- Carlsen's Undefeated Streak
- May 17, 2013 - April 22, 2014
If round 3 was a bit irksome for Magnus Carlsen, failing as he did to convert a clearly superior position against Sergey Karjakin, round 4 of the Gashimov Memorial was a flat-out disaster for the world champion. He essayed the Berlin Defense against Fabiano Caruana (come back!!), which in itself may not be foolhardy but is at least dangerous, as Caruana has been in the forefront of White players looking for deep new ideas against the Berlin ending. Carlsen's position was already somewhat unpleasant when he blundered with 24...Kc8??, dropping the c7 pawn for nothing. (Ironically, I just turned on chess24's broadcast at that moment, and in analysis Peter Svidler made the same blunder as well, to Lawrence Trent's surprise.)
Caruana's technique was very good from there up through move 39, but right before the time control Carlsen found a way to create some tactical tricks. Very short of time, Caruana chose a safe 40th move that cost him most of his advantage. Fortunately for Caruana, Carlsen rejected 40...Bc7, which would have let him grovel on a pawn down. Perhaps he felt that it would be hopeless in the long run, and decided to risk a faster loss in a sharper position. With time to work out the details, Caruana finished him off effectively, and thereby caught up with Carlsen in joint first place with 2.5/4.
The day's other games were drawn, and in round 3 the only decisive result was Hikaru Nakamura's victory over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who is currently the only player in the tournament with a minus score. Here are the pairings for round 5, the last round of the first cycle (player scores are in parentheses):
- Mamedyarov (1) - Caruana (2.5)
- Carlsen (2.5) - Radjabov (2)
- Nakamura (2) - Karjakin (2)