European Championship Rd1: Surprises and upsets

by Elshan Moradiabadi
5/31/2017 – It is all one could hope for in such a mega event as the European Individual Championship. Held in Minsk, Belarus, it is a field that is so strong that even the no. 50 in the starting list (GM Romain Edouard) is rated 2640. The top seeds are David Navara and Dmitry Andreikin, but incredibly both suffered a reversal in the opening round, and they were not the only ones! Illustrated report with plenty of analysis by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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The European continental championship is one of the most challenging qualifying events for the FIDE World Cup. The event attracts almost every strong GM in Europe who wishes to earn a ticket to Georgia to take part in the 2017 World Cup in Georgia. Among these strong GMs there are young talents, strong IMs and other players who seek excellent chances to achieve their higher goals in chess through this event. It isn’t just about having an obscene number of title players, but the fact that in this FIDE event all norms are worth double, meaning a norm earned becomes two norms. Thirty-eight countries are represented in this event. Minsk, capital of Belarus is the host of this prestigious event. Thanks to their chess culture and having the event at home, Belarus has 71 players competing, though they are still outnumbered by their “big cousin” and next-door neighbor Russia. The Russian Chess Federation has 105 players representing the country with three players in the top 10 of the starting list!

Sergey Zhigalko is the top rated player in Belarus

Although experts and chess professionals, unanimously agree this is an extremely strong tournament, their approach to this mutual understanding of ‘strong’ is somewhat different:

While famous coach and author, GM Jacob Aagard seems to have a scaling for strength by looking at the 50th seed, yours truly seem to take more interest in the 75th and 100th seed!

The first round of a giant ‘swiss’ like this is a place where a lot of much lower-rated players get their chance to play 2600 and 2700 players, and where they also get their shot to stun their top-seed opponents. Most of the time, the outcome would regress to the expected results for the underdogs, suggested by rating differences. However, with such a large sample size there are inevitably exciting moments where David takes down Goliath.

David Navara is not facing Azmaiparashvili. The Georgian player is there as the president of the European Federation.

You do not need to look hard. In fact, the first surprised happened on both board 1 and 2 where the Czech super-GM David Navara and Dmitry Andreikin, the 2013 World Cup finalist and noted speed chess specialist were unable to get the better of their respective much lower rated opponents. Facing a GM (yes, a GM!), in the very first round, David Navara found himself in a boring Sicilian Alapin, well-known for its drawish tendency. However, thanks to his opponent’s passive play and his control over the crucial d-file (Botvinnik would have loved this game for sure!) he gradually managed to outplay his opponent to achieve a winning position. Unfortunately for him, when it came to accurate cold-blooded conversion of his advantage the top-seed failed to find a win and consequently the game ended in a draw:

Kharchenko vs Navara

[Event "EICC 2017"] [Site "Minsk"] [Date "2017.05.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Kharchenko, Boris"] [Black "Navara, David"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B22"] [WhiteElo "2468"] [BlackElo "2739"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "120"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "BLR"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. e4 {(0)} c5 {(4)} 2. c3 {(0)} Nf6 {( 00:05)} 3. e5 {(9)} Nd5 {(5)} 4. d4 { (26)} cxd4 {(9)} 5. Nf3 {(28)} Nc6 {(6)} 6. Bc4 {( 03:19)} Nb6 {(6)} 7. Bb3 { (4)} d5 {(8)} 8. exd6 {(44)} Qxd6 {(9)} 9. O-O {(3)} Be6 {(00:10)} 10. Bxe6 { (1:25)} Qxe6 {(6)} 11. Nxd4 {(00:07)} Nxd4 {(7)} 12. Qxd4 {(4)} Rd8 {( 00:09)} 13. Qh4 {(12:09)} Qe2 {(14)} 14. Bd2 {(39)} e6 {(8)} 15. Re1 {(2:07)} Qb5 {(8)} 16. b3 {(05:49)} Qf5 {(38)} 17. Qg5 {(17:35)} Qxg5 {(3:00)} 18. Bxg5 {(1)} Be7 {(11:28)} 19. Bxe7 {(42)} Kxe7 {(9)} 20. c4 {(10:11)} Rd3 {(13)} 21. Kf1 { (05:20)} Rhd8 {(32)} 22. Ke2 {(10:42)} R8d4 {( 06:06)} 23. Rc1 {(4:23)} Nd7 { (4:45)} 24. Nc3 {(7:36)} Rd2+ {(4:11)} 25. Ke1 {(1:06)} Rb2 {(28)} 26. Na4 { (02:16)} Re4+ {(32)} 27. Kf1 {(1)} Rd2 {( 11)} 28. Nc3 {(1:27)} Red4 {(10:40)} 29. Ke1 {(1:41)} R4d3 {(2:50)} 30. Rd1 {(2:53)} Rxd1+ {(8)} 31. Nxd1 {(1)} Nc5 {(58)} 32. Ke2 {(40)} a5 {( 13)} 33. Rc1 {(10:47)} f5 {(1:51)} 34. Nc3 {(43)} b6 {(00:21)} 35. g3 {(1:02)} g5 {(27)} 36. Na4 {( 00:45)} Rd6 {(6)} 37. Nc3 { (24)} Rd3 {(5:27)} 38. Na4 {(13)} Rd8 {(5)} 39. Nc3 {(21)} h5 {( 00:06)} 40. Rb1 {(0)} h4 {(2:17)} 41. a3 {(16:57)} Rd3 {(7:44)} 42. Rc1 {(5)} f4 {(1:05)} 43. gxf4 {(04:01) After a long battle, David Navara got a winning position thanks to his superior rook and knight. He was one move away from victory but he spoiled his chances by his next move. Can you find the win for him?} gxf4 $2 {This throws away the immediate victory.} (43... Rh3 $1 {now Black is threatening Nxb3} 44. Na4 (44. b4 $2 Nb3 {and Rc2 loses due to the check on d4. }) (44. Rc2 Nxb3 {and check on d4 is still deadly!}) 44... Nd3 {and after grabbing the pawn on f4 with check one of the pawns on b3 or h2 will fall.}) 44. b4 {(10)} f3+ {( 10)} 45. Ke1 {(42)} Nb3 {(28:15)} 46. Rc2 {(24)} Rd4 {(4)} 47. Nb5 {(9:06)} Rg4 {(57)} 48. Kf1 {(00:09) Navara played superbly and got a winning position again} Rxc4 $4 {Too hasty!} (48... axb4 49. axb4 e5 {and white is completely tied down. Black would gradually improve his position while Rxc4 is still a threat.} 50. h3 Rxc4 51. Rxc4 Nd2+ 52. Ke1 Nxc4) 49. Rxc4 {(10)} Nd2+ {( 00:05)} 50. Ke1 {(14)} Nxc4 {(7)} 51. bxa5 {(1:56)} bxa5 {(6)} 52. Nd4 $1 {White's king is close enough to the a-pawn so White tries to eliminate as many of Black's pawns as possible.} Ne5 {(2:42)} 53. Nb3 $2 { (03:05) This gives an excellent chance.} h3 $2 {(3:39) but Navara once again returns the favor. The rest is easy now!} (53... a4 {and White can hold only by miracle.} 54. Nc5 h3 55. Nxa4 $1 (55. Kf1 $4 Nc4 56. Nxa4 Nxa3 {with a winning knight endgame.} 57. Nc5 Kf6 58. Ne4+ Kf5 59. Nd6+ Kf4) 55... Ng4 56. Kf1 Nxh2+ 57. Kg1 Ng4 58. Nc3 Nxf2 59. Kh2 $1) 54. Nxa5 {(42)} Ng4 {( 06)} 55. Kf1 {(29)} Nxh2+ {(7:49)} 56. Kg1 {(1)} Nf1 {(12)} 57. Nc4 {(49)} Kd8 {(3:33)} 58. Ne5 {(00:40)} Nd2 {(6)} 59. Kh2 {(24)} Ne4 {( 25)} 60. Nxf3 {(28)} Nxf2 { (5) A great save for Kharchenko!} 1/2-1/2

Dmitry Andreikin, on the other hand seemed to have a long-term advantage where his light-squared bishop looked way better than its counterpart in black’s camp. The Finnish IM showed a great deal of resilience and managed to close the position so that the Russian had no entrance despite his huge spatial advantage. The game ended in a draw, after a long fight.

There were easily as many acrobatics on the boards as in the Opening Ceremony

Andreikin vs Karttunen

[Event "EICC 2017"] [Site "Minsk"] [Date "2017.05.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Andreikin, Dmitry"] [Black "Karttunen, Mika"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C77"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2465"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "177"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "BLR"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. e4 {(0)} e5 {(11)} 2. Nf3 {(0)} Nc6 {(00:11)} 3. Bb5 {(23)} a6 {(19)} 4. Ba4 {( 05)} Nf6 {(15)} 5. d3 {(1:15)} d6 {(49)} 6. c3 {(00:49)} g6 {(46)} 7. Nbd2 { (1:09)} Bg7 {(6:36)} 8. Nf1 {(7)} O-O {(16)} 9. Ng3 {(18)} b5 {(00:52)} 10. Bc2 {(23)} Bb7 {(47)} 11. h4 {( 07:55)} h5 {(9:01)} 12. Bg5 {(42)} Qd7 {(6:47)} 13. O-O {(1:41)} Nd8 {(24:40)} 14. d4 {(28:26)} exd4 {(00:37)} 15. cxd4 {(10)} Ne6 {(17)} 16. Bd2 {(00:29)} d5 {(11:03)} 17. e5 {(11)} Ne4 {(58)} 18. b4 {(8)} Nxd2 {(9:53)} 19. Qxd2 {(8)} a5 {(00:16)} 20. a3 {(7:34)} axb4 {(10)} 21. axb4 {(00:05)} Rxa1 {(11)} 22. Rxa1 {(6)} Ra8 {( 00:31)} 23. Rxa8+ {(19)} Bxa8 {(6)} 24. Ne2 {( 20)} Qe7 {(3:04)} 25. Nc1 {(17)} Bc6 {(53)} 26. Bb3 {(7:22)} Qd8 { (1:17)} 27. Nd3 {(1:11)} Be8 {( 52)} 28. Qa2 {(2:29)} c6 {[#] (31) Black's bishop is obviously bad but thankfully it takes care of the most annoying job in black's position: defending the weak c6 pawn! Black's position is rock solid and hard to break.} 29. g3 {(1:19)} Qb8 {(04:49)} 30. Bd1 {(3:41)} Bf8 { (4:56)} 31. Qa1 {( 02:40)} Bh6 {(1:05)} 32. Be2 {(55)} Bd7 {(34)} 33. Nfe1 { (4:17)} Nc7 {(5:21)} 34. Nc5 {(33)} Bc8 {(02:28)} 35. Qa5 {(7:44)} Bf8 {(48)} 36. Bd3 {( 06:04)} Be7 {(3:57)} 37. Nc2 {(4:45)} Bd8 {(25)} 38. Qa1 {(1:30)} Qa8 {(1:05)} 39. Qb2 {(8)} Kg7 {(00:22)} 40. Ne3 {(0)} Be7 {(1:45)} 41. Kh2 { ( 11:47)} Ne6 {(3:09)} 42. f4 {(7:38)} f5 {(3:32)} 43. Nc2 {(5:18)} Bxc5 $1 { (2:10) A good decision! The knight on e6 is extremely strong and there is no breakthrough on the kingside. Black is untouchable!} 44. bxc5 {(2:45)} Bd7 { (02:00)} 45. Kg2 {(36)} Kf7 {(27)} 46. Kf2 {( 00:06)} Ke7 {(44)} 47. Ke3 {(14)} Nc7 {(1:50)} 48. Nb4 {(2:50)} Be6 {(4:04)} 49. Bb1 {(6:51)} Kd7 {(00:31)} 50. Qa2 {(11)} Qxa2 {(2:13)} 51. Bxa2 {(00:06)} Ne8 {(1:32) Andreikin has 50 moves to make any progress or he has to shake his opponent's hand for a half a point a piece!} 52. Kd3 {(18)} Kc7 {( 25)} 53. Kc3 {(7)} Kb7 {(43)} 54. Bb1 {(36)} Nc7 {(2:04)} 55. Bd3 {(8)} Ne8 {(4:51)} 56. Nc2 {(00:12)} Nc7 {(2:57)} 57. Na1 {(1:05)} Na6 {( 30)} 58. Nb3 {(8)} Kc7 {(35)} 59. Nd2 {(12)} Kb7 {(39)} 60. Nf1 {(3:37)} Nc7 {(2:09)} 61. Ne3 {(00:18)} Ne8 {(58)} 62. Kb4 {(1:53)} Ng7 {(1:06) } 63. Be2 {(23)} Ka6 {(33)} 64. Bf3 {(1:40)} Bf7 {(9)} 65. Bg2 {(7)} Be6 {(9)} 66. Nc2 {(00:09)} Bd7 {(37)} 67. Kc3 {(20)} Be6 {( 29)} 68. Bf1 {(22)} Kb7 { (28)} 69. Ne1 {(29)} Bd7 {(33)} 70. Nf3 {(53)} Ne6 {(6)} 71. Ng5 {(00:12)} Nxg5 {(45)} 72. fxg5 {(28) Andreikin made the exchange but Black has an impenetrable fortress. The result is already sealed.} Be6 {( 00:33)} 73. Bd3 { (7)} Kc7 {(1:03)} 74. Kb4 {(45)} Bf7 {(1:08)} 75. Ka5 {(13)} Kb7 {(22)} 76. Be2 {(00:11)} Be6 {(23)} 77. Kb4 {(44)} Kc7 {( 05)} 78. Kc3 {(3)} Kb7 {(15)} 79. Bd3 {(6)} Kc7 {(1:05)} 80. Kd2 {(15)} Kd7 {(31)} 81. Ke3 {(00:20)} Bf7 {(21)} 82. Kf4 {(41)} Ke6 {( 08)} 83. Kf3 {(36)} Be8 {(9)} 84. Ke3 {(4)} Bf7 {(15)} 85. Kd2 {(6)} Kd7 {(8)} 86. Bc2 {(00:59)} Be8 {(24)} 87. Kc3 {(9)} Bf7 {( 09)} 88. Kb4 {(8)} Kc7 {(5)} 89. Bd3 1/2-1/2

Do not underestimate your opponent’s tactical skills!

Competitive chess is becoming more and more difficult daily. Nowadays, it is hard to win almost any game with black’s pieces. Needless to say, in a tournament like this where a player needs to score +4 or +5 to secure a spot among the qualifiers, it is clear that top-rated players try their best to secure wins in the early rounds.

With such a huge field, no fewer than 100 boards are guaranteed live transmission

Thus, many times you will see players pushing hard to score against opponents who have no objection to a draw with white and sometimes they face underrated players who are hungry to score victories with white. Korobov and Grandelius, two strong GMs fell victim to these two scenarios. While Korobov was gradually outplayed and finally blundered a tactical shot, Grandelius pushed too hard and when his edge had fizzled out he blundered away material and had to resign.

Basso vs Korobov

[Event "EICC 2017"] [Site "Minsk"] [Date "2017.05.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Basso, Pier Luigi"] [Black "Korobov, Anton"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E38"] [WhiteElo "2447"] [BlackElo "2688"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "BLR"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. d4 {(0)} Nf6 {(9)} 2. c4 {(0)} e6 {( 00:11)} 3. Nc3 {(0)} Bb4 {(13)} 4. Qc2 {(29)} c5 {(25)} 5. dxc5 {(8)} Qc7 {(7)} 6. a3 {( 00:19)} Bxc5 {(7)} 7. b4 { (20)} Be7 {(1:01)} 8. Nb5 {(23)} Qc6 {(41)} 9. Nf3 {(8)} d6 {( 00:16)} 10. g4 { (27)} a6 {(2:11)} 11. Nbd4 {(2:30)} Qc7 {(4:14)} 12. g5 {(7:59)} Nh5 {(2:58)} 13. Bb2 {(12:22)} Nc6 {(2:04)} 14. e3 {(6:35)} Nxd4 {(1:04)} 15. Bxd4 {(6:41)} Qc6 {(10:39)} 16. Qd1 {(5:46)} O-O {(2:47)} 17. Rc1 {(9:19)} g6 {(10:58)} 18. Bg2 {(04:11)} e5 {(15:53)} 19. Bb2 {(59)} Rd8 {(1:08)} 20. O-O {(1:36)} Qe8 { (1:02)} 21. Qe2 {(6:56)} Bg4 {(1:42)} 22. h3 {(41)} Bf5 {(1:21)} 23. Rfd1 { (03:03)} Rac8 {(57)} 24. c5 {(2:34)} dxc5 {( 59)} 25. bxc5 {(2:40)} Rxd1+ { (8:26)} 26. Qxd1 {(3:18)} Be4 {(1:18)} 27. Nxe5 {(1:04)} Bxg2 {(16)} 28. Kxg2 { (00:08)} Bxg5 {(21)} 29. Qd5 {(6:14) Anton Korobov is one of the most uncompromising players out there with a distinguishing fighting spirit. Here, though, he succumbed to a tactical shot he missed against Italian youngster Pier Luigi Basso.} Rd8 $2 {(2:45) in an already much worse position, Korobov lets his young opponent winning the game with a queen sacrifice!} (29... Rc7 30. Nxf7 Rxf7 31. Qxg5 Rf5 32. Qh4 Qc6+ 33. Kh2 Rxc5 34. Qd8+ Kf7 35. Rxc5 Qxc5 36. Qd7+ Qe7 37. Qd5+ Ke8 {and black has to sit tight and hope for the best.}) 30. Qxb7 $1 {(1:58) A blunder? No! a queen sac!} Rb8 {(2:46)} 31. c6 {(14)} Nf6 {(8:01)} (31... Rxb7 32. cxb7 {and Rc8 cannot be prevented}) 32. Nf3 $1 { (4:39) Basso shows great accuracy! Now everything is hanging while Black's king is stuck in a somewhat mating net!} h6 {(6:29)} 33. Nxg5 {(03:57) Flamboyant!} (33. Be5 {is a simpler version.}) 33... hxg5 {(6)} 34. Bxf6 {(17)} Rxb7 {( 00:12)} 35. cxb7 {(6)} Qe4+ {(4) The passed pawn is gone but the mate net is still there!} 36. f3 {(53)} Qxb7 {(14)} 37. Rd1 {(7) Rd8 cannot be prevented while it is impossible for Black's king to run out of the box! Black has to give up his queen for the rook but the ensuing endgame is elementary as White will be up a piece.} 1-0

Nils Grandelius suffered from a curious oversight that cost him as White struck with a brilliant blow.

Kessler vs Grandelius

[Event "EICC 2017"] [Site "Minsk"] [Date "2017.05.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Kessler, Luca"] [Black "Grandelius, Nils"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B52"] [WhiteElo "2431"] [BlackElo "2665"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "BLR"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. e4 c5 {(54)} 2. Nf3 {(21)} d6 {(8)} 3. Bb5+ {(00:31)} Bd7 {(2:43)} 4. Bxd7+ {(1:32)} Nxd7 {( 02:49)} 5. O-O {(2:21)} Ngf6 {(45)} 6. Re1 {(3:04)} Rc8 { (5:46)} 7. Qe2 {(7:23)} e6 {(7:38)} 8. b3 {(03:21)} Be7 {(3:55)} 9. Bb2 {(1:21) } O-O {( 06)} 10. d3 {(8:28)} Nh5 {(7:35)} 11. Nbd2 {(8:15)} Nf4 {(3:36)} 12. Qf1 {(6:27)} Bf6 {(1:51)} 13. e5 {( 09:32)} Nxe5 {(30)} 14. Nxe5 {(21)} Bxe5 { (3:55)} 15. Bxe5 {(30)} dxe5 16. Rxe5 {(0)} f6 {(5:52)} 17. Ree1 {(5:04)} e5 { (17)} 18. Nc4 {(33)} Qd7 {(04:20)} 19. a4 {(1:27)} b6 {(31)} 20. g3 {(3:32)} Nh3+ {(1:42)} 21. Kg2 {(1:07)} Ng5 {(2:36)} 22. f3 {(3:02)} Ne6 {(10:52)} 23. Qf2 {(3:25)} Nd4 {( 22)} 24. Rab1 {(6:12)} Rfd8 {(1:18)} 25. c3 {(6:43)} Ne6 { (3:06)} 26. Rbd1 {(10)} Qc6 {(40)} 27. Qe3 {(00:23)} a6 {(2:27)} 28. Qe4 {(48)} b5 {(23)} 29. axb5 {(2:41)} axb5 {(21)} 30. Ne3 {(25)} b4 {(06:43)} 31. cxb4 { (8:38)} cxb4 {(18)} 32. Qxb4 {(00:11)} Rd4 {(1:34)} 33. Qd2 {(4:33)} Rcd8 { (1:07)} 34. Nf5 {(1:37)} R4d7 {(6)} 35. b4 {(1:18)} g6 {(7:28)} 36. Nh6+ {(51)} Kg7 {(8)} 37. Ng4 {(00:13)} Nd4 {(40)} 38. Qe3 {(1:18)} Nf5 {(3:10)} 39. Qe4 { (34)} Qc2+ {(5:56)} 40. Nf2 {(0)} Rd4 {(2:02)} 41. Qb7+ {(8:53)} R8d7 {(25)} 42. Qb5 {(03:29)} R4d5 {(7:53)} 43. Qa6 {(3:34)} R5d6 {( 01:46)} 44. Qb5 { (1:16)} Rc7 {(8:05)} 45. Qa5 {(3:03)} Rdd7 {(6:00)} 46. b5 {(31)} Ra7 {(4:37)} 47. Qd2 {(01:29)} Qc5 {(19)} 48. Rb1 {(1:26)} Rdb7 {( 16)} 49. Ne4 {(2:09)} Qb6 {(1:18)} 50. Rb2 {(3:31)} Ra3 {(1:06)} 51. Qb4 {(1:37)} Rxd3 {(1:25)} 52. Qc5 { (00:36)} Nd4 {[#] (2:59)} 53. f4 $2 {(2:23)} (53. Ra1 {should maintain the balance or may even give White some edge but the Austrian IM felt that it was time for him to do something.}) 53... Qa5 $4 {(2:06) A strange blunder.} ({ After} 53... exf4 54. Qxb6 (54. gxf4 $2 Qe6 {and suddenly White's king is exposed to all kinds of threats and the game will soon be over.}) 54... Rxb6 55. gxf4 Rxb5 {and black is at least a pawn up with good practical chances. But Caissa had other plans for Swedish GM.}) 54. fxe5 $1 {(1:08) Now it is Black's king who is unsafe and under attack.} Ne6 {(2:22) loses with ease.} ( 54... Qxe1 55. exf6+ Kf7 56. Ng5+ Kxf6 57. Qf8+ Ke5 (57... Kxg5 58. Qf4+ Kh5 59. Qh4#) 58. Qe8+ {and white wins the queen!}) (54... f5 {was much more stubborn}) 55. exf6+ {(58)} Kh6 {(30)} (55... Kf7 56. Ng5+ Nxg5 57. Re7+ { and mate will follows in 3 moves!}) 56. Qc1+ {(1:03)} g5 {(1)} 57. Nxg5 $1 { (01:14) The most accurate.} Nxg5 {(1:02)} 58. Re5 {(14) It is all over!} Rg7 { ( 13)} 59. fxg7 {(16)} Qa8+ {(28)} 60. Qc6+ {(8)} 1-0

Many young talents are there to seek their moment of glory

In the next game, the story is in the body of the game Howell-Kanmazalp.

Howell vs Kanmazalp

[Event "EICC 2017"] [Site "Minsk"] [Date "2017.05.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Howell, David W L"] [Black "Kanmazalp, Ogulcan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A33"] [WhiteElo "2684"] [BlackElo "2447"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "49"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "BLR"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. c4 {(4:44)} c5 {(45)} 2. Nf3 {(22)} Nc6 {(00:28)} 3. d4 {(54)} cxd4 {(11)} 4. Nxd4 {( 00:08)} Nf6 {(19)} 5. Nc3 {(41)} e6 {(23)} 6. Bf4 {(1:17)} d5 { (1:17)} 7. e3 {(13)} Bc5 {(1:26)} 8. Nxc6 {(16:56)} bxc6 {(11)} 9. Be2 {(1:54)} O-O {(01:43)} 10. O-O {(2:32)} Bd6 {(2:43)} 11. Bxd6 {(06:04)} Qxd6 {(8)} 12. Qa4 {(10)} a5 {(9:24)} 13. Rac1 {(1:32)} Ba6 {(4:09)} 14. Rc2 {(11:29)} Rfb8 { (9:18)} 15. b3 {[#] (9:40) this game is an example of a GM's draw offer. The black player, a much lower-rated IM, faces strong British GM but thanks to his deep calculation and solid play he gets the upper hand after:} Rb4 $1 {(21:24)} 16. Qxa5 {(12:08)} (16. Qa3 dxc4 17. bxc4 Qe5 18. Rd1 h5 19. h3 {is slightly better than Howell's choice.}) 16... Bb7 {(5:12)} 17. c5 {(23)} Qxh2+ $1 { ( 08) Howell, may have missed this.} 18. Kxh2 {(5)} Rxa5 {(7) Now Black has great pawn structure superiority and White's pawn on c5 is a great target.} 19. Na4 {(3:34)} Ba6 $1 {(2:11) Another stratigically sensible move. Black gets rid of his bad bishop.} 20. Bxa6 {(9:18)} Rxa6 {(4:15)} 21. Kg1 {(00:37)} Kf8 { (1:48)} 22. f3 {(3:20)} Ke7 {(4:51)} 23. Kf2 {(9)} Nd7 {(1:39)} 24. Ke2 {(1:01) } Ra5 {(4:22)} 25. Kd2 $1 {(7:38) The exclam goes to Howell's draw offer. It was going to be a long suffering for White as Black could comfortably play h5-g6-e5-f5 and keep improving his position while all White could do was to stall. Howell, offered a draw before things got nastier. A wise decision on his part and not a very good one from his opponent's side, who showed more respect to his opponent than to his position.} (25. Kd2 h5 26. Rh1 g6 27. Kc3 Rb7 28. Kd2 e5 29. g3 Ke6 30. Rhc1 f5 {and a very bad position for white.}) 1/2-1/2

Naturally, it wasn't all about upsets and blunders, Vadim Zviaginsev showed his class witha nice technical win in the endgame:

Korchmar vs Zviaginzev

[Event "EICC 2017"] [Site "Minsk"] [Date "2017.05.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Korchmar, Vasiliy"] [Black "Zvjaginsev, Vadim"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A53"] [WhiteElo "2422"] [BlackElo "2661"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiaabdi "] [PlyCount "156"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "BLR"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. d4 {(0)} Nf6 {(1:53)} 2. c4 {(0)} d6 {( 00:28)} 3. Nf3 {(21)} g6 {(14)} 4. Nc3 {(1:43)} Bf5 {(27)} 5. d5 {(4:56)} Bg7 {(3:14)} 6. Nd4 {( 00:46)} Bd7 { (1:53)} 7. e4 {(42)} O-O {(32)} 8. Be2 {(1:15)} e6 {(4:11)} 9. dxe6 {(4:30)} fxe6 {( 47)} 10. O-O {(28)} Na6 {(5:34)} 11. Nb3 {(24:58)} b6 {(6:47)} 12. Be3 {(2:56)} e5 {(1:24)} 13. Qd2 {( 05:34)} Nc5 {(10:46)} 14. Nxc5 {(1:40)} bxc5 { (5)} 15. Bg5 {(8:18)} Bc6 {(3:26)} 16. Bf3 {(13:25)} a5 {(03:49)} 17. b3 { (2:48)} Qd7 {(6:09)} 18. Rab1 {( 08:41)} h5 {(2:47)} 19. Nd5 {(2:31)} Bxd5 { (1:37)} 20. cxd5 {(3:10)} Rfb8 {(11:35)} 21. a3 {(3:39)} Rb6 {(01:10)} 22. Rb2 {(2:00)} Kh7 {(4:36)} 23. Rfb1 {(03:22)} Qc8 {(2:12)} 24. h3 {(29)} Rab8 { (3:32)} 25. Qxa5 {(1:46)} Ra8 {(2:40)} 26. Qe1 {(2)} Rxa3 {(14)} 27. b4 {(1:17) } Nd7 {(3:29)} 28. bxc5 {(00:56)} Rxb2 {(15)} 29. Rxb2 {(3)} Nxc5 {( 00:13)} 30. Qb1 {(1:35)} Qa6 {(3:27)} 31. Qf1 {(36)} Qxf1+ {(8:14)} 32. Kxf1 {(1)} Bh6 {(25)} 33. h4 {(01:21)} Bxg5 {(2:59)} 34. hxg5 {(1)} Ra4 {( 00:26)} 35. Rb8 { (8)} Nxe4 {(24)} 36. Bxe4 {(1:24)} Rxe4 {(9)} 37. Rd8 {(25)} Rc4 {(1:15)} 38. Rd7+ {(14)} Kg8 {(5)} 39. g3 {(34)} Rc2 {(3:04)} 40. Kg2 {(0)} e4 {(50)} 41. Re7 {(5:14)} Rc4 {(5:26)} 42. f4 {(13:49)} exf3+ {(1:11)} 43. Kxf3 {(00:05)} Rg4 {(1:06)} 44. Rxc7 {(49)} Rxg5 {( 00:04)} 45. Ke4 {(9:34)} Rg4+ {(28)} 46. Kf3 {(37)} Rd4 {(11)} 47. g4 {(1:30)} hxg4+ {(6:53)} 48. Kg3 {(00:40)} Kf8 { (11)} 49. Rd7 {(15)} Rxd5 {( 12)} 50. Kxg4 {(6)} Ke8 {(1:47)} 51. Rg7 {(48)} g5 {(22)} 52. Kh5 {(3:24)} Re5 {(2:45)} 53. Kg4 {(00:08)} Kd8 {(1:21)} 54. Kh5 { [#] (53) This game is an excellent example of endgame technique. The highly experienced Russian GM gives up one of his extra pawns to activate his king:} Re7 $1 {(7:18)} 55. Rxg5 {(10)} Kd7 {(11)} 56. Kg4 {(16)} Rf7 $1 {(1:14) Good technique.} 57. Rd5 {(50)} (57. Rf5 Rxf5 58. Kxf5 Kc6 $1 59. Ke4 Kc5 60. Kd3 Kd5 {And black gets the opposition.}) 57... Ke6 {(2:45)} 58. Rd1 {(00:06)} d5 { (8)} 59. Kg3 {(51)} (59. Re1+ Kd6 60. Rd1 {is more resilient but it does not save white.} Kc5 61. Rc1+ Kb4 62. Rd1 Kc4 63. Rc1+ Kb3 64. Rd1 Rd7 65. Kf4 d4 66. Ke4 Kc3 67. Rc1+ (67. Rd3+ Kc4 $19 68. Rd1 Re7+ 69. Kf3 d3) 67... Kd2 68. Rh1 d3 69. Rh2+ Kc1 $19) 59... Rf8 {(1:19)} 60. Re1+ {(45) Now Zvjaginsev demonstrates the aforementioned technique!} Kd6 {(6)} 61. Rd1 {(2)} Kc5 {(1:13) } 62. Rc1+ {(10)} Kb4 {(58)} 63. Rd1 {(00:10)} Kc4 {(7)} 64. Rc1+ {(5)} Kb3 { ( 50)} 65. Rd1 {(8)} Rd8 {(14)} 66. Kf3 {(45)} Kc2 {(1:00)} 67. Rd4 {(1:55)} Kc3 {(1:15)} 68. Ra4 {(00:10)} Re8 $1 {(1:44) But this is the only move. White wants to have the rook on the longer side and his king on the shorter side with respect to the pawn but unfortunately for White in this case, he got it backwards!} 69. Ra3+ {(25)} Kb4 {( 44)} 70. Ra7 {(48)} d4 {(43)} 71. Rc7 {(53)} d3 {(00:29)} 72. Kf2 {(20)} d2 {(44)} 73. Rd7 {( 00:29)} Kc3 {(9)} 74. Rc7+ { (10)} Kd3 {(4)} 75. Rd7+ {(5)} Kc2 {(4)} 76. Rc7+ {(2)} Kd1 {(00:05) And now we know this is winning since 1497!} 77. Rc6 {(1:54)} Rf8+ {(41)} 78. Kg2 { (00:08)} Rf5 $1 {(16)} (78... Rf5 79. Kg3 Ke2 80. Re6+ Kd3 81. Rd6+ Ke3 82. Rd8 Rf3+ 83. Kg2 Rf4 84. Kg3 Rd4 {and black's bridge is complete now!}) 0-1

In the following battle, Black tried to be clever, but only realized the error of his ways a move late, and resigned on move 20.

Shimanov vs Ofitserian

[Event "EICC 2017"] [Site "Minsk"] [Date "2017.05.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Shimanov, Aleksandr"] [Black "Ofitserian, Boris"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A34"] [WhiteElo "2642"] [BlackElo "2391"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "39"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "BLR"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. Nf3 {(1:05)} Nf6 {(20)} 2. c4 {(8)} c5 {(00:11)} 3. Nc3 {(6)} d5 {(20)} 4. cxd5 {( 00:07)} Nxd5 {(7)} 5. e3 {(6)} Nc6 {(9:21)} 6. Bb5 {(1:10)} Nxc3 { (1:34)} 7. bxc3 {(6)} Bd7 {(03:27)} 8. Rb1 {(1:44)} a6 {(7:59)} 9. Be2 {(1:17)} Rb8 {(1:41)} 10. d4 {(2:27)} Bf5 {(4:42)} 11. Bd3 {(8:27)} Bxd3 {(2:02)} 12. Qxd3 {(4)} e6 {( 01:03)} 13. O-O {(1:28)} Be7 {(6:55)} 14. e4 {(2:11)} O-O { (1:01)} 15. d5 {(1:53)} Bd6 {(17:33)} 16. c4 {(03:51)} Re8 {(17:47)} 17. Rd1 { (7:56)} exd5 {(2:34)} 18. cxd5 {(27)} Nb4 {(2:24)} 19. Qe2 {Black is in some trouble here. White's center is extremely strong and black's knight is awkwardly placed on b4. In a desperate situation Black went for what seems like a cunning move at first sight} Nxd5 {(3:50) But after the obvious} 20. Rxd5 {(3:05) Black resigned. Why?} (20. Rxd5 Bxh2+ {Black had probably only considered the capture on h2 but White can simply go for} 21. Kf1 Qxd5 22. exd5 Rxe2 23. Kxe2 {And white is up a piece in a completely winning endgame.}) 1-0

Links

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Elshan Moradiabadi is a GM born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He moved to the US in 2012. Ever since, he has been active in US college chess scenes and in US chess. is a veteran instructor and teaches chess to every level, with students ranging from beginners to IM. He can be contacted for projects or teaching.
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drcloak drcloak 5/31/2017 03:13
Love seeing 2400s beating the piss out of 2650s.
Malcom Malcom 5/31/2017 02:43
great report as usual maestro! It is so refreshing to see good, CONCISE analysis and not endless variations and "egoboosting" comments that seem to never end!
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