Malcolm Pein on…Shak’s Seventh Heaven
Shak Mamedyarov scored a huge win in the seventh round of the Grand Chess Tour’s Superbet Chess Classic in Bucharest, as he outplayed world number two Fabiano Caruana with the black pieces.
Mamedyarov produced an opening novelty for the second successive game to secure his third straight win and take a one-point lead with two to play. The Azeri GM advanced to number five on the live rating list.
There were three decisive games, as Alexander Grischuk got into ridiculous time trouble against Levon Aronian, blundered twice, and lost. Anish Giri ground down Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
Mamedyarov’s round-six victory. White’s 18th move is Stockfish’s preference and a novelty but should not change the evaluation of the position. Aronian went wrong immediately.
S. Mamedyarov – L. Aronian
Queen’s Gambit Ragozin
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd2 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Bd6 9.Qc2 e5 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.f4 Bxc3 13.Bxc3 Ng4 14.Bd4 c5 15.Bxc5 Re8 16.0–0 Nxe3 (16…b6 is more often played and after 17.Bd4 Nxe3 18.Bxe3 Rxe3 19.Rad1 Qe7 20.f5 Bd7 White can play for f5–f6 but any resulting queen exchange produces a pretty-level endgame) 17.Bxe3 Rxe3 18.Rfe1 Rxe1+ (After 18…Qd4 19.Qf2 Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1 Qxf2+ 21.Kxf2 Kf8 Black should not come to serious harm) 19.Rxe1
19…Bd7? (Better 19…b5 and if 20.Bxb5?? Qb6+ wins the bishop; Also 19…b5 20.Qe4 Bd7 21.Bd5 Rc8 22.Qe7 Qe8 23.b4 Qxe7 24.Rxe7 Be6 25.Bxe6 fxe6 should hold) 20.Qb3 (A double attack on b7 and f7. Aronian had undoubtedly foreseen this and missed a tactical point later) 20…Qf6 (20…Be8 21.Qxb7 Rb8 22.Qe7) 21.Qxb7! Qd4+ 22.Kh1 Re8 23.Rxe8+ Bxe8 It looks like Black has good counterplay, as the queen threatens a back-rank mate as well as the f4 pawn.
Test Your Strength
What had Aronian overlooked?
Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.
24.Bxf7+! Kf8 (24…Bxf7 25.Qa8+ Be8 26.Qxe8#) 25.Bb3! Qc5 26.Qd5 Qc1+ 27.Bd1 Qxf4 28.Qc5+ Kg8 29.Qxa7 (Covering …Qf1+ with Qg1) 29…h5 30.h3 Bc6 31.Bb3+ Kh7 32.Qf7 Qc1+ 33.Kh2 Qc5 34.Qg8+ Kh6 35.Qe6+ g6 36.Qf6 Bd7 37.h4 Qc7+ 38.g3 Qc8 39.Qf4+ Kh7 40.Qf7+ 1–0 After 41.Qf7-g8 resistance is futile.