Is it a bird ? Is it a plane ? No, it’s Mamedyarov !


The Istambul team Olympiad finished a few days ago (Armenia made it again, proving that good team spirit is worth approximately 100 elo points…), and my curiosity led me to consult the top performers board.

You see, for some players, the Olympiad is like a super-open, and they crunch through their opponent’s ranks as an IM would brush off rank amateurs in a weekender… In the past, I’ve noticed Ukrainians and Armenians were usually ranked quite high on this list (with Ivanchuk one of the usual suspects). This time, no less than 7 players scored an over 2800-performance (!), with Azebaidjani ex-Junior World Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov getting the top honours.

I’ve read many times that Mamedyarov was an endgame lover, but when I happened to look at some of his games in the past, I had the feeling he was a kind of chess powerhouse trouncing his opponents with tactical fireworks before any endgame materialized on the board. But okay, I looked at all of his Olympiad games this time and I found some quite impressive endgame play : here, against Chinese champion Wang Yu (himself not a bad endgame player…) he shows a beautiful example of team play to push the little guy to the finish line.