Carlsen Wins Qatar Masters Open 2015

edges out defending Champion on tiebreaks

Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik pictured at the opening ceremony of the tournament. | photo © David Llada, www.qatarmastersopen.com
Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik pictured at the opening ceremony of the tournament.
photo © David Llada, www.qatarmastersopen.com

Magnus Carlsen’s end of 2015 just keeps getting better. Merely weeks after winning the London Chess Classic and inaugural Grand Chess Tour in the same day, the World Champion has won the Qatar Masters Open.

The event, held in Doha, was played over 9-rounds, and boasted some big names among its field of 132. Vladimir Kramnik, Anish Giri, Wesley So, Sergey Karjakin, Li Chao, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Pentala Harikrishna, were all present. Defending Champion was Yu Yangyi. But, as Mark Crowther of The Week in Chess remarks, “It is possible that this is the first appearance by a reigning World Champion in a Swiss Open at standard time controls since Boris Spassky played in Vancouver in 1971.”

Carlsen did not have things his own way during the event, however, and took a little while to get going. After 3 rounds, Anish Giri and Li Chao were leading, with 3/3 and Magnus lagged a half point behind. The leaders would play each other in round 4, and draw. Carlsen would see a chance to get his foot in the door, and this he did by defeating Jan-Krzysztof Duda.

In round 5, the gloves came off, Carlsen would face Li Chao, and it may surprise some to learn that they have never played before. Carlsen, playing white, could bank on facing a Grunfeld if he planned to open 1.d4, but clearly took nothing else for granted — “… playing through Li Chao’s games before the round today, I realized that I don’t understand the way that he plays at all.” Compliment or insult? Answers on a postcard. The game itself was a sharp affair, in which players exchanged threats, counter-threats, mating threats, all over the place. It was clearly going to be a question of who would take their eyes off the ball first. Well, it would not be Carlsen, who seemed to be on a mission, and used the round to assert himself.

And so, with Anish Giri being held to a draw by Wesley So, Carlsen would enjoy sole lead of the tournament. Hot on his heels, though, would be the likes of Anish Giri, Vladimir Kramnik, Sergey Karjakin, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Going in to the penultimate round, Mamedyarov had joined Carlsen at the top of the table, along with Sanan Sjugirov. But Sjugirov would be facing Vladimir Kramnik with black, which (no disrespect to Sjugirov) would be a tough task, so Carlsen must have been thinking that a win over Mamedyarov was what he should be going for. He would have black, also, but he plays it just as positively as he does White. He actually made quite light work of it in their Queens Gambit Declined — or is it more accurate to say that Mamedyarov fell on his own sword? Judge for yourself.






The above win taken into account, along with the fact that Carlsen’s main rivals (Giri, Ponomariov, Karjakin, etc.) drew, other than Kramnik, who did indeed defeat Sanan Sjugirov, meant that Magnus Carlsen would lead by a half point, (over Kramnik and defending champion, Yu Yangyi), at the end of round 8 on 6.5/8. Kramnik and Carlsen would play each other in the final round, and draw a rather tame Berlin. This meant that Carlsen would be assured of the title, unless Yu Yangyi could deliver the goods against Wesley So. Well, he did, in a game lasting 77-moves, which saw some good quality passed pawns overcoming knight and rook.

And so, Yangyi and Carlsen, would finish the scheduled 9-rounds with a score of 7-points.  The event would be settled by means of blitz tiebreaks. Carlsen would wrap things up in straight games, a precise sacrificial attack in the first, and a miniature in the second, thanks to a blunder from his opponent.

This 2-0 score meant that Magnus Carlsen claimed victory, and the $27,000 (£18,313; €24,861) first prize. Yu Yangyi and Vladimir Kramnik would finish in second and third respectively. A nice, competitive tournament, and it is very good to see that some well funded opens are attracting the big names.

Final Standings:

Rk.  NameRtgFEDPts. TB1TB2TB3
1 GMCarlsen Magnus 2834NOR7288744.548
2 GMYu Yangyi 2736CHN728634548.5
3 GMKramnik Vladimir 2796RUS6.5283347.551.5
4 GMKarjakin Sergey 2766RUS6.5279344.546.5
5 GMSjugirov Sanan 2646RUS6.5279145.549.5
6 GMNi Hua 2693CHN6.5276242.545
7 GMIvanchuk Vassily 2710UKR6.527003942.5
8 GMGiri Anish 2784NED628154751.5
9 Xu Yinglun 2470CHN628004852
10 GMGanguly Surya Shekhar 2648IND6274342.545.5
11 GMHarikrishna P. 2743IND6273644.548
12 GMPonomariov Ruslan 2710UKR6272042.546.5
13 GMAkopian Vladimir 2648ARM6271338.542
14 GMDuda Jan-Krzysztof 2663POL626973842
15 GMNguyen Ngoc Truong Son 2642VIE6269140.543.5
16 GMVitiugov Nikita 2724RUS626874347
17 GMSethuraman S.P. 2639IND626343840
18 GMSo Wesley 2775USA5.5275348.553
19 GMLi Chao B 2750CHN5.527504853
20 GMMamedyarov Shakhriyar 2748AZE5.527434751
21 GMSwiercz Dariusz 2646POL5.5273347.550.5
22 GMZhang Zhong 2619SIN5.5273043.545.5
23 GMWojtaszek Radoslaw 2723POL5.5269743.547.5
24 GMPiorun Kacper 2637POL5.5267742.546.5
25 GMHowell David W L 2688ENG5.526764246
26 GMIpatov Alexander 2619TUR5.526754043.5
27 GMNaroditsky Daniel 2628USA5.526704041.5
28 GMMatlakov Maxim 2684RUS5.5266640.545
29 GMJakovenko Dmitry 2737RUS5.526634245.5
30 GMGrandelius Nils 2632SWE5.526614245.5
31 GMKorobov Anton 2713UKR5.526614044
32 GMBologan Viktor 2654MDA5.526494044.5
33 IMLin Chen 2532CHN5.5263240.544
34 GMLu Shanglei 2618CHN5.5261736.539
35 GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi 2644IND5.5261540.544
36 GMFedoseev Vladimir 2664RUS5.526143941.5
37 GMKhismatullin Denis 2654RUS5.526053841
38 GMHou Yifan 2683CHN5.5259139.543.5
39 GMSasikiran Krishnan 2638IND5.525713942
40 IMGagare Shardul 2470IND527064246
41 GMSalem A.R. Saleh 2622UAE526584447.5
42 GMBluebaum Matthias 2590GER526544245
43 GMTomashevsky Evgeny 2744RUS526264145.5
44 GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr. 2486IND5261237.539.5
45 GMAl-Sayed Mohammed 2520QAT5260641.545.5
46 GMLenderman Aleksandr 2626USA525703739.5
47 IMLy Moulthun 2462AUS525693840.5
48 GMBartel Mateusz 2620POL5256536.539.5
49 GMDubov Daniil 2655RUS525624043
50 GMMoiseenko Alexander 2689UKR5255134.538
51 GMAdhiban B. 2669IND5253636.540
52 GMXu Jun 2526CHN525313941.5
53 IMKashlinskaya Alina 2448RUS5250033.535.5
54 GMKhotenashvili Bela 2496GEO524913133
55 GMShoker Samy 2489EGY524893435.5
56 IMVignesh N R 2422IND4.5265543.548
57 IMYuffa Daniil 2504RUS4.526064346
58 GMKosteniuk Alexandra 2542RUS4.526044043
59 FMLi Di 2389CHN4.5256839.543.5
60 GMBok Benjamin 2594NED4.525614244.5
61 IMKaravade Eesha 2379IND4.525593740.5
62 FMRohan Ahuja 2426IND4.5254637.539.5
63 WGMSaduakassova Dinara 2407KAZ4.525383638
64 IMSaiyn Zhanat 2394KAZ4.5253737.541.5
65 Firouzja Alireza 2372IRI4.5253435.539
66 IMAryan Chopra 2436IND4.5253337.540.5
67 GMTregubov Pavel V. 2589RUS4.5252638.541.5
68 FMBasso Pier Luigi 2438ITA4.5252336.540.5
69 GMWei Yi 2730CHN4.525163943
70 WGMGoryachkina Aleksandra 2493RUS4.525133637.5
71 Roy Prantik 2370IND4.525093842
72 GMStefanova Antoaneta 2521BUL4.524923537
73 GMHarika Dronavalli 2513IND4.5247940.543.5
74 IMSunilduth Lyna Narayanan 2494IND4.5247335.538.5
75 GMRambaldi Francesco 2560ITA4.5247136.539.5
76 GMBromberger Stefan 2521GER4.524593335.5
77 IMSanal Vahap 2487TUR4.524143032
78 GMSchroeder Jan-Christian 2511GER4.5240433.536
79 IMWang Yiye 2438CHN4253239.542.5
80 IMPuranik Abhimanyu 2442IND4253238.541.5
81 Raja Harshit 2325IND425034044
82 GMHamdouchi Hicham 2597FRA424924042.5
83 IMTissir Mohamed 2346MAR424914044
84 IMKhademalsharieh Sarasadat 2380IRI4248235.539
85 Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh 2414IND424814042.5
86 FMMoroni Luca Jr 2466ITA4246834.537
87 GMSundararajan Kidambi 2513IND424653739
88 GMZhukova Natalia 2488UKR424603436.5
89 IMTabatabaei M.Amin 2482IRI4245537.540.5
90 GMVocaturo Daniele 2597ITA424473941.5
91 Dai Changren 2328CHN424323234
92 GMKhairullin Ildar 2647RUS4242736.540
93 GMEsen Baris 2562TUR4241638.542
94 WFMVaishali R 2313IND423913335
95 IMFirat Burak 2446TUR423873234
96 IMLorparizangeneh Shahin 2454IRI423873133
97 GMKrush Irina 2468USA4238730.532.5
98 GMVenkatesh M.R. 2451IND423873032
99 IMVogel Roven 2439GER4237729.531.5
100 GMDzagnidze Nana 2559GEO4235728.530.5
101 IMSvane Rasmus 2529GER423473133
102 IMMa Zhonghan 2463CHN3.525013941.5
103 IMPham Le Thao Nguyen 2319VIE3.5247737.541
104 IMAbhishek Kelkar 2393IND3.5246538.542.5
105 FMAbdusattorov Nodirbek 2429UZB3.524403739.5
106 IMAli Marandi Cemil Can 2454TUR3.5243039.543
107 GMCarlsson Pontus 2433SWE3.5242434.537.5
108 IMSeyb Alexander 2425GER3.5242234.536.5
109 IMBatsiashvili Nino 2498GEO3.5239834.537
110 WGMPourkashiyan Atousa 2322IRI3.5239331.533
111 IMPadmini Rout 2437IND3.523613436
112 GMNeelotpal Das 2475IND3.523363133
113 WGMAbdumalik Zhansaya 2390KAZ3243038.542.5
114 Fang Yuxiang 2438CHN3241738.541.5
115 IMNezad Husein Aziz 2425QAT323973537
116 IMGuramishvili Sopiko 2368GEO323533436
117 WIMPratyusha Bodda 2260IND323503234
118 FMHaria Ravi 2416ENG323353234
119 WIMBivol Alina 2344RUS323323031.5
120 IMLi Ruofan 2372SIN323252931
121 WIMDerakhshani Dorsa 2307IRI323082930.5
122 IMSagar Shah 2441IND2.523563840
123 IMChristiansen Johan-Sebastian 2385NOR2.5229432.534.5
124 WGMBartel Marta 2271POL2.5229231.533
125 IMKonguvel Ponnuswamy 2377IND2.5229230.532
126 FMGholami Aryan 2422IRI2.5221831.533
127 IMSlavin Alexey 2388RUS2.521932930.5
128 IMPiasetski Leon 2287CAN2.521652931
129 GMShankland Samuel L 2646USA223873235
130 FMGoriatchkin Jouri 2318RUS2223529.532
131 IMEzat Mohamed 2490EGY2218629.531.5
132 Siva Mahadevan 2400IND2208229.531
About John Lee Shaw 275 Articles
Total chess nut! I enjoy following the chess world and giving my two-penneth. I don't pretend to be an expert, I'm more a knowledgeable enthusiast. My chess writing can also be seen at www.chessimprover.com.

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