Aeroflot R07: a fight for every point!

by Sagar Shah
3/8/2016 – After seven rounds five players lead at the Aeroflot Open 2016 with 5.0/7 – a pack of 15 players on 4.5/5 follow them. Thanks to the long time control we see a lot of “correctly” played games. But that same time control is the reason why fatigue has started to set in and quite a few blunders took place in the seventh round. We have a collection of interesting positions and impressions from Moscow.

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AEROFLOT round seven – a fight for every point!

Report from Moscow by Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal

The 13th edition of the Aeroflot Open 2016 is being held in Moscow, Russia from the 29th of February to 10th of March 2016. The official hotel of the event is Cosmos and the playing venue is also located at the same place. There are three tournaments that are simultaneously taking place: The A Group (2550 and above); the B Group (2300 and above), and the C Group (below 2300).

Two gladiators sat across the board, hands to their head, fighting as intensely as possible. The clock showed 10.30 p.m. – 7 hours and 30 minutes since the game had begun. Boris Gelfand had an extra pawn in the queen endgame against Boris Grachev and was trying his best to convert the position into a full point. Both the players were tired and hungry, but their focus was completely on the game. The checks had to be evaded, the pawns had to be carefully advanced, and perpetuals had to be taken care off. Like a surgeon, Gelfand did that and after 119 moves – Grachev had nothing better but to throw in the towel. This was the top board story of the sixth round. But what it showed is the extreme difficulty with which each point has to be earned at the Aeroflot Open 2016. Every win is worth its weight in gold.

A very interesting piece of statistics – after seven rounds none of the top ten seeds has lost a game, and none of these ten players has scored two consecutive wins in rounds six and seven! Isn’t this amazing? It only shows that with the time control of 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move, you can see more accurate chess. Difficult positions are saved and blunders are rare. That being said playing such long games is taking a toll on the energy levels of the players. They have the time on their clocks but their energy levels are lacking. That is the reason why the seventh round saw quite a few blunders being made by the players.

Boris Savchenko – Jorden van Foreest

Black’s position doesn’t particularly look appetizing but it is far from being lost. Here the talented Dutch player saw nothing wrong in taking the pawn with 22…Qxe5. Well, I hope you spotted it pretty quickly why that is a huge blunder.

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.03.07"] [Round "7.24"] [White "Savchenko, Boris"] [Black "Van Foreest, Jorden"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2610"] [BlackElo "2557"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2016.03.01"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 d6 7. Bc4 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Qe2 b6 10. Rd1 Bb7 11. Bxd5 exd5 12. Nc3 Na6 13. Nb5 Nc7 14. Nxc7 Qxc7 15. Bg5 Rfe8 16. Rac1 Qd7 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. Rc3 Bc8 19. h3 Bf5 20. Rdc1 dxe5 21. dxe5 h6 22. Nd4 {Diagram [#] White has an edge here but Black could have kept up the fight with Be6 or even Qg5. But instead Jorden makes a huge blunder.} Qxe5 $4 {Simply blundering a piece.} 23. Qxe5 Rxe5 24. f4 $18 { The rook has to move and the bishop on f5 is lost. Quite unbelievable how a 2557 grandmaster can make such an oversight. But when you are heading towards the last rounds of a strong open tournament, fatigue often sets in.} 1-0

Jorden must be kicking himself for that error, but such things happen even to the best in the business

Let’s turn up the difficulty level a little. Here is a position between two young grandmasters, just four moves before one of them resigned:

Axel Bachmann – Vladimir Fedoseev

Just like van Foreest, Bachmann here thought that he could pick up the pawn on e4 with 33.Bxe4. He was, of course, mistaken. Can you see why that move loses? Don’t check the solution until you have found the answer. It is quite pretty!

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.03.07"] [Round "7.8"] [White "Bachmann, Axel"] [Black "Fedoseev, Vladimir"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E17"] [WhiteElo "2609"] [BlackElo "2664"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2016.03.01"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 b6 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. d4 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Bf4 d6 8. Nc3 Ne4 9. Rc1 Qc8 10. Bh3 Nxc3 11. Rxc3 Qe8 12. Bg2 a5 13. Re1 Na6 14. e4 e5 15. Bd2 Rb8 16. Rce3 Bf6 17. Bc3 g6 18. Bh3 Bg7 19. a3 Rd8 20. b3 Qe7 21. Qa1 Bh6 22. R3e2 f5 23. dxe5 fxe4 24. Nd4 Nc5 25. b4 dxe5 26. bxc5 exd4 27. Bxd4 bxc5 28. Be3 Bxe3 29. Rxe3 Rd4 30. Bg2 Qf6 31. Qb2 Bc6 32. Qc2 Re8 {Diagram [#] White, who is a pawn down, is surely under pressure but can defend staunchly. He should have waited with a queen move to either c3, b1 or b2. But instead he saw that the pawn on e4 was hanging and decided to take it. Of course, Fedoseev had seen one move deeper.} 33. Bxe4 $2 Rexe4 $1 34. Rxe4 Rxe4 35. Rxe4 Qf3 $1 {And just like that the piece is lost!} 0-1

With his victory over Axel Bachmann, Vladimir Fedoseev is one of the leaders with 5.0/7

Boris Gelfand couldn’t break Maxim Matlakov’s Ragozin Defence,
and had to settle for a draw. Boris is currently on 5.0/7.

Maxim Matlakov: with wins over Bartosz Socko, Denis Khismatullin and Robert
Hovhannisyan, Maxim is all set for a strong finish

Sasikiran Krishnan drew a highly favourable position against Ernesto Inarkiev in the seventh round.
In spite of that he is on 4.5/7 and a win in last two rounds would be good enough for a top finish.

Five consecutive draws! Francisco Vallejo Pons doesn’t seem to be too impressed with his performance!

Baadur Jobava comes to the tournament hall, greets his neighbour, hangs his coat on his chair,
explains to the photographer this is his board and gets ready for his game against Vladimir Potkin!

With Ruslan Ponomariov (right) paying a visit to the tournament venue today,
we had two ex-FIDE World Champions in the playing hall

The ultra-creative player from Moscow, Vadim Zvjaginsev

Here is a small trivia for you: Zvjaginsev is famed for unorthodox opening play. One of his openings has become quite famous. Which opening is that and how is it related to Khalifman and Ponomariov (pictured above)? Write down your answers in the comments section below.

Wei Yi is on 4.0/7 and losing ten Elo points

In one of the rounds Salem Saleh arrived to the tournament hall, fully armed with water and drinks, only to find out that other players have taken the table where he was supposed to be playing against his opponent! The arbiters instead of shifting everyone made arrangement for him to sit on another board.

In the seventh round Sergei Azarov forgot to ask a basic question before making his move: what is my opponent’s threat? The GM from UAE punished him severely for that.

Salem Saleh – Sergei Azarov

White has just played his rook from a6 to a5. Turn on your prophylactic thinking and find out what exactly White is threatening. Based on that what is Black’s best move? In the game Azarov continued with the move …Qc6. Why was that a mistake?

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.03.07"] [Round "7.22"] [White "Salem, A.R. Saleh"] [Black "Azarov, Sergei"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C77"] [WhiteElo "2615"] [BlackElo "2599"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2016.03.01"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Re1 O-O 9. Nbd2 b5 10. Bc2 Bb7 11. a4 Re8 12. b4 Qd7 13. Nb3 Rab8 14. h3 Nd8 15. Be3 Ne6 16. axb5 axb5 17. Ra7 Nd8 18. Na5 Ba8 19. Bb3 Nc6 20. Nxc6 Bxc6 21. Qc2 h6 22. Qd2 Kh7 23. Rea1 d5 24. R1a6 Bb7 25. Ra5 {Diagram [#] More often than not it pays to ask yourself what is your opponent's threat. Azarov for a moment did not follow this advice and played his queen to c6.} Qc6 $2 (25... dxe4 $6 26. dxe4 Qxd2 27. Nxd2 $18) (25... Bc6 $1 $11 {Defending the b5 pawn.}) 26. Rxb5 Qxb5 27. Ba4 Qxa4 28. Rxa4 dxe4 29. dxe4 Bc6 30. Ra7 Nxe4 31. Qa2 Re7 32. Qc4 1-0

Alexander Moiseenko showed some powerful calculation to get the better of Emilio Cordova

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.03.07"] [Round "7.13"] [White "Moiseenko, Alexander"] [Black "Cordova, Emilio"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A62"] [WhiteElo "2668"] [BlackElo "2610"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2016.03.01"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 g6 6. Nc3 d6 7. g3 Bg7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Bf4 Bf5 11. Nh4 Bc8 12. Qd2 Na6 13. h3 Bd7 14. a4 c4 15. Bh6 Bh8 16. Qf4 Nc5 17. Qxc4 Rc8 18. a5 Nce4 19. Qb4 Rxc3 20. bxc3 Nxd5 21. Qxb7 Ndxc3 22. Kh2 g5 23. Nf3 Bb5 24. Qxa7 Bxe2 25. Rfe1 Qf6 26. Bxg5 Nxg5 27. Nxg5 Qxg5 28. a6 Nb5 {Diagram [#] First of all let's calculate the material. White has a rook and a pawn for two minor pieces. The pawn on a6 however is extremely strong which determines White's advantage. A lot of things are happening tactically here. The queen on a7 is attacked and so is the rook on a1. White can play Qd7 but after Rd8 Black would be able to win the rook on a1 anyway. Moiseenko here is able to find the combination which might not be very difficult for a player of his calibre but still is quite pretty.} 29. Rxe2 $1 Nxa7 (29... Rxe2 30. Qb8+ Kg7 31. Ra4 $1 {One cannot be sure if Alexander had seen this move. The threat is Rg4.} h5 32. Rf4 Qe5 33. Qb7 $18 {Black is a piece up but his forces are so badly co-ordinated that he has absolutely no chance in this position.}) 30. Rxe8+ Kg7 31. Rb1 $1 {The rook is coming to b8 and the bishop on h8 will be lost. Quite a weird trapped piece, don't you agree?} Qc5 32. Rbb8 Qxf2 33. Rxh8 Nc6 34. Rhg8+ Kh6 35. Rb1 Ne5 36. Rf1 Qb6 37. Rf6+ Ng6 38. Rxd6 {The rook is taboo due to a7 when the pawn queens.} Qf2 39. Rf6 Qa2 40. Rf8 {A very nice tactical performance by the Ukrainian grandmaster.} 1-0

On a lower board of the tournament the current Russian Women Champion Aleksandra Goryachkina (above) was paired against the current Iranian National Champion Alireza Firouzja. Goryachkina won that game.

IM Eesha Karavade scored a win against GM Debashis Das in round six and is currently on 2.5/7

Standings after round seven

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB2 
1 27 GM Bartel Mateusz POL 2625 5.0 2606
2 15 GM Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2664 5.0 2579
3 16 GM Najer Evgeniy RUS 2664 5.0 2638
4 6 GM Matlakov Maxim RUS 2682 5.0 2632
5 1 GM Gelfand Boris ISR 2735 5.0 2620
6 7 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2677 4.5 2619
7 5 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2704 4.5 2602
8 11 GM Kamsky Gata USA 2673 4.5 2597
  13 GM Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2667 4.5 2597
10 25 GM Dubov Daniil RUS 2634 4.5 2583
11 37 GM Jumabayev Rinat KAZ 2607 4.5 2563
12 36 GM Wen Yang CHN 2609 4.5 2671
13 52 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2575 4.5 2664
14 18 GM Zvjaginsev Vadim RUS 2662 4.5 2614
15 8 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2677 4.5 2611
  26 GM Kobalia Mikhail RUS 2632 4.5 2611
17 20 GM Rakhmanov Aleksandr RUS 2650 4.5 2610
18 2 GM Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2724 4.5 2600
19 12 GM Moiseenko Alexander UKR 2668 4.5 2583
20 23 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2637 4.5 2569
21 43 GM Dragun Kamil POL 2594 4.0 2644
22 67   Predke Alexandr RUS 2508 4.0 2643
23 10 GM Artemiev Vladislav RUS 2674 4.0 2595
24 14 GM Swiercz Dariusz POL 2665 4.0 2592
25 17 GM Safarli Eltaj AZE 2663 4.0 2562
26 19 GM Motylev Alexander RUS 2655 4.0 2550
27 3 GM Wei Yi CHN 2714 4.0 2536
28 54 GM Lalith Babu M R IND 2573 4.0 2645
29 46 GM Potkin Vladimir RUS 2585 4.0 2638
30 31 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2615 4.0 2631
31 35 GM Bachmann Axel PAR 2609 4.0 2622
32 42 GM Bocharov Dmitry RUS 2595 4.0 2619
33 34 GM Savchenko Boris RUS 2610 4.0 2606
34 22 GM Grachev Boris RUS 2639 4.0 2597
35 44 GM Timofeev Artyom RUS 2593 4.0 2572
36 24 GM Hovhannisyan Robert ARM 2636 4.0 2571
37 38 GM Petrosian Tigran L. ARM 2607 4.0 2570
38 40 GM Eliseev Urii RUS 2601 4.0 2532
39 30 GM Lu Shanglei CHN 2620 3.5 2636
40 33 GM Cordova Emilio PER 2610 3.5 2600
41 39 GM Bluebaum Matthias GER 2605 3.5 2599
42 51 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2577 3.5 2575
43 9 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2676 3.5 2561
44 45 GM Socko Bartosz POL 2587 3.5 2532
45 4 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2713 3.5 2599
46 32 GM Bok Benjamin NED 2611 3.5 2595
47 84 IM Martirosyan Haik M. ARM 2425 3.5 2586
48 68 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND 2506 3.5 2574
49 56 GM Kovalev Vladislav BLR 2560 3.5 2561
50 58 GM Bindrich Falko GER 2557 3.5 2547
51 28 GM Khalifman Alexander RUS 2624 3.5 2532
52 49 GM Wagner Dennis GER 2583 3.0 2646
53 65   Xu Yinglun CHN 2518 3.0 2617
54 77 IM Shen Yang CHN 2466 3.0 2609
55 82 FM Esipenko Andrey RUS 2445 3.0 2607
56 53 GM Antipov Mikhail Al. RUS 2573 3.0 2601
57 71 IM Yuffa Daniil RUS 2502 3.0 2599
58 81 IM Wang Yiye CHN 2445 3.0 2548
59 59 GM Van Foreest Jorden NED 2557 3.0 2545
60 41 GM Azarov Sergei BLR 2599 3.0 2511
61 48 GM Demchenko Anton RUS 2583 3.0 2664
62 60 GM Alekseenko Kirill RUS 2554 3.0 2651
63 64 GM Shyam Sundar M. IND 2523 3.0 2619
64 72 WGM Lei Tingjie CHN 2495 3.0 2592
65 76 FM Igonin Temur UZB 2470 3.0 2590
66 80 IM Lorparizangeneh Shahin IRI 2449 3.0 2584
67 29 GM Khismatullin Denis RUS 2621 3.0 2562
68 50 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2578 3.0 2485
69 69 IM Pourramezanali Amirreza IRI 2506 2.5 2600
70 75 IM Swayams Mishra IND 2470 2.5 2589
71 70 GM Gasanov Eldar UKR 2503 2.5 2566
72 78 IM Kovalevskaya Ekaterina RUS 2462 2.5 2561
73 85 IM Karavade Eesha IND 2395 2.5 2550
74 47 GM Kunin Vitaly GER 2584 2.5 2533
75 57 GM Maiorov Nikita BLR 2558 2.5 2460
76 62 GM Pichot Alan ARG 2542 2.5 2558
  63 GM Kotronias Vasilios GRE 2541 2.5 2558
78 55 GM Oparin Grigoriy RUS 2572 2.5 2539
79 66 WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra RUS 2509 2.5 2530
80 21 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2641 2.5 2475
81 83 IM Sarana Alexey RUS 2433 2.0 2566
82 79 IM Korchmar Vasiliy RUS 2450 2.0 2537
83 61 GM Sivuk Vitaly UKR 2554 2.0 2480
84 73   Firouzja Alireza IRI 2475 1.5 2561
85 74 GM Debashis Das IND 2471 1.5 2558
86 86 CM Erigaisi Arjun IND 2379 1.0 2539

Seventh round standings for Group BGroup C

11-year-old R. Praggnanandhaa (2339) beat Meri Arabidze, Salome Melia, Levon Babujian and seems to be all set to make his second IM norm. He achieved his first norm at the Cannes festival just a week ago. You can read a report on that written by IM Nisha Mohota for the ChessBase India website.

Alina Kashlinskaya is currently on 4.5/7 in the B group event

The gigantic Hotel Cosmos where the Aeroflot Open 2016 is taking place

Just outside the tournament hall you could see youngsters dressed up in colourful attire, portraying characters of fabled tales. It was for the Japanese cultural festival that was taking place in the hotel.

Going from the tournament hall to the washroom was quite an
entertaining walk for the players thanks to them

Traditional outfit vs modern avatar. What do you prefer?

Japanese Samurais!

Overdressed? Our photographer Amruta Mokal with a girl dressed like a queen

Pictures by Amruta Mokal of ChessBase India


Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.
 


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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Sagar Shah Sagar Shah 3/9/2016 11:37
@ZukertortsGhost you are absolutely correct! :)
Fianshetto Fianshetto 3/8/2016 06:13
11-year-old R. Praggnanandhaa (2339) is it the next Anand in the making ?
an early start practicing how to pronounce his name now could be in order
qiqiangzhu qiqiangzhu 3/8/2016 04:03
The "Official tournament site" posted above leads me to a Russian website, without any link to "aeroflot", what's wrong?
ZukertortsGhost ZukertortsGhost 3/8/2016 03:12
Re Zvjaginsev's creative openings, I believe that would be 1.e4 c5 2.Na3!? -- a line with which he defeated both Khalifman and Ponomariov a decade or so ago.
hserusk hserusk 3/8/2016 01:50
22...Qe5 23,Re3 Be4 24,Nc6 wins
Hawkman Hawkman 3/8/2016 09:55
I still like Gelfand to win.
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