Aeroflot Open: Le Quang Liem takes early lead with 3.0/3

2/10/2011 – The International Chess Festival, the "Aeroflot Open" has started its 10th edition, with three opens for players of all ratings, and a EUR 125,000 prize fund. In the A Open, reserved for players rated 2550 or more, last year's winner Le is in the sole lead with 3.0/3 after a brilliant win, and will face the top-seed Kamsky, who also won with a sparkling positional queen sacrifice. Report and games.

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The 10th edition of the International Chess Festival "Aeroflot Open 2011" is underway in Moscow, and runs 7 February to 18 February 2011. The event is comprised of three nine-round opens, which encompass all ratings together, and have a total prize fund of 125 thousand Euros. The A event is reserved for players rated 2550 and above, and boasts 20 thousand Euros for first prize,, plus the the winner of the A tournament will be entitled to participate in the round-robin Super Tournament in Dortmund in the second half of July 2011. The B event is reserved for players rated between 2300 and 2549, and has a first prize of ten thousand Euros. The C event is for players rated under 2300, or unrated players, and has a first prize of 3500 Euros. Finally there will also be a qualifier for the World Blitz Championship.


Aeroflot's famed Tu-144, here exhibited at the MAKS-2007 airshow, could cruise at 2142 km/h

Last year, the open served to reveal Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem, who took sole first after playing successfully at the Moscow Open, and then beating Russian Champion-to-be, Ian Nepomniachtchi, in the final round. This year he is once more taking part, but the task has not become any easier. Suffice it to say that with 87 participants, all of whom have ratings 2550 or more, the top dog is Gata Kamsky, rated 2730, followed by Movsesian (2721), Jakovenko (2718), Vachier-Lagrave (2715), Vitiugov (2709), and the list goes on.

There is no lack of talent needless to say, and some players broke out of the opening gates with a bang.

Korobov,Anton (2670) - Vocaturo,Daniele (2570) [E20]
Aeroflot Open A Moscow RUS (1), 08.02.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.g3 dxc4 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 Nc6 8.a3 Be7 9.e4 Na5 10.Be3 c5 11.dxc5 Nd7 12.Qe2 Bxc5 13.Rad1 Bxe3 14.Qxe3 Qb6 15.Qe2 Nc5 16.Ne5 Qa6 17.Qh5 f6








18.Rd8!! Korobov is a player capable of great brilliancies, however he also tends to be a bit of a hit-and-miss, possibly due to an excessive desire for that flashy win. This move is definitely one of the "hits". 18...fxe5. 18...Rxd8 19.Qf7+ Kh8 20.Qe7. It might seem as if White is just winning back the rook here, but it goes deeper, since after 20...Bd7 21.Nf7+ Kg8 22.Nxd8 h6 23.e5! White's attack is winning.


Daniele Vocaturo, winner of Wijk aan Zee "C" a few weeks earlier,
was on the receiving end of this brilliancy. That said, he showed
his powers of recovery at Wijk as well.

19.Rxf8+ Kxf8 20.f4 Ke7








21.fxe5?! Not the most precise, though the Italian will eventually buckle under the pressure. 21.Qxe5 Nd3 22.Qxg7+ Ke8 23.Bf3! with the idea of Bh5+ not to mention avoid problems from Qb6+ Kh1 Nf2+. 23...Kd8 24.f5! and the attack will break through. 21...Kd8 22.Qg5+ Kc7 23.Qe7+ Nd7 24.Kh1 Kb8 25.Bh3 Qc6 26.Bxe6 a6 27.Rf7 Nb6 28.Bd5 Nxd5 29.exd5 Qb6 30.e6 Ka7








31.Qb4! Anton offers to exchange queens since the knight will be forced to move, and the kingside pawns are sitting ducks. 31...Qxb4 32.axb4 Nb3 33.Rxg7 Nd4 34.Rxh7 The rook is gobbling pawns quicker than Pacman. 34...Nxe6 35.dxe6 Bxe6 36.Kg1 Rd8 37.Re7 Bh3 38.Kf2 Rd6 39.Re4 Rd2+ 40.Re2 Rd6 41.Ke3 Re6+ 42.Kf4 Rf6+ 43.Ke5 Re6+ 44.Kd4 Rd6+ 45.Nd5 Be6 46.Re5 b6 47.h4 Kb7 48.Ke4 Kc6 49.Nf4 Bg4 50.Rd5 Rf6 51.h5 b5 52.Rg5 Bd1 53.Rg6 Bc2+ 54.Ke5 Rxg6 55.hxg6 1-0. [Click to replay]

After two rounds, only two players were still on 2.0/2, Luka Lenic (2613) and last year's winner Le Quang Liem, so it was no surprise they met. Quang Liem played a superb game with great purpose, and a lovely finale was quite remniscent of a famed Kasparov game.

Lenic,Luka (2613) - Le,Quang Liem (2664) [B38]
Aeroflot Open A Moscow RUS (3), 10.02.2011

1.Nf3 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 c5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be2 d6 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Rc1 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 12.f3 Nd7 13.Be3 a5 14.b3 Nc5 15.Qd2 Qb6 16.Nb5 Rfc8 17.Kh1. 17.Rfd1 h5 18.Bf1 Qd8 19.Qe1 Ne6 20.Nc3 Qf8 21.g3 Nc5 22.Bh3 Rd8 23.Nb5 Bxb5 24.cxb5 b6 25.Bg2 Rac8 26.f4 1-0 (67) Panarin,M (2531)-Mamedov,R (2660)/Pardubice 2010/CBM 137 Extra (67) 17...Qd8 18.Nd4 Bd7 19.Rfd1 h5 20.Bf1 Kh7 21.Ne2 Bc6 22.Nf4 Bh6 23.Qf2 Qh8 24.Rc2 Qf6 25.Nd5 Bxd5 26.Rxd5 Bxe3 27.Qxe3 Qa1 Though this doesn't swing the balance, this move is an annoyance as it does restrict White's options. 28.Kg1 Nd7 29.Qg5 Nf6!








This move tenders a very subtle trap that White fails to catch in time. 30.Rxa5? Qd4+! 31.Rf2








Remarkably, this pin, which will not be broken for the next eleven moves (other than a momentary zwischenzug), is what is going to cost White the game. 31...Rc5! White is forced to take the rooks for the queen, which under normal circumstances might seem like a fair deal, but here is not. The Vietnamese GM judged to perfection that the combination of the incredibly poisonous pin with the impossibility for the rooks to connect was to his advantage. 32.Qxc5. 32.Rxc5? is not possible because of the immediately fatal 32...Rxa2! 32...dxc5 33.Rxa8 h4 34.b4 cxb4 35.Ra5 Nh5 36.Rd5 Qe3 37.Rd3 Qa7 38.Rd5 Ng3 39.c5 e6 40.Rd7 Qxc5 41.Rxf7+ Kh6 42.Rxb7








Does this position look familiar in any way? It bears the exact same tactical motifs as the famous game Piket-Kasparov (Tilburg, 1989). 42...Nh1 Even the coup de grace and the moment of resignation! That said, a wonderful win by Le Quang who completely outplayed Lenic by sheer force of will. His game against Kamsky tomorrow will be a sight to see, provided they both don't go for a quick draw. 0-1. [Click to replay]

So you can see for yourself, here is the parallel motif from Piket-Kasparov:

Piket,Jeroen (2540) - Kasparov,Garry (2775) [E99]
Tilburg Tilburg (8), 24.09.1989








28...Nh1! 0-1

This win placed him on top of the mountain with 3.0/3, but don't think it is over. Kamsky moved up to 2.5/3 and will play him after winning his game with a positional queen sacrifice.


Gata Kamsky top-elo, hoping to also become top-ranked tomorrow

Sandipan,Chanda (2641) - Kamsky,Gata (2730) [D15]
Aeroflot Open A Moscow RUS (3), 10.02.2011

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.a4 g6 6.Bf4 Bg7 7.e3 0-0 8.Be2 a5 9.Qb3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nh5 11.Be5 Nd7 12.Ng5 e6 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.h4 Qe7 15.0-0-0








15...Qb4! A fairly poisonous move. Not only can the queen not be taken without losing a pawn, but Black is threatening Nb6. 16.Qa2 Nb6 17.Be2 Nf6 18.e4? Obviously it looks enticing to play this sort of move, but with the queen and the bishop going *backwards*, who exactly is supposed to take advantage of this? 18...h6 19.e5 Nfd5 20.Nge4 c5 This is the beginning of a long tactical sequence, which leads to a queen sacrifice, one that Kamsky had no doubt in mind when he played this. 21.Nxc5 Nxc3 22.bxc3 Qxc3+ 23.Kb1 Qb4+ 24.Ka1 Nd5 25.Rd3








25...b6!? A very interesting queen sacrifice that maintains an edge for Black, not to mention completely destroys... his opponent's composure. 26.Rb1 bxc5 27.Rxb4 Nxb4 28.Qd2 Ba6 Gata could perfectly well take the exchange, but he has something else in mind. 29.Rg3 Bxe2 30.Qxe2 cxd4








This is the idea: the pawn will either be directly defended by the knight after d3, or it will be untouchable due to the constant threat of Nc2+. The passed pawn, combined with superb piece activity and monster knight, essentially spell doom. 31.h5 Rac8 32.hxg6 fxg6 33.Qg4 g5 34.Qxe6 Rc6 35.Qe7+ Rf7 36.Rxg5+ hxg5 37.Qxg5+ Rg6 38.Qd8 d3 39.e6 Rxe6 40.Qg5+ Kf8 41.Qxa5 Nc6 42.Qc5+ Ke8 43.Qd5 Re1+ 44.Kb2 Rb7+ 45.Kc3 Rc1+ 46.Kd2 Rc2+ 47.Ke3 Re7+ 48.Kf4 Rd7 49.Qg8+ Ke7 0-1. [Click to replay]

Standings after three rounds

Rk.
Name
Pts
Fed.
Rtg
Perf.
1
GM Le, Quang Liem
3.0
VIE
2664
3297
2
GM Kamsky, Gata
2.5
USA
2730
2909
3
GM Jakovenko, Dmitry
2.5
RUS
2718
2883
4
GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny
2.5
RUS
2695
2876
5
GM Riazantsev, Alexander
2.5
RUS
2689
2898
6
GM Kasimdzhanov, Rustam
2.5
UZB
2681
2881
7
GM Kobalia, Mikhail
2.5
RUS
2666
2841
8
GM Mamedov, Rauf
2.5
AZE
2660
2798
9
GM Shomoev, Anton
2.5
RUS
2557
2947
10
IM Fedoseev, Vladimir
2.5
RUS
2505
2924
11
GM Movsesian, Sergei
2.0
ARM
2721
2745
12
GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
2.0
FRA
2715
2729
13
GM Vitiugov, Nikita
2.0
RUS
2709
2712
14
GM Bologan, Viktor
2.0
MDA
2693
2716
15
GM Timofeev, Artyom
2.0
RUS
2681
2698
16
GM Volokitin, Andrei
2.0
UKR
2678
2711
17
GM Grachev, Boris
2.0
RUS
2660
2692
18
GM Zvjaginsev, Vadim
2.0
RUS
2660
2644
19
GM Zhou, Jianchao
2.0
CHN
2655
2705
20
GM Khismatullin, Denis
2.0
RUS
2649
2777
21
GM Salgado Lopez, Ivan
2.0
ESP
2626
2744
22
GM Ragger, Markus
2.0
AUT
2615
2613
23
GM Lenic, Luka
2.0
SLO
2613
2720
24
GM Grigoryan, Avetik
2.0
ARM
2595
2811
25
GM Hess, Robert L
2.0
USA
2572
2787

Pictures by Anna Burtasova (Russiachess.org)


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