2014 Euro-Ch Rd8: Unstoppable Motylev

by Albert Silver
3/12/2014 – It was an important round as Alexander Motylev faced his greatest challenge: second-seed Pavel Eljanov (2723), hoping to swap places with him on the leaderboard. Instead of playing it safe, the Russian attacked with great verve, perhaps deciding that to be a champion, one must play like one. With his win, Motylev increased his lead to a full point with a staggering 2918 performance.

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The championship is an eleven-round Swiss system in accordance with the ECU Tournament Rules and FIDE Laws of Chess. and is held in Yerevan, Armenia from March 2 (day of arrival) until March 15 (day of departure) 2014. The tournament is held at the Elite Plaza Business Centre.  The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one.

The tournament does not allow players to draw before the 40th move, and the controversial zero-tolerance rule will be in effect. In case of pre-arranged results the Chief Arbiter can decide that the result of the respective game is 0 - 0. If a prize-winner is absent during the closing ceremony, then the money prize will be reduced by 20%.

The total prizefund is 160 thousand Euros, with 20 thousand for first place, 16 thousand for second, down to 1000 for 25th place. There are also prizes for the best overperformer, meaning the player who performs highest over his rating.

The European Individual Championship 2014 is a qualification event for the next World Cup. According to FIDE regulations and the decision of the ECU Board, 23 players will qualify.

Round eight

Yerevan City Hall

It was a strong round, with numerous important results. The foremost was unquestionably on the top board between Alexander Motylev, the sole leader with 6.0/7 and Pavel Eljanov (2723), the second seed and hoping to change the direction the event has taken. No such luck as the Ukrainian played a Sicilian Taimanov against which the Russian chose to play aggressively and reaffirm his claim on the title with energetic play.

[Event "15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014"] [Site "Yerevan ARM"] [Date "2014.03.11"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Motylev, Alexander"] [Black "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2656"] [BlackElo "2723"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2014.03.03"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qd2 Nf6 8. O-O-O Be7 9. f3 b5 10. Kb1 h5 {A novelty. Since the main alternative to 10.Kb1 is 10.g4, the idea of inhibiting it with the text, is not without its logic, but ultimately, the biggest problem is that it doesn't really help Black, and weakens the kingside for free.} (10... Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bb7 12. Qg5 b4 13. Na4 O-O 14. Nb6 Rae8 15. Qg3 d6 16. Nc4 e5 17. Bb6 Qc6 18. Be3 Rc8 19. Bd3 Rfe8 20. Rhe1 Nd7 21. Na5 Qc7 22. Nxb7 Qxb7 23. Qf2 a5 24. Qe2 Nc5 25. Bc4 a4 26. Bd5 Qb8 27. Qc4 Rf8 28. Bd2 b3 29. cxb3 axb3 30. axb3 Qa7 31. Be3 Qb8 32. Rc1 h6 33. b4 Ne6 34. Qb3 Nc7 35. Red1 Bg5 36. Bxg5 hxg5 37. Rc6 Nb5 38. Qc4 Nd4 39. Bxf7+ Kh8 40. Rxd4 Rxc6 41. Qxc6 exd4 42. Qd7 g6 43. Bxg6 {1-0 (43) Ivanchuk,V (2731)-Wang,Y (2723) Beijing 2013}) 11. Nxc6 dxc6 12. e5 {There is no arguing that White is playing with great energy. There were calmer approaches, but he is in no mood.} Nd5 ({Taking the pawn was not only possible, but maybe even best.} 12... Qxe5 13. Bd4 Qc7 14. Qg5 Rh7 {looked unpleasant, but Black is actually ok, since after} 15. Be5 {he can play} Nd5 16. Nxd5 cxd5 17. Qf4 Qc5 { and he should hold.}) 13. Nxd5 cxd5 14. f4 Bd7 15. g3 Rc8 16. Bg2 a5 17. Bd4 { White is not hiding his intentions. This protects e5, and opens the way for f5. } b4 18. f5 exf5 19. e6 $5 {The engines declare this a mistake, but let them. Motylev is the sole leader and playing one of his most dangerous opponents until now. Instead of playing cautiously, he takes his fate into his own hands and decides that if he is going to be a champion, he has to play like one.} fxe6 20. Bxg7 Rg8 $2 {Black is feeling the pressure and makes a mistake.} ( 20... Rh7 $1 {was stronger as it kept an eye on both h6 and the h5 pawn.}) 21. Bd4 a4 22. Bf3 $1 {[%cal Rf3h5]} a3 23. Rhe1 {Black's king is looking decidedly vulnerable.} Qc6 24. Qe2 ({The engines, in their infinite wisdom, explain that} 24. c4 {was the best move. Let's just say the move doesn't exactly leap off the board screaming 'play me'. Anyhow, the point is that after } bxc3 (24... Qxc4 25. Bxh5+ Kd8 26. Bb6+ {wins for White.}) 25. Bxc3 Rg5 { [%csl Rh5] to cover h5.} 26. Qd4 {and suddenly Black is in zugzwang. For example} axb2 27. Qh8+ Bf8 28. Bxb2 f4 {Trying to protect against Bxd5} 29. Bxh5+ {and Black is forced to give the rook with} Rxh5 ({since} 29... Ke7 30. Qf6+ Kd6 31. Qxf4+ {and White mops up.})) 24... Rg4 {It is hard to find a way to defend for Black.} 25. Bxg4 hxg4 26. b3 Bc5 27. c3 bxc3 28. Bxc3 Bf2 29. Qxf2 Qxc3 30. Rxd5 Ke7 31. Qd2 Qxd2 32. Rxd2 Bc6 33. Rc2 Kd6 34. Rd1+ Ke7 35. Kc1 e5 36. b4 f4 37. b5 Bb7 38. Rxc8 Bxc8 39. Rd3 f3 40. Kd2 Bd7 41. b6 1-0

A great game, and a demonstration of Motylev’s enormous confidence now. Since the five other players on 5.5/7 drew their respective games, Alexander Motylev takes a full point lead with a staggering 7.0/8 and a 2918 performance with three rounds to go.

Three years can make a big difference as 13-year-old Martirosyan found out as
he faced 16-year-old Artemiev. Artemiev has 5.5/8 and is 25th. It will be a close
race to see whether he can secure a spot in the World Cup.

Since the direct tailgaters could not keep pace, there are now no fewer than thirteen players with 6.0/8, and many more with 5.5/8. The medals are not decided, and it will be a frenetic finish, as the top medals and prizes are fought over, as well as the 23 qualifying spots for the next World Cup.

The great Alexander Beliavsky was a top ten player in the 80s and 90s

In the group of players with 6.0/8 are both 19-year-olds Vladimir Fedoseev and David Anton Guijarro. The Spaniard beat Alexander Shimanov, ending with the following combination:

[Event "15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014"] [Site "Yerevan ARM"] [Date "2014.03.11"] [Round "8.13"] [White "Shimanov, Aleksandr"] [Black "Anton Guijarro, David"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E60"] [WhiteElo "2649"] [BlackElo "2559"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r3k1/5p2/4p3/p2pP3/1p1P2P1/3B1K2/P3Q3/1Rr1B2q w - - 0 41"] [PlyCount "6"] [EventDate "2014.03.03"] 41. Kf2 {[#]} R1c2 $1 {White resigned here as he loses further material. The main line is} 42. Bxc2 Rxc2 43. Qxc2 ({If} 43. Bd2 Qxb1 {Game over.}) 43... Qh2+ { winning the queen.} 0-1

The top female player is... Judit Polgar (we know, we know... you would never have guessed), currently 21st, and in a healthy, albeit heated, fight for a qualifying seat. Today she finished off Italian IM Danyyil Dvirnyy, after he mistakenly allowed himself to be tempted:

[Event "15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014"] [Site "Yerevan ARM"] [Date "2014.03.11"] [Round "8.20"] [White "Dvirnyy, Danyyil"] [Black "Polgar, Judit"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A36"] [WhiteElo "2575"] [BlackElo "2693"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/5pk1/2q2rp1/r3p2p/pR2P3/R2P2PP/4P1K1/Q7 w - - 0 47"] [PlyCount "8"] [EventDate "2014.03.03"] 47. Rbxa4 $2 {[#] Succumbing to temptation as Judit dangles the pawn in front of him.} Qc2 $1 {There is no defense now.} 48. Rxa5 (48. Ra2 Rxa4 49. Rxc2 Rxa1 {needs no commentary,}) ({and} 48. Qa2 Qd1 {and Qf1 is fatal.}) 48... Qxe2+ 49. Kg1 Qe3+ 50. Kh1 Rf2 {White only has a spite check on e5 so...} 0-1

Anton Korobov (2719) just hasn't been able to get his game
together after his first round shock loss

IM Firat Burak from Turkey

Photos by Arman Karakhanyan

Standings after eight rounds

Rk Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB Perf
1 GM Motylev Alexander RUS 2656 7.0 2611 2918
2 GM Najer Evgeniy RUS 2633 6.0 2635 2791
3 GM Melkumyan Hrant ARM 2613 6.0 2634 2784
4 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2713 6.0 2628 2799
5 GM Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2641 6.0 2625 2784
6 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2559 6.0 2620 2756
7 GM Solak Dragan TUR 2610 6.0 2614 2764
8 GM Smirin Ilia ISR 2644 6.0 2604 2767
9 GM Navara David CZE 2700 6.0 2590 2762
10 GM Laznicka Viktor CZE 2681 6.0 2588 2759
11 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2682 6.0 2560 2734
12 GM Perunovic Milos SRB 2617 6.0 2560 2723
13 GM Moiseenko Alexander UKR 2712 6.0 2554 2734
14 GM Popov Ivan RUS 2650 6.0 2553 2723
15 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2569 5.5 2660 2740
16 GM Pashikian Arman ARM 2612 5.5 2631 2728
17 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2723 5.5 2624 2745
18 GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2723 5.5 2612 2733
19 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2706 5.5 2602 2722
20 GM Tregubov Pavel V. RUS 2614 5.5 2596 2696
21 GM Polgar Judit HUN 2693 5.5 2594 2714
22 GM Grigoriants Sergey RUS 2574 5.5 2593 2684
23 GM Fressinet Laurent FRA 2709 5.5 2591 2713
24 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2676 5.5 2590 2707
25 IM Artemiev Vladislav RUS 2621 5.5 2585 2682

Click for complete standings


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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