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).

Wojtaszek’s win has complicated the tournament situation. Before the round Mamedyarov was in comfortable position, but now three players are only half a point apart.

Sergey Karjakin is one of those players. After having a quiet, but solid tournament, in round 8 he managed to beat Eljanov in Carlsen-like-style, in an equal endgame where he had two bishops versus a rook and two pawns.

However, Eljanov, probably distressed after his previous games against Mamedyarov and against Topalov, went on to give up a pawn on the kingside for nothing. After that moment, it is doubtful if he could have saved himself:

Vladimir Kramnik can also be content after round 8 as after suffering two consecutive loses in the middle of the tournament he managed to bounce back to 50 % with a convincing win against Adams (where he didn’t give up on playing 1 e4 and Italian game).

With one round to go, it will be intersting to see the strategy of the players and whether anyone will risk playing for a win. Mamedyarov has White against Topalov, while So and Karjakin have the black pieces.

We can only wait and see.

Wojtaszek – Mamedyarov, game analysis

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