Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 9

Kramnik scores a win, Mamedyarov wins Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2nd year in a row

With the development of modern computers, it has become customary to state that chess is game for young people.

Former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik seems to be an exception to that rule. Because with his win in Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 9, he is ranked number three in the world, trailing Wesley So on the second place by mere 3 rating points.

His display of youth-like energy in Shamkir resulted with five decisive games in nine rounds. Although his tournament had it’s ups and downs, his final game against the poor Pavel Eljanov brought him the shared second place and +1 score at the end of the tournament.

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Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 8

Wojtaszek beats the leader, Topalov, Karjakin and So close up on Mamedyarov

After my lamentations about the “drawing of lots” after the round 7, the players return to the well-throden paths in Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 8.

In the elite chess tournaments the name of the Radoslaw Wojtaszek is not that often in the centre of events. Sure, he is often invited and participating, but for most people he is better known as Anand’s second than as elite competitor.

However, in round 8 he showed why Anand hired him as he displayed one of the best pieces of opening preparation I have seen recently.

In a sharp variation of the Grünfeld he introduced the idea of GM Gajewsky (who also worked for Anand). It would appear that the 16 Qh4! idea basically refutes the whole 14… Nb4 line (see the analysis of the game below for more details).

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Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 7

Five games, five draws, Mamedyarov retains the lead

In the previous posts we were praising the players for their fighting spirit and for the display of interesting chess.

Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 7 saw different turn of events. Five games, five relatively colourless draws and virtually not a single serious mistake by any player.

Grandmaster’s chess at it’s finest.

The most interesting game in my humble opinion was the short but explosive Sicilian encounter between Radjabov and Topalov.

In a very sharp theoretical battle, Topalov played a novel move that seemed like a blunder that loses the exchange at first sight.

However,  it turned out that White can’t keep his material advantage and Radjabov had to go into an equal endgame.

Thus Topalov’s novelty virtually shut down this line for White at the moment.

The game is analyzed below.

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Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 6

Another round, another hat-trick of decisive games, another Topalov win

After scoring a spectacular win in round two, and a crushing loss in round five, after the rest day Veselin Topalov moves to +1 in the tournament once again with a win against Pavel Eljanov in Vugar Gashimov Memorial round 6.

True, compared to his second round encounter, the game against Eljanov was not a smooth ride.

After missplaying the White side of the Queen’s Indian line that first appeared in Korthscnoj’s games,  Topalov found himself in serious trouble.

Eljanov built an appreciable kingside pressure and also created the weak a4 – c4 pawn duo on the queenside.

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Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 5

Karjakin wins a brilliancy, So returns to 50 percent, Mamedyarov misses a chance to increase his lead

In the Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 5, a couple of tournament trends continue.

So far, every single round, except round 4, saw exactly two decisive games, and round 5 was not an exception.

Also, almost every round so far has witnessed either a brilliant attacking game, or a game with dramatic mistakes.

Round five saw both.

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