With a busy schedule this week and next, I.ve enjoyed a few days off after returning from Shamkir last Thursday.
After the up.s and down.s in both quality of play and results, the last round victory made all the difference. Outright victory with 6.5/10 after sharing the lead (with Fabiano Caruana) before the last round, was just what I needed: Finishing on an upbeat note with a decent result overall.
Looking back at .Shamkir Chess 2014 . in memory of Vugar Gashimov., there are several reasons to be uplifted. The tournament was flawlessly organized at the highest level in an amicable atmosphere. Many of the strongest players in the world under age 30 participated and in addition there was a very strong B-group. The event took place in the homeland of Vugar, and the uncompromising fighting chess in his style seen throughout the event was a worthy way of honoring him.
During the tournament I was frustrated with making too many blunders. In retrospect my overall level of play was probably okay. Five wins, and some very good games compensate significantly for the weaker days, and in my two losses my opponents Caruana and Radjabov after all played more or less flawlessly. Apart from Mamedyarov, who seemed to lack the level of energy needed for his uncompromising style as displayed more successfully in the Candidates, most players are probably reasonably happy with their result. Importantly for Azerbaijan, Radjabov seems to have done a lot of good work recently and has definitely reversed the downward trend and rating loss experienced in 2013.
In addition to thanking the organizer Synergy Group, all the individuals involved one way or another, and the family of Vugar, I.m grateful to my coach Peter Heine as well as my father Henrik and the .security. man Bjorn for their support. I hope the Shamkir Chess tournament will become a tradition.
Tuesday 6th there is a media day, followed by an event in Trondheim for Nordic Semiconductor on Wednesday and an internet match against .Norway. on Thursday 8th, organized by VG. Later on the 8th I.m playing a simul at a Simonsen Vogt Wiig event.
My next tournament is Norway Chess in Stavanger early June!
Magnus Carlsen, Oslo, May 5th, 2014