Semifinals Still Murky, Tiebreaks Await

U.S. Chess Championships report by FM Mike Klein

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The final round of preliminary group play of the 2011 U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship concluded Thursday with only a partial picture of the semifinals. Some players advanced in round seven while others will have to endure a rapid-game playoff Friday.

GM Gata Kamsky and GM Yury Shulman, the reigning champion and the past champion, played a short draw to preserve their advancement. The two players were the highest seeds in Group A. Kamsky’s half-point got him to 5/7 and guaranteed his graduation. Shulman, who admitted to being nervous before the game, now sat on an undefeated 4.5/7, but he had to wait to make sure GM Alex Ivanov did not win.

A few hours later GM Ray Robson dispatched Ivanov in a complex king-and-pawn ending to nullify the need for a tiebreak. Robson’s win pushed him to 4/7 and sole third place in the group, but as with all the non-qualifiers, his tournament ended today.

Although the position was relatively static and equal, the Kamsky-Shulman game did not go the required 30 moves before the draw was agreed. International Arbiter Carol Jarecki allowed the agreement when Kamsky complained of an acute illness. “It was her decision to make, whether to make an exception or not,” Shulman said. No update was available on Kamsky’s condition as he left the club immediately following the game.

In Group A, GM Robert Hess’ four-game winning streak ended, but his draw against GM Yasser Seirawan was more disappointing for his opponent. Hess had already guaranteed first place in his group, whereas Seirawan needed to win to have any chance of creeping into a tiebreak. The tiebreak will still occur, as GM Alexander Onischuk and GM-elect Sam Shankland had already agreed to peace. Onischuk and Shankland essentially delayed their fates for only a day. The pair will play a two-game playoff tomorrow while Hess and Shulman will enjoy their rest day and Kamsky will have a free day to convalesce.

Seirawan’s draw nets him 3.5/7. The even score seems justified given his erratic form in his first tournament in eight years. For his part, Shankland was relieved he would only be in a two-person playoff. “I hope [Hess] will hold,” Shankland said. “I don’t want to deal with Yasser.”

In the U.S. Women’s Championship, IM Irina Krush’s win streak also ended, but like Hess, it barely affected her tournament standing. Her draw against WGM Camilla Baginskaite earned them both invitations to the semifinals. Krush wins the top seed with her 5.5/7 score and a $1,000 prize bonus.

All attention then focused on IM Anna Zatonskih’s improbable tournament comeback. She won again today, beating WGM Sabina Foisor, to pull even with her at 4/7. The two will play a two-game tiebreak tomorrow in the same format as the U.S. Championship – two rapid games with 25-minute time control (with five-second delay), to be followed by an Armageddon match if needed.

WFM Tatev Abrahamyan nearly had to join Zatonskih and Foisor in the tiebreak, but she narrowly escaped with a draw against WIM Iryna Zenyuk. Abrahamyan thus goes through to the semis with a tie for second place with Baginskaite The two will split the $600 second-place preliminary stage bonus.

All players who did not qualify for the semifinals have the option of staying in St. Louis for the duration of the tournament. Some will do so to play in the $10,000 blitz tournament on Monday, while others will just take the time to be fans of their the club and the tournament.

To follow the tiebreaks on Friday, log on to at 2 p.m. local, 3 p.m. Eastern.

Official website / Round 1 report / Round 2 report / Round 3 report / Round 4 report / Videos

Round 5 report / Round 6 report

53rd Torneo di Capodanno in Reggio Emilia – Round Seven

Vugar Gashimov defeats Paco Vallejo, catches him on the shared first place

What a day for black pieces in the 7th round of the 53rd Reggio Emilia tournament! Three victories and two draws, and most importantly, Vugar Gashimov defeated Francisco Vallejo Pons to catch him on the first place tie.

A modest opening and equal middlegame didn’t promise much excitement. But as the pieces were gradually traded off, Gashimov succeeded in creating some imbalances in the queenside structure, well worth of the sacrificed pawn. Vallejo didn’t find the most precise moves in the endgame and eventually admitted the defeat.

Vallejo’s point and a half advantage from round four has melted and Gashimov made a fine run of three victories after starting the tournament with an unfortunate loss.

Reggio Emilia Gashimov-Fierro

Vugar Gashimov and Martha Fierro

Vassily Ivanchuk and David Navara played another enterprising game, where white sacrificed a piece early on and obtained some attacking chances. Black however defended accurately and managed to exchange most of the assaulting forces. White entered the endgame with three pawns for a piece but never stood a chance to salvage a draw.

Nigel Short skillfully maneuvered from the black side of a rare Caro-Kann to provoke weaknesses in Michele Godena’s camp and then take advantage of the exposed King and overstretched heavy pieces.

Live games with computer analysis

Official website

53rd Reggio Emilia index page

Reggio Emilia Movsesian-Yulia

Sergei Movsesian and Yulia Kochetkova

Reggio Emilia Flags

Reggio Emilia Editorial staff

Editorial staff and sponsor Ezio Montalbini

Round 7 results:

Francisco Vallejo Pons – Vugar Gashimov 0-1

Alexander Onischuk – Fabiano Caruana draw

Vassily Ivanchuk – David Navara 0-1

Michele Godena – Nigel Short 0-1

Sergei Movsesian – Alexander Morozevich draw

Round 7 standings:

1-2. Vugar Gashimov AZE 2733 and Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2698 – 4.5

3-5. Sergei Movsesian SVK 2721, David Navara CZE 2708 and Alexander Onischuk USA 2683 – 4.0

6-7. Fabiano Caruana ITA 2709 and Nigel Short ENG 2680 – 3.5

8-9. Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2764 and Alexander Morozevich RUS 2700 – 3.0

10. Michele Godena ITA 2549 – 1.0

2nd SCS International Grandmaster Chess tournament

Maxim Turov moves into sole lead, Suvrajit Saha draws GM Thomas Luther

Chennai Open 2010 Champion Grandmaster Maxim Turov of Russia moved into sole lead scoring a nice technical win over Hungarian Grand Master Attila Czebe in the seventh round of the 2nd SCS International Grandmaster Chess Tournament at Hotel Swosti Premium, Bhubaneswar here on Wednesday.

Second seeded Turov has 6.5 points and is followed by at the second place by GMs Martyn Kravtsiv (Ukraine) and Aleksej Aleksandrov (Belarus) with 6.0 points each. Twelve players shared the third position with 5.5 points each, including International Master Adhiban Baskaran and top seed Alexey Dreev of Russia.

In a hard fought Ruy Lopez game, Vaibhav Suri went down to Indian National Champion Adhiban Baskaran. Conceding a pawn after four hours of play, Suri could not survive the Chennai master’s rook ending technique. The Delhi boy meets GM Dibyendu Barua in the next round and should do well to keep his Norm chances.

International Master Suvrajit Saha held German Grandmaster Thomas Luther in an interesting Sicilian game. With attack flowing on both the flanks, the game was a free for all, until queens were exchanged. Peace was signed after 37 moves.

In another close match, Grandmaster Sriram Jha survived a scare when local star Padmini Rout gave him a run for the money. GM Norm holder Swayangsu Satyapragyan drew with Diwakar Prasad Singh in a game that saw the Orissa star trying to exploit the unorthodox opening of his opponent. Try as he did, Satyapragyan could only obtain a draw.

Round 7 top results:

GM Czebe Attila HUN 2480 – GM Turov Maxim RUS 2624 0 – 1

GM Kovalyov Anton ARG 2615 – GM Maletin Pavel RUS 2584 ½ – ½

GM Kravtsiv Martyn UKR 2546 – GM Kokarev Dmitry RUS 2612 1 – 0

IM Lahiri Atanu IND 2348 – GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2604 0 – 1

GM Bocharov Dmitry RUS 2592 – GM Simonian Hrair ARM 2521 ½ – ½

GM Dreev Alexey RUS 2655 – IM Kamble Vikramaditya IND 2412 1 – 0

GM Dzhumaev Marat UZB 2495 – GM Lafuente Pablo ARG 2587 0 – 1

GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J IND 2488 – GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2581 ½ – ½

GM Hera Imre Jr HUN 2558 – GM Varga Zoltan HUN 2479 1 – 0

GM Luther Thomas GER 2541 – IM Suvrajit Saha IND 2380 ½ – ½

GM Harutjunyan Gevorg ARM 2460 – GM Khusnutdinov Rustam KAZ 2525 1 – 0

GM Ismagambetov Anuar KAZ 2524 – WGM Gara Ticia HUN 2357 0 – 1

Vaibhav Suri IND 2347 – IM Adhiban B IND 2510 0 – 1

IM Koshy Varugeese IND 2310 – GM Kasparov Sergey BLR 2504 0 – 1

GM Vorobiov Evgeny E RUS 2612 – IM Girinath P D S IND 2389 1 – 0

GM Sundararajan Kidambi IND 2520 – IM Shyam Nikil P IND 2385 1 – 0

Round 7 standings (249 players):

1. GM Turov Maxim RUS 2624 – 6.5

2-3. GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2604 and GM Kravtsiv Martyn UKR 2546 – 6.0

4-15. GM Kovalyov Anton ARG 2615, GM Czebe Attila HUN 2480, GM Bocharov Dmitry RUS 2592, GM Lafuente Pablo ARG 2587, GM Dreev Alexey RUS 2655, GM Kasparov Sergey BLR 2504, GM Simonian Hrair ARM 2521, GM Maletin Pavel RUS 2584, IM Adhiban B IND 2510, WGM Gara Ticia HUN 2357, GM Hera Imre Jr HUN 2558 and GM Harutjunyan Gevorg ARM 2460 – 5.5

16-36. GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2581, GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J IND 2488, IM Suvrajit Saha IND 2380, GM Kokarev Dmitry RUS 2612, IM Lahiri Atanu IND 2348, IM Rathnakaran K IND 2397, IM Karthikeyan P IND 2411, GM Vorobiov Evgeny E RUS 2612, GM Vokarev Sergey RUS 2501, IM Lalith Babu M R IND 2493, IM Prathamesh Sunil Mokal IND 2411, GM Neelotpal Das IND 2453, IM Ashwin Jayaram IND 2457, GM Luther Thomas GER 2541, GM Sundararajan Kidambi IND 2520, GM Iuldachev Saidali UZB 2511, IM Konguvel Ponnuswamy IND 2412, Tiwari Arjun IND 2274, GM Sriram Jha IND 2507, GM Farago Ivan HUN 2453 and IM Roy Chowdhury Saptarshi IND 2473 – 5.0 etc

Round 8 top pairings:

GM Turov Maxim RUS 2624 - GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2604

GM Kravtsiv Martyn UKR 2546 - GM Dreev Alexey RUS 2655

GM Kasparov Sergey BLR 2504 - GM Kovalyov Anton ARG 2615

IM Adhiban B IND 2510 - GM Bocharov Dmitry RUS 2592

GM Lafuente Pablo ARG 2587 - GM Hera Imre Jr HUN 2558

GM Maletin Pavel RUS 2584 - GM Czebe Attila HUN 2480

GM Simonian Hrair ARM 2521 - GM Harutjunyan Gevorg ARM 2460

WGM Gara Ticia HUN 2357 - GM Vorobiov Evgeny E RUS 2612

GM Kokarev Dmitry RUS 2612 - GM Farago Ivan HUN 2453

GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2581 - IM Konguvel Ponnuswamy IND 2412

IM Ashwin Jayaram IND 2457 - GM Luther Thomas GER 2541

GM Sundararajan Kidambi IND 2520 - GM Neelotpal Das IND 2453

IM Karthikeyan P IND 2411 - GM Iuldachev Saidali UZB 2511

IM Prathamesh Sunil Mokal IND 2411 - GM Sriram Jha IND 2507

GM Vokarev Sergey RUS 2501 - IM Rathnakaran K IND 2397

IM Lalith Babu M R IND 2493 - IM Lahiri Atanu IND 2348

IM Suvrajit Saha IND 2380 - GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J IND 2488

San Sebastian Open – Round Seven

GM Marko Tratar, GM Karen Movsziszian and IM Alvarez Pedraza in joint lead

San Sebastian 2010

The 33rd edition of San Sebastian International Tournament is taking place from March 28th to April 4th in the basque city of San Sebastian (Donostia in Basque language). The playing venue is at Gros Xake Taldea, a chess club which has recently inaugurated its playing area next to the Anoeta Football stadium at the “fronton” Karmelo Balda.

GM Marko Tratar from Slovenia stunned the top-seeded GM Kevin Spraggett with black pieces (replay bellow) and moved ahead to the shared first place, together with Armenian GM Karen Movsziszian and Cuban IM Alvarez Pedraza. FM Joachim Thomassen wins the Norwegian derby against IM Torstein Bae and is now only half a point behind the leading pack. Irish junior Ryan Rhys Griffiths (2195) overextended his position and lost to GM Ruslan Pogorelov.

Round 7 top results:

IM Llaneza Vega Marcos - IM Alvarez Pedraza Aramis ½ – ½

GM Spraggett Kevin - GM Tratar Marko 0 – 1

GM Movsziszian Karen - GM Cabrera Alexis 1 – 0

IM Alonso Rosell Alvar - GM Gleizerov Evgeny 0 – 1

GM Korneev Oleg - FM Alvarez Fernandez Enrique 1 – 0

IM Barria Zuniga Daniel - IM Alsina Leal Daniel 0 – 1

IM Argandona Riveiro Inigo - GM Cifuentes Parada Roberto 1 – 0

GM Ulibin Mikhail - IM Piasetski Leon ½ – ½

FM Thomassen Joachim - IM Bae Torstein 1 – 0

Griffiths Ryan Rhys - GM Pogorelov Ruslan 0 – 1

GM San Segundo Carrillo Pablo - FM Nava Pereda Carlos 1 – 0

Round 7 standings:

1-3. GM Movsziszian Karen ARM 2530, GM Tratar Marko SLO 2486 and IM Alvarez Pedraza Aramis CUB 2486 – 6.0

4-9. GM Gleizerov Evgeny RUS 2565, GM Korneev Oleg RUS 2558, IM Alsina Leal Daniel ESP 2548, IM Llaneza Vega Marcos ESP 2514, IM Argandona Riveiro Inigo ESP 2388 and FM Thomassen Joachim NOR 2331 – 5.5

10-25. GM Spraggett Kevin CAN 2580, GM San Segundo Carrillo Pablo ESP 2534, GM Cabrera Alexis ESP 2533, GM Ulibin Mikhail RUS 2516, IM Alonso Rosell Alvar ESP 2509, GM Pogorelov Ruslan UKR 2486, IM Ledger Andrew ENG 2431, IM Marholev Dimitar BUL 2423, FM Almeida Toledano Daniel ESP 2367, IM Jakobsen Ole DEN 2332, FM Cruz-Lopez Claret Carlos ESP 2318, IM Andonov Bogomil BUL 2304, IM Piasetski Leon CAN 2280, WIM Hagesaether Ellen NOR 2269, Garro Beraza Haritz ESP 2075 and Navarrete Espi Samuel ESP 1992 – 5.0 etc

Round 8 top pairings:

IM Alvarez Pedraza Aramis - GM Tratar Marko

IM Alsina Leal Daniel - GM Movsziszian Karen

GM Gleizerov Evgeny - FM Thomassen Joachim

GM Korneev Oleg - IM Llaneza Vega Marcos

GM Spraggett Kevin - IM Argandona Riveiro Inigo

IM Jakobsen Ole - GM San Segundo Carrillo Pablo

GM Cabrera Alexis - FM Almeida Toledano Daniel

IM Andonov Bogomil - GM Ulibin Mikhail

FM Cruz-Lopez Claret Carlos - IM Alonso Rosell Alvar

GM Pogorelov Ruslan - Garro Beraza Haritz

IM Ledger Andrew – Navarrete Espi Samuel

Round six report

Official website

Awright at the top!

Gibtelecom Chess Festival Round Seven Report

Or should that be all white? Round 7 saw decisive results on the top 6 boards, with white winning on the top 5.

GM Vugar Gashimov moved into sole lead of the tournament with 6/7 with a cool victory over previous leader Alexander Beliavsky. Gashimov created a passed a pawn which became an unstoppable monster.

Gibraltar r7 1

Vugar Gashimov – Alexander Beliavsky

On the next board, Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna defeated Boris Avrukh. Despite the latter having two passed pawns on the queenside the Indian’s kingside demolition was more than enough to win.

Gibraltar r7 2

Board 2: Pentala Harikrishna – Boris Avrukh

The Gibtelecom Chess Festival contains a tournament within a tournament as some of the top women players in the world compete for significant cash prizes. The pairings for round seven were particularly harsh for the leading women as three of them were pitted against some powerful opponents. On board three, GM Antoaneta Stefanova (2557) faced the unenviable task of playing top seed, GM Peter Svidler (2723) with the black pieces. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Bc5 Stefanova repeats the Neo-Archangelsk variation. 6.c3 b5 7.Bc2 Earlier in this tournament, GM Bartosz Socko had retreated his bishop to b3 in a game that was analyzed as part of our report for round three. 7…d5 8.d4 dxe4 9.dxe5 exf3 10.exf6 Qxf6 11.Nd2

Gibraltar r7 3

[Peter Svidler is regarded as a GM who is very well prepared theoretically. It was therefore no surprise to see him fire these moves off in rapid succession. It turns out that Svidler had been here before, and that 11. Nd2 is an improvement on Svidler-Onischuk, Wch (Team) Beersheba 2005, which had continued instead with 11.Re1+ Be6 12.Nd2 0–0–0 13.Qxf3 Qxf3 14.Nxf3 Bd5 15.b4 agreed drawn. Stefanova would not have been unhappy with a similar result.] 11…0–0 12.Ne4 Qg6 13.Ng3!

Gibraltar r7 4

A clever move that confronts Black with the interesting dilemma of where to place her queen. 13…Qf6 [Stefanova picks what appears to be the most logical square but runs into problems regardless. Other variations are no better. 13...Qg4 , for instance, is met with 14.Qd5 Qc4 15.Qxf3 Bb6 16.b3 Qe6 17.Bd2 Bb7 18.Rfe1 Qd7 19.Rad1] 14.Qd3 g6 15.Ne4 Qf5 Despite making reasonable choices, Black is drifting into trouble. 16.Nxc5 [White does not want to trade queens with 16.Qxf3 Qxf3 17.gxf3 as his advantage is kept to a minimum after 17...Be7 18.Bf4 f5 19.Ng3 Be6 20.Bxc7 Rac8 21.Rfe1 Bf7 22.Bf4 Rfd8] 16…fxg2 17.Re1 Qxc5 18.Qf3 White’s queen applies pressure along the f3-a8 diagonal while simultaneously eyeing the weakness on g7. 18…Kg7 [This logical attempt to prevent White from playing Bh6 turns out disastrously. It would have been wiser to give up the exchange with 18...Bb7 19.Bh6 Qd6 20.Rad1 Na5 21.Be4 Bxe4 22.Rxe4 Qc6 23.Bxf8 Rxf8 although White would still have retained a comfortable advantage.] 19.Be3 Qc4 20.Bb3 The loss of material is unavoidable. 20…Ne5 21.Qg3 Qh4 Desperately hoping for 22.Qxh4 Nf3+. .. 22.Qxe5+ but it is not to be 1–0

Gibraltar r7 5

Board 3: Peter Svidler – Antoaneta Stefanova

On board 4 Swiss GM Vadim Milov kept pace with the leaders after defeating Spaniard GM Del Rio in 40 moves. Del Rio was in fact close to winning in the following position

Gibraltar r7 6

and he played the natural looking 33…Qd2 seeking to swap off into a winning endgame. Unfortunately Milov had other ideas 34.Qc4 Rxb2 35.Rxe6 Rxe6 36.Qxe6+ Kg7 37.Qf6+ Kh6 38.Nf4 Bc5 39.Qh4+ Kg7 40.Nh5+ 1–0 [Black gets mated after 40...gxh5 41.Qf6+ Kg8 42.Qf7+ Kh8 43.Qe8+ Kg7 44.Rf7+ Kh6 45.Qe6+ Kg5 46.Qf6# or loses his queen after 40...Kg8 41. Nf6+ Kf7 42. Ne4+]

Vasilios Kotronias got back to winning ways and completed the quintet of white wins on the top boards with a well played victory over Ivan Sokolov in 56 moves. Spanish GM Josep Manuel Lopez Martinez (2540) was able to break the sequence of white wins with victory over Hungary’s Ferenc Berkes (2651). Black gained an edge early on from his Nimzo-Indian defence and converted it into a full point after 44 moves.

IM Irina Krush (2457), the former US womens champion, had earlier defeated GM Sandipan Chanda and was now paired with his colleague on the Indian olympiad team, GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly (2614). Unfortunately. Irina chose a questionable line and went down to defeat without much resistance. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 0–0 8.Ne2 c5 One of the main lines in the Gruenfeld Defence. 9.0–0 Nc6 10.Be3 Na5 11.Bd3 b6 12.Rc1 e5 13.d5 f5

Gibraltar r7 7

By transposition, we have reached a position from the game Ftacnik-Krasenkow, Dortmund open 1992. 14.exf5?! [Irina varies from the stem game. Ftacnik had been successful with 14.f3 f4 15.Bd2 c4 16.Bc2] 14…gxf5 15.c4 e4 16.Bb1 Ba6 Ganguly follows earlier analysis by Ftacnik who judges this position to be favourable for Black. 17.d6?! [White guards against the attack on the c4 pawn indirectly by freeing the d5 square for a possible queen check. However, this advance seriously weakens the d6 pawn which falls in short order. Another option was to threaten a fork with Nf4. However, Black would still obtain a significant advantage with best play. 17.Nf4 Nxc4 18.Ne6 Qd6 19.Bf4 Be5 20.Bxe5 Nxe5 21.Nxf8 Ng4 22.g3 Qh6 23.h4 Bxf1] 17…Qf6 18.a4 Kh8 [The immediate 18...Rad8 19.Bf4 Qe6 would exert greater pressure on White's position.] 19.Ba2 Rad8 20.Nf4 [White is unable to hold the d6 pawn any longer as even 20.Bf4 fails to 20...Bh6 21.Bxh6 Qxh6] 20…Rxd6 21.Qe2 Nc6 22.f3 Nd4 23.Qf2 exf3 24.gxf3

Gibraltar r7 8

White’s pawn structure has been shredded and she is down a pawn to boot. 24…Bh6 25.Rce1 Bxf4 26.Bxf4 Re6 27.Rxe6 Qxe6 Black is content to trade pieces and steer the position into a winning endgame. White is helpless. 28.Be3 Rg8+ 29.Kh1 Qe5 30.Rg1 Rxg1+ 31.Kxg1 Bb7 32.Bxd4 Qxd4 33.Qxd4+ cxd4 There are simply too many pawn weaknesses for White to hold out any longer. 34.f4 a5 35.Kf2 Kg7 White resigns 0–1

Gibraltar r7 9

Irina Krush – Surya Ganguly

Two boards away, the reigning U.S. Women’s Champion, IM Anna Zatonskih (2462), ran into another formidable opponent, French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2696). 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 A less common treatment of the Caro Kann. 3…e6 4.Nc3 b6 Black borrows a plan from the French Defence which seek to trade off the “bad” bishop. This plan has been used by several strong players, most notably former World Champion, Anatoly Karpov, and Russian GM Alexey Dreev. 5.Be3 Ba6 6.Bxa6 Nxa6 7.Nge2 Bb4 8.Qd3

Gibraltar r7 10

8…Nc7 9.0–0–0 Bxc3 10.Qxc3 White prefers to keep his knight on e2 and waits to see which side Black will castle on. 10…Qd7 11.Qd3 Ne7 12.Kb1 Nb5 Black is reluctant to commit and tries to keep her options open. At this stage, Vachier-Lagrave enjoys the slight opening advantage that generally comes with having the white pieces. 13.Nf4 Ng6?! In seeking to trade off knights, Black hands over the perfect square to White. 14.Nh5 f6? Black fails to anticipate White’s next move. Sadly, 14…Kf8 may well be the best move available. 15.Bh6! Black’s position collapses with one brilliant stroke. The loss of material is unavoidable. 15…Kf7 16.Bxg7 Nf4 17.Nxf4 Kxg7 18.Rhe1 Kf7 19.e5 It is time to open lines to the king. 19…f5 20.g4 fxg4 21.Rg1 Raf8 22.Nh5 Faced with the loss of a second pawn and unable to find reasonable shelter for the king, Black resigns 1–0

Gibraltar r7 12

Svidler, Harikrishna and Avrukh share a joke before Round 7

Gibraltar r7 13

Stephen Gordon helps Stuart Conquest with his commentary

(Available at

Gibraltar r7 14

Future Stars? Anna Bellon Cramling and Weronika Socko

Gibraltar r7 15

Current leading female – Nana Dzagnidze

Pairings round 8 (Tuesday, 03 February 2009 ; 15.00 CET)

GM Svidler, Peter 5.5 RUS 2723 - GM Gashimov, Vugar 6.0 AZE 2723

GM Ganguly, Surya Shekhar 5.5 IND 2614 - GM Harikrishna, Pentala 5.5 IND 2673

GM Milov, Vadim 5.5 SUI 2669 - GM Kotronias, Vasilios 5.5 GRE 2603

GM Lopez Martinez, Josep Manu 5.5 ESP 2540 - GM Beliavsky, Alexander G 5.5 SLO 2646

GM Nakamura, Hikaru 5.0 USA 2699 - GM Golod, Vitali 5.0 ISR 2575

IM Szabo, Krisztian 5.0 HUN 2508 - GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 5.0 FRA 2696

GM Roiz, Michael 5.0 ISR 2647 - GM Pavlovic, Milos 5.0 SRB 2520

GM Avrukh, Boris 5.0 ISR 2645 - IM Hammer, Jon Ludvig 5.0 NOR 2532

GM Hauchard, Arnaud 5.0 FRA 2497 - GM Socko, Bartosz 5.0 POL 2631

GM Dzagnidze, Nana w 5.0 GEO 2518 - GM Gurevich, Mikhail 5.0 TUR 2624

IM Al Sayed, Mohamad N. 5.0 QAT 2488 - GM Akobian, Varuzhan 5.0 USA 2619

GM Sokolov, Ivan 4.5 NED 2657 - IM Papp, Gabor 5.0 HUN 2517

Full details can be found on the tournament website

Report compiled by Sean Hewitt with games annotated by Sunil Weeramantry.

GM Yurij Kuzubov grabs the lead at the Politiken Cup

he beat GM Boris Savchenko in direct duel on the top board

For the second day in a row, GM Yurij Kuzubov masterfully used his light-squared Bishop to create a mess in opponent’s camp. This time the victim was the then-leading GM Boris Savchenko who is now deposed to 2nd place tie. Kuzubov is sole leader and is set to play Black against GM Vladimir Malakhov in the 8th round of 2008 Politiken Cup.

Round 7 results:

GM Yurij Kuzubov – GM Boris Savchenko 1-0

GM Sune Berg Hansen – GM Vladimir Malakhov 0-1

GM Michael Roiz – GM Vitali Golod draw

GM Alexander A. Evdokimov – GM Peter Heine Nielsen draw

GM Sergey Tiviakov – GM Jonny Hector draw

GM Bartosz Socko – GM Alexei Iljushin 1-0

IM Ashwin Jayaram – GM Konstantin Landa draw

GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili – IM Bengt Lindberg 1-0

GM Jacob Aagaard – GM Emanuel Berg draw

Djurre den Heeten – GM Artur Kogan 0-1

GM Pavel Eljanov – Jakob Aabling-Thomsen 1-0

Round 7 standings:

1. GM Yurij Kuzubov 2578 – 6½

2-5. GM Vladimir Malakhov 2689, GM Boris Savchenko 2578, GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili 2604 and GM Bartosz Socko 2628 - 6.0

6-20. GM Jacob Aagaard 2531, GM Michal Krasenkow 2639, IM Ashwin Jayaram 2436, GM Peter Heine Nielsen 2652, GM Michael Roiz 2680, GM Vitali Golod 2578, GM Pavel Eljanov 2716, GM Emanuel Berg 2592, GM Alexander A. Evdokimov 2555, GM Sergey Tiviakov 2645, GM Konstantin Landa 2615, GM Artur Kogan 2569, GM Jonny Hector 2537, IM Oliver Kurmann 2394 and IM Viktorija Cmilyte 2508 – 5½ etc

(280 players)

Round 8 pairings:

GM Vladimir Malakhov – GM Yurij Kuzubov

GM Boris Savchenko - GM Bartosz Socko

GM Konstantin Landa – GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili

GM Artur Kogan – GM Pavel Eljanov

GM Jonny Hector – GM Michael Roiz

GM Peter Heine Nielsen – GM Jacob Aagaard

IM Viktorija Cmilyte – GM Sergey Tiviakov

GM Michal Krasenkow – GM Alexander A. Evdokimov

GM Emanuel Berg – IM Ashwin Jayaram

GM Vitali Golod – IM Oliver Kurmann

GM Alexei Iljushin – GM Arkadi Eremeevich Vul

More information on the official website

GM Arthur Kogan hosted a simul after the 7th round, scoring 19 wins and 3 draws (Pål Andreas Hansen, Jacob Glibstrup and Martin Haubro).

Politiken Kogan simul

GM Arthur Kogan opening his games

Politiken Kogan simul1

Politiken Kogan simul2

Shulman and Krush Lead at the 2008 U.S. Championships

Frank K. Berry U.S. Championship is currently ongoing in Tulsa, OK

19.05.2008 – GM Yury Shulman leads the 2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Championship by a full point with two rounds to go. IM Irina Krush tops the U.S. Women’s Championship with 6.5 points, half a point ahead of main rival IM Anna Zatonskih who lost to Batchimeg Tuvshintugs in 7th round.

The championships are sponsored by IA Frank K. Berry and are being held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, at the Radisson Hotel. The championship is a 9-round Swiss with 24 players, and the women’s championship is a 10-player round robin. The rate of play is 40/100 (+ 30 seconds per move), then G/30 (with 30 seconds per move).

Games start at 14:30 local time (20:30h UTC). Games can be watched live at MonRoi with photos, videos and live commentaries. Video commentaries of the best game each round are produced by IM Alan Stein.

USCH Shulman

GM Yury Shulman

Yury Shulman has wins against GMs Gregory Kaidanov and Boris Gulko. In round 7 Shulman beat GM Julio Becerra with black pieces in his favorite French defence, repeating the variation that was recently seen in Cheparinov-Grischuk at the Baku Grand Prix.

Defending champion Alex Shabalov lost in the first round to Alex Yermolinsky and has been trying to catch up ever since. He needs to win his last three games for a chance at first place.

USCH Onischuk

GM Alexander Onischuk

In the U.S. Women’s Championship, IMs Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih are in a race for first, with the former taking a half-point lead in round 7. The two will meet in round 8 in what will surely be the deciding game.

USCH Krush

IM Irina Krush


Rank / Name / Title / Rating / Pts

1 Shulman, Yury GM 2664 6.0

2-3 Kudrin, Sergey GM 2610 5.0

2-3 Onischuk, Alexander GM 2728 5.0

4-6 Friedel, Josh IM 2511 4.5

4-6 Perelshteyn, Eugene GM 2615 4.5

4-6 Akobian, Varuzhan GM 2666 4.5 etc

Rank / Name / Title / Rating / Pts

1 Krush, Irina IM 2515 6.5

2 Zatonskih, Anna IM 2490 6.0

3 Abrahamyan, Tatev WFM 2280 5.0

4-5 Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg WIM 2289 4.5

4-5 Rohonyan, Katerine WGM 2318 4.5

6 Battsetseg, Tsagaan WIM 2251 3.5

7 Zenyuk, Iryna WFM 2205 2.5

8 Epstein, Esther WM 2194 1.5

9 Airapetian, Chouchanik WFM 2143 1.0

10 Jamison, Courtney 2064 0.0

USCH Zatonskih

IM Anna Zatonskih

USCH Tuvshintugs

WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs

Official website

Report and photos by Brana Malobabic

Radjabov with first win, Bu sinking deeper

Derby match between Ivanchuk and Topalov ended in fighting draw

Mtel Masters 2008: General page / Photos from Mtel

Mtel Masters live: Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Topalov – Ivanchuk / Radjabov – Aronian

Report: Round 1 / Round 2 / Round 3 / Round 4 / Round 5 / Round 6

Round 7 results:

Ivanchuk Vassily 2740 UKR ½ – ½ Topalov Veselin 2767 BUL

Radjabov Teimour 2751 AZE 1 – 0 Bu Xiangzhi 2708 CHN

Cheparinov Ivan 2695 BUL ½ – ½ Aronian Levon 2763 ARM

Friday (14 CET): Live game commentary by GM Vladimir Dimitrov and live blog with the Chessdom team. See you there!

Teimour Radjabov scored his first victory at the 2008 Mtel Masters by beating already downhearted Bu Xiangzhi. The pawn structure was reminiscent of yesterday’s Bu-Cheparinov and Radjabov seized strong initiative after a series of energetic moves (25. Rf7, 26. Bf6!). Bu tried to build a fortress in the endgame, but white’s precise maneuvering soon brought him into another zugzwang.

Mtel Masters cage 2

The games are taking place inside the soundproof glass aquarium

The game between Vassily Ivanchuk and Veselin Topalov was an exciting battle even if Ivanchuk started with “dull” version of the Semi-Slav instead of nowadays popular gambit. Topalov tried to make use of his pair of Bishops and attack white King after the temporary piece sacrifice, but Ivanchuk timely exchanged the Queens and forced black to repeat the moves. With three rounds to go, the distance is still one point in Ivanchuk’s favor.

Current standings:

1. Ivanchuk Vassily 2740 UKR – 6.0

2. Topalov Veselin 2767 BUL – 5.0

3-4. Cheparinov Ivan 2695 BUL and Radjabov Teimour 2751 AZE – 3.5

5.Aronian Levon 2763 ARM – 2.0

6. Bu Xiangzhi 2708 CHN – 1.0

Round 8 pairings:

Bu Xiangzhi 2708 CHN – Ivanchuk Vassily 2740 UKR

Aronian Levon 2763 ARM – Radjabov Teimour 2751 AZE

Topalov Veselin 2767 BUL – Cheparinov Ivan 2695 BUL

Mtel Masters cage 7

Radjabov observing Ivanchuk-Topalov

Mtel Masters Bu Radjabov

Bu and Radjabov during the press conference

Mtel Masters Spassky 2

Boris Spassky on the commenting post

Besides commenting games live from the playing hall, former World Champion Boris Spassky is also meeting with many Bulgarian celebrities. Bellow is photo of Spassky with former FC Barcelona star Hristo Stoichkov, joined with Deputy Chief arbiter of the tournament Faik Gasanov and director Silvio Danailov.

Mtel Masters Stoichkov

Spassky, Stoichkov, Gasanov and Danailov

Author’s copy of the ancient Bulgarian icon “St. Trinity” will be the special prize of the winner in the super chess tournament M-Tel Masters 2008. The author of the icon is the famous Bulgarian painter Katya Bajlekova the size if the icon is 62 x 46 cm and the image is aged with the help of special technology.

As a three-time winner of M-Tel Masters, Veselin Topalov already has in his collection copies of “Entering Jerusalem”, “St. George the Winner” and “Four Saints – Warriors” by the same painter.

Mtel Masters icon

St.Trinity icon

Gausdal Classics Round 7

GM Gregory Kaidanov leading by full point with two rounds to go

A fighting 7th round of the 2008 Gausdal Classics’ GM-group A generated four decided games and one hard-fought draw. Local hero GM Kjetil A Lie, after winning two games and reaching the top of the table, lost with white against GM Geetha Naraynan Gopal and dropped to 2-4th place tie. American GM Gregory Kaidanov accepted the gift and outplayed Eric Moscow to move into a full point lead. GM Bartlomiej Macieja displayed a fine technique and won the rook endgame against GM Vyacheslav Ikonnikov.

gausdal 2008

Meanwhile, young IM Jon Ludvig Hammer beat IM Sundararjan Kidambi and took a sole lead in the GM-group B. GM Aloyzas Kveinys, IM Sundararjan Kidambi and IM Arun Prasad are on tied second, followed by a large bulk of players with 4.5 points. Jon Kristian Haarr is removing one barrier after another in the ELO-group and holds 1.5 point distance ahead of competition.

More Gausdal Classics coverage on the official website.

GM-group A round 7 results:

GM Kjetil A Lie – GM Geetha Naraynan Gopal 0-1

Eric Moskow – GM Gregory Kaidanov 0-1

GM Chanda Sandipan – IM Irina Krush 1-0

GM Bartlomiej Macieja – GM Vyacheslav Ikonnikov 1-0

IM Øystein Hole – GM Vasilios Kotronias draw

GM-group A round 7 standings:

1. GM Gregory Kaidanov (USA 2596) – 5.5

2-4. GM Chanda Sandipan (IND 2585) – 4.5

2-4. GM Kjetil A Lie (NOR 2558) – 4.5

2-4. GM Geetha Naraynan Gopal (IND 2562) – 4.5

5-6. GM Bartlomiej Macieja (POL 2599) – 4.0

5-6. GM Vasilios Kotronias (GRE 2611) – 4.0

7. GM Vyacheslav Ikonnikov (RUS 2578) – 3.0

8. IM Irina Krush (USA 2479) – 2.5

9. IM Øystein Hole (NOR 2387) – 1.5

10. Eric Moskow (USA 2229) – 1.0

GM-group B round 7 standings:

1. IM Jon Ludvig Hammer (NOR 2457) – 5.5

2-4. GM Aloyzas Kveinys (LIT 2515), IM Sundararjan Kidambi (IND 2441) and IM Arun Prasad (IND 2465) – 5.0

Games from GM-group A

Russian team chess championship round 7

Tomsk 400 torpedoed by TPS Saransk, Ural held to another draw

Participants / Round 1 / Round 2 / Round 3 / Round 4 / Round 5 / Round 6

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The rest day at the Russian team championship surely helped the players to charge their batteries as we saw a burst of wonderful chess in today’s matches. The highlight of the day is demolition of last year’s champion Tomsk 400 who went 0.5-5.5 against inspired TPS Saransk. Vassily Ivanchuk beat Alexander Morozevich and Sergey Karjakin saved a single draw for Tomsk 400.

The leading Ural split the honors with Shatar Buryatia 3-3. Gata Kamsky wins his first game and Alexander Grischuk was effective with the Marshall Attack, but Farukh Ammonatov and in-form Alexander Lastin equalised the match. Economist 1 and South Ural both lacked some of the key players, but team from Saratov proved to have ‘longer bench’ as substitutions took a clear 4.5-1.5 win. Spasio-Swiss gained momentum after beating ’64′ Moscow with a sound 4-2. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov wins against disheartened Ian Nepomniachtchi and the second executor was Denis Khismatullin.

Round 7 results:

Spasio-Swiss (Moscow) – 64 (Moscow) 4-2

GM Ruslan Ponomariov – GM Boris Gelfand draw

GM Igor Khekin – GM Sergei Rublevsky draw

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – GM Ian Nepomniachtchi 1-0

GM Ernesto Inarkiev – GM Pentala Harikrishna draw

GM Vladislav Tkachiev – GM Wang Hao draw

GM Denis Khismatullin – GM Maxim Rodshtein 1-0

Economist 2 (Saratov) – Finek Gazprom (Sankt Petersburg) 2-4

GM Dimitry Andreikin – GM Vadim Zvjaginsev draw

GM Alexander Evdokimov – GM Sergey Movsesjan 0-1

GM Alexei Iljushin – GM David Navara draw

GM Sergey Dyachkov – GM Nikita Vitiugov 0-1

GM Alexander Kovchan – GM Maxim Turov draw

IM Mihail Lushenkov – GM Vassily Yemelin draw

Tomsk 400 – TPS Saransk (Saransk) 0.5-5.5

GM Alexander Morozevich – GM Vassily Ivanchuk 0-1

GM Sergey Karjakin – GM Konstantin Sakaev draw

GM Dimitry Jakovenko – GM Andrei Volotkin 0-1

GM Loek Van Wely – GM Emil Sutovsky 0-1

GM Artyom Timofeev – GM Mikhail Kobalia 0-1

GM Andrei Belozerov – GM Evgeny Najer 0-1

Politekhnik (Nizhny Tagil) – SHSM (Moscow) 2-4

GM Zahar Efimenko – GM Alexander Onischuk draw

GM Alexander Areshchenko – GM Karen Asrian 0-1

GM Boris Grachev – GM Ivan Popov draw

GM Igor Lysyj – GM Vladimir Potkin draw

GM Pavel Maletin – GM Boris Savchenko 0-1

GM Dimitry Kokarev – GM Stanislav Novikov draw

Economist 1 (Saratov) – South Ural (Chelyabinsk) 4.5-1.5

GM Evgeny Alekseev – GM Alexander Riazantsev draw

GM Ni Hua – GM Viktor Korchnoi draw

GM Michael Roiz – GM Igor Kurnosov 1-0

GM Alexander Moiseenko – GM Evgeny Sveshnikov 1-0

GM Alexander Galkin – GM Evgeny Romanov 1-0

GM Ildar Khairullin – IM Pavel Ponkratov draw

Ural (Yekaterinburg) – Shatar Buryatia 3-3

GM Teimour Radjabov – GM Vugar Gashimov draw

GM Alexei Shirov – GM Bu Xiangzhi draw

GM Gata Kamsky – GM Kamil Miton 1-0

GM Alexander Grischuk – GM Anton Shomoev 1-0

GM Alexei Dreev – GM Farukh Ammonatov 0-1

GM Alexander Motylev – GM Alexander Lastin 0-1

Current Standings

Team / Match points / Game points (click here for the team lists)

1. Ural (Yekaterinburg) 11 (25.5)

2-4. TPS Saransk (Saransk) 10 (25.0)

2-4. Economist 1 (Saratov) 10 (24.5)

2-4. Finek Gazprom (Sankt Petersburg) 10 (24.0)

5. Shatar Buryatia 9 (22.0)

6. SHSM (Moscow) 8 (23.0)

7-8. Spasio-Swiss (Moscow) 7 (21.0)

7-8. 64 (Moscow) 7 (19.5)

9. Tomsk 400 4 (17.0)

10-11. Politekhnik (Nizhny Tagil) 3 (17.5)

10-11. Economist 2 (Saratov) 3 (16.0)

12. South Ural (Chelyabinsk) 2 (17.0)

Selected games from round 7:

50 moves rule drama at Cappelle la Grande

Chernyshov and Kryvotuchko lead Cappelle la Grande after 7 rounds

Yet another exciting day at Cappelle la Grande, the biggest tournament of Western Europe in February with more than 600 participants. Board 1 game between GM Chernyshov and GM Gashimov finished in a fast 10 moves draw, which allowed GM Kryvoruchko to catch up with Chernyshov after a win with white against Timoshenko. GM Chernyshov and GM Krivoruchko are with 6,0/7 and are followed by GM Gashimov, GM Arutinian, IM Deviatkin, GM Fedorchuk, GM Miroshnichenko, GM Moiseenko,GM Kotronias, and GM Vitiugov, all with 5,5/7.

The drama of the day was in the game CF Andre Kienitz (Germany, ELO 2193) and IM Nino Khurtsidze (Georgia, ELO 2441). IM and WGM Khurtsidze had an endgame with two knights against one pawn for her opponent. After certain manuvers she managed to reach the mating position… when her opponent Andre Kienitz claimed draw on the 50 moves rule! The refferee came and confirmed the situation, the game ended in a draw.

Games start tomorrow at 14:00 CET and can be foolowed live on the official site

Cappelle la grande resources


Photo report 1

Photo report 2

Photo report 3

Photo report 4

PGN Cappelle la Grande

Round 1 /

Round 2 /

Round 3 /

Round 4 /

Round 5 /

Round 6 /

Round 6

Results round 7


Cappelle 7 nino khurtsidze

Andre Kienitz (Germany, ELO 2193) vs IM Nino Khurtsidze (Georgia, ELO 2441)
drama decided by the 50 moves rule

Cappelle 4 fedorchuk rasmussen

Fedorchuk (right) is aiming at the first places

Cappelle 5 - 11

Vasilios Kotronias getting closer to the leaders

Cappelle 5 - 16

Julia Kochetkova from Russia with 4,0/7 after a win against Patrick Urbaniak

Cappelle 5 - 10

Tal Baron from Israel with 4,0/7.
A tournament with Petrosian, Tal, and Kasparov? That is Cappelle la Grande :)

Cappelle 5 - 05

IM Anthony Wirig, FRA

Sasikiran leading the race!

Report, photos, video, replayable games

Rank Name FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts
1 Sasikiran Krishnan IND ** ½ 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1
2 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE ½ 0 ** 1 ½ ½ 1 0
3 Topalov Veselin BUL 1 0 ** ½ ½ 0 1 ½
4 Adams Michael ENG ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ** 1 ½
5 Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter ROM ½ ½ 1 0 0 ** ½ ½ 3
6 Kamsky Gata USA 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ** 3

We have witnessed some nice games in another combative round of the Mtel Masters 2007. Indian Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran, the lowest rated of the players, is “unexpectedly” holding the pole position with 4.5 points out of 7 rounds. Yesterday, his coach GM Lev Psakhis said that anything can happen in the last four rounds, and added “I had some important remarks on Krishnan’s play in the first half of the tournament”. Obviously, Lev’s advices helped Sasikiran to stabilize his form as the second tournament half is heating up.

Today the Indian played on the Black side facing Shakhriyar Mamedyarov’s unorthodox English opening. Krishnan displayed deep positional understanding as first he obtained a pair of Bishops, and then sacrificed a pawn to take White’s pieces into passivity. Still, the position demanded accurate play as Mamedyarov was threatening to attack with his Queen and Rook parked on the 7th rank. After the Queens have went off, Krishnan used power of his Bishops to force Mamedyarov to resign.

Day 07-All

Round 7 about to begin

Mickey “The Spider” Adams opted for solid closed Sicilian with White against Veselin Topalov. He is probably hiding his aces before the Elista candidate matches. GM Vladimir Dimitrov, in our live commentary, correctly predicted that Topalov will choose the aggressive setup with d6-e5-Nge7. Perhaps Topalov’s 12th move bc5 was imprecise, as it allowed Adams to create wonderful play over the open files and 7th rank.

Nevertheless, Topalov was accuratelly defending his passive position, and after a sequence of exchanges, players ended up in drawing a Rook (or even Pawn) endgame. This was another game where Topalov missed his chance to castle. He said that he usually relies on strong activity of his pieces, which will not allow the opponents to create threats against the vulnerable King.

Day 07-Topalov Adams

Michael Adams – Veselin Topalov

Gata KamskyLiviu-Dieter Nisipeanu featured Sicilian Taimanov. This is the third opening that Nisipeanu was testing against 1.e4 in Sofia. The game followed Kamsky-Karpov 1994 for a while, and Kamsky was constantly increasing the pressure over the central files and on the Queenside. However, Nisipeanu was alert to create timely counterplay and neutralize the danger. 27…Ne4 was particularly eye-pleasing, forcing a number of exchanges down to the draw in a Rook endgame.

Full round 7 photo report