, and tomorrow he plays Giri with white, in an all-important game. Should Mamedyarov win, he would be first, waiting for Caruana’s result in the American’s game against Karjakin - with black. In case of tie, the playoff system contemplates two rapid games with time control 10+3; if still tied, 2 blitz games with time control 5+3; if still tied, it’ll be Armageddon time: a blitz game with white getting 6 minutes and black 5 minutes; black has draw odds, as usual. Last round tomorrow, at 6AM EDT - 12:00 CEST: Mamedyarov-Giri, Karjakin-Caruana, Harikrishna-Safarli, Eljanov-Radjabov, Hou Yifan-Mamedov.

GM Joel Benjamin’s VIDEO RECAP

Image Attachments  Gashimov16_Standings_Rd8.jpg
Profile
Posted: 04 June 2016 07:00 PM   [ # 8 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  295
Joined  2011-11-18

Round 9

All what was unlikely to happen, happened today in Shamkir. Local hero Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won the 3rd Gashimov Memorial. After beating Caruana in round 8, today Mamedyarov beat Giri, and with Caruana drawing his game vs. Karjakin, the American and the Azeri went on to play the tiebreaks. The first two games were rapid, with time control 10+3, and they drew both games. So, on with the Blitz: 5 minutes plus three second increment. Mamedyarov won the first game, forcing Caruana into a must-win situation. Blitz is not Fabiano’s cup of tea, and Mamedyarov drew the second game, winning the title. An almost incredible come-back by Mamedyarov, who started the tournament playing rather badly, to get on form during the event and close his final rush brilliantly. Mamedyarov was a true friend of the late Vugar Gashimov, and the romantic aspect of this year’s edition is that for the first time - after Magnus monopolizing the first two editions - has been won by someone who was close to the great Azeri GM so prematurely gone. Also, it’s a pleasure to see Mamedyarov triumph in an important event. He’s been up there since forever, and it was about time to see Shakhriyar win a super-tournament. Congratulations to Mamedyarov!

IM John Watson’s VIDEO RECAP

Image Attachments  Gashimov16_Standings_rd9.jpg
Profile