Gashimov Memorial 2015 – Round 8

Three more white wins in Shamkir today. And, counting yesterday’s round as well, three exchange sacrifices by two former World Champions!

I really enjoy it when Anand is disproving me! Yesterday I wrote that he cannot outplay the younger generation from equal positions, but today he did just that against Mamedyarov. Anand is well-known to pick up modern ideas very quickly, and today he used the 7 Ne2 line in the Four Knights recently used by the Chinese prodigy Wei Yi (who beat Melkumyan with it just 3 days ago at the World Team Championship). He obtained a great position after another positional exchange sacrifice (he sacrificed an exchange yesteday against Adams) and even though he wasn’t precise he did maintain the pressure and the terrifying look of his central pawns. In time-trouble Mamedyarov succumbed:

The third exchange sacrifice was executed by the long-castled Kramnik. A smooth win for him – I suppose after three losses in a row you just don’t care anymore and play much better. Kramnik again chose the Reti and surprisingly enough got an advantage from it. The Frenchman (Vachier) was kind enough to be impatient and speed up his own demise.

The third win was achieved by Adams against Giri. Giri showed ambition (something he rarely does) by playing the Sicilian against Adams. Adams chose the quiet 6 g3 against the Najdorf and Giri opted for the Scheveningen with 6…e6. The game showed that Adams understands these positions much better than Giri – he massacred black’s kingside as the following position shows:

Mamedov drew Caruana in an interesting Spanish (the same Yates Variation that Mamedov used against Adams in Round 5) that ended with perpetual check. Like yesterday against Mamedyarov, everything seemed forced from one moment onwards. It has been a good tournament for Mamedov, who managed to hold his own against the elite, and had he not gone for his beloved Maroczy against So, he may well have had 50% score at this stage. Tomorrow’s game with Carlsen will be tough, but he can look forward to it after well-played 8 rounds, which showed that the 100-150 Elo difference between Mamedov and the rest is anything but convincing.

So and Carlsen also drew, Carlsen didn’t have problems in the English so he drew comfortably. Tomorrow he is white against Mamedov and even though a draw should suffice for clear first (it’s difficult to imagine Anand beating Caruana with black) I am sure he will try to win and end in style.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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