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Danzhou Masters: Sam Shankland loses for the first time in 2018

Biel Chess Festival: Mamedyarov In Excellent Shape 

This image is about the Danzhou Masters 2018.The 51st Biel Chess Festival with Magnus Carlsen, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Peter Svidler, David Navara and Nico Georgiadis in action share third place.

However, Mamedyarov had to fight to achieve this memorable result.

With 2 rounds to go, Mamedyarov led the tournament with 6/8, a full point clear of the chasing pack. Magnus Carlsen, who started with 2/2, didn’t win another game until Round 8. And he found himself in huge trouble against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in Round 7, almost losing with White:

Carlsen, Magnus (2842) – Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime (2779), Biel 2018 (Round 7) 1/2:1/2

For Magnus to have a chance of winning the tournament, he had to go all out for a win as Black against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in Round 9. As we all know, it’s tough to be in a must-win situation with Black – especially at the Super GMs level. If White is happy with a draw, Black has to take big risks. Let’s see how Magnus approached this game:

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar (2808) – Carlsen, Magnus (2843), Biel 2018 (Round 9) 1:0

Mamedyarov, playing White, got everything right in this game and secured a two-point lead to win the tournament with a round to spare. Congratulations!

With a live rating of 2817, Mamedyarov is close to overtaking Fabiano Caruana (2822) as world #2 in the rating list.

Danzhou Masters: Sam Shankland Loses His First Games In 2018

Over in China, another intriguing tournament was taking place. The 9th Danzhou Masters ran from 27 July to 3 August in Danzhou on the South China Sea island province of Hainan. The field featured eight young and promising grandmasters – all rated over 2700. The 8-player single round-robin featured five international grandmasters as well as some top Chinese players:

This image is about the participants in the Danzhou Masters 2018.

Before the tournament started, it was anyone’s guess who would win. With only 50 Elo points between them, all 8 players had a great chance and it was too close to call. 7 rounds later, however, the 24-year old Yangyi Yu emerged as winner with 4.5/7. After a poor start, he won 3 out of his last 5 games which was enough to overtake the rest of the field.

There was a lot of focus on Sam Shankland, the current US Chess Champion and new member of the 2700 club. In Round 3 of the Danzhou Masters, however, he lost for the first time in 2018 against India’s rising star Santosh Gujrathi Vidit:

This painful loss did not throw Sam Shankland off track though. He bounced back with a win against Polish star, Jan-Krzysztof Duda in the next game. Shanklandhad to endure one more loss, this time to Le Quang Liem, and finished 7th with 3/7. On Facebook, Sam commented: “62 games without a loss was a great run, but it had to end at some point. Hoping I can bounce back and overcome the adversity that I haven’t had to face in awhile.” 

Blog Article of The Week

Every modern GM stands on the shoulders of giants. Much of their strength comes from studying and copying the great play of their predecessors. Which is why every coach recommends the careful study of the games of the World Champions.

If you want to take a journey through time with the “pride and sorrow of chess”, Bobby Fischer, our blog article of the week is a must-read!

Bobby Fischer became World Chess Champion in 1972 after beating Boris Spassky in their famous match in Reykjavik. How did Bobby Fischer manage to single-handedly dominate the Soviet school of chess? In this article, we retrace Bobby Fischer’s steps from early age to when he was crowned 11th World Chess Champion.

This Week’s Exclusive FREE Video

Are you looking for a fighting way to combat 1.d4? An opening 95% of your opponents won’t know how to handle? Check out the Blumenfeld Gambit! The Blumenfeld Gambit is a chess opening that begins  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4. d5 b5.

Black sacrifices a pawn to establish an imposing center with pawns on c5, d5 and e6. It is closely related to other popular openings like the Benko Gambit and the sharp Benoni.

In this free video, IM William Paschal provides you with his expert analysis on the Blumenfeld Gambit.

Last week’s puzzle:

Did you find the winning sequence from last week’s chess puzzle?

This week’s puzzle:

This image is about the weekly chess puzzle from the newsletter.This week’s chess puzzle is a tough nut to crack (see the diagram on the right).

It is Black to move. How should he continue in this position?

Answer next week.

One Comment

gordon says:

Suggested solution; 1)….. g5 2) Qxg5, f6

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