WHEN you are on a roll, you’re on a roll. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan has scored an incredible hat-trick of major victories in the last month.
First, he won the World Rapid Championship, followed by the Geneva Rapid, and now he has just captured the biggest prize of all, the Beijing FIDE Grand Prix.
Mamedyarov scored 7/11 to win the fifth leg of the GP by half a point over Russia’s Alexander Grischuk.
But the plaudits go to Veselin Topalov, as the Bulgarian former world champion, who shared 3rd-4th place in Beijing, did enough to secure overall first place in the GP series and will now go forward to next year’s Candidates Tournament.
However, the GP series provide two spots to the Candidates, so the second coveted prize is still up for grabs. And by winning in Beijing, Mamedyarov has become the clear favourite to join Topalov in the Candidates – but he can only watch nervously from the sidelines of the final leg, as Grischuk and Fabiano Caruana of Italy can still mathematical pip him to the post.
Mamedyarov has played his four allotted GPs and has scored 390 points. But in the final leg, Grischuk (315) and Caruana (305) will play, and if either are the sole winners, they will overtake Mamedyarov.
V Ivanchuk – S Mamedyarov
Beijing Grand Prix, (3)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 d5 4 g3 dxc4 5 Qa4+ Nc6 6 Bg2 Bd7 7 Qxc4 Bd6 8 Nc3 0–0 9 0–0 Rb8 10 Rd1 h6 11 e4 b5 12 Qd3 b4 13 Ne2 e5 14 dxe5 Nxe5 15 Nxe5 Bxe5 16 Qc2 Qe8 17 Rb1 c5 18 Qxc5 Bc6 19 f3 Bc7 20 Qf2 Bb6 21 Be3 Bxe4! 22 fxe4 Ng4 23 Bxb6 Nxf2 24 Bxf2 Qa4 25 Nd4 Qxa2 26 Nc6 Rb7 27 e5 Rd7 28 Bc5 Rxd1+ 29 Rxd1 Re8 30 Bxb4 Qxb2 31 Bd5 Re6 32 Bd6 a5 33 Rf1 Qd2 34 Bxe6 fxe6 35 Ne7+ Kh7 36 Rf3 a4 37 Ra3 Qe1+ 38 Kg2 Qe2+ 39 Kg1 g5 40 Ra1 Qe3+ 41 Kg2 Qe4+ 42 Kh3 g4+ 43 Kh4 Qe3 0–1