Breaking fast in Skopje (2/2)

by Alina l'Ami
4/19/2016 – In this second part of her report on the Karpos Open in Macedonia, we are reminded that in spite of the fascinating walk through the city of Skopje through the camera's lens, it is nevertheless a tournament and a good one at that. In first place after nine rounds was the Bulgarian GM Kiril Georgiev with 7.5/9 followed by eight with 7.0/9. Here is the illustrated report with analysis.

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Skopje turned out to be quite an entertaining place

Since I mentioned Fischer in the first part of the Karpos Open report, and because he did play in Skopje in 1972, I remember a famous statement of the legendary champion: “I do not believe in psychology but in good moves!”

Practice has proven that the bishop is the most reliable piece to play with during the game

In search for the million dollar move

Effective action with quiet reflection

Getting into the chess zone is always recommended

Emil Zhezhov, a true chess lover and my opponent in the first round. Chess is such an incredible
game, as one gets the chance to meet various and interesting characters.

Now the question is: wasn't it psychology that deprived Svetushkin of the tournament win after having been in the lead all the way until the last day, displaying dynamic, active, refreshing and simply beautiful chess? Or was it Kiril Georgiev’s fighting spirit which yielded him the last round win against the Moldavian leader at 9:30 AM?

This final game has probably left a scar for White...

Svetushkin - Georgiev

[Event "Karpos Open 2016"] [Site "Skopje, MKD"] [Date "2016.04.07"] [Round "9.1"] [White "Svetushkin, Dmitry"] [Black "Georgiev, Kiril"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B51"] [WhiteElo "2562"] [BlackElo "2631"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "b1rq1rk1/3n1ppp/1n1p4/1Q1Pp3/1p2P3/1P3N1P/R1B2PP1/1N3RK1 b - - 0 22"] [PlyCount "36"] [EventDate "2016.04.01"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "MKD"] {The big matchup between Svetushkin and Georgiev was saved for the last round, a dream scenario for the organizers and reporters alike. The Moldavian GM was leading throughout the entire event and before the final game was up half a point and having the white pieces too for the last round. Some would say that the odds should have been on his side but playing in the morning against an experienced and fearless opponent like Georgiev, while also having played two very tough tournaments before the Karpos Open, could be a bit too much for Svetushkin's plate...Here Georgiev has just played the typical:} 22... f5 { undermining White's centre.} 23. exf5 Rc5 24. Qxb4 Nxd5 25. Qa3 Nf4 26. b4 Rc8 {With a strong knight on f4 as well as a bishop pressing on the long h1-a8 diagonal, Black obviously has great play for the pawn.} 27. Qe3 Kh8 28. Kh2 Nb6 29. Nbd2 Nbd5 30. Qb3 Ne7 31. Be4 ({Black's somewhat lenghty knight-maneouvering gave White the chance for an interesting exchange sacrifice with} 31. Rxa8 Rxa8 32. g3 Nh5 33. Ng5 {and with threats on e6 and f7 White is firmly in control.}) 31... d5 32. Bb1 Nxf5 (32... e4 $5 {is the computer suggestion, and may indeed be the strongest move, but it is counter-intuitive to close the diagonal for the bishop on a8.}) 33. Nxe5 Qd6 34. Re1 Ng6 35. Ndf3 d4 $1 36. Rxa8 Rxa8 37. g3 Nfh4 $6 ({Such bravery! Perhaps also guided by his opponent's time trouble, Kiril wanted more than} 37... Nxe5 38. Nxe5 Ra7 {with 'only' a slightly better position.}) 38. Bxg6 $2 ({This leads to a quick end of the game. White is still very much in the game after both} 38. Nf7+ {which Dmitry told me he saw but with the seconds ticking away he hesitated and went for the less fortunate game continuation...} Rxf7 39. Qxf7 Rf8 40. Ng5 $1 Nf3+ 41. Qxf3 Rxf3 42. Nxf3 {and}) (38. gxh4 Nxe5 39. Nxe5 Rxf2+ 40. Kg1 Raf8 41. Qg3 Qxb4 42. Nd3 Qa3 43. Qxf2 Rxf2 44. Nxf2 { when White is actually better!}) 38... Nxf3+ 39. Qxf3 $2 {time trouble...} Rxf3 40. Nf7+ {and White resigned. A dramatic end of the tournament!} 0-1

And the sole winner is: Kiril Georgiev!

Despite my “short castle “ in the final two rounds (double 0 on the score table) I am satisfied with my escape from the chess hibernation. I played effervescent chess, inspired by the local people’s character and apart from invaluable experience I also gained some rating… The same applies to the weather conditions: coming from the Dutch winter I landed in a dream-like 28 degrees Centigrade summertime!

I am like a plant, I need my sun! Even if it is too hot, better with than without

History has proven Macedonians as true fighters, able to recover from the hardest blows and to emerge stronger than before. In 1963 a devastating earthquake destroyed the whole city of Skopje and people had to operate a complete “refresh “ starting the game again from “square one”.

Skopje's new neo-classical splendor has triggered quite some debates and although opinions
may be divided, I think the capital has a character during day and...


Not to mention they do like tourists too!

Building up its historical image, the capital decided to go baroque, where  statues and art are omnipresent, perhaps a bit overwhelming at times... and yet, it does make for a different Skopje (don't we all want to be special and unique?!).

The heart of the city

There is some magic going on around, as cameras keep on snapping like never before!

I felt that it is "another type" of city with "another type" of people, who actually cannot supress a smile either on the street or at the chess board.

Some of the best moments are hidden in the little things... we spoke Romanian

Probably I mentioned by now that Macedonians do enjoy their time, off and...

… on the chess board too!

The fight for the main prizes was tough but so was the one for the ladies section!

Sabrina Vega Gutierrez took the ladies prize!

Sabrina Vega Gutierrez – Ivanov

[Event "Karpos Open 2016"] [Site "Skopje, MKD"] [Date "2016.04.03"] [Round "5.22"] [White "Vega Gutierrez, Sabrina"] [Black "Ivanov, Stojan Emilov"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B32"] [WhiteElo "2381"] [BlackElo "2231"] [Annotator "AA"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2016.04.01"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "MKD"] {Sabrina Vega Gutierrez won the ladies prize with some entertaining chess! I enjoyed her victory in round 5.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 a6 6. Nd6+ Bxd6 7. Qxd6 Qf6 8. Qd1 Qg6 9. Nc3 d5 $5 {Black does his very best to mix things up in the opening. Sabrina does not mind joining the wild complications.} 10. Nxd5 Qxe4+ 11. Be3 Nd4 12. Nc7+ Ke7 13. Qd3 ({Here} 13. Nxa8 Nxc2+ 14. Kd2 Nxe3 15. fxe3 Nf6 {is dangerous for White, but 13.Rc1 was another option.}) 13... Qxd3 $2 (13... Nxc2+ 14. Kd2 Qxd3+ 15. Bxd3 Nxe3 $1 { with the idea} 16. Nxa8 Nd5 {trapping the knight on a8, was the way to stay in the game. Black is by no means worse!}) 14. Bxd3 Rb8 15. f4 $1 {The downside of playing a sharp opening line is that when things go wrong they can go wrong fast! Here , despite the queens being exchanged, White has an ongoing initiative.} f6 16. O-O Nh6 17. fxe5 fxe5 18. c3 Nc6 19. Rad1 {Setting up the mating web...} Kd6 20. Bb6 $1 {... and tightening it. There is no escape.} Bg4 21. Be2+ Nd4 22. Bxg4 Nxg4 23. cxd4 Kc6 24. Ba5 b6 25. Rc1+ Kb7 26. Bb4 exd4 27. Rf7 Ne5 28. Nb5+ Nxf7 29. Rc7+ {and Black resigned just in time to prevent mate next move.} 1-0

Another game that I found worth replaying was:

Djukic - Neeloptal

[Event "Karpos Open 2016"] [Site "Skopje, MKD"] [Date "2016.04.07"] [Round "9.8"] [White "Djukic, Nikola"] [Black "Neelotpal, Das"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C92"] [WhiteElo "2563"] [BlackElo "2457"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r2qr1k1/1b1n1ppp/p2p1b2/1ppPn3/4P3/1P3N1P/P1B2PP1/1RBQRNK1 w - - 0 18"] [PlyCount "36"] [EventDate "2016.04.01"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "MKD"] {The Indian Neelotpal was one of the revelations of the tournament, sharing 2nd place with 7 points. Here he defeats the GM Djukic from Montenegro in a topical Spanish line.} 18. N3h2 Ng6 19. Be3 Bc3 20. Re2 Nf6 21. Ng3 b4 22. f4 a5 23. Bd3 Ba6 {It's rather difficult for White to get something going on the kingside while Black has an easy play on the queenside.} 24. a4 $6 {This attempt to stop Black's counterplay will prove counter-productive.} Qc8 25. Nhf1 h5 $5 ({The immediate} 25... c4 $5 {was also a valid option.}) 26. Bxa6 Qxa6 27. e5 $6 ({Despair, the alternative} 27. f5 Ne5 28. Bg5 Ned7 $1 {also stops any counterplay.}) 27... dxe5 28. fxe5 Rxe5 29. Bf2 h4 30. Rxe5 hxg3 $1 { Now it's all over.} 31. Rf5 gxf2+ 32. Kh1 Bd4 33. Nd2 Re8 34. Qf1 Qc8 35. Rg5 Be3 0-1

But time has come to focus on my tomorrow’s game in Jersey… So: until the next article!

A lovely farewell that has me missing Skopje already

Your author, Alina L'Ami, will be back with more news soon!

Final standings

Rk SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts  TB Perf rtg+/-
1 5 GM Georgiev Kiril BUL 2631 7.5 48,5 2706 8,7
2 11 GM Svetushkin Dmitry MDA 2562 7.0 50,0 2665 12,5
3 13 GM Dvirnyy Danyyil ITA 2555 7.0 48,5 2607 6.8
4 2 GM Markus Robert SRB 2651 7.0 47.5 2645 0,5
5 15 GM Mastrovasilis Athanasios GRE 2538 7.0 47.5 2568 4,3
6 9 GM Saric Ante CRO 2587 7.0 46.0 2597 2,5
7 31 GM Neelotpal Das IND 2457 7.0 44,0 2561 14,6
8 4 GM Romanov Evgeny RUS 2635 7.0 43,5 2633 0,9
9 26 IM Ali Marandi Cemil Can TUR 2473 7.0 41,0 2476 2,4
10 12 GM Nikolov Momchil BUL 2559 6.5 50,0 2610 7.7
11 1 GM Ivanisevic Ivan SRB 2651 6.5 50,0 2586 -5,1
12 3 GM Perunovic Milos SRB 2641 6.5 49,0 2610 -1,6
13 14 GM Maiorov Nikita BLR 2547 6.5 47.0 2547 1,6
14 20 GM Milanovic Danilo SRB 2485 6.5 46.5 2558 10,4
15 27 IM Enchev Ivajlo BUL 2470 6.5 45,5 2505 6.4
16 44 FM Livaic Leon CRO 2380 6.5 43,0 2458 22,8
17 33 IM Kanmazalp Ogulcan TUR 2444 6.5 42,0 2394 -2,3
18 39   Radovanovic Nikola SRB 2395 6.5 41,5 2359 -1,5
19 29 IM Annaberdiev Meilis TKM 2460 6.0 49,0 2495 6.5
20 40 IM Berzinsh Roland LAT 2394 6.0 48,5 2468 10,0
21 24 GM Nedev Trajko MKD 2474 6.0 47.5 2506 5,8
22 16 GM Kovacevic Aleksandar SRB 2520 6.0 47.0 2541 4,1
23 62   Gokerkan Cem Kaan TUR 2295 6.0 47.0 2519 95,2
24 42 GM Abramovic Bosko SRB 2388 6.0 45,5 2493 14,1
25 25 GM Sundararajan Kidambi IND 2474 6.0 45,5 2446 -1,2
26 32 IM Vojinovic Goran SRB 2449 6.0 45,0 2498 7.7
27 6 GM Kozul Zdenko CRO 2600 6.0 44,5 2492 -10,3
28 30 IM Firat Burak TUR 2460 6.0 44,5 2446 1,0
29 17 GM Blagojevic Dragisa MNE 2509 6.0 44,0 2394 -10,9
30 46 IM Konguvel Ponnuswamy IND 2368 6.0 43,5 2367 2,0

Click for complete standings

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.
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Steven E DuCharm Steven E DuCharm 4/19/2016 12:26
How is Skopje pronounced? thank ye.