Magnificent Morozevich fulfills 2900 promise

10/20/2011 – It was a fantastic beginning in the face of such a tough field, and the question was whether Alexander Morozevich could fulfill the unspoken promise of such a start. The answer was 8.5/11 and a 2917 performance, with a superb final win, taking him back to the Top Ten in the next list. Evgeny Tomashevsky came in second, with a 2800 performance, and Peter Leko in third. Illustrated report.

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Saratov Governor's Cup, Saratov/Russia

Tourney format: round robin with 12 players over 11 rounds
Time control: 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes + 30 seconds/move starting with the first move
Round start: 13:00, last round on Oct. 19 at 11:00
Rest day: 14th October
Special: No draw offers before move 30.
Tiebreak rules: 1st Sonneborn-Berger, 2nd head to head match, 3rd no. of victories

Morozevich fulfills 2900 promise

Alexander Morozevich fulfilled the unspoken promise made by his stupendous start. With an incredible 2900+ performance after six rounds, the question was whether he could keep it up and finish on a super performance. After beating Alekseev in the seventh round, and three draws, Tomashevsky overtook the pack trailing him and moved within one point of the leader, edging out Leko who had been doing quite solidly. Sadly one player left before the end, and that was Vitiugov. He had started the tournament ill, and possibly hoping to shake it off over the course of the two week event, persisted, but instead his health deteriorated, and after the ninth round was forced to drop out.

In the last round, Tomashevsky drew Shirov, guaranteeing the first prize for Morozevich, while the latter went on to win a superb endgame against Roiz, to cap his final tally with an impressive 8.5/11, one and a half points ahead of the field, and a staggering 2917 performance.

[Event "Governor's Cup"] [Site "Saratov RUS"] [Date "2011.10.19"] [Round "11"] [White "Morozevich, Alexander"] [Black "Roiz, Michael"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D31"] [WhiteElo "2737"] [BlackElo "2668"] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2011.10.08"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Nf3 c6 6. h3 $5 {This is far from the most common continuation, but Morozevich has always been one to follow his own lead, and not that of others. The main purpose here is to avoid any theory, and just get down to playing chess.} Nf6 7. Qc2 g6 8. Bh6 Bf5 9. Qc1 Nbd7 10. e3 Ne4 11. Be2 Nd6 12. Nd2 Be6 13. Qc2 Bf5 14. Qb3 Qb6 15. g4 Qxb3 16. axb3 Be6 17. b4 a6 18. Nb3 f5 19. Nc5 Nxc5 20. bxc5 Ne4 21. gxf5 gxf5 22. h4 $1 {A typical device to deny the h4 square for Black's bishop.} Rg8 23. Na4 Bd8 24. Nb6 $1 Bxb6 25. cxb6 {The pawn structure has changed character, and the constant threat of a Bxa6 and quick pawn promotion will define the enitre endgame from here on. There is nothing inevitable about this but it taints Roiz's play.} Ke7 26. Bf4 {With the bishop on f4, controlling b8, the potential sac Bxa6 bxa6 and b7 is a constant concern.} Rae8 27. b4 {Morozevich doesn't want to allow Black ...c5.} Bc8 28. Rc1 Bd7 29. Bd3 Kf7 30. f3 Nf6 31. Kf2 Ra8 $2 {Black wants to free himself with ...a5, and prevent Bxa6 all at the same time, however he miscalculates.} 32. Rhg1 Rxg1 33. Rxg1 {The problem is that Black cannot challenge White for the g-file.} Be6 ({If} 33... Rg8 $2 34. Bxa6 {wins a pawn plain and simple.}) (33... a5 {also drops a pawn after} 34. Ra1 a4 35. Ra3 {and the a-pawn is a sitting duck.}) 34. Be5 h6 35. Ke2 Bd7 36. Kd2 Be6 37. Kc2 ({White misses a tactic, though forgivably, as he was focused on schematic thinking here.} 37. h5 $1 {threatening Rg6, was tough to meet.} Nxh5 38. Rh1 Kg6 39. e4 $1 dxe4 40. fxe4 Rf8 41. exf5+ Bxf5 42. Rg1+ Kh7 43. Bxa6 $1 $18) 37... a5 38. Ra1 a4 39. Kc3 Nd7 40. Bc7 Nf8 41. Ra3 h5 42. Bc2 Ng6 43. Rxa4 $1 Rxa4 44. Bxa4 Bd7 (44... Nxh4 $2 45. Bxc6 $1 {and if} bxc6 46. b7) 45. Bd8 {With the extra pawn, bishop pair, and plenty of targets and threats, the position is now won for White.} Nf8 46. Bc2 Ke6 47. e4 fxe4 48. fxe4 Be8 (48... dxe4 $2 {is unplayable and loses.} 49. Bxe4 {and the threat of b5! or Bf3 winning the pawn is unstoppable.} Be8 50. b5 Kd7 51. Bc7 Kc8 52. bxc6 Bxc6 53. d5 $1 $18) 49. e5 Bg6 50. Ba4 Kd7 51. Bg5 Ne6 52. Be3 Kc8 53. b5 cxb5 54. Bxb5 Kd8 55. Ba4 Bf7 56. Bh6 {Dominating the knight.} Kc8 57. Bb3 Nd8 58. Kb4 Kd7 59. Ba4+ (59. Ba4+ Kc8 60. Kc5 {and the d5 pawn is lost.}) 1-0

As a result of his return to chess and his superb results, he was asked to join the Russian team to play in the European Team championship, his last classical games event of the year. At the moment, he stands to gain a further 25 Elo, and will already be in the Top Ten. 2800 club anyone?

Special mention should also be made of Evgeny Tomashevsky, who is looking to gain over 30 Elo and climb to 2740 as a result of his excellent results recently.

The chief arbiter Alexander Bach, Anatoly Karpov, and Vladimir Dines

The prize giving ceremony

Second-prize finisher, Evgeny Tomashevsky and Peter Leko, who ended in a very
respectable third place.

Pavel Ipatov, the governor of the Saratov region, presents Morozevich with his trophy

Final standings


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