Moscow Open Rd4: A chat with Paco

by Albert Silver
2/4/2015 – With so many options, and such a hard field, it might seem a bit surprising to see the top Spanish player, Francisco ("Paco") Vallejo Pons playing in the Moscow Open, especially when the no less prestigious Gibraltar Open is running its course far closer to home. In an interview, Paco explains his reasons for the longer route. The action continues in round four.

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The fourth round was decidedly decisive, or decidedly not, depending on how you look at it. Of those with 3.0/3 in the previous round, only one managed to win, and that was Ernesto Inarkiev, one of the favorites with 2675, thus giving the tournament a clear leader.

Ian Nepomniachtchi is the top seed and has 3.5/4

On the other hand, in spite of his excellent win over IM Atabayev, there are now a massive seventeen players tied with 3.5/4, and almost all with 2700+ performances. A few do stand out however, and not the top guns either. Of note is FM M.amin Tabatabaei, the world's highest rated under-14 year-old at 2444 FIDE, who drew against GM Petrosian (2663) in round three, and beat GM Goganov (2615) in round four, for a 2783 performance at the moment.

The playing hall of Open A as the round gets underway

In the B tournament, top seed Aleksandra Goryachkina also took sole lead, and much like Inarkiev in the A tournament, is shadowed by nine other women with 3.5/4, including Chinese WGM Lei Tingjie, who led last round, and whom she faces in round five.

A chat with Paco

by Eteri Kublashvili

Eteri Kublashvili - Along with the Moscow Open, the Gibraltar Festival is also taking place, which is much closer to Spain than Moscow. Why did you choose our tournament?

Francisco Vallejo Pons - I have played in Gibraltar many times, and I know it very well. Playing there is nothing new to me, whereas I have not played even once here, which is why I came. Besides, I want to learn a bit of Russian in Moscow.

Why is that?

I am interested in the Russian language. I think this is one of the most interesting languages ​​in the world, and it is very common in chess. Many of the best players in the world speak Russian. Fischer could speak it, so why not try to learn it? I would like to learn Russian, and I decided to spend a little time here in Moscow, as well as play a couple of strong tournaments - the Moscow Open and the Aeroflot Open.

I saw your photos with Sergey Karjakin in Moscow. Was it a joint training session or just a friendly meeting?

Photo published on the Twitter channel of Galiya Karyakina, Sergey's wife

I have been friends with Sergey for a long time and we decided to play some blitz, but it was not serious training. Still, it is always a pleasure to play with a chess player as strong as Sergei, and I was glad to meet him take some photos. It was just for fun.

What other Russian players are you friends with?

I know many. I may be a little closer to Svidler and Nepo, I mean, I know all the Russian grandmasters but I don’t meet them so often, only during tournaments. In tournaments I usually spend my time with the Spanish chess players. But I like the Russians.

What are your impressions of the tournament, from the organization?

I haven't played much recently and I think that the Moscow Open tournament will be very useful before the European Championship. I was glad when I saw that I was the number two player in the starting list (laughs), but my competitors are very good players, and a few extra points rating won't make much of a difference. It will be very difficult and interesting tournament.

Paco in deep meditation on his opening strategy

Now we can see a new trend in chess: the top players participate in open tournament. Vladimir Kramnik played in Qatar, Veselin Topalov is playing in Gibraltar, you are playing here ...

I cannot say that I'm a top player on the same level as Kramnik and Topalov, but thank you for the compliment! It's nice to see strong players playing everywhere, but I was also surprised when I saw Topalov among the participants in Gibraltar.

Maybe this is happening because the average level of players has grown so much?

Chess is developing, getting increasingly tougher. There are a lot of young players, fifteen years old. I saw a lot of young players who are already very strong. Nowadays it is hard to remain in the elite.

Photos by Monica Dubinkayte, Denis Obukhov, Galina Popova, Eteri Kublashvili

Standings of Open A after four rounds

Rk
SNo
Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
rtg+/-
1
7
GM
Inarkiev Ernesto
2675
4.0
8.2
2
9
GM
Grachev Boris
2670
3.5
2.3
3
1
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2714
3.5
1.1
4
4
GM
Korobov Anton
2687
3.5
3.4
 
34
GM
Xiu Deshun
2543
3.5
10.0
6
36
GM
Iljushin Alexei
2515
3.5
10.7
7
26
GM
Timofeev Artyom
2568
3.5
6.2
8
33
GM
Pridorozhni Aleksei
2545
3.5
5.3
9
63
IM
Petrov Nikita
2436
3.5
10.4
10
59
IM
Kuderinov Kirill
2452
3.5
14.1
11
12
GM
Artemiev Vladislav
2659
3.5
2.9
12
2
GM
Vallejo Pons Francisco
2706
3.5
0.6
13
10
GM
Fedoseev Vladimir
2668
3.5
3.6
14
11
GM
Petrosian Tigran L.
2663
3.5
2.8
15
14
GM
Mamedov Rauf
2642
3.5
3.3
16
60
FM
Tabatabaei M.Amin
2444
3.5
15.2
17
70
IM
Zakhartsov Vladimir
2421
3.5
14.1
18
8
GM
Khismatullin Denis
2673
3.5
1.7
19
157
FM
Lomasov Semen
2305
3.0
36.8
20
97
IM
Kozionov Kirill
2391
3.0
13.5

Click for complete standings

Standings of Open B after four rounds

Rk
SNo
Ti.
Name
Fed
Rtg
Pts
rtg+/-
1 1 WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra RUS 2451 4.0 7.0
2 9 WGM Nakhbayeva Guliskhan KAZ 2344 3.5 14.8
3 2 WGM Lei Tingjie CHN 2429 3.5 3.7
4 6 IM Guseva Marina RUS 2375 3.5 3.6
5 44 WFM Bayarmaa Bayarjargal MGL 2134 3.5 37.8
6 23 WGM Mirzoeva Elmira RUS 2220 3.5 16.4
7 13 WGM Maisuradze Nino FRA 2310 3.5 10.4
  17 WIM Ibrahimova Sabina AZE 2273 3.5 12.6
  26 WIM Schepetkova Margarita RUS 2216 3.5 26.6
10 42 WFM Shuvalova Polina RUS 2149 3.5 68.4
11 20 WFM Khlichkova Tatiana RUS 2257 3.0 7.8
12 3 WGM Szczepkowska-Horowska Karina POL 2415 3.0 -3.3
13 24 WIM Matveeva Olga RUS 2220 3.0 8.4
14 10 FM Pustovoitova Daria RUS 2334 3.0 -2.8
15 38 WCM Hojjatova Aydan AZE 2170 3.0 14.8
16 27 WIM Drozdova Dina RUS 2215 3.0 5.8
17 28 WFM Petrukhina Irina RUS 2210 3.0 4.2
  29 WFM Derakhshani Dorsa IRI 2208 3.0 8.8
19 7 WGM Charochkina Daria RUS 2370 3.0 -4.9
  47   Protopopova Anastasiya RUS 2111 3.0 7.6

Click for complete standings

Links

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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