Arctic Chess Challenge 2010: Kobalia clinches it

8/8/2010 – The Arctic Chess Challenge, an open held in the Norwegian city, Tromsø, brought 164 players from all corners of the world, of which 25 GMs. The event was led by Loek van Wely until the last round, when Mikhail Kobalia clinched it with a dramatic last-round victory. Mexican champion Manuel Leon Hoyos came in second on tie-break. Øystein Brekke reports.

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International action in Tromsø

by Øystein Brekke

164 players from 36 nations gathered for this year’s Arctic Chess Challenge in the Chess Olympiad candidate city of Tromsø. With 25 GMs and 12 of them rated above 2600 this may be the strongest Swiss tournament ever held in Norway.


Summer night in Tromsø

Before the last round Loek Van Wely had been leading the event, and had thus far lived up to the expectations. He was in the lead with 7.0/8 accompanied by the surprise of the tournament: young Mexican Manuel Leon Hoyos, 21 years old.

Manuel is the reigning Mexican champion actually comes from the same Yucatan village as the sensational player of the 1920s, Carlos Torre (1905-78). Whereas Torre stopped his great career at the age of 21, Manuel Leon Hoyos's seems just starting.


Manuel Leon Hoyos (2556) – Bartosz Socko (2646)

In a dramatic last round, Mikhail Kobalia overcame Loek van Wely in a startling win. 


Tournament winner Mikhail Kobalia beat Loek van Wely in the last round.

Kobalia,Mikhail (2648) - Van Wely,Loek (2677) [B84]
Arctic Chess Challenge Tromso NOR (9), 08.08.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.f4 0-0 9.Be3 Nc6 10.Kh1 Bd7 11.Qe1 b5 12.a3 Qb8 13.Bf3 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 e5 15.Be3 a5 16.fxe5 dxe5 17.Qg3 Kh8 18.Bg5 Ng8 19.Rad1 Bc6 20.Be3 Nf6 21.Nd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 Bd6? [22...e4] 23.Qh4 Qb7 24.Bg5 Nd7 25.Be4 g6 26.Bf6+ Kg8 27.Rd3 Nxf6 28.Rxf6 Be7 29.Rh3 h5.








30.Qxh5! [30.Qxh5 gxh5 31.Rg3+ Kh8 32.Rh6#] 1-0 [Click to Replay]

That meant that he was certain of a shared win if Hoyos was unable to beat Indian GM Chanda Sandipan. Despite pressing hard in a long game, he only managed a draw, and they shared the 1st-2nd money prize, both on 7,5/9. As it turned out Kobalia took the title on tie-break. Trailing on 7 points were Sandipan, van Wely, B. Socko, Petrov and Turner.


The prize winners (left to right): Chanda Sandipan, Mikhail Kobalia, Manuel Leon Hoyos.

Last year’s winner Monika Socko got the prize for best female, while Frode O. O. Urkedal and Heikki Westerinen got the prizes for best junior and best senior, respectively.

Final standings

Pl Name
Rtg
Score
Perf.
GM Mikhail Kobalia
2648
7,5
2724
GM Manuel Leon Hoyos
2556
7,5
2749
GM Chanda Sandipan
2637
7,0
2709
GM Loek Van Wely
2677
7,0
2742
GM Bartosz Socko
2646
7,0
2745
GM Marijan Petrov
2535
7,0
2624
GM Matthew J Turner
2506
7,0
2598
GM Julian Radulski
2574
6,5
2616
GM Ivan Ivanisevic
2611
6,5
2615
10 
GM Yuri Drozdovskij
2624
6,5
2625
11 
GM Anatoly Bykhovsky
2487
6,5
2563
12 
GM Igor Khenkin
2632
6,5
2552
13 
GM Alexander Moiseenko
2667
6,5
2559
14 
GM Sergei Azarov
2600
6,5
2549
15 
GM Normunds Miezis
2518
6,5
2466


GM Heikki Westerinen

A Finnish-Norwegian veteran
GM Heikki Westerinen (66) has been a popular guest in Norwegian tournaments for more than 50(!) years. Nobody has played more internationals in Norway, and few have played more chess olympiads. His first time in Norway was the international youth tournament of Trondheim 1958/59 with our famous chess organizer Arnold Eikrem (1932-96).

Arctic Blitz


Loek Van Wely

The Arctic Blitz tournament was won by Loek van Wely, with 88 players fighting for eight prizes totaling NOK 10,000 late Thursday. It was exciting until the last round, but the elo-favorite Dutchman won in the end in tie breaks ahead of IM Helgi Dam Ziska. Both had 7.5 points and tie-break points decided.


13-year-old Alexandr Bortnik in action, scored a 2600+ performance in the blitz event.

However, there was no doubt about who was the crowd favorite: the 13 year-old Alexandr Bortnik. He is definitely on even ground with the grandmasters in this discipline. It is worth remembering that he won the trip to Tromsø by blitz games on ICC, and we can certainly say we haven't heard the last from him!

Top-3  of previous Tromsø internationals:
2006: Shipov 7½, M. Carlsen  7, L. Johannessen 7
2007: Moiseenko 7½, K. Lie 7, Gashimov 7
2008: Kurnosov 7½, S. Agdestein 7, Turner 7
2009: M. Socko 7, Robson 7, M. Petrov 7

Pictures by organizers and Janis Nisii


Links

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