April 29, 2014 18:24

Shamkir: Caruana Catches Carlsen Before Tomorrow's Clash

Fabiano Caruana caught Magnus Carlsen in first place in the penultimate round of the Shamkir Chess tournament in Azerbaijan. Both scored 5.5/9 and will face each other in tomorrow's final round. Caruana defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov today while Carlsen tried for long to beat Teimour Radjabov, but had to settle for a draw. Pavel Eljanov finished half a point ahead of Alexander Motylev in the B group and dedicated his victory to Vugar Gashimov.

The Shamkir Chess tournament will see an exciting last round where the two tournament leaders, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, face each other behind the board. Caruana defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who lost the thread in a terribly complicated middlegame.

It was quite a fascinating game which started as a Slav. It looked quite similar to Mamedyarov-Nakamura played on Monday. The difficult queenless middlegame mostly required calculation, and so both players got low on time. In the end it was Mamedyarov who started to make mistakes.

PGN string

Karjakin and Nakamura played some kind of hybrid of the h3 variation and the Petrosian variation of the King's Indian. Black could trade the dark-squared bishops early in the game, and the white king lost the possibility to castle. But there was never any real crisis; both players played accurately and many pieces and pawns were traded until Karjakin's ninth draw was a fact.

PGN string

Radjabov and Carlsen played a Closed Ruy Lopez and it's not exactly clear which variation it was: the Zaitsev, the Smyslov or the Breyer. In any case, the position was rather closed, and after the queens were traded the game seemed to be heading towards a draw but Carlsen kept on trying. Eventually the draw was agreed on the 101st move!

PGN string

In case Carlsen and Caruana draw their game tomorrow, tournament victory will go to the world champion. The tournament regulations might have been formulated somewhat ambiguously, but Chief Arbiter Faik Gasanov confirmed to Chess.com that number of wins will decide in this case. 

Caruana said about his and Carlsen's play, and tomorrow's clash: “It's hard to say who's played the best chess. I think every chess has had some good moments and some bad moments. It was a tough tournament. I don't know when Magnus lost two games in any tournament, especially two games in a row. It's quite a rare occasion. Still wide open tomorrow, anything can happen. I'll just try to play a normal game and I don't want to worry about the result. I'll just see what happens.”

There was no doubt that Pavel Eljanov, who was a point clear, would win the B group. With a quick and boring draw with Nijat Abasov (an Exchange Slav where, except for two knights, everything got exchanged, not just the c-pawns) the Ukrainian GM secured the first prize. In the end it was European Champion Alexander Motylev who finished second. In the last round he defeated Gadir Guseinov.

PGN string

Pavel Eljanov, the winner in “B”

At night, many players of the B group, who are now done in Shamkir, could be found in the hotel bar to watch the Bayern-Real match. However, since this match was decided at such an early stage, they quickly started playing blitz. Sarkhan Gashimov, who won the San Sebastian blitz tournament a few years ago, also joined. The king of the evening was Guseinov, a remarkably strong blitz player!

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 0-1 Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen ½-½ Karjakin
Radjabov ½-½ Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Radjabov
Round 4 23.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 9 29.04.14 15:00 AZST
Karjakin ½-½ Mamedyarov   Caruana 1-0 Mamedyarov
Radjabov ½-½ Nakamura   Radjabov ½-½ Carlsen
Caruana 1-0 Carlsen   Karjakin ½-½ 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 9 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2783 2846 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½½ ½1 ½½ 01 5.5/9 23.75
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 2836 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½½ 11 11 5.5/9 20.75
3 Karjakin,Sergey 2772 2784 ½½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png ½½ ½½ ½ 4.5/9 21.25
4 Radjabov,Teimour 2713 2796 ½0 ½½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½½ 4.5/9 20.25
5 Nakamura,Hikaru 2772 2789 ½½ 00 ½½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 11 4.5/9 17.25
6 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2760 2620 10 00 ½ ½½ 00 phpfCo1l0.png 2.5/9  

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 1-0 Mamedov
Wang Hao 1-0 Motylev   Wojtaszek ½-½ Abasov
Bacrot 0-1 Eljanov   Eljanov 1-0 Guseinov
Guseinov ½-½ Wojtaszek   Motylev 1-0 Bacrot
Abasov ½-½ Mamedov   Safarli ½-½ Wang Hao
Round 9 29.04.14 15:00 AZST        
Wang Hao ½-½ Durarbayli        
Bacrot ½-½ Safarli        
Guseinov 0-1 Motylev        
Abasov ½-½ Eljanov        
Mamedov 1-0 Wojtaszek        

Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Eljanov,Pavel 2732 2775 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 6.0/9  
2 Motylev,Alexander 2685 2738 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 5.5/9  
3 Wang Hao 2734 2694 1 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 5.0/9 23.75
4 Bacrot,Etienne 2722 2695 0 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 5.0/9 20.25
5 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2716 2657 0 1 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 4.5/9  
6 Abasov,Nijat 2516 2640 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 0 ½ 4.0/9 18.50
7 Mamedov,Rauf 2660 2625 ½ 0 1 0 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ ½ 4.0/9 18.00
8 Durarbayli,Vasif 2584 2632 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 4.0/9 18.00
9 Guseinov,Gadir 2621 2628 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 4.0/9 16.25
10 Safarli,Eltaj 2656 2543 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 3.0/9  

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


Don Diego's picture

Grab the popcorn!

AAR's picture

Go grab the popcorn and watch Real Vs Bayern

Unemployment rate in Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, France and UK is in double digits.

Around 11 million homes across Europe are empty or not in use. Vacant houses are the UK with 700,000 homes; Germany with 1.8 million; France with 2.4 million; and finally, Spain with some 3.4 million homes. But number of homeless in Europe is 4.1 million.

So twice as many vacant houses but 4.1 million people are left on the street in bitter cold.

And these Caucasians are watching Bundesliga, EPL, Premier League, Spanish League through out the year in which footplayers earn 50,000 EURO per day.

Sports is used a diversionary tactics to cover up the shortcomings in the world. And prevent people from leading any revolution to break the capitalist and greedy companies from earning in billions at the expense of common man.

Grandma's picture


The very best commentary I ever have read on Chess Vibes!.

Hat off!

I agree in everything, , (even if you are somehow trashtalking Norway another place in the thread . )

Believe me, many norwegians are thinking just like you. We are many sosialists here in this country.

I could have written very much on this important subject, and I do in my own and others political blogs and in newpapers, but not much in chess debates.

Chess is fun and interessting, and many people enjoy sport, but global solidarity is crucial and of course most important,, and we better understand it before it is to late!

B L 's picture

Sounds more Communist than Socialist...

Not quite sure of the relevance to the tournament.

Great to see the tourney come down to the wire! I have always been a fan of Carlsen but it's great to see Caruana playing so well too - he's a nice young guy and is fairly media savvy.

On another topic, how about the famine in Africa, it's tragic and I hate how sport serves only as a distraction to these terrible atrocities.

Bertil's picture

That was why Bobby Fischer got bored with chess and started to use the ear of the public to telling us one thing and another about real life.

Anonymous's picture
observer's picture

The Government should put a whopping great tax on unhealthy foods and crap like Red Bull and alcohol and use this to subsidise healthy foods. But they won't because they are stupid and gutless.
Same over the Western world. Many in these Governments are bought and pander to vested interests.

Youssef Rahoui's picture

"Sports is used a diversionary tactics to cover up the shortcomings in the world. And prevent people from leading any revolution to break the capitalist and greedy companies from earning in billions at the expense of common man." => So XXe century!

Anon's picture

"had to settle for a draw" implies a littel bit more chances that Carlsen actually had. It was a mutual stonewalling for most of the game. Still, hats off to Radjabov for an effordless draw.

Anon's picture

litte and than, of course. Oh my!

kuk's picture

and effortless :-)

Anon's picture

I should start to draw pictures instead... :-)

Anonymous's picture

Funny way of thinking. If you have the chance to play against the World Champion, you should not try to play as anti-chess as possible but to get him.

radjabov spoiled his chance to become someone by not even trying to win against Magnus Carlsen.

Coco Loco's picture

See the round 4 results and come back to us with your findings. And then go "become someone" yourself.

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen only needs a draw to wrap it up according to the tie break of most wins. Though judging by his last game of the match with Anand he will play it out tomorrow vs Caruana.

Anon's picture

No, a draw will lead to a tie break match of rapids/blitz/armageddon. There are special rules if two players tie for first.

Anonymous's picture

it's weird, the first rule should go in favor of the victories between the two players and then etc etc

Caruana is leading in his encounter but can still finish second with a draw manana ?!??!?

Mountebank's picture

According to the commentators, the first tie-break is the number of wins - like the candidates last year and this year.

Magnus, with 4 wins, will win over Fabiano with 3 wins.

Anonymous's picture

Magnus Carlsen with 5 wins will win anyway, so don't bother figuring out unlikely scenario's.

Grandma's picture

I would have loved that too, being a Magnus-supporter, but I'll say that the game is wide open.

Caruana is a splendid player and is of course able to defeat Magnus.
He appears to be in top form, and Magnus is may be not quite at his very best.

And another factor:
Magnus is a footballfan and a Real Madrid-fan.

I suspect that Magnus has been watching Champions League, Bayern-München - Real Madrid tonight, instead of doing sport himself and prepare for tomorrow. ;)

Anonymous's picture

As if a soccer match would be a factor. Guys like Radjabov have kids - now that really takes time and energy- but you don't see anyone bring up that as an excuse.

Grandma's picture


NOT an excuse!

I think that Magnus should focus on chess, not watching football (soccer) when he playes tournaments, so if he loses a game because of TV- watching, he must of course take the full responsibility himself!

And, If I did not say it before:

I really like Radjabov very much, both as a person and a chess player.

I have great respect for him, I like his style, and I hope that he will come back in the absolute top elite now when his child is not new born anymore.

Grandma's picture

I mean, I came back to my work, and with full focus and energy; as a teacher, 3 times - I have tree grown up children, when my children were about one year old, and I think that a professional chess player can do the same.

Especially a MALE chess player. ;)

Anon's picture

In this tournament, there are special rules for two players tying for first place; there will be a rapid/blitz decision. However, if Carlsen looses and Radjabov wins, still Carlsen will be second because of this tiebreak, although Radjabov won the minimatch.

AFAIK, in the Candidates, direct encounter was the first tiebreak and only then number of wins. Number of wins was relevant because Kramnik and Carlsen drew both games with each other. IMO, this is the logical sequence in double round robin. The personal minimatch should be more important than most wins/losses.

Mountebank's picture

Unfortunately, this is not the way it is.

Number of wins is the first tie-breaker. Carlsen will take it unless Caruana wins

Merlinovich's picture

Exactly, a draw means playoff, because only Carlsen and Caruana can reach 6 points. If there had been 3 players on 6 points, it is settled as Wins/Direct Encounter/Berger as will the other ties between the players.

I kinda like the idea of only bothering with a playoff if exactly 2 players are tied in first place. For tiebreaks I would have preferred Berger/Direct Encounter/Wins or perhaps Direct Encounter/Berger/Wins. Number of wins is random luck. The more games you lose the better!

Anonymous's picture

"Exactly, a draw means playoff"

No, since the rules state that it will be a tiebreak only if the top two have the same number of wins etc.

Anonymous's picture

Merlinovich is right.

Lopez's picture

Caruana is in top form !! hope he defeat carlson tomorrow

Anonymous's picture

Leko wants his crown back!

Grandma's picture

Haha ;)

Let us hope that Karajakin will not be the new Leko. ;)

Soldatenkaffee's picture

Great, they have to slug it out tomorrow!

Anonymous's picture

Caruana will blow Carlsen off the board!

Roberto's picture

It will be a nice day tomorrow. I feel like i am watching soccer!!! kkk

Anonymous's picture

What does the Ku Klux Klan have to do with this?

anonymous's picture

They want white to win and black to lose, obviously

Anonymous's picture

Draw will of course mean that Caruana is the real winner of the tournament since he has plus in head to head against Carlsen.

Dom Ridder's picture

If this is chess these days then I prefer the 2000s decade when chess was interesting. In any case Caruana is the moral winner of this tournament. Carlsen continues to annoy us with his dull chess. Had Kramnik been there artistic chess would have triumphed.

Anonymous's picture

Some would argue along the same lines against that very Kramnik back in those great 2000s.

It is possible to dislike Carlsen style, but atleast you have to admit he doesn't play dull chess to draw.

Grandma's picture

@Dom Ridder

Did Kramnik's "artistic chess" impress you in the candidates this year?

And: There is no "moral winner" in chess,only a winner..

Caruana is the winner if he defeats Magnus tomorrow. :)

choufleur's picture

Nice photo finish between two splendid players - most comments are nonsense.

Anonymous's picture

I do agree your comment is in that category

Grandma's picture


I agree!

The level of the commentaries, especially from the Magnus- "haters" is indeed low and disappointing.

I had expected that chessfans should be more intelligent, (and they usual are), only not here on Chessvibes.

I'm rooting for Magnus for several reasons: He's the strongest player in the world, world champion and the world's undisputed number one, and I like his style of playing. He is humble. nice kid, and he's Norwegian.

I'm born and grew up in Denmark, but I've been living in Norway for some decades, married to a norwegian man, with grown up children who consider themselves as norwegians. (and with norwegian grandchildren), and i have been playing chess for more than 40 years, just for fun, a nice hobby among others, but enough to understand and appreciate top level chess.

I have followed Magnus since he was a child, and was early fascinated by this young boy with the huge talent, and yet such a normal, good kid.

But nevertheless i have great respect for all the player in the world elite, regardless where they come from.

Caruana is of course a splendid chess player, and so are the others in this tournament.

My opinion is:

You can root for one player, you can have a favorite, but that doesn't implicate that you should "hate" other players!

I have nothing against Kindergardens, but I think it's ridiculous when grown up people behave like Kindergarden children!

Anonymous's picture

What makes you think the others are grown up ???

Obviously I am, but the rest is so silly :-)

Grandma's picture

Well, i doubt that children in kindergarden are discussing here. ;)

Anonymous's picture

Grandma you are clearly biased.
Also, Carlsen is not a "kid". He's a grown man - even though he does'nt act like it.

Grandma's picture

I am a supporter of Magnus, yes, but I like and respect his opponents. :)

So maybe I have a bias, but NOT a bias against any top-players in the world!

I admire them all.

For me, all youngsters under 25 years old, somehow ARE kids.
You see, my children are in their thirties.

And:: I have followed Magnus since he was a little child, much younger than my own children.

But Magnus is very mature for his age.
Trust me. I know! :)

Huy's picture

This is silly formalism and you know it. You perfectly well understood what Grandma was getting at,didn't you?

blade's picture

dont worry grandma, hoping for the best for magnus carlsen tomorrow. magnus will fight back the loss that caruana did to him in the 1st half of the tournament. best wishes for him.

AAR's picture

Of the entire Europe (except England perhaps) Norwegians are the ones who suffer from Superiority complex partly due to the huge oil wealth they possess. And they usually look down upon fellow Europeans. Take pride in being outside EU.

Now we have a Norwegian commenting on good behaviour to others. How Odd.

We all know how Norwegian press was trashing Anand when he was WC and Carlsen was World Number 1. Least said about Norwegian press during World Cup matches is better.

Good Kid? May I know who that is. A brash kid who does not even know how to sit a chair in a decent sports like Chess.


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