Aeroflot Open Rd6-8: Tournament victory and Dortmund await Fedoseev

by Sagar Shah
3/1/2017 – With a rating performance of 2839, Vladimir Fedoseev is running away with the top spot with 6.5/8 at the Aeroflot Open 2017. From rounds six to eight he defeated two extremely strong opponents in the form of Najer and Matlakov. Vitiugov and Najer follow Fedoseev on 6.0/8. It's going to be an exciting final round, but for now we have an illustrated report from rounds six to eight with grandmaster analysis by Alexander Yermolinsky.

Photos by Vasily Papin

After five rounds at the Aeroflot Open 2017, Evgeniy Najer was in the lead with 4.5/5. He had won the tournament in 2016 as well. Winning a strong tournament like the Aeroflot Open consecutively would be a phenomenal achievement. But four rounds is a lot of time. He met his nemisis - Vladimir Fedoseev, in the sixth round.

Evgeniy Najer had scored wins over Bluebaum and Jobava in rounds four and five respectively to move to sole lead

The young Vladimir Fedoseev had the white pieces

Unlike 2016 when Fedoseev was in an experimental mood and played 1.e4 c6 2.Be2!?, this time he was careful and stuck to mainstream theory. By means of simple and powerful moves Fedoseev outplayed Najer and snatched the sole lead.

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2017"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2017.02.26"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Fedoseev, Vladimir3"] [Black "Najer, Evgeniy"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D11"] [WhiteElo "2658"] [BlackElo "2659"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2017.02.21"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 {The e3 variation of the Slav is advocated by Boris Avrukh in his great books for Quality Chess. While it is very solid, sometimes I find it just a little bit too solid for my liking.} Bg4 5. h3 Bh5 6. Nc3 e6 7. Qb3 Qb6 8. Nh4 Be7 9. g4 Bg6 10. Nxg6 hxg6 11. Be2 {White has the bishop pair. Black has a solid structure. An interesting game lies ahead.} Nbd7 12. Bd2 g5 13. O-O-O Qxb3 14. axb3 {It would be incorrect to say that White has an edge here. Just as it would be wrong to say that Black has equalized. I think this is one of those cases where White is pushing thanks to his double bishops, but it is not so clear whether objectively he is better.} O-O-O 15. f3 Ne8 16. Kc2 {Fedoseev doesn't rush. He slowly but steadily improves his position.} Nc7 17. Ra1 a6 18. Nd1 {The knight will be well placed on f2 where it will support h3 and free the h1 rook to do other things.} c5 $5 {Seeing that White is unco-ordinated for a move, Black stricks in the centre.} 19. dxc5 Bxc5 20. Nf2 Ne5 21. Nd3 Nxd3 22. Bxd3 {Now the two bishops are starting to look a bit scary, but Najer realizes that h3 is weak and that will be his source of counterplay.} Rh4 23. Bf1 dxc4 (23... Rdh8 24. Bg2 $14) (23... f6 $5) 24. bxc4 e5 25. Bd3 $1 {Very flexible the f5 square is weakened and Fedoseev immediately latches on to it.} Rdh8 26. b4 (26. Bf5+ Kb8 27. b4 Be7 28. Bc3 f6 29. Rhd1 $18) 26... Bd6 27. Bf1 (27. Be4 $5 Rxh3 28. Rhd1 $16 {Would also have given White a clear advantage.}) 27... e4 $1 28. Be1 $1 (28. fxe4 Rxg4 $11) 28... exf3 {Najer assesses that the exchange sacrifice will give him good compensation.} (28... R4h6 29. fxe4) 29. Bxh4 gxh4 30. c5 Bg3 31. Bc4 Re8 32. Kd3 Ne6 33. Bd5 f2 {The f2 pawn is strong, but White can ignore it to some extent and continue his play with the bishop and one rook.} 34. c6 $1 b6 35. Bxe6+ (35. Rxa6 Nc7 $15) 35... Rxe6 36. Rhc1 Kc7 37. b5 a5 38. Ke2 Re5 39. Rab1 Re7 $2 (39... g6 {With the idea of f5 was the correct way t proceed. Maybe it would still not be enough for a draw, but it is at least active.}) 40. Rc4 { The idea is simple, double on the d-file and finish off the game!} Bd6 41. Kxf2 Bc5 42. Rb3 {That's game over!} f6 43. Kf3 Bd6 44. Rd3 Be5 45. Rc2 Bd6 46. Rcd2 Re6 47. Rd4 g6 48. e4 {One would say that it was quite an effortless win for Fedoseev.} 1-0

On board two Vitiugov managed to beat Ernesto Inarkiev

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2017"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2017.02.26"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Vitiugov, Nikita"] [Black "Inarkiev, Ernesto"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E18"] [WhiteElo "2724"] [BlackElo "2723"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "113"] [EventDate "2017.02.21"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Bf6 9. Be1 $5 {This line is gaining in popularity after Levon Aronian managed to beat Richard Rapport at the Tata Steel 2017.} d5 10. Qc2 Nxc3 11. Bxc3 Nd7 ( 11... dxc4 $2 12. Ng5 $18) 12. cxd5 exd5 13. b4 c5 $6 (13... b5 $5 {Trying to take the c4 square with Nb6, but it seems to anti-positional.} 14. a4 a6 15. axb5 axb5 16. Rxa8 Bxa8 17. Qd3 c6 18. Nd2 Nb6 19. e4 $14 {White has the edge.} ) (13... c6 {It was necessary to remain slightly worse but solid.}) 14. dxc5 bxc5 15. Bxf6 Qxf6 16. Bh3 $1 (16. bxc5 Rac8 $11) 16... Rfd8 17. bxc5 (17. Bxd7 Rxd7 18. bxc5 d4 {is sureshot compensation.}) 17... Rac8 18. Qa4 Nxc5 19. Qxa7 Rc6 20. Rab1 Qd6 21. Qa3 d4 22. Bg2 Ra6 23. Qb2 Bxf3 24. Bxf3 Na4 25. Qd2 Nc3 26. Rb2 {Although the knight on c3 is irritating, White has an extra pawn and can surely hope to play for an advantage.} g6 27. Rc1 Ra3 28. Kg2 Kg7 29. Rcc2 Qe6 30. Qg5 Rc8 31. Qf4 Ra4 32. Qd2 Rc5 33. h4 h6 34. Qd3 Qe5 35. Rb7 Qe6 36. e3 Qf6 (36... dxe3 37. Rxc3 $18) 37. Rd7 dxe3 38. Qxe3 $16 Rac4 39. Rcd2 Re5 40. Qd3 Rcc5 41. Rb2 Nb5 42. a4 Rc3 43. Qd1 Rf5 44. axb5 (44. Bg4 $1 Qc6+ 45. Kh2 Rc1 46. axb5 $18) 44... Rfxf3 45. Qd4 Kf8 (45... Rb3 $5 46. Qxf6+ Kxf6 47. Rdd2 $18 {This should be winning.}) 46. Qxf6 Rxf6 47. b6 Rc8 48. b7 Rb8 49. Rc7 (49. Rc2 $1 $18) 49... Re6 50. Rc8+ Re8 51. Rxb8 Rxb8 52. Kf3 Ke7 53. Ke4 Kd6 54. Kd4 h5 55. Ke4 f6 56. Rb6+ Kc5 57. Rxf6 1-0

A loss can be quite disheartening at times. But the good thing about these top players is that they know, the only way to overcome a loss is to win the next game! Ernesto Inarkiev played a fine game to beat the experienced Ilia Smirin from the white side in a King's Indian in the seventh round.

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2017"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2017.02.27"] [Round "7.3"] [White "Inarkiev, Ernesto"] [Black "Smirin, Ilia"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E92"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2670"] [Annotator "Sagar,Shah"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2017.02.21"] {Ilia Smirin has recently written a book for Quality Chess on the King's Indian from Black side. Being a life long King's Indian afficiando, this game was quite interesting.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 $5 (7. O-O {is the main line.}) 7... Ng4 8. Bg5 f6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Nh6 11. h3 {dxe5 and d5 are the two main moves in the position. Inarkiev goes for the third most popular.} exd4 12. Nxd4 Nc6 13. h4 Nxd4 14. Qxd4 f5 15. Qd5+ Kh8 16. hxg5 Qxg5 {The players are following the game Postny-Smirin from 2013.} 17. c5 $1 {Inarkiev's improvement for the game which is also the computer's first choice.} (17. Rh5 Qg6 18. Qd2 fxe4 $17 {1/2-1/2 (52) Postny,E (2635)-Smirin,I (2663) Acre 2013}) 17... Bd7 18. Rh5 Qg6 19. cxd6 Bc6 20. Qd2 fxe4 21. dxc7 {While White king doesn't really look very happy on e1, the pawn on c7 ensures that Black doesn't get the d-file.} e3 (21... Nf5 22. Bf4 Qxg2 23. O-O-O $18) 22. Qxe3 Rae8 {This looks pretty scary, but Inarkiev has it under control.} (22... Nf5 23. Qd3 $18) 23. Qg5 $1 Qxg5 (23... Qe6 24. O-O-O $18) 24. Rxg5 Nf5 25. Rxf5 $1 {A natural yet very strong exchange sac.} Rxf5 26. O-O-O Rff8 27. Bh5 Ra8 28. Nd5 Rf5 29. Bf3 Be5 30. Bg4 Rg5 31. Bxe5+ Rxe5 32. Nf6 $6 (32. Nc3 Ree8 33. Bd7 Bxd7 34. Rxd7 Rac8 35. Nb5 $18) 32... Rc5+ $1 33. Kb1 Kg7 34. Rc1 Rxc1+ 35. Kxc1 Kxf6 36. g3 $1 {Maintaining whatever little chances of win that are there.} Ke5 37. a3 a5 38. Kd2 Kd4 39. c8=Q Rxc8 40. Bxc8 $16 {Because the black king is so active, I am not 100% sure if this endgame is winning. But with the clean extra pawn, it shouldn't be too difficult.} h6 41. Be6 Ke5 42. Bh3 Kd4 43. f4 b6 44. Be6 Be8 45. Ke2 Bc6 46. Kf2 Bb7 47. g4 Kc5 48. Ke3 Kd6 49. Bf5 Ke7 50. g5 hxg5 51. fxg5 Bd5 52. Kd4 Kd6 {The opening was a big failure for Smirin. Inarkiev was well prepared and simply blew his opponent off the board. There were some errors committed in the middlegame by both sides, but it did not alter the final result of the game.} 1-0

When I was young I read the book "The Road to Chess Improvement" by Alexander Yermolinsky. It was an excellent book and I learnt a lot from it. That's one of the reasons why I was really excited when Alexander agreed to annotate two games from round seven of the Aeroflot. The other reason is that I really enjoy the humour in his annotations!

The young Iranian talent Alireza Firouzja (left). According to Yermo: this is not the last time we hear the name Firouzja!

Firouzja - Bluebaum (Analysis by Alexander Yermolinsky)

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2017"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2017.02.27"] [Round "7.18"] [White "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Black "Bluebaum, Matthias"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2465"] [BlackElo "2632"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2017.02.21"] {Hello, everyone. This is GM Alex Yermolinsky, fresh off my work on the Sharjah Grand Prix, and now joining the coverage of the Aeroflot Open. Round 7 is already in the books, and by conventional wisdom I should be talking about the leaders, but my attention is captured by the exceptionally good performance of two young, and previously unknown to me, players. First is the 13-year-old(!) Alireza Firouzja from Iran.} 1. e4 {Prior to this game Alireza already made some noise by defeating Donchenko (18 y.o.), Bindrich (OK, this guy is older, all of 27 years of age) and Vavulin (18 y.o.), and now he's facing a tough opponent in 19-year-old German star. Some training before the World Junior, I suppose.} c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. c3 $5 Ne7 (5... c5 6. Be3 Qb6 {was considered Black's best reply last time I looked at 5.c3. Indeed, if there's a problem with that move, it has to be connected with White's refusal to consider the eventual possibility of c2-c4 in one move, which often represents his best option in reply to Black's early activity in the center.}) 6. Be2 Ng6 7. h4 ({Black's plan is to attack the white pawn chain from the front, as in} 7. O-O f6 8. exf6 Qxf6 9. Qb3 b6 10. c4 {that's the tempo loss mentioned above} Bd6 11. Bg5 Qf7 12. Nbd2 O-O 13. Rac1 h6 14. Be3 Nf4 15. Bxf4 Bxf4 16. cxd5 cxd5 17. Qc3 {and draw was agreed in Giri(!) -Motylev, World Cup 2015.}) 7... h5 8. Ng5 $5 {Very provocative. White acts like f7-f6 would do nothing but undermine Black's position.} ({ Zhigalko-Motylev, 2016 had a different script:} 8. Bd3 Ne7 9. Bg5 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 Nd7 11. Nbd2 Qb6 {shifting the focus to the Q-side.}) 8... f6 9. exf6 gxf6 10. Nh3 {Of course, White is targeting the h5-pawn.} Kd7 $5 {Quite a radical decision.} ({I assume Bluebaum didn't particularly like} 10... e5 11. Bxh5 Qe7 12. Qf3 Qe6 13. dxe5 Qxe5+ ({The desired recapture} 13... fxe5 {is now impossible on account of} 14. Ng5 {followed by g2-g4}) 14. Be3 $14) ({The problem with the natural plan of development} 10... Qe7 11. Bxh5 Nd7 {is that} 12. g4 {forces Black to sac the exchange,} Rxh5 13. gxh5 {and follow up with a deep retreat} Nh8 $3 (13... Nxh4 14. Nf4 {and the knight is stuck there.}) 14. Be3 e5 15. Nd2 O-O-O {Surprisingly, Black's position is not bad at all. Go figure.}) 11. Nf4 (11. Bxh5 Nxh4 12. Nf4 Ng6 13. g4 Be4 14. f3 Bxb1 15. Rxb1 Nxf4 16. Bxf4 Bd6 17. Bxd6 Kxd6 {The black king is leading the charge, yet his flexible pawn structure helps him to get away with that.}) 11... Nxf4 12. Bxf4 Qe8 $6 ({Same logic could have been applied here:} 12... Bd6 13. Bxd6 Kxd6 14. Bxh5 Qb6 15. b3 (15. b4 a5) 15... c5 16. Nd2 Nc6 $13) 13. c4 $1 {The youngster reads it well, Black's passive move had to be punished by energetic play.} dxc4 14. Bxc4 Qg6 15. Qb3 {Perhaps, too eager.} (15. O-O Qg4 16. Qd2 {and how is Black going to develop his pieces?}) 15... b5 16. O-O Rg8 (16... bxc4 $4 17. Qb7+) 17. g3 Qg4 18. Re1 Bb4 $6 {A cool-looking move, but not such a great one, objectively.} ({Black would have been much better off first inserting} 18... a5 $1 19. a4 {and then playing his idea} Bb4 {In reply White would have had} 20. axb5 $5 {but the consequences of the rook sac aren't so clear:} Bxe1 21. bxc6+ Ke8) 19. Bxe6+ $5 {A great idea, regardless of its objective value. This is how chess should be played!} ({particularly since White hada safe option in} 19. Qxb4 Qxf4 20. Bf1 $14) 19... Bxe6 20. Rxe6 Qxe6 21. Qxb4 Na6 22. Qd2 { In return for the sacrificed exchange White has a pawn, and, most importantly, clear prospects to forever haunt the loose Black King.} Rae8 23. Nc3 Nc7 24. d5 $1 {A textbook breakthrough! It seems GM Ivan Sokolov is earning his keep coaching the Iranian players.} Nxd5 25. Nxd5 Qxd5 26. Qc2 Kc8 27. Rd1 Qf3 $2 ({ The best move was} 27... Qe4 {practically forcing White to give a perpatual after} 28. Qc5 Qxf4 29. Qxc6+ Qc7 30. Qa8+ Qb8 {etc.}) 28. Qf5+ Kb7 29. Rd7+ Ka8 30. Rxa7+ $1 {Just as Black thought he was safe.} Kxa7 31. Bb8+ Kxb8 32. Qxf3 {Too many loose pawns and no targets for the rooks to gang up on. Bluebaum had no chance.} Re6 33. Qxh5 Rge8 34. Qf7 R8e7 35. Qg6 Kb7 36. h5 Kb6 37. g4 c5 38. h6 f5 39. gxf5 $1 {Nice finishing touch.} Rxg6+ 40. fxg6 Re6 41. g7 Rg6+ 42. Kf1 {I'm sure this isn't the last time we hear the name Firouzja.} 1-0

A performance of 2711(!) and gaining 26 Elo points Alireza is well and truly on his way to becoming one of the youngest grandmasters in the world

When I opened the second game sent by Yermolinsky, the name of the players read Maghsoodloo vs Kuybokarov. "So, Alexander has annotated the games of two young Iranians. Like many he too seems to be impressed by Firouzja and Maghsoodloo." But it turns out that his eyes were on Maghsoodloo's opponent the 16-year-old Uzbek Temur Kuybokarov.

With a rating of 2491, Kuybokarov is already gaining 16 Elo points (Photo: Penang Open)

Maghsoodloo vs Kuybokarov (annotations by Alexander Yermolinsky)

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2017"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2017.02.27"] [Round "7.30"] [White "Maghsoodloo, Parham"] [Black "Kuybokarov, Temur"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A07"] [WhiteElo "2575"] [BlackElo "2491"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "110"] [EventDate "2017.02.21"] {Kuibokarov is 16 and he hails from Uzbekistan, a country of a great chess tradition. In my days in the Soviet Union I must have played there a dozen times, facing all their best players from Georgy Agzamov to Gregory Serper. Then some time later I met Rustam Kasimdzhanov...} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Bg4 3. Bg2 c6 {Solid opening choices was always a trademark of Uzbek players. OK, OK, I know Timur Gareev.....} 4. d3 Nf6 5. Nbd2 Nbd7 6. O-O e5 7. h3 Bh5 8. g4 $5 { Aggressive, aren't we?} ({Usually White is just content with} 8. e4 {played by Morozevich, Kamsky and Yu Yangyi}) 8... Bg6 9. Nh4 Bc5 {I think this is the best of three possible squares to put that bishop on.} (9... Bd6 {was Caruana-Movsesian, Blitz 2014. Fabiano went} 10. e3 Nf8 11. f4 N6d7 12. Qe1 f6 (12... h5 13. g5) 13. e4 d4 14. Nc4 {and obtained a pretty good Kings Indian structure.}) (9... Be7 10. e3 O-O {also stops} 11. f4 {due to a hidden tactical idea} exf4 12. exf4 Nxg4 13. hxg4 Bc5+) 10. e3 O-O 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. c4 (12. g5 Ne8 13. h4 Nd6 14. Qg4 $13) 12... d4 13. Nb3 (13. exd4 Bxd4 { Why not? Black has no other use for that bishop.}) 13... a5 $1 {Temur agrees, he doesn't mind the trade.} 14. exd4 exd4 15. Nxc5 Nxc5 {The resulting position is about equal, because here, unlike the most Benoni structures, White's LSB doesn't reach too far due to a solid position of the c6-pawn.} 16. b3 Nfd7 17. f4 f5 18. gxf5 gxf5 19. Qf3 Re8 20. Bd2 Nf8 21. Rae1 Ng6 22. Rxe8+ Qxe8 23. Qg3 Qe2 24. Rf2 (24. Qxg6 Qxd2 25. Qxf5 Nxd3 26. Be4 Qe3+ 27. Kh2 Qe2+ 28. Kg1 $11) 24... Qh5 25. Bf3 Qh6 26. Be2 Re8 27. Kf1 b6 28. h4 Nf8 29. h5 Nh7 30. Rg2 Re6 31. Qh3 Qf6 32. Rg6 Qf7 33. Qg2 {White seems to be making a bit of progress, but Black is still very solid.} Nf8 34. Rg3 Qe7 35. Ke1 Rf6 36. Kd1 Nfe6 37. Kc2 Na6 38. Bf3 {This allows a counterattack.} (38. Kb2 $142) 38... Nb4+ 39. Kb1 Nc5 ({Temir rejected the gift based on} 39... Nxd3 40. Qe2 Nb4 41. a3 Na6 42. Bxc6 Qxa3 43. Bd5 Nac7 44. Qe5 {where his position comes under considerable pressure. Yet,} Kh7 45. h6 Kxh6 $1 {should defend.}) 40. a3 Nbxd3 41. Bxc6 Kh8 $1 ({It was too early for} 41... Nxb3 42. Rxd3 Qxa3 {because of} 43. Qd5+ $1 Kh7 44. Bd7) 42. Bd5 Nxb3 $1 {Only now.} 43. Rxd3 Qxa3 { Realistically, Black has no more than a draw, but it's OK, the opponent might misplay it while trying to get more.} 44. Qf3 $6 {This doesn't help White's cause at all.} (44. c5 Qa1+ 45. Kc2 Nxc5) (44. Rg3 a4 45. Rxg7 Nxd2+ 46. Kc2 Qb3+ 47. Kxd2 Qb2+ 48. Ke1 Qc1+ 49. Kf2 Qe3+ {is one of many perpetual checks possible as the outcome of this game.}) 44... a4 45. Kc2 Qa2+ 46. Kd1 Rf8 47. h6 Qb1+ 48. Ke2 Re8+ 49. Kf2 $2 ({The only way to save the game was} 49. Re3 $1 Rxe3+ 50. Bxe3 Qc2+ 51. Kf1 dxe3 52. hxg7+ Kxg7 53. Qg3+ Kh7 54. Qh4+ Kg7 55. Qg5+ Kh7 {Again, the perpetual.}) 49... g6 $3 {Incredibly cool move. Black just threatens Qc2 on the next move.} 50. Rxb3 axb3 51. Bc6 Qc2 52. Bxe8 Qxd2+ 53. Kg3 (53. Kf1 b2) 53... Qe1+ 54. Kg2 Qxe8 55. Qf2 Qe4+ {Nice work. Now Timur is just a halfpoint behind Alireza in the race for the best Under-18 player in this incredibly strong open. Stay tuned.} 0-1

A big thanks to Yermolinsky for treating us with some wonderful analysis!

Pavel Eljanov, one of the participants at the Sharjah Grand Prix, wrote on his Facebook page, "Concerning chess content it was one of the most boring tournaments I ever played with so many quick draws every round." As far as Aeroflot Open is concerned, this is not at all an issue. You can see fighting chess on just about every board. And with young players like Fedoseev, Matlakov, Artemiev and others donning the top boards, you are bound to get interesting games.

Mr. cool Fedoseev has shown no signs of slowing down. After beating Najer in the sixth round, he drew with Khismatullin in the seventh, and then scored a big win against Matlakov in the eighth round

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2017"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2017.02.28"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Fedoseev, Vladimir3"] [Black "Matlakov, Maxim"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D38"] [WhiteElo "2658"] [BlackElo "2701"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2017.02.21"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qb3 $5 {This is an interesting way to meet the Ragozin.} c5 6. dxc5 Na6 (6... Nc6 {is more common.}) 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Qxc3 Nxc5 {Black has recovered the pawn, but just like in the Najer game, Fedoseev has the bishop pair.} 9. cxd5 Qxd5 (9... Nce4 $5) 10. Be3 Nce4 11. Qe5 Qxe5 12. Nxe5 {This is a small edge for White thanks to the bishop pair.} Nd5 13. Bc1 $1 {You can bank on Fedoseev to save his bishop!} Nc5 14. Rb1 (14. b4 Nb3 15. Rb1 Nxc1 16. Rxc1 $14) 14... f6 15. Nc4 e5 16. f3 Ke7 (16... Nb3 $5 $11 ) 17. e4 Nf4 18. Be3 Ncd3+ 19. Bxd3 Nxd3+ 20. Ke2 Nf4+ 21. Bxf4 exf4 {In a span of 2 moves from having the bishop pair, Fedoseev now has a knight against his opponent's bishop! But that's the best part about the bishop pair, right? You can give them up whenever you like!} 22. Na5 b6 23. Nc6+ Kd6 $6 (23... Ke6 {was better.}) 24. Rbc1 Ba6+ 25. Kf2 Rhc8 26. Rhd1+ Ke6 27. g3 $1 fxg3+ 28. hxg3 g6 29. f4 {The pressure is building up.} Bb7 $2 {And it's too much to handle!} 30. f5+ $1 (30. f5+ gxf5 31. exf5+ Kxf5 (31... Kf7 32. Rd7+ $18) 32. Ne7+ $18) 1-0

Round eight was filled with decisive results on the top boards. While Fedoseev beat Matlakov, Vitiugov was able to beat Artemiev in a sharp Najdorf (Bartel's 6.Nb3!?) and Najer completely outplayed Inarkiev from the white side of the Scotch.

Rank after Round 8

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Fedoseev Vladimir 6,5 4
2 Vitiugov Nikita 6,0 4
3 Najer Evgeniy 6,0 3
4 Khismatullin Denis 5,5 4
5 Jobava Baadur 5,5 4
6 Yu Yangyi 5,5 4
7 Kovalev Vladislav 5,5 3
8 Matlakov Maxim 5,0 4
9 Smirin Ilia 5,0 4
10 Inarkiev Ernesto 5,0 4
11 Firouzja Alireza 5,0 4

I wanted to add the rankings after round eight only until ten players, but the eleventh place was too interesting to leave out! Check out the full ranking list here.

Round 9 on 2017/03/01 at 15:00

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Vitiugov Nikita 6   Fedoseev Vladimir
Yu Yangyi   6 Najer Evgeniy
Khismatullin Denis   Kovalev Vladislav
Mamedov Rauf 5   Jobava Baadur
Inarkiev Ernesto 5   5 Oparin Grigoriy
Matlakov Maxim 5   5 Bosiocic Marin
Kuzubov Yuriy 5   5 Korobov Anton
Artemiev Vladislav 5   5 Smirin Ilia
Jumabayev Rinat 5   5 Kamsky Gata
Berkes Ferenc 5   5 Dubov Daniil

The pairings for the last round. Complete pairings can be found here.

To end this article I would like to show some very cute pictures of the interaction of a little girl with a super grandmaster!

The little one is checking out the games. Dubov is unable to concentrate!

The girl gets a rare smile from a super GM in the middle of his game!

Okay, come on, you need to get back to your mother!

What did grandmaster Dubov tell you?!

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Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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geraldsky geraldsky 3/1/2017 10:52
The little girl is the best picture.
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