Magnus Carlsen tops Vugar Gashimov Memorial
By Nazrin Gadimova
Magnus Carlsen tops the standings of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial following the results of the second round held on April 21.
Playing in the A tournament, reigning World Chess Champion, the Norwegian grandmaster won his second victory in a game with Hikaru Nakamura from the US. Carlsen won a six-hour fight in 60 moves.
An interesting aspect of the second round of the Shamkir Chess 2014 was the set between famous Azerbaijani chess players Shahriyar Mammadyarov and Teymur Rajabov. The Azerbaijani derby ended in a draw on the 40th move.
A draw in the A tournament also happened in the meetings between Italian Fabiano Caruana and world champion in rapid chess Sergey Karjakin of Russia. The rivals made peace on the 27th move.
Standings after the second round is as following: Carlsen - 2 points, Karjakin, Caruana, Rajabov - 1 point, Nakamura, Mammadyarov - 0.5 point.
In the B tournament, Alexander Motylev (Russia) defeated Rauf Mammadov (Azerbaijan), Paul Elyanov (Ukraine) won against Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland), while Etienne Bacrot (France) gained a victory over Vasif Durarbeyli (Azerbaijan).
The set between Gadir Guseinov (Azerbaijan) and Wang Hao (China), as well as Nijat Abbasov (Azerbaijan) and Eltaj Safarli (Azerbaijan) ended in a draw.
Speaking at the press-conference held after the second tour, Carlsen expressed confidence in himself.
"I got the advantage of the chess opening," he said. "Then the situation became even better. My opponent looked for a way out of the situation. Second victory in a row - it's very good. Now I'm playing freely. I want to win every set in Shamkir."
Sergey Karjakin, in turn, said he agreed to play in the Memorial without hesitation, first of all because Vugar Gashimov was his close friend.
"Secondly, whenever I've played in Azerbaijan, I have witnessed a tremendous arrangement of the tournaments. The local tournaments are some of the best in my life. I was sure that everything would be great, and this time I was not wrong in my expectations. Everything is really at the highest level," the Russian grandmaster added.
Speaking at the press-conference, Teymur Rajabov said he wished Vugar Gashimov had taken part in this tournament and shown his creativity and capabilities.
"If there's another world in heaven, I hope he's watching everything from heaven and rejoicing. His friends are playing in the tournament, and the world champion has honored him with his presence. This is very important for the development of chess; to let the whole world know that Azerbaijan can hold such great events in such a difficult time of crisis for the world in general and for chess in particular. I hope that the tournament will be traditional and other sponsors will take part in it in the future."
Shamkir Chess 2014 opened in the Heydar Aliyev Center on April 19 and will run until April 30.
The grandiose event, organized by JSC Synergy Group, is being held within the framework of the "State Program on development of chess in Azerbaijan in 2009-2014" and is dedicated to world-famous Azerbaijani grandmaster Vugar Gashimov who passed away as a result of a serious disease in January.
Money prize of the A tournament, sponsored by "Synergy Group" is 100,000 euros, while the prize fund for this tournament will be 30,000 euros.