Malcolm Pein on…Shak the Invincible

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Malcolm Pein on…Shak the Invincible

Shak Mamedyarov won the Grand Chess Tour’s Superbet Chess Classic in after a quiet draw in the ninth and final round with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. This took him to an unassailable score of 6/9. A burst of three wins mid-tournament secured Mamedyarov $90,000 (£65,000) and the lead of the Grand Chess Tour.

Final scores: 1 Mamedyarov 6/9; 2-4 Grischuk, So, Aronian 5; 5-6 Giri, Radjabov 4.5; 7-8 Deac, Caruana 4; 9-10 Vachier-Lagrave, Lupulescu 3.5.

F. Caruana – S. Mamedyarov
Ruy Lopez Berlin

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Nc3 Nd4 6.Ba4 c6 7.0–0 d6 8.Nxd4 Bxd4 9.h3 g5!?

F. Caruana – S. Mamedyarov

10.Ne2!? (After only three minutes reflection, yet this was the time for a long think as 10.Nd5! Rg8 11.c3 Bb6 12.Nxb6 axb6 13.Bb3 Be6 14.Bxe6 fxe6 15.f3! leaves White clearly better and if 10…Bd7 11.Bxg5!! cxd5 12.Bxd7+ Kxd7 13.Qf3 wins or 10…b5 11.Bxb5!; 10.Bxg5 Rg8 11.Bh4 Bxh3 12.Nd5 Rxg2+ 13.Kh1 is today’s puzzle) 10…Bb6 11.c3 (Caruana went into the tank for 23 minutes, having possibly noticed that 11.Ng3 Rg8 12.Be3 g4 13.h4 Nh5! 14.Bxb6 axb6 15.Nxh5 Qxh4! 16.Ng3 Rxa4 picks up the low hanging fruit. White has reasonable chances after 15.Bxc6+ bxc6 16. Nxh5 Qxh4 17.Ng3 when he can prepare d3–d4) 11…Rg8 12.d4 Nxe4 13.Bc2 d5 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.dxe5 Qxd1 16.Rxd1 g4 17.h4 g3 18.Nd4 Bd8 19.fxg3 Rxg3 20.Re1 Rg4 21.Bg5 Bxg5 22.hxg5 Ke7 23.Rad1 Bd7 24.e6 (An ingenious try. SM commented: ‘I started to think if Fabi will draw this game, it will be with brilliant defence … different level!’) 24…fxe6 25.g6 hxg6 26.Nb3 e5 (26…b6 27.Rd4 c5 28.Rdxe4 Rxe4 29.Rxe4 Bc6 30.Rh4 Rf8 looks cleaner to me) 27.Na5 Be6 28.Rd2 Rb8 29.b4 Kf6 30.a4 (After 30.Re3!? Rf4 31.a4 g5 there is still a lot of work to do) 30…Rg3 31.Rxe4? (Black should prevail after 31.Rf2+ Bf5 32.Rxe4 Ke6 33.Rc4 b6 34.Nxc6 Kd5 35.Nxb8 Kxc4 36.Nc6 e4) 31…Bd5 32.Rh4 Rxc3 33.Rh7 b6 34.Nxc6 Bxc6 35.Rc7 Rc1+ 36.Kf2 Rf8 37.b5 Ke6+ 38.Kg3 Rc3+ 39.Kh2 Rh8+ 40.Kg1 Rh1+ 41. Kxh1 Bxg2+ 42.Rxg2 Rxc7 43.Rxg6+ Kd5 44.a5 (44.Kg2 Rc4 is easy) 44…Kc5 45.axb6 axb6 46.Re6 Kxb5 47.Rxe5+ Rc5 48.Re1 Rg5 0–1

Test Your Strength

F. Caruana – S. Mamedyarov

Black to play and draw

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

13…Ng4! 14.Bxd8 Rh2-g2+ etc.

Play Through the Game

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