Colin McGourty

8 months

Mamedov resigned vs. Carlsen over 1…g5 “mockery”

Mamedov Carlsen

Rauf Mamedov and Magnus Carlsen in Shamkir | photo: Shamkir Chess

Rauf Mamedov has explained his decision to resign after one move against Magnus Carlsen in a Titled Tuesday as a protest at the move 1…g5. He says if a young Garry Kasparov or Anatoly Karpov tried that back in the day they might have been beaten up!

5-time Azerbaijan Chess Champion Rauf Mamedov was leading the early Titled Tuesday tournament on on October 11 going into the penultimate round and had White against Magnus Carlsen. Rauf played 1.e4, but after the reply 1…g5 he simply resigned and quit the tournament.

There was immediately speculation that Rauf was giving Magnus some of his own medicine for the resignation after move 1 against Hans Niemann, but Rauf has now explained that it was all about that move, 1…g5.

Magnus played the move in all his games with Black, including in the crucial encounter against Hikaru Nakamura, who began 1.a3 and went on to win.

Replay the Nakamura-Carlsen game:

Titled Tuesday · Round 9

2022.10.11 · · A00

MagnusCarlsen 3261

















Hikaru 3228


Hikaru went on to win the tournament with 9.5/11, while Magnus, who started a round late, finished 3rd behind Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who also finished on 9/11.

Rauf Mamedov explained his decision to Ilya Levitov in an interview reported on

You make the move 1.e4 and you get in reply 1…g5. Your first reaction?

Rauf Mamedov: If even Nakamura played like that, ok! But when Magnus does such a thing in a weekly tournament… I repeat, Titled Tuesday brings together strong line-ups, everyone comes to play chess, and some can earn from it. And then – 1.e4 g5. Well, I decided not to continue… If you’ve come to make fun of us, then without me. I don’t consider myself to be in the right and so on, but I definitely don’t want to take part in something like that.

Now, with a calm head, does it bring any associations?

Yes! Imagine, a very young Kasparov or Karpov comes to the Central Chess Club, against him is a 2650 grandmaster, and he plays 1.e4 g5. Well, they’ll beat you up! (laughs)

How much did you think before clicking the Resign button?

A couple of seconds. But I’ll reveal a secret: I knew that Magnus sometimes plays like that, it was already his 2nd Titled Tuesday. And I promised myself: if something like that happens against me then I’ll resign and quit. And, unfortunately, it happened in the 10th round, when I was 1st. That made it hurt more.

Did Magnus or the spectators and admins write something in the chat? Or you immediately left and didn’t see?

I don’t know, I left immediately. Fillimonov from Crestbook wrote to me asking why I left the tournament. I answered that because of 1…g5. And on Wednesday morning the journalist got in touch and told me that after that case on I’d almost been banned.

What would be your reaction if that happened?

If I was banned? I don’t even know! But realistically… I can’t imagine it!

How much did you lose – what was the first prize?

Well, it’s not a fact that I’d have won after 1…g5. But first place in TT is $1,000, 2nd is $750.

On the internet people began to discuss the strength of the move 1…g5. If you leave aside the element of “disrespecting your opponent”, how weak is the move itself? Khalifman noted that mathematically it’s the weakest, and Stockfish 15 gives White an advantage of +2.3.

I think the move is very bad. In over-the-board blitz Magnus definitely wouldn’t play like that.

Why do you think Carlsen plays like that? Is he really teasing his opponents or is he just bored of playing “on equal terms”?

It seems to me that he’s “insuring himself”, Carlsen, the World Champion, so that if he doesn’t win the tournament, and we’re used to him always being first, then he didn’t win because of 1…g5 or 1.g4.

Will this story somehow influence your future chess relationship?

I don’t have any relationship with him, and I won’t stop respecting him as a chess player and World Champion. It simply seems to me that you can’t do that, even if you’re so much stronger than the rest. As for possible future encounters at the board, I don’t play him often.

Would you like to add anything else?

The main thing is that I’m not trying to teach anyone! It’s my view, and I don’t want to impose it on anyone else. But the move 1…g5 in a prize tournament, moreover when it’s made by the World Champion, is wrong… There are always more expectations from a game against Carlsen than from anyone else, but instead of that, mockery.

Magnus Carlsen has made a habit of playing offbeat opening moves, including when the stakes are high. Back in the 2012 World Blitz Championship he played 1.a4 against Teimour Radjabov (and won), and he’s done similar things regularly online.

He won $12,000 in the 2020 Banter Series final after starting 1.f3 and 2.Kf2 against Wesley So.

Magnus explained he’d done it partly as a joke to give his friends a reason to tune in, but it also had a powerful effect on his opponent. Wesley lamented:

It’s just so hard to forget the game when someone plays f3 and Kf2 and just crushes you. That’s just so humiliating.

There were some complaints on Wesley’s behalf:

Magnus takes his offbeat openings seriously, however. During this year’s Chessable Masters he commented on playing 1.h4 against Wei Yi:

I think if you’re going to play a weird first move it’s no less important to be well-prepared, so I kind of knew which lines it’s possible to go for, where it’s a bit less of a liability than in others. Obviously it’s not a great move, but it seemed to work very well. I think he tried to play it a little bit too superficially, maybe, and he quickly ended in a pretty unpleasant ending.

Magnus did say back then that “1.g4 is a lot worse than 1.h4” but when he returned for the evening Titled Tuesday on the same day he kept playing the move and took clear 1st on 9.5/11, ahead of Vladimir Fedoseev and Eric Hansen.

What do you think? Did Magnus cross a line, or is playing “junk” openings just a part of the modern game?


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