The traditional Aeroflot Open was staged in Moscow from February 7 (arrival)
to 17 (departure), 2006 at the Hotel Gamma (part of the Tourist Complex "Ismailovo").
The Festival consisted of four nine-round Swiss tournaments, with a total prize
fund of US $175,000. The winner of A1 tournament will be invited to
play in the Dortmund Sparkassen Meeting, which takes place from July 23 to August
Aeroflot Open Final Report
Report and pictures by Misha Savinov
The last round of the Aeroflot Open turned everything upside down! The two
leaders, Pavel Eljanov from Ukraine and Kiril Georgiev from Bulgaria, were to
meet Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (as Black) and Krishnan Sasikiran (as White). Eljanov
had a tiebreak advantage, so Georgiev required a win to improve his overall
winning chances. A draw was a good result for Eljanov, however, the pace of
Mamedyarov in the second part of the event looked really scary.
Relaxed: Baadur Jobava
Top boards: Georgiev vs Sasikiran, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov surprised his opponent in the opening, allowing the Nimzo-Indian
(he normally plays the Queen’s Indian, but Shakh was very disappointed
about the positions he was getting in it). A double-edged variation led to a
very complicated position. Both players were up to the task, as Eljanov’s
decisive mistake was discovered only under a microscope of grandmaster analysis.
The computer could not help, as it was not a tactical mistake. Eljanov just
did not correctly guess the best square for his rook. Mamedyarov’s play
was superb that day, and the victory brought him 6.5 points.
Vachier-Lagrave kibitzes on Eljanov’s round 8 game
On the second table Georgiev suddenly appeared in a worse position against
Sasikiran. The Indian was extremely focused before and during the game, and
capitalized on his opponent’s inaccuracies to snatch a full point in the
endgame. The result of this game was apparent long before Georgiev resigned,
and all eyes turned to other tables as well as color coefficients.
Deep concentration: India's Krishnan Sasikiran
Once again winning as Black in the final round proved decisive. Rublevsky,
Sutovsky, and now – Jobava! Baadur Jobava’s striking weapon, the
Caro-Kann, helped him to knock down Vladimir Malakhov.
Viorel Bologan’s fourth (!) consecutive win also gave him 6.5 points.
His opponent Alexander Motylev got into a huge time trouble by move 20. He had
five seconds for last five moves (without increment), and barely made the time
control. However, the position was already lost.
Motylev resigns to Bologan
The average rating of Jobava’s opponents was higher than of Sasikiran
and Bologan. So, the tiebreak placed four Aeroflot winners as follows:
1. Baadur Jobava, Georgia,
2. Viktor Bologan, Moldova,
3. Krishnan Sasikiran, India,
4. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Azerbaijan.
Four winners: Sasikiran, Bologan, Mamedyarov, Jobava
At the closing ceremony I asked Mamedyarov whether he thinks the color tiebreak
is unfair. Not really, was his reply. The color makes a real difference. “Had
I had black against Eljanov, winning could have become a real problem”.
Arbiter Geurt Gijssen and organiser Alexander Bakh
In the interview to Russian websites and the 64 magazine Baadur Jobava said
that before the tournament he had a feeling that he may succeed. He had promised
his father to finish in the top three, and his confidence was not shaken by
an unlucky loss (from a much better position) to Mamedyarov in round four. A
draw with Jakovenko was the turning point. Jobava mixed up a move order in a
sharp line of the Caro-Kann, but avoided a sure loss with resourceful defense.
After that, he was unstoppable.
Baadur Jobava and his special award
Talking to other players during the closing ceremony revealed, that moving
to the Izmailovo hotel was no problem for them at all. The playing hall was
okay, and hotel rooms were even better than before. The most significant improvement
was suggested by GM Karlsson: he advised the organisers to add a coffee machine
to the playing hall. Maybe next year?
A wall between A1 and A2 tournaments was introduced for rounds 8 and 9, and
only media and organizers were allowed to enter the A1 hall.
Alexandra Kosteniuk won her 8th round game: +2 before the last round! She lost
the last game, but +1 is a fantastic result anyway!
Nikola Sedlak: one of the +2 group
Kiril Georgiev defeated Akopian after the latter unsuccessfully “improved”
White’s play in Anand-Topalov San Luis game.
Listening to an announcement
German GM Arkady Naiditsch
The Americans: Shabalov and Ivanov
Sakaev and Tomashevsky, both at +1
Joel Lautier is interviewed by Sport Channel
Watching the Internet relay
Jobava during an interview
The present-day Tigran Petrosian
Final Standings (5.5/9 or higher)
|Petrosian, Tigran L
web site – very professional and ambitiously presented
in Russian and English
– live coverage and games to replay on a Flash board or for download
– There are lots of photos, presented in a very slick Macromedia Flash
client, which does not work properly in Firefox but is fine in Internet Explorer.
Once more there are no captions, so you either know the faces or simply enjoy
the general atmosphere.
- Previous ChessBase reports: