Reports | June 30, 2013 21:47

Mamedyarov beats Kramnik 1.5-0.5, wins first Geneva Masters

Mamedyarov beats Kramnik 1.5-0.5, wins first Geneva Masters

On Sunday Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won the first edition of the Geneva Chess Masters. The grandmaster from Azerbaijan, who won the World Rapid Championship earlier this month, defeated Etienne Bacrot 2.5-1.5 in the semi-final and Vladimir Kramnik 1.5-0.5 in the final.

Mamedyarov wins in Geneva | Photo courtesy of the official website

This final report on the Geneva Masters covers Sunday's final but also Saturday's semi-finals which saw the matches Vladimir Kramnik versus Hikaru Nakamura and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov versus Etienne Bacrot. In the afternoon, Kramnik and Nakamura were the first to enter the stage of the Pitoeff Theater in Geneva.

Kramnik started with White, and played in his typical quiet, positional style. He got a slight advantage, won a pawn, later Nakamura won it back but White was still slightly better. Just before he took the pawn on e4, which quickly led to a draw, Kramnik missed some chances. In the second game Nakamura went for the solid but not too ambitious 5.Re1 line of the Berlin, but Black equalized easily.

The American seemed happy to go for the blitz phase, and why not? He's one of the best blitz players in the world, as he proved once again recently during the Tal Memorial opening ceremony. However, Kramnik dominated both games, probably missed a win in the first and convincingly won the second, where Nakamura tried the Hippopotamus Defence.

PGN string


Mamedyarov won the first game against Bacrot with Black in a Cambridge-Springs QGD, but surprisingly lost the second, where the Frenchman played just wonderfully. A blitz playoff was needed, and again Mamedyarov won the first game, this time with White. With Black the Azerbaijani held the draw to reach the final.

PGN string


After all the spectacle of the first four days, Sunday's final was a rather short affair because it was all decided in the two rapid games. The first was a Four Knights with 4.g3. In the early middlegame Kramnik lost a pawn and then miscalculated further to lose even more material. The ending was quite hopeless from the start.

In the second game, a Symmetrical English (by transposition), Kramnik sacrificed a pawn early on and got good compensation. At some point Mamedyarov decided to give back a pawn in return for active play on the kingside, and this turned out to be a very good idea. The presence of opposite-coloured bishops made it even harder for Kramnik to create winning chances.

PGN string


And so the Geneva Masters ended with another excellent result in rapid chess for Mamedyarov, who is "only" the world's number 12 in the (classical) live ratings. You can watch videos of all games here.


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


choufleur's picture

Where are you trolls ?

choufleur's picture

Did Mamed accuse Vlad of using a computer ?

Anonymous's picture

He was winning chauffeur

Anonymous's picture

I new Naka was going to lose against Kramnik when he started making those retarded head movements that Kasparov often made to distract his opponent when he was in a bad way.
Works better than the computer eval's, don't even have to look at the position just wait until he starts mimicking his predecessor and you'll know Naka's busted.

Congrat's Shak!

NN's picture

What do you mean "his predecessor"?

Fishy's picture

Mamedyarov is in good shape lately!
Congrats!! Well done

filiusdextris's picture

In a must-win game, why start with the symmetrical English? Kramnik needs a better repertoire.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Mamedyarov decided to transpose into the symmetrical English, but the position wasn't symmetrical and devoid of perspectives for white. A sharper all-or-nothing approach from Kramnik may not necessarily have been more promising (this is what Bacrot had tried in the first rapid game against Mamedyarov, and he lost).

Not the result, but Kramnik's approach to the game reminds me a bit of (probably) the most important must-win game ever since I follow chess: the last game of the 1987 Kasparov-Kramnik match

redivivo's picture

"Kramnik's approach to the game reminds me a bit of (probably) the most important must-win game ever since I follow chess: the last game of the 1987 Kasparov-Kramnik match"

You mean the 1987 Kasparov-Carlsen match?! :-)

Thomas Oliver's picture

When Carlsen was minus three years young? Of course it should have been Kasparov-Karpov ... .

MamedyarovFan's picture

Excellent summary by Peter. Thanks.

Roberto's picture

Anyway Kramnik won Nakamura and it seems that he's getting his shape back. I guess he was disapointed to have lost the candidates tournament and them he just gave away other stuff.
Now i think hes coming back.

AAR's picture

Confusing tournament format.
Glad its over.

Septimus's picture

Mamedyrov will be in the top 10 pretty soon. Congrats!

Thomas Oliver's picture

I don't know if this can be concluded from one rapid event where, while winning in the end, Mamedyarov was somewhat vulnerable in all matches but the final one. Before that, Tal Memorial was "solid" (+1=8) and winning the Rapid World Championship arguably more convincing than the Geneva event.

Anyway, Mamedyarov has been in and out of the top10 three times already - peak ranking #4 (January 2007 behind Topalov, anand and Kramnik), most recent top10 11/2012-4/2013.

Evgeny's picture

I am disappointed that they have not plaed best of 5 at least, looks like it was over in 30 min. I wih i could see more games and intertaiment

Ruben's picture

Good player this Mamedyarov

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