Gashimov Memorial 2015 – Round 1
Another super-tournament with the world’s elite taking part, and this time I hope things will be very interesting, as the heroes had some time to rest before the tournament. Round 1 saw two decisive games, both won by white.
Kramnik played his usual Catalan against Adams and got his usual tiny and annoying edge. Adams usually knows how to deal with this kind of problems, but today he failed to do so. He committed several inaccuracies and one big mistake on move 30 and that was it. An uncharacteristic game for the level these guys are on.
So beat Giri in the duel of the players with the shortest names. The game was also short and it was amusing that after playing 1…g6 the Bf8 got to g7 on move 12 after going to b4-e7-d6-f8 and finally to g7, but then immediately to f6 to be exchanged. You shouldn’t move too many times with one piece in the opening, this probably sounds familiar from some old books. And the punishment was just like in the old books.
The rest of the games were drawn, but the main one of those was the duel of the the World Champion and his predecessor. Carlsen went for the Marshall, a surprising choice as he usually avoid heavy theory, but the surprise worked and he got a good position. And then he blundered. Not a common sight to see him do that. Anand was winning, but was it psychology or something else he failed to win. It could have been a dream start for Anand, but now this game may turn out to be the game that will haunt him until the end of the tournament. Again not a characteristic game for this level.
Mamedyarov was pressing Caruana in a very rare line in the Grunfeld, but couldn’t quite nail him. The game was the last to finish as it featured the R+B vs R endgame, which Caruana held comfortably.
Mamedov and Vachier drew an uneventful game in the 3 Bb5+ line in the Sicilian, a result that must please Mamedov, as he made his first half a point and slowly can make himself comfortable in the company of the elite. As the obvious outsider, it will be interesting how the other players will play against Mamedov and how much risk they will be willing to take against him. His repertoire as white is solid (Sicilians with Bb5, the Alapin and the Giuoco Piano being his typical choices), but with black he can be pressed as the KID and the Maroczy are not the most solid of openings. Tomorrow he is black against the theoretical Giri, so we will quickly find out.