It’s a beautiful day for Mamedyarov

Eric van Reem

Finally he made it! He has tried six times to win one of the Opens in Mainz, but this year the Azeri grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won the ORDIX Open with a fantastic score. After 11 incredibly tough rounds he scored a record-breaking 10 points. Never before has a winner scored 10 points in the ORDIX in Mainz. Vugar Gasimov, Vladimir Akopian and Arkadij Naiditsch scored 9,5 points.

Immediately after the last game against Akopian, Mamedyarov spoke about the Chess Classic to the press officers Harry Schaack and Eric van Reem. A few statements from the 24-year old, who won the world junior chess championship in 2003:

“I am very happy that I finally won one of the Open tournaments here in Mainz. I have played in six tournaments and I always had a very good start. I often won the first five or six games in a row, but when I lost one game, things went from bad to worse. It is a probably a psychological problem, because the same thing also happened in other tournaments. I can remember that I played the Tal Memorial blitz tournament and started with with 8/8. I won every game, against Anand, Polgar, you name it. Then I lost a game against Karpov, although I had a completely winning position. After that game I lost track and lost 16 games in a row! Incredible, but I am working on it. Therefore, this victory is very important for me.”

“I like to play Chess960. I enjoy the FiNet Open in which I can play Chess960. This year Grischuk was unbeatable in Chess960. It is a pity that I can only play it once a year on top level here in Mainz. I get bored from playing openings like the Slav over and over again. I think that in about 15 or 20 years we will only be playing Chess960.”

“My best game was against Evgeniy Najer and in the fourth round I played a good game against Stanislav Novikov as well. The crucial game against Nakamura was a normal game for me. Well, maybe not a good game, but still very interesting. I had a lost position in my game against Sargissian, but somehow I even managed to win the game. You need a little luck to win an Open like this. I think that you can afford to lose one game in the Open, but not more than one.”

The ORDIX Open on Sunday

It is not a secret that most chess players are notorious long sleepers. Getting up on a Sunday morning to play six rounds in the tough ORDIX Open is not the idea of a perfect start of the day for everybody. To cheer up the players on this rainy Sunday morning, the Queen song “It’s a Beautiful Day” was played, minutes before the start of the 6th round: “It’s a beautiful day- The sun is shining- I feel good – And no one’s gonna stop me now, oh yeah”. Naiditsch must have a good night sleep, because he was the only player with a perfect score on Saturday, who could win his first Sunday game against Landa. This is remarkable, because the German number one had to play the GRENKELEASING rapid world championship in the evening session as well. Naiditsch played 32 rapid games in three days! The other favourites, who had a 100% score on Saturday started with a draw.

After eight rounds in the ORDIX Open, three players were on top with 7,5 points. Arkadij Naiditsch won against Landa and Ivan Sokolov and drew against Grischuk. Mamedyarov started on Sunday with a draw, but won two games against Sargissian and a really beautiful attacking game against Najer. The newly crowned Chess960 champ Hikaru Nakamura won three games on Sunday morning against Andrei Sokolov, Gyimesi and Sasikiran. The Indian grandmaster had a completely winning position against the American but lost on time. A tragic loss.

As always, the ORDIX Open was decided in the last three rounds. In the 9th round, Naiditsch lost a crucial game against Nakamura. The American played the Scandinavian defence, which is not seen very often on grandmaster level. Mamedyarov won against Malakhov and Alexander Grischuk had to give up his goal of winning the FiNet and ORDIX in one year. He lost against Boris Grachev. Akopian, Bacrot and Gashimov won their games and waited for a mistake of the leaders after 9 rounds, Nakamura and Mamedyarov. Both players had 8,5 points. In the penultimate round the leaders had to play a crucial game against each other. A very original game developed, not correct but interesting. The American seemed to have the upper hand, but Mamedyarov had enough counterplay to win one of the most important games in his career. In the final round a draw against Akopian was enough to secure first place with an incredible score: 10 points out of 11 games! In the Chess Classic history only German GM Eric Lobron scored 10/11 games, but that was back in 1996 in Frankfurt in a field with 263 players.

In Mainz, 9,5 points used to be enough to secure first place, and this year three players scored 9,5 points: Arkadij Naiditsch, Vladimir Akopian and Vugar Gashimov. It was not enough to surpass the proud winner Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. A beautiful day for the Azeri, and a beautiful ORDIX Open ended.

In the ORDIX, Kateryna Lahno won the women section with 8 points, Marie Sebag and Victorija Cmilyte landed on the winner’s podium as well. In the senior section, IM Rigo won with 7,5 points, just before Vlastimil Hort and IM Donchenko. Mamedyarov won the combined FiNet/ORDIX event with 18,5 points, Naiditsch scored 18 points, Grischuk 17.5.

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