Reports | May 02, 2010 19:49

Kramnik wins President's Cup on tiebreak

Kramnik first on tiebreak at President's CupVladimir Kramnik won the President's Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan on Saturday. The former World Champion edged out Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Gata Kamsky on tiebreak.

Kramnik vs Polgar at the President's Cup | Photo © Azerbaijan Chess Federation

The President's Cup took place April 29-May 1 in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was a single round robin with eight players: four from Azerbaijan (Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Rauf Mamedov and Gadir Guseinov) and four from abroad (Vladimir Kramnik, Gata Kamsky, Emil Sutovsky and Judit Polgar). As we reported earlier, the organizers couldn't give a clear answer to the question why Vugar Gashimov wasn't playing.

Rounds 3-7

Two rounds were played on Thursday, three on Friday and two on Saturday. In our first report we saw that only Shakhryiar Mamedyarov started with two wins on the first day. In the follow-up it was Gata Kamsky who had a good series, scoring 3/4 (he beat Azeri's Mamedov, Mamedyarov and Guseinov but lost to Kramnik).

After losing a pawn Kamsky showed that Black had excellent compensation. He outplayed his opponent and finished it off with 33...Bxc3! 34.Qxb6 Rxd1+ and Mamedyarov resigned because of 35...Qd3+! and 36...Re1 mate.

With one round to go the American was topping the standings with 4.5/6. In the last round he started with 1.g3 and was easily held to a draw by Polgar. This allowed Kramnik and Mamedyarov to catch him; they defeated Sutovsky and Mamedov respectively, both with the black pieces. On tiebreak it was Kramnik who ended first; second was Mamedyarov and third came Kamsky.

Radjabov-GuseinovWhite won with 56.Bc3! Ne2+ 57.Ke3 Nxc3 58.a5 and Black resigned.

President's Cup 2010 | Final Standings

President's Cup 2010

Games rounds 3-7

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Polgar-Kamsky at the President's Cup

Kamsky, held to a draw by Polgar, dropped from 1st to 3rd place in the last round

Kramnik-Radjabov at the President's Cup

Kramnik won the Cup - here in his win against Radjabov

The President's Cup

The President's Cup

Photos © Azerbaijan Chess Federation, more here


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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.


Kramnikkian's picture

Always good to win a tournament when people play for a title in Sofia that belongs to you!!

Peter Doggers's picture

@Zeblakob He played quite well with the white pieces too, you know.

Arne Moll's picture

@Peter: indeed, in fact Kramnik won both games with White. Moreover, Kasparov could have avoided the Berlin Wall easily enough by playing 1.d4; however, for some mysterious reason he resorted to this move only in the very last game of the match. Too little too late.

Antichrist's picture

It's pretty interesting to note that Mamedyarov was the only Azerbaijan player to have a good tournament. 5/7 against that field is no mean feat.

Willem's picture

First diagram: Rd7 must be at d8

Willem's picture

or white queen at a6

Peter Doggers's picture

Thx, corrected.

MamedyarovFan's picture

Mamedyarov just won the blitz tournament that followed the rapid in Baku. According to my sources, there was a tiebreak playoff between Vladmimir Kramnik and him and Shkhriyar won 2:0 ;-)

ebutaljib's picture

And where do we find the results or games from the blitz tournament? They are doing a really good job of NOT promoting this whole President's cup event.

CAL|Daniel's picture

but of course we have to boo when Mame does well because he should be banned for his cheating accussations that had no proof.

Zeblakob's picture

"...Vladimir Kramnik won the President’s Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan on Saturday."

Bad news for me.

ps. It is strange for me to see a player achieving the most prestegious title in chess (WC) by means of surviving behind the safety of the Berlin wall.

h.'s picture

the berlin wall is no more. it was dismantled during germany's reunification in the early 90's!

Thomas's picture

@CAL|Daniel: Should Topalov also be banned?

@Zeblakob: It was also strange for Kasparov ... but even he has to acknowledge that (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5) Nf6 is a legal move. There is no such titel as "world champion of the Sicilian"!

CAL|Daniel's picture


acirce's picture

The Berlin was played in 4 of the 15 games of that match. Kramnik drew those and went +2 in the remaining 11.. It was a very important weapon but not all decisive on its own.

And playing for draws with Black in a match situation is not exactly something that originated or ended with Kramnik! The current World Champion is doing exactly the same thing right now with the Slav ("ironically" using the same variation that Kramnik revived in Elista. The Berlin, of course, is much more interesting)

CAL|Daniel's picture

Don't forget its possible to play the Berlin for a win too! As Aronian said in a corus interview once.... "I play the Marshall to draw and the Berlin to win."

acirce's picture

Arne, he tried 1.c4 in games 5 and 7. Didn't work either, so he switched back. And in game 11 it was _Kramnik_ who chose the Arkhangelsk over the Berlin.

jussu's picture

Hey you, throwing mud-balls over Berlin wall, did you notice Sutovsky-Kramnik where black again hid behind it? That was really cowardly of him.

SXL's picture

He-he. That Sutovsky-Kramnik game is wonderful fun. My favorite of the year, don't mind the inaccuracies, it's just such a preposterous deviation from established theory.
Ran the game through the engine, and amazingly, what looks to be unsound sac's by Kramnik are no such thing. And then Sutovsky defends well, there must have been time trouble at the end, to account for the game-ender, but until then it's sheer chessic joy.

Thomas's picture

@CAL|Daniel: So we agree that Mamedyarov and Topalov are comparable cases as far as unproven cheating accusations are concerned. But only Topalov was rewarded for his (and/or Danailov's behavior) with a free point in the match. And when Kramnik won "against the odds", Topalov was provided with a shortcut towards another WCh match ... . And "Topailov" still insist that they were right and that they were "robbed in Elista"!

As far as I remember, Mamedyarov gave one 'ugly' follow-up interview, and that was it - so I am willing to close that case as a one-time incident.

And I wouldn't want either player to be banned, simply because they play too interesting chess. Though the Elista aftermath and further incidents (Volcanogate) make me root for Anand in the ongoing WCh match ... .

test's picture

In the case of Mamedyarov there were no anti-cheating measures so cheating was possible. Different cases, different circumstances. Of course Mamedyarov could not prove it. The majority opinion on chess forums was that if you can't prove it you should just shut up.

Mamedyarov wrote a follow-up letter where he stuck to his guns. On the one hand I can understand somebody sticking to an opnion he thinks is right, on the other hand he should have seen the writing on the wall by then. Or maybe he just doesn't read chess forums.

CAL|Daniel's picture

Either way the two of them are the most detestable players in the chess profession. As Gelfand said in his interview... Topalov has done more harm for chess than any one to come before him.

pete's picture

@Thomas: and Kramnik did not receive any bonus at all right? :D He did not compete in Mexico and he was not awarded a second shot at the title with a match against Anand, right? And my favorite ... there was no clause in the contracts that Topalov and Kramnik signed before the Elista match which said the loser of the match can claim a rematch within 1 year if he manages to rise a certain amount of money, right? And the Topalov team did provide the money and Kramnik agreed to play the rematch right? lol

I like this selective amnesia that most of the people have here.

test's picture

Kasparov lost to Kramnik in a match and he was out.
Then Leko lost to Kramnik in a match and he was out.
Then Topalov lost to Kramnik in a match and...
Then Kramnik lost to Anand in a match and he was out.
... and Topalov gets another match against Anand.
The only match that does not make any sense is this one against Anand.

Not a bad strategy from Danailov; even it your odds are only one in ten (just an example), play enough matches and eventually you will win one. It's a mathematical certainty. ;)

Zeblakov's picture

@Thomas; Yes, but one can play by not playing (not a color is a color).

@Peter; of course, Kramnik dominated almost all the games with white and missed a clear win in 2 of them (If I remember well).

@acirce; "The berlin was played 5 times out of 15"

@CAL|Daniel, Thomas: I can make some differences between Mamadyarov and Topalov accusation:
1/ Mamdyarov accusation was emeotionnel and spontaneous; Topalov's one was prepared at home

2/ Mamayarov accusation was after the tournement (perhaps after he withdrawn), Topalov's one was during the match

3/Mamadyarov believes that his opponent was cheating, Topalov believes that Kramnik was not cheating.

Anyway, there is not a "good" and "bad" crime; all crimes are bad.

@h. I am confused, do you want to use chess terminology? Do you mean that the berlin wall was desmantled in the reunification match in Elista?

pete's picture

@test: nice thinking, keep up the good work

test's picture

@pete: I know it's nice thinking, and unless you can convince me otherwise with an argument I will keep thinking it.

I'll give you a start: convince my why Karpov, Khalifman, Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov should not all get a second chance as well. ;)

acirce's picture

"@acirce; “The berlin was played 5 times out of 15?"

Again, 4 times. Games 1, 3, 9, 13. Exactly half of Kramnik's Black games.

Yes, of course Topalov's behaviour was worse than Mamedyarov's.

redwhitechess's picture

great job Kamsky!

the rest (kramnik and mame) only killing lower rated opponents, their result is expected.

CAL|Daniel's picture

Yes Topalov's behaviour was worse than Mamedyarov but this does not somehow make Mamedyarov any less of a criminal. And his were LODGED during the tournament in progress. His withdrawal only came after their refusal to apprehend this nonexistent cheater based on Mamedyarov's word alone.

Radical Caveman's picture

@CAL|Daniel: Bad, yes (both of them)...but CRIMINAL??

test's picture

People like to insinuate that Mamedyarov was inconsiderate, but he WITHDREW from the tournament.
What more do you want him to do, commit hara-kiri?

Henk's picture

Sad to see so few spectatores at such a big event....kind a shows the lowly place chess occupies in the publics eye and the media, even in (former) Russia and some of World´s top players competing.

SXL's picture


Nothing new in that. I was in Sevilla during the 1987 Karpov-Kasparov match, drowe over several times during the match. The first time I got there I thought I had gotten there on a rest day, the theatre was so quiet.
But they were at it on stage.

In fact, I'm surprised there are as many at the venue as there are. You're not allowed to bring in a computer or phone, to follow the game online. Watching chess matches has moved online. I could probably sell tickets to my setup.

I have one laptop just showing the live video. I have a large monitor with the ICC commentary and analysis board, as well as a browser page with Shipov's analysis (instantly translated to English through Google Chrome), and then I have another laptop where I get the Playchess feed. I use Fritz 12 to run through some variations, look up similar positions, etc.

And then I have a chess board with pieces where I have the game position as reference and for nostalgic fun.

Can't do any of that in the theatre.

CAL|Daniel's picture

how do you get Shipov's analysis translated.

And yes I could have used a better word Radical but oh well.

What I expect test is for these scoundrels to apologize for their actions to the players they accused and the community they took a dump on. Until they do that, I think the community should shun them like pariahs.

Thomas's picture

@redwhitechess: I agree that Kamsky's performance was the most remarkable one - he was the only one finishing higher than his starting rank. But it's odd to dismiss Kramnik's and Mamedyarov's result saying that they only beat lower-rated players - what else can they do if they have the highest ratings of the field? All three winners had 2800+ performances, Sutovsky performed as expected, four other players underperformed.

On the cheating accusation controversy: Yes a "crime" is a crime, but - repeating myself - Mamedyarov got his (self-imposed) penalty and I am willing to close the issue. @CALDaniel: How many years will it take before you could consider doing the same?

@pete: Kramnik's match against Anand was because many people think (and FIDE agreed) that a WCh title should ultimately be decided in a match. On the rematch clause: Was there really one in the contract? If true, Kramnik should have lost/forfeited his title through declining a rematch - this wasn't the case. Leaving other things aside:
- Would it make sense to force Kramnik into a match in Bulgaria? A hostile atmosphere would be guaranteed .... .
- Does a rematch clause make sense at all? It forces a challenger to beat the previous champion twice in a row. If he loses the rematch, can he claim a re-rematch? If not, why not??

Thomas's picture

Short one to CalDaniel: Shipov's analyses are translated in real time at . The English is sometimes "a bit funny", but it's still highly recommended (for those who cannot understand the Russian original).

acirce's picture

"On the rematch clause: Was there really one in the contract?"

Nope. You probably already know this, but Topalov challenged under the 2700+ rule, but he was too late with a valid bid (which by the rules should include a bank guarantee) - so Kramnik had every right to refuse, which of course was the right thing to do. It was all very well explained at the time, but trifles like facts will never stop some people from spreading the same old lies.

SXL's picture

You can translate Shipov's analysis "yourself."

Install the Google Chrome browser, and download/install the google translate extension in it. (This works in Windows).
The extension autodetects pages that are not in your default language, and you're asked whether you want to translate it into another language. You have many choices.

So you go to, pick that day's game, click Translate when you're asked to, and if you want you can choose Always translate in the Options on the right.
That way, whenever you go to or, the whole page is translated for you. Yes, occasionally some funny translations, but you absolutely get what Shipov discusses.

On a Mac, you have to copy the URL for that day's analysis, and then paste it into the google translate page on the net (no autodetect/autotranslation, as in Windows.)

Pick the languages from>to. Each time you refresh, to get Shipov's opinion on new moves, the page will then automatically translate to your chosen language.

redwhitechess's picture

hi Thomas, hmm.. because there are still bunch of 2700 player could be invited. so as I see half of Kramnik and Mame's opponent is almost 100 point different, I come to a remarks that this is only a 'light' training ground for them.

buri's picture

Hmm I just got the same problem with this PGN file...maybe its something wrong with my browser...

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