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Aeroflot Open 2007: Evgeny Alekseev wins in style

2/25/2007 – The winner of the Russian championship superfinal also took clear first the Aeroflot Open 2007. Actually he completed a hattrick by winning the St. Petersburg Blitz Championship in between. Well done! Evgeny Tomashevsky finished second, outmatching Dmitry Jakovenko by the narrowest of margins. Big illustrated report by Misha Savinov.
 

Alekseev wins in Capablanca style

Report from Moscow by Misha Savinov

Grandmaster Evgeny Alekseev, the winner of the Russian championship superfinal, took clear first the Aeroflot Open 2007 – for the first time in the tournament’s history, by the way. In between Evgeny won the St. Petersburg blitz championship, so the Aeroflot victory has completed a hattrick for him. Well done! Alekseev is a well-rounded player. His ideal is Capablanca – simple but very sound positional chess with small combinations. The presence of experienced Igor Khenkin, who helped Evgeny at this tournament, added a touch of fine psychological approach to the opponents, which yielded a couple of valuable victories.


The final rounds of the Aeroflot Open are under way

Evgeny Tomashevsky, another promising Russian, finished second, outmatching Dmitry Jakovenko by the narrowest of margins – a single point in combined rating of the opponents! Tomashevsky is also a positional player, but in a more original way. The Saratov grandmaster may be lacking top opening preparation, but he is a cunning strategist, and his hold is deadly.


Players determined to leave their mark at this prestigious chess tournament

Jakovenko is developing a Keres-syndrome – recently he finishes second in every important tournament. The superfinal, Pamplona, Wijk aan Zee B, and now Aeroflot – quite a streak! Make sure you bet on the right man in the coming Poikovsky.

Chinese players Wang Yue and Ni Hua somewhat surprisingly participated in the 2nd place tie, winning their last round games. I admit I did not study their games much, and cannot argue about their playing personalities. Overall the Chinese participants made a significant impact in the Aeroflot this year, and no wonder that two of them finished among the top prize winners.


Evgeny Alekseev does not want testing the Aronian’s second in fashionable openings. Keen eyes will recognise Jobava, Wang Hao, Sutovsky, Jakovenko, Sargissian, Jussupow, and perhaps some others.

Past winners, Baadur Jobava and Emil Sutovsky, exhausted each other in their last-round encounter to make a draw, which placed them on 6th-9th, level with Zoltan Almasi and Sergey Volkov. Jobava lived quite a relaxed life during the whole event. For those thinking that it prevented him from a better score, I’d like to respond that different people gain their energy from different sources, and we are not in a position to judge. Emil Sutovsky recovered brilliantly after two losses in the 2nd and 3rd rounds by winning four in a row, and missed a win in the 8th round, playing a brilliant positional game against Wang Yue.


Big names on +2: Paco Vallejo and Alexander Khalifman

Vladimir Akopian was all the time close to the leaders, but a loss against Jakovenko removed him from the contention. Krishnan Sasikiran, another rating favorite, lost many rating points and didn’t get any prize money – not unusual for top players at the Aeroflot opens. Linares man Paco Vallejo started with 0/2, but saved the tournament on the distance, ending up on +2, just like Alexander Khalifman and surprise man Stanislav Novikov. The latter scored just half a point in three concluding rounds. Coincidently, the decline occurred when Novikov’s games weren’t relayed on the official site.


Wang Yue squeezing Stanislav Novikov

I can draw two main conclusions from the Aeroflot 2007. First, the financial situation of chess players is clearly improving, as many of them can pass on a tournament with US $30,000 first prize. There were fewer top or close-to-top players than in 2004 or 2005. Is that because of online poker? I doubt it. Second, the investments of the Russian Chess Federation have begun to work sooner than was expected. Ildar Khairullin and Ian Nepomniachtchi, both 16, felt at home among the 2550-2700 grandmasters, and three other participants of the recent superfinal simply won the tournament. Pay attention to the fact that in the last round Alekseev defeated the Olympiad champion Gabriel Sargissian. Selecting a team for the next international competition will not be as automatic as before.


Analysis in a good company: Kateryna Lahno, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Rauf Mamedov


More highlevel ananlysis: Artur Jussupow and Wang Hao

Finally, the Aeroflot is still is world’s best pool for young growing players, who can come through the whole ladder from C tournament to A1 in a couple of years. The Chinese realize this better than any other nation, and their delegation was one of the biggest. I am surprised that there were no Americans (except Alexander Ivanov). Playing in the Aeroflot helped Aronian and Carlsen (albeit wasn’t too lucrative for both), and one should not miss such a training opportunity. Even if your name is Hikaru!


FIDE Vice President Zurab Azmaiparashvili and arbiter Geurt Gijssen

The Izmailovo hotel offered a wide choice of distractions, and all the players I talked to were quite satisfied with their stay in Moscow and the social life at the tournament. Two national TV sports channels covered the tournament in news reports every day, and interviewed the winner on the last day. Turkish, Indian and Israeli journalists were very active in the press center, flooding their websites with last-minute updates. Spectators kept coming to watch games in the tournament hall and on the monitors (although often they were keener to kibitz in fast control games in the analysis room). Everything was how it should be at the Guinness book chess event.


GM Nikola Sedlak plays time odds games with friends in the hotel hall

Football, basketball, tennis matches – these are short-term, commercially valuable, concentrated excitement. Chess opens are more like music festivals. There is money on stake, but first and foremost there is environment. People meet, talk, go out, and get happier. This is invaluable. And chess in this case is just a pretext. Come and see.


GM Wang Yue’s with a flask of air Chinese fresher


Tomashevsky against Jakovenko in the round 9: a quick draw
to the former’s relief – their individual score was 0-4


Kasparov's second Yuri Dokhoyan studing the games
of his current pupils, the Kosintseva sisters


Ten-year-old Ilya Nyzhnyk played blitz against all comers


Alisa Galliamova explores "Secrets of Chess Players' Thinking" at the book stand


The remarkable Ms Kateryna Lahno


Minasian and Novikov – each could go to Dortmund in case of winning their 9th round game


Getting enough to drink was not a serious problem at the Aeroflot Open


Russian TV waiting for an interview with the winner


Not the Pepsi generation: Andrzej Filipowicz, Bulat Asanov, and Lev Psakhis


Maria Fominykh vs Rauf Mamedov; at time odds of 5 to 1


Skittles game at three moves per second: Vugar Gashimov vs Tigran L. Petrosian


Spectators crowd to watch such bullet games


Baadur Jobava and the new winner, Evgeny Alekseev


Alekseev receives congratulations and his prize from former world champion Anatoly Karpov

Full results of the Aeroflot Open Group A1

Rank Name Flags Score Fed. M/F Rating TPR W-We Col.Bal. Rat-HiLo
No. Player Elo Fed Pts TPR WWe Col
1 GM Alekseev, Evgeny 2661 RUS 7.0 2828 +1.84 1
2 GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2624 RUS 6.5 2762 +1.66 1
3 GM Jakovenko, Dmitry 2691 RUS 6.5 2768 +0.92 1
4 GM Wang, Yue 2644 CHN 6.5 2741 +1.15 1
5 GM Ni, Hua 2632 CHN 6.5 2729 +1.14 1
6 GM Almasi, Zoltan 2669 HUN 6.0 2724 +0.63 1
7 GM Jobava, Baadur 2650 GEO 6.0 2719 +0.78 1
8 GM Sutovsky, Emil 2629 ISR 6.0 2697 +0.81 1
9 GM Volkov, Sergey 2636 RUS 6.0 2670 +0.40 1
10 GM Minasian, Artashes 2595 ARM 5.5 2696 +1.26 -1
11 GM Akopian, Vladimir 2700 ARM 5.5 2676 -0.25 -1
12 GM Sargissian, Gabriel 2658 ARM 5.5 2669 +0.15 -1
13 GM Areshchenko, Alexander 2644 UKR 5.5 2671 +0.34 -1
14 GM Khalifman, Alexander 2619 RUS 5.5 2656 +0.47 -1
15 GM Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2679 ESP 5.5 2640 -0.45 -1
16 GM Asrian, Karen 2634 ARM 5.5 2644 +0.13 -1
17 GM Riazantsev, Alexander 2629 RUS 5.5 2647 +0.23 -1
18 GM Laznicka, Viktor 2593 CZE 5.5 2703 +1.38 1
19 GM Novikov, Stanislav 2535 RUS 5.5 2712 +2.19 1
20 GM Predojevic, Borki 2587 BIH 5.5 2711 +1.56 1
21 GM Zhou, Jianchao 2551 CHN 5.5 2706 +1.93 1
22 GM Bocharov, Dmitry 2602 RUS 5.5 2696 +1.17 1
23 GM Efimenko, Zahar 2616 UKR 5.5 2646 +0.41 1
24 GM Wang, Hao 2619 CHN 5.5 2634 +0.21 1
25 GM Jussupow, Artur 2599 GER 5.0 2653 +0.64 -1
26 GM Sadvakasov, Darmen 2615 KAZ 5.0 2643 +0.34 -1
27 GM Nguyen, Ngoc Truongson 2528 VIE 5.0 2652 +1.52 -1
28 GM Korotylev, Alexey 2615 RUS 5.0 2620 +0.04 -1
29 GM Balogh, Csaba 2616 HUN 5.0 2629 +0.11 -1
30 GM Grigoriants, Sergey 2592 RUS 5.0 2610 +0.21 -1
31 GM Moiseenko, Alexander 2627 UKR 5.0 2583 -0.57 -1
32 GM Timofeev, Artyom 2663 RUS 5.0 2629 -0.46 1
33 GM Movsesian, Sergei 2637 SVK 5.0 2628 -0.13 1
34 GM Smirin, Ilia 2654 ISR 5.0 2625 -0.40 1
35 GM Sasikiran, Krishnan 2700 IND 5.0 2619 -1.00 1
36 GM Volokitin, Andrei 2645 UKR 5.0 2588 -0.70 1
37 IM Lysyj, Igor 2576 RUS 4.5 2641 +0.82 -1
38 GM Iordachescu, Viorel 2563 MDA 4.5 2639 +0.95 -1
39 GM Ganguly, Surya Shekhar 2571 IND 4.5 2613 +0.52 -1
40 GM Andriasian, Zaven 2508 ARM 4.5 2616 +1.32 -1
41 GM Drozdovskij, Yuri 2562 UKR 4.5 2583 +0.25 -1
42 GM Naiditsch, Arkadij 2663 GER 4.5 2575 -1.10 -1
43 GM Kurnosov, Igor 2580 RUS 4.5 2563 -0.19 -1
44 GM Azarov, Sergei 2583 BLR 4.5 2556 -0.32 -1
45 GM Svetushkin, Dmitry 2588 MDA 4.5 2641 +0.66 1
46 GM Aleksandrov, Aleksej 2601 BLR 4.5 2625 +0.32 1
47 GM Li, Shilong 2531 CHN 4.5 2628 +1.18 1
48 GM Shomoev, Anton 2556 RUS 4.5 2619 +0.79 1
49 Li, Chao(b) 2504 CHN 4.5 2622 +1.43 1
50 IM Maslak, Konstantin 2539 RUS 4.5 2614 +0.92 1
51 GM Khairullin, Ildar 2586 RUS 4.5 2587 +0.02 1
52 GM Najer, Evgeniy 2605 RUS 4.5 2583 -0.26 1
53 GM Gashimov, Vugar 2658 AZE 4.5 2582 -0.94 1
54 GM Belov, Vladimir 2600 RUS 4.5 2566 -0.39 1
55 GM Yakovich, Yuri 2577 RUS 4.0 2612 +0.46 -1
56 GM Dyachkov, Sergej 2554 RUS 4.0 2581 +0.35 -1
57 WGM Harika, Dronavalli 2421 IND 4.0 2572 +1.76 -1
58 GM Dreev, Alexey 2658 RUS 4.0 2529 -1.56 -1
59 GM Vitiugov, Nikita 2604 RUS 4.0 2507 -1.18 -1
60 GM Berg, Emanuel 2586 SWE 4.0 2501 -1.03 -1
61 GM Vorobiov, Evgeny E. 2563 RUS 4.0 2582 +0.27 1
62 GM Popov, Valerij 2590 RUS 4.0 2578 -0.13 1
63 GM Ehlvest, Jaan 2610 USA 4.0 2565 -0.52 1
64 IM Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2587 RUS 4.0 2571 -0.15 1
65 GM Mamedov, Rauf 2566 AZE 4.0 2562 -0.02 1
66 GM Luther, Thomas 2580 GER 4.0 2559 -0.22 1
67 IM Safarli, Eltaj 2445 AZE 4.0 2501 +0.50 1
68 GM Bologan, Viktor 2658 MDA 4.0 2525 -1.62 1
69 GM Halkias, Stelios 2583 GRE 4.0 2519 -0.76 1
70 GM Sedlak, Nikola 2561 SRB 3.5 2500 -0.76 -1
71 GM Kuzubov, Yuriy 2554 UKR 3.5 2484 -0.87 -1
72 GM Harikrishna, P. 2673 IND 3.5 2482 -2.35 -1
73 IM Savchenko, Boris 2562 RUS 3.5 2550 -0.16 1
74 WGM Hou, Yifan 2509 CHN 3.5 2540 +0.34 1
75 GM Gareev, Timur 2551 UZB 3.0 2484 -0.79 -1
76 GM Ivanov, Alexander 2577 USA 3.0 2472 -1.25 -1
77 GM Evdokimov, Alexander A. 2531 RUS 3.0 2454 -0.90 -1
78 IM Lahno, Kateryna 2456 UKR 3.0 2451 -0.07 -1
79 GM Negi, Parimarjan 2538 IND 3.0 2442 -1.14 -1
80 GM Anastasian, Ashot 2587 ARM 3.0 2430 -1.91 1
81 GM Shaposhnikov, Evgeny 2554 RUS 3.0 2476 -0.90 1
82 GM Petrosian, Tigran L. 2592 ARM 3.0 2416 -1.95 1
83 GM Kotronias, Vasilios 2572 GRE 2.5 2432 -1.67 -1
84 IM Kosintseva, Nadezhda 2496 RUS 2.5 2420 -0.88 -1
85 WGM Shen, Yang 2446 CHN 2.5 2394 -0.60 -1
86 GM Khismatullin, Denis 2599 RUS 2.5 2275 -3.29 1
87 IM Kosintseva, Tatiana 2474 RUS 2.0 2350 -1.34 -1
88 IM Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman 2459 IND 2.0 2338 -1.30 -1

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