April 27, 2014 18:02

Carlsen Beats Nakamura in Shamkir, Clear First Again

Magnus Carsen is the sole leader again at the Shamkir Chess tournament in Azerbaijan. The World Champion was worse against Hikaru Nakamura but won anyway to set his personal score with the American to 10 wins and 0 losses in classical games. The games Radjabov-Mamedyaro and Karjakin-Caruana ended in draws. In the B group Pavel Eljanov caught Etienne Bacrot in first place by winning their individual encounter.

The seventh round of the Shamkir Chess tournament started with two rather quick draws. The game between Teimour Radjabov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was a rather friendly affair, like so many encounters between the two Azeri top players have been. In fact, of their eight previous classical games that can be found in the database, only one did not end in a draw - the one at the 2010 Astrakhan Grand Prix, when Mamedyarov mysteriously lost on time.

Today the two played an English/Catalan hybrid where White enjoys a tiny edge. Radjabov played it safe with 15.Qe2, and soon after almost all the pieces were traded.

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Mamedyarov & Radjabov after their game | Photo: Ahmed Mukhtar

Sergey Karjakin and Fabiano Caruana reached move 51, but the game really lasted only 23 moves. From a 8.Rb1 Gruenfeld, in no time an ending was reached that looked familiar to experts: it was from Giri-Caruana, Zug 2013.

“I went for this ending Anish Giri also played. I thought it was a pleasant endgame, winning chances. If Black knows what he's doing it's probably objectively a draw,” said Karjakin. “Chess is a draw. I thought the line was not simple, but perhaps I was wrong.”

“After the game I realized it's a very tricky ending and I analyzed it very deeply, but I couldn't remember everything. It's a little bit worse for Black but objectively it should be defendable,” said Caruana.

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Karjakin, who has drawn all of his games, said about the final three rounds: “Anything can happen. Maybe I will be first, maybe I will be last. I'm in a philosophical mood today.”

Karjakin & Caruana discussing the ending | Photo: Ahmed Mukhtar

Every round in the A group there has been at least one decisive game, and it wasn't different on Sunday. Magnus Carlsen also won his second game in Shamkir against Hikaru Nakamura, and so it's the World Champion again who tops the standings alone, with three rounds to go.

Yet again Nakamura managed to get a promising position (during their press conference Caruana and Karjakin agreed that it was dangerous for Carlsen), only to spoil the advantage and even lose. It reminded of course of the dramatic game he played against the same opponent in February in Zurich, but there it was different: Nakamura was clearly winning.

Nakamura wearing a New York Red Bulls shirt...
...with his own name printed on it

Today the American GM had a big advantage and felt he was winning, but he couldn't point out after the game where exactly. It's probably move 26.

After missing his chance, Nakamura was still better. “To lose this position is pathetic basically. Can't find any other words to describe,” Nakamura said himself. “To lose this position takes a lot of talent.”

PGN string

Carlsen: back in the lead

The B group is suddenly all open as tournament leader Etienne Bacrot lost his first game, to Pavel Eljanov. The two are now in shared first place with two rounds to go. Eljanov has White against Guseinov and Black against Abasov, while Bacrot has Black against Motylev and White against Safarli.

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Bacrot-Eljanov, the key game in group B today

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 0-1 Carlsen
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Caruana ½-½ Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov ½-½ Karjakin
Round 2 21.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 AZST
Mamedyarov ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov ½-½ Mamedyarov
Caruana ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin ½-½ Caruana
Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura   Nakamura 0-1 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 ½-½ Mamedyarov   Caruana - Mamedyarov
Radjabov ½-½ Nakamura   Radjabov - Carlsen
Caruana 1-0 Carlsen   Karjakin - Nakamura
Round 5 24.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 10 30.04.14 13:00 AZST
Mamedyarov 1-0 Caruana   Mamedyarov - Karjakin
Carlsen 0-1 Radjabov   Nakamura - Radjabov
Nakamura ½-½ Karjakin   Carlsen - Caruana

Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Round 7 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Carlsen,M 2881 2864 phpfCo1l0.png 0 0 ½ 11 11 4.5/7  
2 Radjabov,T 2713 2835 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½½ ½ ½½ 4.0/7  
3 Caruana,F 2783 2778 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½½ ½½ 0 3.5/7 13.00
4 Karjakin,Sergey 2772 2772 ½ ½½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 3.5/7 12.50
5 Nakamura,Hi 2772 2747 00 ½ ½½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 3.0/7  
6 Mamedyarov,S 2760 2686 00 ½½ 1 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 2.5/7  

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   Guseinov ½-½ Wang Hao
Motylev ½-½ Abasov   Abasov ½-½ Safarli
Safarli ½-½ Guseinov   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 0-1 Guseinov
Motylev 0-1 Wojtaszek   Abasov ½-½ Bacrot
Safarli ½-½ Mamedov   Mamedov 1-0 Wang Hao
Wang Hao ½-½ Abasov   Wojtaszek 1-0 Safarli
Bacrot 1-0 Guseinov   Eljanov ½-½ Motylev
Round 5 24.04.14 15:00 CET   Round 6 26.04.14 15:00 AZST
Motylev ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli ½-½ Abasov
Safarli 0-1 Eljanov   Mamedov ½-½ Guseinov
Wang Hao ½-½ Wojtaszek   Wojtaszek ½-½ Bacrot
Bacrot 1-0 Mamedov   Eljanov 0-1 Wang Hao
Guseinov 0-1 Abasov   Motylev 1-0 Safarli
Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 CET   Round 8 28.04.14 15:00 AZST
Safarli ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli - Mamedov
Wang Hao 1-0 Motylev   Wojtaszek - Abasov
Bacrot 0-1 Eljanov   Eljanov - Guseinov
Guseinov ½-½ Wojtaszek   Motylev - Bacrot
Abasov ½-½ Mamedov   Safarli - Wang Hao
Round 9 29.04.14 15:00 AZST        
Wang Hao - Durarbayli        
Bacrot - Safarli        
Guseinov - Motylev        
Abasov - Eljanov        
Mamedov - Wojtaszek        

Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Round 7 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Eljanov,Pavel 2732 2781 phpfCo1l0.png 1 0 1   ½ ½   ½ 1 4.5/7 15.00
2 Bacrot,Etienne 2722 2753 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1   1 ½ 1   4.5/7 15.00
3 Wang Hao 2734 2715 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 0 ½     4.0/7 15.75
4 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2716 2726 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1     ½ 1 4.0/7 13.00
5 Guseinov,Gadir 2621 2705   0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png   ½ 1 1 ½ 4.0/7 12.00
6 Motylev,Alexander 2685 2657 ½   0 0   phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ 1 3.5/7  
7 Mamedov,Rauf 2660 2617 ½ 0 1   ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½   ½ 3.0/7 10.75
8 Abasov,Nijat 2516 2616   ½ ½   0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 3.0/7 9.75
9 Durarbayli,Vasif 2584 2562 ½ 0   ½ 0 ½   ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.5/7  
10 Safarli,Eltaj 2656 2486 0     0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/7  

The rounds start at 12:00 Amsterdam, 6am New York and 3am Los Angeles time. The official website is www.shamkirchess.az. Chess.com offers daily live commentary at www.chess.com/tv. Games via TWICphpfCo1l0.png


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Anonymous's picture

Sauron - RB sponsored Big Mouth 10-0 !!!

Anonymous's picture

It becomes " embarrassing "

Anonymous's picture

Nakaka can still drull on the now famous cover of a magazine where he was such a dominant chess player

Anonymous's picture

Naka is the biggest loudmouthed puttz. Now is is a laughing stock to be sure.

Chess Fan's picture

Have to give it to World Champion Magnus Carlsen. He is repeatedly beating NK like Kasparov used to beat Shirov. Considering the NK is the best from my part of the world, it is embarrassing, but it also shows how good the World Champion is.

Ingo's picture

Sorry Naka, better luck next time.

Magnus, the chess magnate, back on track and yet another tournament win seems unstoppable.

kcmclvr's picture

Carlsen worse off. At what stage?

RG13's picture

According to the article above "The computer likes 26. Nxh5! Nxh5 27. Nxd3 cxd3 28. a5 Rb8 29. Bxh5 Bd7 30. Qxd3 Qxb2 31. f6 Qe5 32. Be2 which looks like a pretty healthy pawn."

Anonymous's picture

It looks like Carlsen was worse off (though not clearly decisively so) from around move 21, but Nakamura erred with 33.Ng3 allowing Carlsen to regroup with Rb8, b4, Bd7 and Bb5. From there Carlsen never looked back

Alcoholics anonymous's picture

Since the Sauron tweet, Nakamura has played three classical games against Carlsen, losing all of them (two with white). What a "threat".

x's picture

magnus's best rival...er, client

miguelangeljo's picture

Even if Carlsen is not having a grea tournmanet for his standards, he is clear first and adding .1 to his 2881 rating.

If that is not greatness then I don't know what it is.

Anonymous's picture

No, man, according to Chessvibes his performance so far is 2864. He is losing some tiny elo.

Anonymous's picture

See http://www.2700chess.com/
Still a +0.1, the expected win against nakamura is already included.

Anonymous's picture

No, man, in this tournament he is losing elo. He should perform above his elo to win elo. You should check his score on this tournament, and not his overall play in this month, and that's what you are looking at that 2700's page.

Anonymous's picture

So you just want to look at the statistics when he lost 2 games in a row? That says everything about your intentions. If you are interested how many points Magnus Carlsen wins in this tournament, wait untill he has finished his last game in this tournament. A temporary collapse wont stop him from winning the tournament and getting more elo-points on top of that!

Oxnard's picture

No he's losing points from the tournament because his PR (2864) is less than his elo (2881). The reason he's got a gain (+0.1) for this month is because he beat a GM in a club match in Norway before the tournament.

Ingo's picture

He is still losing elo in this tournament, but he won a game before it started, so therefore he is on plus since lats months elo.

Anonymous's picture

I'll wait for Thomas to turn the cross table upside down with lots of ifs and buts and maybes and mights.

Anonymous's picture

You still reads his comments???? He only make things up, after reading that a couple of dozen of times there really is no reason to waste your time reading more of his stuff.

Thomas Richter's picture

You'll wait forever - the way Mamedyarov played his two games against Carlsen, he doesn't deserve to be in first place.

Anonymous's picture

What do you mean he'll wait forever? You just did it! You "turned the crosstable upside down" by trying to invalidate Carlsen's performace by saying his opponent didn't play well enough (as though he has any control over that).

S3's picture

@anonymous; not sure whether you are trolling or just unable to read, but as it is I'll go for the latter. Try again and take your time..

Anonymous's picture

Sorry S3. Either I'm stupid or you are. So please enlighten me?

Anonymous's picture

The way I read T.R.'s comment is "You'll wait forever - the way Mamedyarov played his two games against Carlsen, he [Carlsen] doesn't deserve to be in first place"

I suppose you mean to say it should read "You'll wait forever - the way Mamedyarov played his two games against Carlsen, he [Mamedyarov] doesn't deserve to be in first place." But the language is not 100% unambiguous on that, and. since that senario had zero credibility as a viable counterfactual, I didn't take it that way.

 Anon's picture

The second interpretation is actually the true one, because that's where Mame would be if "the cross table would be turned upside down".

Thomas Richter's picture

Indeed, while my post could be ambiguous, the one to which I replied has to be taken into account - so Mamedyarov doesn't deserve to be in first place. Whether Carlsen deserves to be in first place - probably yes because noone else was convincing. But he did get quite some help from his opponents in his four victories - twice at an early stage from Mamedyarov, twice just before the time control from Nakamura.

Anonymous's picture

Delsional. Obsessive.

Anonymous's picture

Your sentence is still grammatically flawed.

jimknopf's picture

Thomas, as I said elsewhere, games are normally decided by the better ability to punish mistakes, not by making no mistakes at all. That's the same for all competitive games by the way, no matter if in soccer or chess or whatever.

In chess, many brillant Tal games, just to name one of countless examples, or Fischer's 'game of the century', and many more interesting games, would never have happened without "the help of the opponent". What you seem to claim as a flaw is in fact the absolutely trivial truth about winning in general.

Nakamura played the opening and early middlegame really fine once more. I belong to those who considered his "Sauron" remark as a matter of really bad taste, rudeness and ridiculous claims. So I could be among those commenting with biting irony now.

But I prefer to resist the opportunity, because he played really well until he lost track. also I liked how Carlsen restited taking the opportinity at the press conference, and kept speaking realistic and respectful about the game, admitting that he ´just chose to go for sharp complications instead of tenaciously trying to defend a passive position, well knowing he had a questionable position.

So both contributed to an interseting game, with ups and downs from both sides. There simply is no reason to mock Nakamura, or to deny Carlsen profiting from going full risk to gain some play.

I don't like small-mindedness in chess, neither from players nor from comments. And today I saw two players working hard and playing interesting chess in Nakamura-Carlsen.

 Anon's picture

Of course you are right that for a decisive chess game, 1) there must be errors, and 2) they have to be exploited. Still, for whatever reason, the mistakes made by Carlsens opponents are much more severely than the "errors" made in the other games. As amateurs we have to resort to the comp evals of course, and they indicate, e.g., a drop of -1.4 points in move 38 today and a drop of -0.7 points yesterday in move 22 and additional -0.5 four moves later. Far more "action" as in all the other games of the last rounds in the A tournament. Both players collapsed within few moves from tenable positions. Of course, one could claim that Carlsen provoked the errors, but at least in today's game it seems as if Naka has simply blundered without being confronted with too unusual problems by Carlsen.

I don't wish to diminish Carlsen's precise play converting his chances but it should also be seen that his opponents presented these chances quite compliantly.

jimknopf's picture

My impression is rather that Carlsen went for situations with a lot of possible alternatives for both sides. He himself played a move drop of around a whole piece according to Houdini's evaluation (from over -4 in his favor to ~ -0.7), when he missed ...b3 towin the the game on the spot.

My impression really is that he complicates matters under pressure, and finds hidden resources in seemingly calm positions with a slight plus, in both cases forcing his opponents to think and make difficult choices. Isn't that exactly what players like Tal, Fischer and Kasparov did - each with their genuine playing style?

Anonymous's picture

No. Tal usually did not look for hidden resources in seemingly calm positions. Have you ever seen his games?

jimknopf's picture

You really want to misunderstand me? ;-)

The common thing is making matters less simple and forcing your opponents into heavy thinking. As I said, each of them did that with their own style. None of the above players has the same style as the others, and still they have that in common IMO, including Carlsen.

 Anon's picture

Well, that's the limitation of the comp eval approach. Carlsen overlooked ...b3 but he was convinced that his move was winning too, so he didn't care. In winning positions, one often has moves that are still winning but that are considered as "blunders" by the comp. I was talking about drastic changes in the evaluation out of (dynamically) balanced positions, i.e., the moment the position changes from playable to bad/lost.
I still think that Nakamura objectively should have been able to consolidate his advantage in the position. It was really not out of reach; and after all, these top GM guys are supposed to be the very best of their kind, aren't they? This is/should be their job. So I really think this is foremost a psychological issue of Naka which means that Naka has lost the game at least as much as Carlsen has won it.

Anonymous's picture

"Still, for whatever reason, the mistakes made by Carlsens opponents are much more severely than the "errors" made in the other games."

This seems to be the impression many of Carlsen's detractors have, but none have bothered to do anything like a real statistical analysis in which they try and determine if the games Carlsen wins involve a greater number of "blunders" by his opponents than the wins of other top grandmasters. Such an analysis really would be fascinating.

 Anon's picture

And both very time consuming and little rewarding. Hey, I'm still aware that this is just a hobby of mine and not rocket science :-)
Also, I'm not a "Carlsen detractor", I like his play and don't hold a grudge about his successes. Still, just for the sake of entertainment, I would like to see his opponents start to adapt a little bit better to his way of playing. I just can't bring myself to see all the other top guys as stupid and incompetent.

Anonymous's picture

"And both very time consuming and little rewarding."

Maybe not _that_ hard for a person with good database software and the skill to use it - which is not me.

"Also, I'm not a "Carlsen detractor""

Right. I didn't really mean to imply you are, but the idea that Carlsen benefits from an inordinate quantity of poor play by his opponents is a recurring theme of his detrators.

Anonymous's picture

"he did get quite some help from his opponents in his four victories"

Thomas is right as always, Carlsen was helped to his wins and deserves no credit.

Anonymous's picture

I would disagree. If “the cross table would be turned upside down" was taken literally (to clear up the ambiguity in T.R.'s statement) then the scenario presented would have to involve information about Nakamura and Radjabov trading places as well. Otherwise, it remains ambiguous.

S3's picture

Ok..so it's just a misinterpretation and now it has been solved. Either way, thanks to you (and me, and T.O) the initial troll-post was rather succesfull.
The internet is an amazing place.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous's picture

You implied a counterfactual where, if Carlsen's opponent had played better, first would be a legitimate position but, since he didn't, it's not - an if, and or but.

Anonymous's picture

Some people are delusional and some are obsessive, but it is rare to find someone who is obsessive about his delusions. Somebody needs to take his meds.

Anonymous's picture

Thomas shut your fucking mouth you cunt.

JRC's picture

Peter, I assume you are too busy in Shamkir to check the comments. It would be a good idea to have a substitute :-)

Anonymous's picture

better wait for naka's next tweet, it will be at least as hilarious as any TR post

 Anon's picture

Has anybody told Carlsen that Shamkir is a classical and not a rapid tournament? In all his games he has astonishingly much time left, either wen he wins or when he loses. It almost seems as if he doesn't really want to be there and he just wants to get over with it.
Nevertheless, it seems to be enough, at least against players such as Shak and Naka (embarrasing +10 -0). But he is still vulnerable, in particular in the early middlegame play. Let's see if he gets away with that against Caruana and Radjabov. However, if I had to bet my money, then Carlsen seems to be a pretty safe pick.

jimknopf's picture

Didn't he make absolutely normal use of his time today, several times taking a long thought, where it was necessary, and playing faster where he had made up his mind? Calling that something like not wanting to be there seems a bit far fetched to me, Anon.

What he perhaps does, looking at the character of his games, and with only one draw so far, is going for more dynamic unbalanced play, not just by accident, but in a nearly provocative way. I think that is excellent preparation for the upcoming match, even including lost games.

I know it's a bit speculative to intepret his games like that, and of course only he himself knows what he is doing. But It's my impression so far.

 Anon's picture

Okay, maybe you are right about his time management. I have to confess that most often, I only replayed the games and didn't follow the live transmission. And I noticed that he had several times surprisingly much time left over, usually much more than his opponents. Especially in his loss against Radjabov it's strongly visible. However, the time per move info indicates that he had several times quite a think in his games and it is kind of a trademark of Carlsen to play overall pretty fast.


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