The New York Times has issued an article about the international chess tournament that commemorated Azerbaijani grand master Vugar Hashimov in Shamkir.
The article is headlined “In Azerbaijan, Carlsen Wins When It Counts”.
“In winning the Shamkir 2014 chess tournament in Azerbaijan, Magnus Carlsen was able to exact revenge in the last round against Fabiano Caruana, one of two players who defeated him earlier in the event.
The losses had left Carlsen, the world champion, in a tie for second at the halfway point; the leader was Teimour Radjabov, an Azerbaijani who had also defeated him. But as he has often done, Carlsen, who is from Norway, rallied in the event’s second half, when he did not lose any games, winning three of them and drawing two,” the article says.
“Caruana finished second. And Radjabov placed fourth at the tournament, which was played in memory of Vugar Gashimov, an Azerbaijani grandmaster who died in January at age 27 while being treated for a brain tumor.
Carlsen’s defeat of Caruana, who is from Italy, was significant because Caruana might be the best positioned to challenge Carlsen as No. 1 in the years to come. His openings are well prepared, and his solid play is bolstered by his willingness to take chances.
Another contender, Sergey Karjakin of Russia, who finished fifth in Shamkir, does not seem a dynamic enough player to present Carlsen with any real problems. Karjakin drew all of his games at the tournament.”
It notes: “Hikaru Nakamura, the top American player, has proclaimed himself a legitimate threat to Carlsen. But in Shamkir, Nakamura lost both of his games to Carlsen on his way to a third-place finish. His career record in slow games against the world champion is zero wins, 10 losses and 15 draws. (Caruana has three wins, four losses and five draws when playing Carlsen.)
The final-round game in Shamkir between Carlsen and Caruana was, for them, unusually complicated.
After 8 Be3, Caruana could have played 8 ... Ng4 to go after the bishop that supported the pawn on c5. Instead, he played the riskier 8 ... Nc6, in which he gave up any chance of winning back his sacrificed pawn. But in return, he was able to gain control of the center.”
The article says: ‘The c5 pawn soon proved to be a problem for Caruana because Carlsen used it to anchor a knight on d6, giving him an edge.
Caruana’s 20 ... f5 was a mistake; he should have taken the knight on d6.
He managed to tear at the pawns covering Carlsen’s king with 22 ... f4 and 23 ... e3, but Carlsen’s pieces were better placed, so he was not in any real danger.
With 28 e4 and 29 Rd3, Carlsen forced an exchange of bishops and snuffed out Black’s attack.
Though both players made some small errors later, the result was no longer in doubt. Caruana finally resigned because he was down too much material.”