The Moscow Blitz Championship
Report by Misha Savinov
The field in this event, which for decades has been sponsored by the newspaper
“Vechernyaya Moskva” (Evening Moscow), notably lacked Vlad Tkachiev
(who went to India to play some classical chess), Ian Nepomniatshchi (reason
unknown), and Sergey Shipov (decided to play in the journalists’ event).
Alexandra Kosteniuk joined the main competition, leaving the women’s challenge
to the younger generation. Valentina Gunina took the first place there, followed
by Darja Charochkina and Alina Kashlinskaya, all below 20.
Moscow Blitz Championship – chess in the park
It happened that the key game was played in the first round. Alexander Grischuk
shook off the challenge of Alexander Morozevich. I missed the game, but according
to Morozevich’s long time friend and second Vladimir Barsky, “Sasha
was still asleep”. Anyhow, a good way to start the tournament for Grischuk.
In the end the players were separated by the narrowest of margins...
The women's blitz championship
Sergey Karjakin started the championship extremely well, winning five games
and drawing one. However, in the seventh round he was flattered by the quiet
force – Vladimir Malakhov. Malakhov had black, but nevertheless got a
better position, which quickly turned into a better endgame.
A key game: Karjakin-Malakhov...
... which Black won in a rook and pawns ending
As Grischuk said, the only difficult thing for Malakhov in such positions is
to keep himself from laughing at the hopelessly resisting opponent. Black proceeded
to a rook ending with an extra pawn, then there were two extra pawns, and Karjakin
Another key game, Karjakin vs Grischuk, ended in a draw
Grischuk took the lead and won five games in a row between 6th and 10th rounds.
He played in a classical manner, doing everything according to the positional
demands and not trying to push too hard – Alexander was ready to accept
a draw if the position demanded it. However, usually his positions were winning
around move 40. Grischuk is just too tough for the average 2650 GM.
Alexandra Kosteniuk, the only female in the "men's" section, playing
Evgeniy Najer vs the current Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk
After the 11th round Grischuk was in the lead with powerful 9.5 points, Morozevich
and Karjakin were tied for second with nine points. They finished in the same
order. In the 17th round both chasers lost their games, while Grischuk won his,
and the edge grew to 1.5 points. Next, Morozevich defeated Karjakin in their
individual game, while Grischuk failed to convert two extra pawns against Dlugy
(draw). Round 19 saw the leader making another draw, while Morozevich and Karjakin
won their games. At that time two Alexanders were separated by half a point.
Round 20: Grischuk wins against Kostenuik, Morozevich wins against Savchenko.
The final round was the decisive: Morozevich had white against Jakovenko, Grischuk
played black against Amonatov.
A bird's eye view of the game Dmitry Jakovenko vs Alexander Grischuk
I watched Grischuk’s game. It was the Caro Kann. White held a slight
edge until Black blundered badly around move 30. Amonatov won a pawn and nervously
proceeded to the win in a queen ending. However, by the time Grischuk resigned
he was already the official winner! Morozevich had a better game against Jakovenko,
but when Dmitry finally equalized, Alex missed an elementary fork, lost a rook
for a pawn and resigned immediately. Thus Jakovenko helped his good friend Grischuk
winning the second Samovar of the Moscow Blitz Championship.
|Kosteniuk, Mesropov, Vorobiov
The winner: Alexander Grischuk, with Alexander Morozevich in second place
(in the middle guest of honour Anatoly Karpov)
Trophies for the winners: heavily ornated Russian samovars, used to make tea
One, two and three: Grischuk, Morozevich and Karjakin
There were many side events – women, veterans, juniors, journalists...
There was also a poetic contest, and all the participants received signed copies
of Alexandra Kosteniuk’s new book. The weather was great, and many people
(including me) came to Muzeon with children, making the overall atmosphere quite
relaxed. The last Sunday of the summer turned to be very enjoyable.
Impressions from the Moscow Blitz
entrance to the Muzeon Park in Moscow
Peter the Great colossus – the statue is of Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov
Russia in the late 17th century, not Pyotr Svidler, who rules in chess today
Lenin and Marx in the park
Karl Heinrich Marx was of course the German philosopher who taught that capitalism
would inevitably produce internal tensions which will lead to its destruction
and replacement by socialism; while Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, a.k.a. Lenin, was
a Russian revolutionary and Bolshevik leader, who after 1917 formed the destiny
of his and many other countries for the next eighty years.
Karjakin and Ghandi, with musical accompaniment
Sergey Karjakin, 19, was at twelve the youngest grandmaster in the history
of the game. He hails from Ukraine and is married to Ukrainian WGM Kateryna
Dolzhikova, but has recently moved to Moscow and is now playing under the Russian
flag. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the pre-eminent political and spiritual
leader of India during the country's independence movement.
Grischuk and Dragomarezkij
Alexander Grischuk, 25, is a top-level Russian grandmaster, winner of this
year's Linares Super-GM. He is especially dangerous in blitz. Grischuk is married
to the Ukrainian WGM Natalia Zhukova. Evgeni Dragomarezkij, 56, is a Russian
IM rated 2447.
Malakhov vs. Riazantsev
Vladimir Malakhov , 28, is a Russia Super-GM who playing in the 2004 FIDE World
Chess Championship 2004. He is rated 2715. Alexander Riazantsev, who turns 24
next week, is a Russian GM rated 2646.
Zvjaginsev and Kobalia
Vadim Zvjaginsev, 33, Russian GM rated 2635, is an aggressive, tactical player
with lots of new ideas (in chess and in life). His startling antidote to the
Sicilian is 1.e4 c5 2.Na3!?, a move that renders the game a battle of wits from
the very start. Zvjanginsev had defeated Khalifman and Ponomariov (both former
FIDE World Champions) with this system. Mikhail Kobalia is a Russian GM rated
Pro sports bettor Nikolay Vlassov won one of the qualifiers to earn his
place in the tournament
Evgeny Vasiukov, 76, rated 2485, who won the Championship of Moscow
six times in the past
Malakhov vs. Morozevich
GM Maxim (Max) Dlugy, 43, rated 2518, is originally Moscow, but has lived in
the USA for the last thirty years. He got a job on Wall Street and eventually
became a principal of the Russian Growth Fund, a hedge fund.
Alexander Grischuk in his game against Evgeny Najer
The final tables of the 2009 Moscow Blitz