4/29/2017 – Officially the day off was after round five, but round seven was also a day when not much happened. To be fair to the players, it wasn't all about quiet nothings happening at the board as was the case between Eljanov and So, who played a more interesting game. On the other hand, Topalov could not break from the theory cage Radjabov set up that killed the action before it had a chance to happen. Report and analysis by Alex Yermolinsky.
Gashimov Memorial 2017: A day off
By Alex Yermolinsky
Now in its 4th edition, the Gashimov Memorial brings an attractive lineup of top players such as Wesley So, winner of pretty much anything he entered in the last many months, then Vladimir Kramnik who has been sitting pretty with his 2811 Elo since the London Classic, Sergey Karjakin, and of course last year’s winner, local hero Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
Well, I waited for my turn to write a report on this event, and ended up getting the day when all five games were draws.
The game between Harikrishna and Wojtaszek was a long, drawn out (pun intended) affair that revolved around Black's isolated queen pawn. In the end Radoslaw sacked the exchange to get three white pawns, which made the outcome inevitable.
The two Russian players, Karjakin and Kramnik, got the same structure, but in their case it was rather Black who tried to make something happen, as his pieces were more active. White defended accurately, and the expected result was made official on Move 48.
The leader, Mamedyarov, had white against one of his close pursuers, Adams. I guess, under different circumstances, it could have been a tenser battle, but Shak was coming off a great win over Kramnik, which gave him a full point lead, and, therefore, was not in the mood to rock the boat. His advantage of a better pawn structure turned insufficient as pieces were vacuumed off the board.
Now to the games I chose to annotate. I was wondering if So could keep his momentum after two straight wins. Eljanov has a tendency to start tournaments well, only to fade away toward the end. It didn't turn out to be this way, but the game didn't disappoint. read more...