Etienne Bacrot victorious at Cap d'Agde

11/3/2013 – In many ways, the matchup in the finals was everything the audience wanted: a French player, Etienne Bacrot, fighting the legend and man in form, Anatoly Karpov. The players were greeted by whistles and cries of encouragement for the local hero, knowing that despite his Elo edge, he was facing one of the greatest players of all time. Read all about it in the illustrated report.

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Cap D'Agde rapid tournament, "Second Anatoly Karpov Trophy"

Location: Cap d'Agde, France
Dates: October 25 - November 2, 2013
Tournament mode: A double round-robin qualifying four players into a knockout phase.
Time control: 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment per move.
Times: See timetable (round are local time: GMT + 1)

Playchess transmission: Click HERE to watch the Cap d'Agde games on Playchess.
 

Etienne Bacrot victorious at Cap d'Agde

In many ways, the matchup in the finals was everything the audience wanted: a French player, Etienne Bacrot, fighting the legend and man in form, Anatoly Karpov. The players were greeted by whistles and cries of encouragement for the local hero, knowing that despite his Elo edge, he was facing one of the greatest players of all time, capable of anything.

In game one, Karpov knew he would be facing Bacrot’s King’s Indian, and chose an early 5.h3 to avoid the overly theoretical lines. Instead of sticking to typical King’s Indian positions, it transformed into a hedgehog in which neither of the players seemed ready to take action. When a repetition threatened to take place after 19…Qe7, Karpov decided he was in the mood for a fight, and played 20.Bc2.

With a decisive gesture, Bacrot stretches out his hand to make his move...

...then snatches it back as he has second thoughts.

After 21.Rc1 though, Black managed to slip in the classic break 21…d5! and suddenly the balance swung in his favor. White’s position deteriorated very quickly and after 26….Bh2+ and 27…Ng3+ Black was up an exchange with all the momentum still on his side. Despite building his advantage and being won, Bacrot’s time eroded and he found himself unable to formulate a proper plan to break past Karpov’s resistance. With seconds left on his clock, and perhaps realizing half a point was better than none, they shook hands and split the point.

Game two took place a few minutes later, and the players had both decided to give it a go in the blitz tiebreaks, since twelve moves into the game, a draw was agreed to. GM Kouatly ,who was in the commentator box, noted that this decision was far from obvious, despite the obvious youth advantage for Bacrot (half Karpov’s age) since in their last blitz meeting in Moscow, Karpov had had the upper hand.

This draw in twelve moves will be added to the opus "Play like a grandmaster"

Bachar Kouatly’s warning seemed to take on a life of its own as the first game seemed like an easy win for the Russian. They repeated the opening from game one of the rapids, but this time the Frenchman played strangely and was soon worse. Around move 40 though, time was of the essence and Karpov lost control of the position blundering badly and losing.

The blitz games soon led to frenetic play

This meant that Karpov absolutely needed to win the second game in order to force a new set of two games to try to retain the title. It was vintage Karpov as he outplayed his opponent from the black side of a Queen’s Indian, and this time he never lost control as he converted his advantage into a winning queen and rook endgame with two extra pawns and no danger to his king. It bears specifying that Karpov never lost control of his position, because tragically for the great player, on move 55 he overstepped the time and Bacrot was the champion.

Bacrot points to the overstepped time

One can only commiserate with Karpov after playing such wonderful chess throughout the event, but a hearty kudos to Bacrot for fighting to the bitter end and seeing his resilience rewarded.

The players receive their prizes, while Bacrot is applauded for his first place

Etienne Bacrot, the winner of the second Anatoly Karpov Trophy

Footage of the finals and prize ceremony

Pictures and videos by Europe Echecs


Links

The games are being 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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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Topics cap d'agde
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