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Fast Start at Essent 07

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This year's Essent Crown Group got off to a fast start with wins from both the favorites. Last year's co-winner Mamedyarov beat van Wely and Ponomariov beat big underdog current world junior champ Andriasian. Werle and Simutowe are leading the open with 3/3.

I'm still not sure what to make of two-time world junior champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan. He can be a great attacking player, a sensationally creative defender, and he has an occasionally eclectic opening repertoire. Yet somehow he seems to draw an inordinately high percentage of his games against his fellow 2700's. He appeared in the top 10 suddenly last year and has shown even better rapid results. He's due for a big result in classical play. He tied for first at Essent last year with Judit Polgar. It was a strange event with an exhausted Topalov coming in from his match with Kramnik at Elista and a horrific 0.5/6 score from Sokolov. A week later Mamedyarov drew all nine of his games at the Tal Memorial, where he will also be appearing again this year.

In the first round at Essent he beat van Wely in a Semi-Slav the Dutchman must have worked on considerably with Kramnik prior to the Mexico City world championship tournament. It looked like Black had decent defensive chances even after White had two connected passers, but Mamedyarov whipped up an attack and van Wely fell apart in time trouble. Ponomariov rolled Andriasian off the board in impressive fashion. Speaking of Kramnik and van Wely, this game followed one between those two players at this year's Melody Amber tournament. 23.Re6 is a beauty. You often see moves like this that are only good if the defender accepts the sac. This shot can't be accepted and was winning either way. Pono finished precisely.

Ponomariov and Mamedyarov just drew against each other at the Euro Club Cup where both had excellent performances. Pono tied for second at the Tal Memorial last year but unlike Shak he won't be back this year. Ponomariov, born in 1983 (Mamedyarov 85), still has yet to recapture the magic that brought him the FIDE KO WCh title back in 01-02 and an impressive second place in Linares a few months later. Was that just a flash in the pan? As far as I can tell, he hasn't beaten a 2700+ player this year. A pretty weak stat, I admit. He's got another Russian KO coming up soon, the Khanty-Mansyisk World Cup, so maybe he's just saving his strength for another run to glory.


FYI, Pono born 1983, Shak 1985.


Mamedyarov wins again today, this time defeating Andriasian in a very simple manner:

Get bishop pair? CHECK
Mobile pawn majority? CHECK
Create a passed pawn supported by pieces? CHECK

Mamedyarov's win today over Andriasian was so smooth and effortless that it almost looked liked he was playing NN in a simul. :-)

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 14, 2007 11:20 PM.

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