By Anna Dergatscheva
Our correspondent Anna Dergatscheva was born on 26.02.1969 in Moscow. She studied Russian language and literature.
As the daughter of grandmaster Abram Khasin she was a keen chess player, going to the same chess school as Jussupow, Krasenkov, Tschutchelov and Zvaginsev ("but they pulled ahead of me in chess"). Her father was the trainer of Bareev and Gulko.
In 1992 Anna came to Germany as an au-pair girl and married Peter Daus in Essen a year later. She plays in Germany's top women's division and in the men's regional league for the chess club SK Holsterhausen.
The traditional Moscow Open Air Blitz is sponsored by one of the most popular Russian newspapers, Vechernjaja Moskva. This year again it attracted a very strong field of grandmasters and chess fans. Ten top GMs were seeded through to the final round, the other ten had to fight for places in the final. In August there were three semi-final tournaments, with over 500 players participating. There were some disappointments, for examples for world women's vice champion Alexandra Kosteniuk or the winner of Dos Hermanas Alexander Rustemov, who both missed the qualification for a second time. I also wanted to take a shot at it, but after losing an informal match to Rusetmov 1:5 in my kitchen I understood how slim my chances really were.
The tournament is held in the lovely Museon Park in Moscow
Chess fans can watch the games at close range
Some games are played in the "painters pavilion" (here Amanatov-Vasjukov)
A clash of generations: Juri Balaschov vs Evgeny Bareev
Bareev (right) takes on Alexander Morozevich under the open sky
Naturally I decided to visit the tournament, even if I wasn't taking part. It is a beautiful event, especially when the weather cooperates. You meet a lot of old friends, including famous chess players. This time I was especially happy to see GM Andor Lilienthal among the guests. The Hungarian GM is 92 years old and fluent in English, Russian and German. He has been given honorary Russian citizenship by the President of Russia.
92-year-old GM Andor Lilienthal, with a considerably younger fan.
Together they tip the scales at 171 years: Lilienthal with David Bronstein
David Bronstein was invited to play in the final, but he refused. "Exactly fifty years ago I won the Samovar, the first prize in this tournament," he said. "At the time I had just won the city championship in classical chess, and risked my title in this blitz competition."
Here's a little personal story. In the park I was suddenly approached by a man who asked me if I could remember his son. "Eleven years ago, when he was four and a half, you taught him the game," he said. "Then you went to Germany, but you told me that my son was very talented and suggested another good trainer for him." It turns out the young boy was Borja Grachov, who had qualified for the final of this event. I am proud that I spotted his chess talent at auch an early age, and glad that I did not have the time to ruin it for him.
Boris Grachov, playing against IM Evgeni Dragomarezki
The first half of the tournament was very hard-fought, with Dreev and Kobalia in the lead and Morosevich half a point behind them. After the break Alexei continued his winning streak, while the other two started to slump. Michail Kobalia lost five games in succession, while Alexander Morosevich lost three.
Michail Kobalia, a second of Garry Kasparov
Alexander Morozevich, here with Gaby Livschitz
Already three rounds before the end the winner was clear: Alexei Dreev,
here in his game against Evgeny Bareev
The final table (click to enlarge)
Alexei Dreev won the Moscow Open Air Blitz with 16 points in 19 games, four point ahead of number two, Vladimir Malakhov. The prize for the greatest fighting spirit went to Alexander Grischuk, who had a cold and started badly but finished with three wins in a row.
The first prize is a Russian Samovar, held aloft here by winner Alexei Dreev
The Russian Pledge of Allegiance? Alexander Grischuk with his prize