ACP World Rapid Cup in freezing Odessa

1/6/2008 – Sixteen players are gathered for this knockout event, which carries a US $136,000 prize fund. Not enough to attract Anand or Kramnik. But Ivanchuk, Shirov, Svidler, Gelfand, Radjabov, Karjakin, Karpov and Polgar make the show very worth- while. Generally the favourites went through in the first stage, except Alexei Shirov, who faltered against Inarkiev. Big illustrated report by Misha Savianov.

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ACP World Rapid Cup in Odessa

Report by Misha Savinov

The Second ACP World Rapid Cup started in frozen Odessa, Ukraine, on Saturday. Last year the participants and guests of the 1st World Cup enjoyed 20-degree warmer winter temperatures...


Cold winter day is Odessa

The field consists of 13 players qualified via the ACP Tour and three wild card invitees. The prize fund of the event, US $136,000, and the first prize, $40,000, do not seem to tempt the biggest guns, Kramnik and Anand, as well as Aronian, Morozevich, and Leko. However, the presence of Ivanchuk, Shirov, Svidler, Gelfand, Radjabov, Karjakin and other top players makes this Cup one of the nicest rapid events of the whole season. And unlike most other tournaments, the wild card players are by no means foreign to the field: this time the organizers invited Karpov, Polgar, and Grischuk.


Talented young musicians at the opening ceremony


Don't panic! Local chess organizer Eduard Peichel

The opening ceremony and the drawing of lots took place on January 3 in the Londonskaya Hotel. Eight higher-rated players were seeded.


The tournament hall with a game in progress...


... with the spectators watching in the beautifully ornamented room

January 4

Jakovenko-Savchenko 2-0
Dmitry Jakovenko had no real trouble defeating the young Moscow grandmaster Boris Savchenko. The latter is famous for his original fighting style, and is especially dangerous in speed games; for instance, he qualified for the final of the Word Blitz Championship. Savchenko was better in the first game, but missed an elegant tactical blow, and then there was all Jakovenko. The Pirc in the second game did not bring Boris any winning chances (or hopes). Dmitry won the second game in his cold-blooded style.

Savchenko,B (2589) - Jakovenko,D (2720) [C44]
2nd ACP World Rapid Cup Odessa UKR (1.1), 04.01.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 d5 4.Qa4 Nf6 5.Nxe5 Bd6 6.exd5 0-0 7.dxc6 Bxe5 8.d4 Bd6 9.Be3 Ng4 10.Nd2 Nxe3 11.fxe3 Qh4+ 12.Kd1 bxc6 13.Bd3 c5 14.Kc2 Bb7 15.g3 Qh6 16.e4 cxd4 17.cxd4 c5 18.d5 Be5 19.Nf3 Bxb2 20.Rab1 Qe3 21.Rxb2? [21.Nd2 or 21.Rhf1] 21...c4 22.Ne5 cxd3+ 23.Kb1 Bxd5 24.exd5 Qxe5 25.Qc4 Rab8 26.Rb3 a5 27.d6 Qxd6 28.Rd1 Rxb3+ 29.axb3 Rd8 30.Qb5 Qe6 31.Rxd3 Qe4 32.Kc2 f5 33.Kd2 Qxd3+ 34.Qxd3 Rxd3+ 35.Kxd3 Kf7 36.Kd4 Ke6 37.Kc5 g5 38.Kd4 h6 39.h4 gxh4 40.gxh4 h5 0-1. [Click to replay]

Radjabov-Drozdovskij 1.5-0.5
Fellow Odessa chess enthusiasts sometimes call Yury Drozdovskij “our Petrosian”. The first game was very Petrosianish: Radjabov got a structurally superior position, but Drozdovskij defended extremely accurately and held a draw. In the second game the Odessa grandmaster obtained a much better position, but when the time trouble approached, the things went really wrong for him... “It was circus”, summed up one of the 2700+ witnesses of the encounter. In the end Radjabov delivered checkmate and advanced to the next stage.


Teimour Radjabov, former tournament director Elena Korobkova

Drozdovskij,Y (2574) - Radjabov,T (2735) [D79]
2nd ACP World Rapid Cup Odessa UKR (1.2), 04.01.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 c6 5.Nc3 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Bg2 0-0 8.Ne5 e6 9.0-0 Nfd7 10.f4 Nc6 11.Kh1 Nb6 12.b3 f6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Ba3 Rf7 15.Rc1 Ba6 16.Rf2 f5 17.e3 Bf8 18.Bxf8 Qxf8 19.Rfc2 Rc8 20.Ne2 Rfc7 21.Ng1 c5 22.dxc5 Rxc5 23.Nf3 Qd6 24.Nd4 Kf7 25.h3 Nd7 26.g4 Nf6 27.gxf5 exf5 28.Nf3 Ne4 29.Ne5+ Ke7 30.Bxe4 dxe4 31.Qxd6+ Kxd6 32.Rd2+ Ke6 33.Rcd1 Bb5 34.Kg2 Rc2 35.Kg3 Rxd2 36.Rxd2 Rc3 37.a4 Rxe3+ 38.Kh4 Be8 39.Rd8 Ke7 40.Ra8 Rxb3 41.Rxa7+ Kd6 42.Ra8 Bc6 43.Ra6 Rc3 44.a5 h6 45.Nf7+ Kc5 46.Ra7 e3 47.Kg3 Rc1 48.Ne5 Rg1+ 49.Kh4 e2 50.Re7 e1Q# 0-1. [Click to replay]

Eljanov-Ivanchuk 0.5-1.5
One could think that the difference in endgame skill played the main role in this match: Eljanov missed good winning chances in the endgame of the first game, and ruined an approximately even position in the ending of the second one. However, actually this didn’t have much to do with the endgame skill as such, but was rather a miscalculation. In any case, the most experienced Ukrainian, who also tends to play very successfully in Odessa, advanced to the next stage.

Ivanchuk,V (2751) - Eljanov,P (2692) [D78]
2nd ACP World Rapid Cup Odessa UKR (1.2), 04.01.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Nc3 d5 5.Qb3 Bg7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.Nf3 dxc4 8.Qxc4 Bf5 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.e3 Nb6 11.Qe2 Ne4 12.Rd1 Nxc3 13.bxc3 Na4 14.Bb2 Be4 15.Rac1 b5 16.c4 Nxb2 17.Qxb2 a6 18.Qb3 Qb6 19.Ne1 Bxg2 20.Nxg2 c5 21.Nf4 cxd4 22.c5 Qd8 23.exd4 Bxd4 24.Ne2 e5 25.Qb4 Rc8 26.Nxd4 exd4 27.Rxd4 Qe7 28.Re4 Qf6 29.h4 Rc6 30.Rce1 Rfc8 31.Re5 h5 32.a3 Kg7 33.R1e3 R8c7 34.Rd5 Re7 35.Rxe7 Qxe7 36.Rd6 Rxd6 37.cxd6 Qd7 1-0. [Click to replay]


The vicorious Ukrainian: Vassily Ivanchuk

Inarkiev-Shirov 1.5-0.5
The first mini sensation occurred in the fourth game of the day. The recent runner-up of the World Cup, Alexei Shirov, miscalculated in the first game against Ernesto Inarkiev, and lost a piece. Coming back as Black is extremely challenging task, and Inarkiev made it even more difficult by playing super-solid chess. A logical draw from the position of strength, and the Russian advances to the next stage.

Shirov,A (2755) - Inarkiev,E (2681) [C95]
2nd ACP World Rapid Cup Odessa UKR (1.1), 04.01.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d6 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Ng3 g6 15.b3 Bg7 16.a4 d5 17.axb5 Nxe4 18.bxa6 Nxc3 19.Qd3 Ne4 20.Bb2 Nxg3 21.axb7 Rxa1 22.Rxa1 e4 23.Qb5 c6 24.Qxc6 Ne2+ 25.Kh1 Nb8 26.Qc8 exf3 27.Qxd8 fxg2+ 28.Kxg2 Rxd8 29.Ra8 Nxd4 30.Ba3 Bf8 31.Bxf8 Kxf8 32.Bd1 Ke7 0-1. [Click to replay]

January 5

Shabalov-Svidler 0-2
And again the day starts with a perfect score victory. Peter Svidler is always eager to criticize his own play, and he had plenty of issues to discuss at the press conference. In the first game he could pick up a piece – or, more likely, win a queen for a rook and a knight. Shabalov (and many spectators around) spotted the key intermediate move, but Svidler missed it and proceeded to a better ending with two bishops against two knights. Neither player handled it perfectly, but the final combination of the game was very nice.


Alexander Shabalov and Peter Svidler, dressed up for their match...

Shabalov,A (2622) - Svidler,P (2763) [D71]
2nd ACP World Rapid Cup Odessa UKR (1.1), 05.01.2008
1.c4 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 c6 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Bg5 e6 8.e3 Bg7 9.Nge2 0-0 10.0-0 h6 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.Rc1 Bd7 13.Nf4 Qe7 14.Nd3 Rfc8 15.Qd2 b6 16.f4 Na5 17.b3 Nb7 18.Ne5 Nd6 19.Qd3 Be8 20.Rc2 Rc7 21.Rfc1 Rac8 22.a4 Nf5 23.Kf2 f6 24.Nf3 Nd6 25.Nd2 f5 26.Ne2 Ne4+ 27.Bxe4 fxe4 [27...Rxc2 28.Rxc2 dxe4 29.Nxe4 fxe4 30.Qxe4] 28.Rxc7 Rxc7 29.Rxc7 Qxc7 30.Qc3 Qd8 31.Nc1 Bf8 32.Na2 Bd6 33.Qc2 g5 34.Nc1 Qc7 35.Qxc7 Bxc7 36.Ne2 Bd6 37.Nb1 a6 38.Nec3 b5 39.axb5 axb5 40.Na2 b4 41.Nc1 Kg7 42.Nd2 Bb5 43.Kg2 Be7 44.Na2 Kf6 45.h3 Kf5 0-1. [Click to replay]


... and watching the other games in less formal attire (Ivanchuk in the background)

In the second game the Petersburger was content with a draw as White, but played rather passively, and Shabalov seized the initiative. However, Svidler’s tactical mastery told when he lured the opponent into a nice trap to make the score 2-0.


Boris Gelfand and Evgeny Najer

Gelfand-Najer 1.5-0.5
Evgeny Najer was as close as one can be to beating Gelfand – in the middlegame of the Game 2 he had a pleasant choice of either winning an exchange or continuing the attack. Anything but the move he actually played! The resulting ending was drawn despite Gelfand’s extra pawn, but Najer failed to hold it. The first game was also drawn in a rook ending with a pawn up for Gelfand.


Twelfth World Champion Anatoly Karpov

Grischuk-Karpov 2.5-1.5
The most thrilling match of the first round, and the only match that was decided on the tiebreak. Grischuk lost the first game with White, the game that was gradually getting worse for him with every piece trade. However, he came back in the second game, also with limited material, capitalizing on nuances. The blitz followed a similar scenario – White was struggling to equalize. A laborious draw in the first game, and a total disaster in the second one: Karpov went for the English Attack, was caught unprepared and annihilated by the 20th move.


Anatoly Karpov in his match against young Moscow GM Alex Grischuk

Karpov,Ana (2655) - Grischuk,A (2711) [B80]
2nd ACP World Rapid Cup Odessa UKR (1.4), 05.01.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e6 7.Be3 b5 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.g4 h6 10.h4 b4 11.Na4 d5 12.Rg1 dxe4 13.0-0-0 Qa5 14.b3 exf3 15.Nxf3 Bb7 16.Bg2 Nd5 17.Bd4 Nc5 18.Nxc5 Bxc5 0-1. [Click to replay]


Alexander Grischuk, knocker-outer of a chess legend

Karjakin-Polgar 2-0
Judit Polgar tried to play as sharp as possible, and was close to equalizing the score in the second game, where she brilliantly sacrificed a knight. However, her creativity was not rewarded, as blunders are also part of chess...

Karjakin,Sergey (2732) - Polgar,Ju (2707) [B28]
2nd ACP World Rapid Cup Odessa UKR (1.2), 05.01.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.c3 e6 4.d4 d5 5.e5 Nc6 6.Be2 Bd7 7.0-0 Rc8 8.a3 c4 9.Ng5 Na5 10.Be3 Nb3 11.Ra2 Ne7 12.f4 Nf5 13.Bf2 Be7 14.Nf3 h5 15.Nbd2 Ba4 16.Qe1 Kd7 17.Nxb3 Bxb3 18.Ra1 Qb6 19.g3 Nh6 20.Qd2 h4 21.Ne1 hxg3 22.hxg3 Rcg8 23.g4 g5 24.f5 Nxf5 25.gxf5 exf5 26.Bg3 Qe6 27.Rf2 f4 28.Bh2 Rh4 29.Rg2 Rgh8 30.Nf3 Rh3 31.Nxg5 f3 32.Nxe6 fxg2 33.Nc5+ Kc6 34.Qf4 Bc2 35.Qxf7 Bxc5 36.Qe6+ Kc7 37.dxc5 R3h6 1-0. [Click to replay]


Taken out by the kid: Judit Polgar

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