Five leaders in Abu Dhabi

by Sagar Shah
8/28/2015 – Going into the rest day after six rounds we have five players in the lead at the Abu Dhabi Masters 2015 – Grandelius, Rapport, Areshchenko, Gupta and Kravtsiv. A horde of nine players are just half a point behind the leaders. With three rounds to go this promises to be a very exciting finish. We have an illustrated report with lots of pictures, videos and analysis right from the venue.

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Five leaders in the Abu Dhabi Masters

Report from the tournament venue by IM Sagar Shah

The Abu Dhabi Masters is being held from the 23rd to 31st of August 2015 in the capital city of UAE. 120 players from as many as 35 countries, with 44 grandmasters, are participating in this event. 22 players have a rating of more than 2600. The winner takes home US $12000. It’s a nine round Swiss tournament with the rate of play being one hour 30 minutes + 30 seconds increment per move.

Things started off pretty well for the top ranked players in the first round. Almost everyone won their initial games. But then the slugfest began. The second round paired grandmasters against each other, and it was the top seeded Zoltan Almasi who fell victim to the 22-year-old Russian GM Vladimir Belous.

Beating a 2700 opponent is not a walk in the park! Vladimir Belous, rated 2566, from Russia.

[Event "22nd Abu Dhabi Int. Chess Festival Mas"] [Site "Abu Dhabi"] [Date "2015.08.24"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Belous, Vladimir"] [Black "Almasi, Zoltan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A30"] [WhiteElo "2566"] [BlackElo "2700"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] [WhiteClock "0:05:07"] [BlackClock "0:01:03"] 1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 Bg7 5. d4 d6 6. d5 Na5 7. Bd3 Nf6 8. O-O O-O 9. h3 Bd7 10. e4 e5 11. Bg5 h6 12. Be3 Nh5 13. Re1 Qf6 14. Bf1 b6 15. Nd2 Qe7 16. g3 Qe8 17. Be2 Nf6 18. Kh2 Qc8 19. Bf1 Nh7 20. Nf3 a6 21. Na4 Qc7 {[#] The position, which resembles a Czech Benoni, is roughly equal. Belous begins his play on the queenside.} 22. b4 $5 Nb7 (22... Bxa4 23. Qxa4 cxb4 24. Qxb4 $16 {is a clear edge for White.}) (22... b5 $5 23. cxb5 axb5 24. Nxc5 dxc5 25. bxa5 Rxa5 $11 {Would leave the position around roughly equal.}) 23. Rb1 b5 $6 { Almasi plays on the wing where White is the boss.} (23... Nf6 {keeping the position closed was better.} 24. bxc5 Bxa4 25. Qxa4 Nxc5 26. Qc6 Qxc6 27. dxc6 Nfxe4 28. Rxb6 Rfb8 29. Reb1 Rc8 {with a roughly equal position.}) 24. bxc5 $1 bxa4 25. c6 Bxc6 26. dxc6 Nd8 (26... Qxc6 27. Qd5 $1 Qxd5 28. cxd5 $16 { Black's a-pawns as well the one on d6 are weak. White is better.}) 27. Qxa4 Nf6 (27... Nxc6 28. Bb6 Qd7 29. Red1 $16) 28. c5 $1 d5 29. Nxe5 $1 {A very strong move!} Qxe5 30. Bd4 (30. Bf4 {would have been stronger.} Qe6 31. c7 Nxe4 32. Rb8 $18 {White is very close to winning.}) 30... Qxd4 31. Qxd4 Ng4+ 32. hxg4 Bxd4 33. exd5 Bxc5 34. Rec1 Bd6 35. c7 Rc8 36. cxd8=Q Rcxd8 37. Bxa6 $18 { After all the complications White has emerged with two extra pawns, and he went on to confidently convert the position.} Rfe8 38. Kg2 Re4 39. Rc4 Re2 40. a4 Ra2 41. Bb5 Rb8 42. Re1 Kf8 43. Rc6 Rd8 44. Re2 Ra1 45. Rcc2 Rb8 46. Ra2 Rd1 47. Bc6 Rbb1 48. a5 Rg1+ 49. Kf3 Bc5 50. Re8+ Kg7 51. a6 Rb3+ 52. Ke2 Rg2 53. Kf1 Rh2 54. Kg1 Rxf2 55. Rxf2 Rb2 56. d6 Rxf2 57. d7 Ra2+ 58. Kf1 Bb6 59. Bb5 1-0

Zoltan Almasi has been having a pretty horrid event. After his loss to Belous, he lost another game
in round four against Nevednichy and then a draw against Vakhidov. Currently he is on 3.5/6.

After his win against Almasi, Belous continued his good form with a victory over Abijit Gupta and draws against Tigran Petrosian and Gawain Jones. Currently he has a rating performance of 2689. The only person to have beaten him is the man-in-form …

… the Swedish GM Nils Grandelius

Double rounds are always difficult. But Nils showed loads of stamina to beat Sandipan Chanda (2585) and Vladimir Belous (2566) to emerge as the sole leader with 4.0/4. In the sixth round Nils faced Kravstiv and the two played a very interesting game. First a quick test of your tactical skills – the answers are in the game commentary below.

  • In the first diagram the threat is simple Rxf6 followed by a mate on h7. While h6 would be a normal continuation, Kravtsiv played a killer move. Can you find it?

  • The second position, taken from our analysis, might seem like a draw, but Black has a nice winning formation at his disposal. Can you see it? (Please check the addendum below the game analysis which shows that the position is not a win. So your task can be to find the best plan of playing for a win for Black and then still making a draw with White.)

[Event "22nd Abu Dhabi Int. Chess Festival Mas"] [Site "Abu Dhabi"] [Date "2015.08.27"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Grandelius, Nils"] [Black "Kravtsiv, Martyn"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D31"] [WhiteElo "2628"] [BlackElo "2599"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "134"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] [WhiteClock "0:02:51"] [BlackClock "0:00:52"] 1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Be7 4. Bf4 Nf6 5. e3 O-O 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. Be2 dxc4 8. O-O a6 9. a4 c5 10. d5 exd5 11. Nxd5 Nxd5 12. Qxd5 Nf6 13. Qe5 Re8 14. Bxc4 Bf8 15. Qc3 Be6 16. Rfd1 Qe7 17. Bxe6 Qxe6 18. Ng5 Qc6 19. Qc4 Re7 20. Rd6 Qe8 { After getting a solid opening advantage, Nils did not play in the most incisive manner. The position is round about equal here, but now White blunders.} 21. Qc2 $2 {[#]The threat is simple Rxf6 followed by a mate on h7. While h6 would be a normal continuation, Kravtsiv played a killer move. Can you find it?} Rxe3 $1 {Of course! The geometry of this variation is simply wonderful. First of all there is a mate on e1. If the rook is taken with fxe3 then after Bxd6 Bxd6, the black queen snaps the e3 pawn with a check and picks up the g5 knight!} 22. Rdd1 (22. fxe3 Bxd6 23. Nxh7 $5 {was relatively the best.} (23. Bxd6 Qxe3+ 24. Kh1 Qxg5 $17) 23... Nxh7 24. Bxd6 Qxe3+ $17) 22... Re7 23. Qxc5 Rd8 24. Qc2 Rxd1+ 25. Qxd1 Re2 26. Rb1 h6 27. Kf1 hxg5 28. Qxe2 gxf4 29. Qxe8 Nxe8 {We have reached an endgame which seems to be extremely unpleasant for White. With a rook against two minor pieces and no pawns it seems like Black should have an easy road to victory. But Nils puts up a brave fight.} 30. Ke2 Bd6 31. b4 Nc7 32. Rd1 Bxb4 33. Rd8+ Bf8 34. Rd7 Ne6 35. Rxb7 a5 {Everything seems to be well guarded now. The bishop on b4 will protect the a-pawn and the black king will be slowly activated. White wouldn't be able to withstand the combined activity of all the three black pieces. But Nils has seen a tricky way to hold on.} 36. Rb8 Kh7 37. Kd3 Bb4 38. Kc4 Be1 {Of course Kravtsiv doesn't want to calculate the consequences of a capture on b4. He would like to win in quite technical fashion. But as he soon realises a clean victory is not something that is possible in this position.} 39. Rb5 g5 40. Re5 Bb4 (40... Bxf2 $5 41. Rxa5 {It just seems wrong to give White an outside rook passer. With accurate play this should end in a draw.}) 41. Rb5 Kg6 42. Rxb4 { Of course this was the last trick that White had up his sleeve. Now the position becomes very interesting.} axb4 43. Kxb4 {White has only a pawn for the knight but as we all know the rook pawns are a knight's greatest enemy.} Kf5 44. a5 Ke5 45. Kb5 $6 (45. Kc4 $1 Kd6 46. a6 Nc7 47. a7 $11 {would have been more accurate as the king is better placed on c4 than on b5.}) 45... Kd5 ( 45... Kd6 46. Kb6 (46. a6 Nc7+ 47. Kb6 Nxa6 48. Kxa6 Kd5 $19) 46... Nc5 47. Kb5 Nd3 48. Kb6 Ne5 49. a6 Nd7+ 50. Kb5 Kc7 {is similar to the game.}) 46. Kb6 Nc5 47. Kb5 (47. Kc7 $5 {This is an additional option which would not have been available had Black played Kd6.}) 47... Kd6 48. Kb6 Nd7+ 49. Kb5 Kc7 50. Kc4 Ne5+ 51. Kd4 f3 $5 {This is also a very nice idea to mangle up White's kingside pawns but Kravtsiv doesn't follow it up well.} ({Let's see what happens after the most natural move.} 51... Ng4 $5 52. h4 (52. Ke4 Nxf2+ 53. Kf5 f6 54. Kxf6 g4 55. Kf5 g3 56. hxg3 fxg3 57. Kf4 Nh1 {Diagram [#] The knight cannot be dislodged easily. The black king will pick up the a-pawn and escort the g-pawn to the queening square. By the way the win is quite instructive. Have a look.} 58. Ke3 Kb7 59. Ke2 Ka6 60. Kf1 Kxa5 61. Kg1 Nf2 62. Kf1 Kb4 63. Ke2 Kc3 64. Kf3 Nh1 65. Ke2 Kd4 66. Kf1 Ke3 67. Kg1 Nf2 68. Kf1 Nd3 69. Kg1 Ke2 70. Kh1 {And how do we winning now? The right idea is to bring the knight to f3 or h3 when the white king is on h1 and force White to take it and then after Kf2 it's all over.} Nf4 71. Kg1 Ke1 72. Kh1 Nh3 $1 73. gxh3 Kf2 $19) 52... f3 $1 {an important shot trying to create a h-passer.} 53. g3 (53. gxf3 gxh4 $19) 53... gxh4 54. gxh4 Nxf2 55. Ke3 Ng4+ 56. Kxf3 {[#]It might seem like this is a draw, but Black has a nice winning formation at his disposal. Can you see it?} Nf6 $1 57. Kf4 Kb7 58. Kf5 Nh7 {[%cal Rh7g5,Rf7g6,Rh7f6,Rf7e6] And there we have it. The knight and the pawn create an impregnable barrier and Black just wins. So theoretically Kravtsiv had a study like win at his disposal with 51...Ng4 instead of f3.}) 52. gxf3 Nxf3+ $2 (52... Nc6+ $1 53. Ke4 Nxa5 54. Kf5 Kd7 55. Kf6 Ke8 56. Kxg5 Ke7 {And this one should be winning for Black. Let's look at a sample line.} 57. Kf5 Nc4 58. h4 Kf8 59. h5 Nd6+ 60. Kf6 Ne8+ 61. Kf5 Kg7 62. Kg5 Kh7 63. f4 Kg7 64. f5 Kh7 65. f4 Kg7 66. f6+ Kh7 67. f5 Nc7 $19 {Moves run out and all the white pawns will fall.}) 53. Ke4 g4 ( 53... Nxh2 54. Kf5 $11) 54. Kf4 Nxh2 55. Kg3 Nf3 56. Kxg4 Nd4 57. Kg5 Kd7 58. Kf6 Ke8 59. a6 Nc6 60. Kg7 Ke7 61. f4 $11 {The problem here is that Black has absolutely no way to make progress.} Ke6 62. f5+ Ke7 63. Kg8 Na7 64. Kg7 Nb5 65. Kg8 Na7 66. Kg7 Nc6 67. Kg8 Na7 {A thoroughly entertaining endgame where Nils showed great fighting spirit.} 1/2-1/2

Addendum: A few hours after the report was published Amirezza Pouramzanali wrote to us saying that the second diagram position of W-Kf3, h4, a5 and B-Kc7, Ng4 f7 is actually a draw. After the moves 56...Nf6 57.Kf4 Kb7 58.Kf5 Nh7 is not an impregnable fortress. White can make a draw with 59. Ke5 Ka6 60. Kd6 Kxa5 61. h5 Kb5 62. h6 Kc4 63. Ke7! f5 64. Kf7 f4 65. Kg7 f3 66. Kxh7 f2 67. Kg7 f1=Q 68. h7 and it is of course a theoretical draw. We thank Amirezza for the correction.

Martyn Kravtsiv (2599) was unlucky to not have beaten his third 2600+ opponent in a row!
With wins over Gawain Jones and Yuriy Kuzubov, he has an astronomical performance of 2791.

In the past few months Gawain Jones has been busy writing a two-part book on the Dragon for Quality Chess which is due to be released on the 9th of September. It is always interesting when the author of a particular opening decides to try out his recommendation in a tournament game. But when you have worked for hours and hours on the opening it is extremely difficult to remember all the analysis, more so when it is a sharp and complicated variation as the Dragon.

[Event "22nd Abu Dhabi Int. Chess Festival Mas"] [Site "Abu Dhabi"] [Date "2015.08.25"] [Round "4.4"] [White "Kravtsiv, Martyn"] [Black "Jones, Gawain C B"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B78"] [WhiteElo "2599"] [BlackElo "2647"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. O-O-O Rc8 11. Bb3 Nxd4 {The Topalov Variation.} 12. Bxd4 b5 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. exd5 a5 16. a3 {We are 16 moves into the game and still deep in theory. This position has been seen in 212 games!} Kg8 17. Rhe1 Rc5 18. Re3 {While Jones was blitzing out his moves, Kravtsiv was playing after quite a bit of thought.} b4 19. axb4 (19. a4 Qe8 $1 $15) 19... axb4 20. Qxb4 Qa8 21. Bc4 $1 $146 {The first new move of the game and a powerful novelty by Karvtsiv. He clears the third rank for his rook to come to a3. It would be interesting to see if Gawain has included this move in his book.} (21. Kd2 {has been the move that has been played in eight games before.}) 21... Bf5 (21... Rb8 22. Ra3 $1 $16) 22. Ra3 Qc8 23. b3 Qc7 24. Qd2 Rb8 25. Qd4 {White moves are quite logical. With every move he is increasing the pressure on Black and asking him to show his compensation for the pawn.} Qb6 (25... e6 $5 { Might have been the best move in the position.} 26. dxe6 Bxe6 27. Qxd6 Bxc4 28. Qxc7 Rxc7 29. bxc4 Rxc4 $14 {White is a pawn up and can try but most probably the game would end in a draw.}) 26. Ra2 Qb4 27. g4 Bc8 28. Ra7 Rb7 29. Ra4 Qb6 30. b4 $6 (30. Kb2 $16 {keeps complete control.}) 30... Rcc7 $2 {After this it's just plain sailing for White.} (30... Qxb4 $1 31. Rxb4 Rxb4 32. Qe4 Rbxc4 $14 {Black has decent fighting chances.}) 31. Ba6 Rb8 32. Qxb6 Rxb6 33. Bxc8 Rxc8 34. Kb2 {With an extra pawn and an active king we could say that White has a winning advantage.} e6 35. c3 Rc4 36. Ra8+ Kg7 37. dxe6 fxe6 38. Ra7+ Kf6 (38... Kh6 39. h4 $18) 39. Rxh7 d5 40. h4 Rbc6 41. Rd3 d4 42. cxd4 g5 43. hxg5+ Kxg5 44. Kb3 Kf4 45. Rh5 {A nice theoretical battle in the Dragon. We might just see more games with this novelty 21.Bc4!} 1-0

We all know what a creative genius Baadur Jobava is. His eccentric moves and opening ideas have been dismissed by many experts as plain bad. Yet due to his excellent calculating abilities he is able to beat the best of the players in the world. But when you have only a minute left on the clock and the more than twenty pieces are still on the board even the best tend to go wrong. This is exactly what happened in the game Jobava-Swiercz. Both players were down to just one minute and the position was tremendously complicated. A nightmare for the players, but a treat for the audience!

Baadur Jobava vs Dariusz Swiercz: So many pieces, so little time!

[Event "22nd Abu Dhabi Int. Chess Festival Mas"] [Site "Abu Dhabi"] [Date "2015.08.27"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Jobava, Baadur"] [Black "Swiercz, Dariusz"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A45"] [WhiteElo "2664"] [BlackElo "2617"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "130"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] [WhiteClock "0:01:36"] [BlackClock "0:01:20"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bf4 e6 4. Nb5 Na6 5. a3 Be7 6. e3 O-O 7. Nf3 b6 8. c4 Bb7 9. Qc2 c6 10. Nc3 c5 11. Rd1 cxd4 12. Nxd4 Nc5 13. Be2 Qc8 14. O-O dxc4 15. Bxc4 a6 16. Rc1 b5 17. Ba2 Qe8 18. f3 Rc8 19. e4 Nfd7 20. Be3 Ne5 21. Rfd1 Nc4 22. Bxc4 bxc4 23. Rb1 Bf6 24. Nde2 Qc6 25. Nd4 Qc7 26. Nce2 Nd3 27. b3 Ne5 28. b4 Rfd8 29. Nc3 Nd3 30. Nde2 Be5 31. h3 f5 32. b5 a5 33. b6 Qe7 34. Kh1 Qxa3 35. Nb5 Qf8 36. Na7 Rc5 37. Nc3 Bd4 38. Bxd4 Rxd4 39. Nab5 Rd7 40. Nc7 Qf6 41. Rd2 h6 42. Re2 Kh7 43. Na4 Rc6 44. Nc3 Nb4 45. e5 Qd8 46. Nxe6 Rxe6 47. Qxf5+ Rg6 48. e6 Re7 {[#]We join the action on the 49th move. Jobava is a piece down but has a pawn for it. The emotionless engine says it's just winning for Black, but on the board with less time things looked much more interesting.} 49. h4 { The threat is to play h5 and with just a few seconds left Swiercz has to find the best defence – something that he failed to achieve.} Bxf3 $5 (49... Qd3 $1 $19 {would have sealed the game in Black's favour. There is just nothing left! But in time pressure such simple moves often elude you.}) 50. Qxf3 (50. h5 Bxh5 $19) (50. gxf3 Rexe6 {with the threat of Qxh4 looks pretty scary.}) 50... Rexe6 51. Rxe6 Qxh4+ 52. Kg1 Rxe6 53. Qf5+ Rg6 54. Ne4 (54. b7 {might have been the best move but it gives Black a clear path to draw. By this time Baadur had become quite ambitious.} Qd4+ 55. Kh2 Qh4+ 56. Kg1 Qd4+ 57. Kf1 $6 ( 57. Kh2 $11) 57... Qf6 $1 58. Qxf6 Rxf6+ 59. Ke2 Rb6 $17) 54... c3 55. b7 c2 { Both pawns move forward to the queening squares. Look at the richness of the position. The white king is exposed which gives him constant headaches. But the black king is safe behind his pawns and yet stands unsafe due to this irritating pin!} 56. Rf1 (56. Rc1 $11 {was better but let's not go into too many details!}) 56... Nc6 {Black is once again winning.} 57. Rc1 Qd8 $6 (57... Nd4 {was game over!} 58. Ng5+ Qxg5 59. Qxg5 hxg5 $1 60. b8=Q Ne2+ 61. Kf1 Nxc1 62. Qc7 Rf6+ $19) 58. Rxc2 $1 {Swiercz missed that Qd1+ followed by Qxc2 will be met with Nf6+ discovered attack!} Qb6+ 59. Nc5 Nd4 60. Qe4 $1 {An extremely difficult move to make under time pressure. Nothing special just keeping control.} Nxc2 61. Qxc2 {The b-pawn is under control and the a-pawn is ready to run down the board. Should be winning for Black right? Baadur shows the way to a draw!} a4 62. Kh1 $1 Qb4 (62... a3 63. Nd7 $1 {With the threat of queen and Nf8 forces Black to give a perpetual with Qb4-h4-e1.} Qb4 $1 $11) 63. Nd7 Qe1+ 64. Kh2 Qh4+ 65. Kg1 Qe1+ {A completely crazy battle. The quality of play that they were able to achieve with just 30 seconds on their clock for every move showed their amazing will power and concentration.} 1/2-1/2

After the game I asked Jobava how he manages to keep his cool in such tense situations?
He replied:“I looked cool only on the outside. Inside I was very nervous, completely crazy!”

Top standings after round six

Rk. SNo Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB2   TB3 
w-we
rtg+/-
1 12 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2628 5.0 2579 23.5
1.28
12.8
2 24 GM Kravtsiv Martyn UKR 2599 5.0 2577 23.0
1.47
14.7
3 7 GM Areshchenko Alex. UKR 2661 5.0 2535 19.0
0.81
8.1
4 4 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2671 5.0 2509 21.0
0.59
5.9
5 17 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2619 5.0 2478 22.0
0.68
6.8
6 5 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2664 4.5 2595 23.0
0.51
5.1
7 3 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2697 4.5 2575 21.0
0.31
3.1
8 13 GM Iturrizaga Eduardo VEN 2625 4.5 2565 21.5
0.84
8.4
9 11 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2638 4.5 2550 23.5
0.54
5.4
10 31 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2573 4.5 2540 20.0
0.97
9.7
11 9 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2647 4.5 2526 19.0
0.32
3.2
12 19 GM Swiercz Dariusz POL 2617 4.5 2522 20.5
0.48
4.8
13 22 GM Prohaszka Peter HUN 2602 4.5 2502 19.0
0.44
4.4
14 15 GM Petrosian Tigran L. ARM 2623 4.5 2446 20.5
0.01
0.1

The local boy, UAE’s only grandmaster and the reigning Asian Champion Salem Saleh, lost to Alexander Areshchenko in a complex Najdorf (game worth seeing) in the sixth round. But it was not before he had already inflicted a defeat on Yuriy Kryvoruchko in the third round.

After six rounds Richard Rapport is in the lead with 5.0/6. In these six games we haven’t seen any insane opening choices from him. The closest he got to unusual was when he was White against Sandipan Chanda and he went 1.Nf3 e6 2.e4 d5 3.e5!? But the game soon transposed into a French Advance. In Abu Dhabi, the Hungarian is favouring the Benoni and has beaten two opponents with it. In the last three rounds he will be the man to watch out for.

Gabor Papp (left) and Peter Prohaszka from Hungary are great friends. Thanks to their similar ratings they are usually playing on the adjoining tables. You get to see completely contrasting styles when you visit their boards. Gabor, who is a vigorous attacker, is usually trying to hunt down his opponent’s king, while Peter, who is positional player, is will be nursing his extra pawn with great care and technique. The fact that both are 2600 Elo shows that there no perfect or correct style in chess. It’s all a matter of taste!

The talented Russian youngster Sanan Sjugirov is on 3.5/6
and having a tough event, losing 12 Elo points

Haridas Pascua of Philippines has been having a great event, beating Tigran Petrosian and Vladimir Onischuk, with draws against Richard Rapport and Dariusz Swiercz. Currently he is performing at an Elo of 2662. Here is one very pretty combination from one of his games.

Vladimir Onischuk – Haridas Pascua, Round five

White has just played his bishop from e3 to d4, which turned out to be a huge mistake. Haridas ended the game in just two moves now. Can you spot the winning combination?

[Event "22nd Abu Dhabi Int. Chess Festival Mas"] [Site "Abu Dhabi"] [Date "2015.08.26"] [Round "5.11"] [White "Onischuk, Vladimir"] [Black "Pascua, Haridas"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B30"] [WhiteElo "2618"] [BlackElo "2447"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "q5k1/4p1bp/4P1b1/8/1P1B1Q2/2P4P/r4P2/1NK3R1 b - - 0 47"] [PlyCount "3"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] 47... Bh6 $1 {A very nice deflection. The reason why I loved this theme is because if the g6 bishop is left on the board then it contributes to the mating attack and if it is taken with check then the back rank is weakened!} 48. Rxg6+ ({Or} 48. Qxh6 Rc2+ 49. Kd1 Qf3+ 50. Ke1 Qe2#) 48... hxg6 {The bishop is no longer present on g6 so Rc2+ is not possible but Qh1 threat has come into the picture which is not possible to parry!} 0-1

This is what happens when your game lasts for five and a half hours! Aleksandr Rakhmanov
against Irina Bulmaga in a marathon struggle. The game was won by Rakhmanov at 11.45 p.m.!

And the award for the cutest face in the tournament goes to … Javokhir Sindarov from Uzbekistan. But let not his looks deceive you. This ten-year-old kid is already rated 2198 and is gaining 46 Elo by beating Blasius Nuber (2339) and achieving draws against Rakesh Kulkarni (2368), Padmini Rout (2444) and Aziz Nezad Husein (2404). In one of the games where he was sitting next to me I was completely stunned by the speed and ease with which he was making his moves. Magnus Carlsen in the making?!

Four-time French Youth Champion Cecile Haussernot
is having a good event and has already gained 26 Elo

WGM Vita Kryvoruchko from Ukraine is on 2.5/6

Rakesh Kulkarni just pointed to his t-shirt when his opponent offered a draw!

Jacek Stopa is not having such a great event: he is on 2.5/6. But the Abu Dhabi Masters is his twelfth consecutive tournament. He recently became a grandmaster and wrote a beautiful article for uschess.org on his journey to the GM title entitled “Studying in Extremes”.

The highest rated woman player in the event, Harika Dronavalli
from India, is playing well with 4.0/6, and gaining some Elo points

Red is the favourite colour of so many participants! Clockwise from top left:
Abhijeet Gupta, G.N. Gopal, Salem Saleh, Samuel Shankland, Maria Severina, Richard Rapport.

Live games are displayed in the playing hall on giant screens

Stylish ambience in hotel Sofitel….

…coupled with sumptuous meals

Videos by Vijay Kumar

The former Chief Producer News and Sports of Doordarshan, which is India's largest broadcasting organization, continues his great work with every round video presentations. Here are his impressions of rounds three to six – now in HD! These reports contain some interesting mini-interviews.

Abu Dhabi Chess Festival Round 3

Abu Dhabi Chess Festival Round 4 – Nedvednichy upsets Almasi

Abu Dhabi Chess Festival Round 5 – Nils and Martyn in joint lead

Abu Dhabi Chess Festival 2015 Round 6

Do not miss GM Dmitry Komarov’s enlightening commentary from the event – here's a sample:

Before signing off, here’s a small trivia: Who is the player in the above picture? Hint: He is a strong grandmaster. Write down your answers in the comments section below. You can also tweet your answers @adchessfestival using the hashtag #unknownsweaterman.

Pictures by Amruta Mokal

ChessBase is providing detailed coverage of the Abu Dhabi Masters 2015. The games are being be 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 and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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pikuelo pikuelo 8/29/2015 02:09
Fantastic report, but only one thing: I think that Grandelius - Kravtsiv is a draw even after 51... Ng4. The way I think it plays out after 58... Nh7, it is an endgame of Queen vs a pawn in h7, where the black King is outside the winning zone.
Dev01 Dev01 8/29/2015 05:16
I think he is Richard Rapport.
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