Rijeka: Nepomniachtchi, Cmilyte take the sole lead

3/16/2010 – Tournament leader Baadur Jobava beat top seed Zoltan Almasi, but then lost to nineteen-year-old Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, who is now in the sole lead. In the women's section Polish GM Monika Socko lost her game and the lead to Lithuanian IM Viktorija Cmilyte. There are some interesting news tidbits from Silvio Danailov in the Europe Echecs video interviews by GM Robert Fontaine.

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This event is taking place from March 6th to 18th 2010 in Rijeka, Croatia. The championship is an eleven round Swiss tournament with a playing rate of 90 minutes for 40 moves, 30 minutes for the rest of the game, and an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. Games start at 3:30 p.m. EST. Saturday, March 13 is a rest day.

Rijeka is the principal seaport of Croatia, located on an inlet of the Adriatic Sea

Rijeka has a humid subtropical climate with warm summers and relatively mild and rainy winters

The city has 150,000 inhabitants and is Croatia's third largest city

A bronze statue of "The Eternal Croatian Grandmaster" (or something similar)

Photos by GM Dejan Bojkov, Bulgaria

Round eight

Men's section

Tournament leader, Jobava, confirmed the age old adage, “When you’re hot, you’re hot!” by beating top-seed Zoltan Almasi, rated 2720, in a very tough game when the latter erred in the endgame. Jobava achieved very little if anything in the opening and early middlegame, but through inspiration or precognition, decided to send his h-pawn on a solitary venture into Almasi’s way. Though it seemed ineffectual in itself, in the end, it turned out to be the deciding factor in the Georgian’s victory, leaving him with sole lead at 7.0/8 and a huge 2956 Elo performance.

Jobava,Baadur (2695) - Almasi,Zoltan (2720) [E12]
11th European Individual Men Chess Cham Rijeka/Croatia (8), 14.03.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Bd2 Nd7 8.Qc2 c5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.dxc5 Bxc5N 11.e3 0-0 12.Bd3 Nf6 13.0-0 Ne4 14.Bb4 Qe7 15.Bxc5 bxc5 16.b4 cxb4 17.axb4 Qxb4 18.Rfb1 Qe7 19.Nd4 g6 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Qb3 Rfc8 22.h4 Rc7 23.h5 Qg5 24.Qd1 a6 25.Rb6 Bc8 26.Qb1 Bf5 27.h6 Rac8 28.Nxf5 gxf5 29.Qb2 Rd8 30.Rbxa6 Rcd7 31.g3 Qg4 32.Qf6 Rd1+ 33.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 34.Kh2 Qh5+ 35.Qh4 Qxh4+ 36.gxh4

36...f4? Though the f-pawn is doomed, there is no reason to just hand it over. Let White spend the tempi necessary to capture it, and in the meantime get the king off the 8th and activate the rook. 36...Kf8 37.Kg3 Ke7 38.Kf4 Rd2 39.Kxf5 Rxf2+ 40.Ke5 (40.Kxe4 Rh2 41.Ke5 Rxh4) 40...Rh2 41.Ra7+ Ke8. 37.exf4 Kf8 38.Kg3 Ke7 39.f5 Rd3+ 40.Kf4 Rf3+ 41.Ke5! Rxf2 42.Ra7+ Ke8 43.Kf6 Kd8 44.Ra4! e3 45.Re4 e2 46.Kg7 Rxf5 47.Rxe2 Rf4 48.Kxh7 Rg4 49.Re5 f6 50.Re6 Kd7 51.Rxf6 Ke7 52.Rf5 Rxh4 53.Kg6 1-0. [Click to replay]

Efimenko on the other hand was unable to maintain the same pace set by his co-leader, and was forced to settle for a draw against Vladimir Akopian in an uneventful sideline of the Ruy Lopez, leaving him a half point behind. He was joined by both Ivan Sokolov, co-champion in last year’s European Championship, who outlasted Alexander Riazantsev, finishing the game with a decisive attack.

Also coming with a half point of Jobava, with 6.5/8 is the rising star, the Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, who built up a huge position against his compatriot GM Inarkiev, and culminating in a spectacular sacrifice on f7 to finish in style.

Nepomniachtchi,Ian (2656) - Inarkiev,Ernesto (2667) [C77]
11th European Individual Men Chess Cham Rijeka/Croatia (8), 14.03.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 g6 7.Nbd2 Bg7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Re1 b5 10.Bc2 Re8 11.a4 Bb7 12.b4 Qe7 13.Nb3 Rad8 14.Qe2 Qd7 15.Bd2 Rb8 16.axb5 axb5 17.c4 Ne7 18.cxb5 Qxb5 19.Na5 Qd7 20.Ba4 c6 21.Rac1 Rec8 22.d4 exd4 23.Nxd4 Ne8 24.Qd3 Ba8 25.h3 Rb6 26.Nf3 Nc7 27.Nc4 Ra6 28.Bb3 Rd8 29.Bf4 Ne6 30.Bg3 d5 31.Nce5 Qb7 32.Qe2 Rb6

33.Nxf7!! Kxf7 34.exd5 cxd5 35.Rc7 Rd7. 35...Qa6 36.Ng5+! Kg8 (36...Nxg5 37.Qxe7+) 37.Qxa6 Rxa6 38.Nxe6 Rxe6 39.Rxe6 Nf5 40.Ra6 Nxg3 41.Rxa8 Rxa8 42.Bxd5+ Kf8 43.Bxa8. 36.Rxb7 Bxb7 37.Ba4 Ba6 38.Ne5+ Bxe5 39.Qxe5 Ra7 40.Qh8 Nf8 41.Bh4 g5 42.Bxg5 Rg6 43.Qd4 Rb7 44.Qf4+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

Women's section

In the women’s section, tournament leader Monika Socko drew against Swedish GM Pia Cramling in a sharp game that often seemed to be close to winning, but never actually got across the finish line. On the other hand, she was rejoined at 6.5/8 by Lithuanian IM Cmilyte who overcame Arakhamia-Grant, when the latter blundered into a mating sequence.

Cmilyte,Viktorija (2485) - Arakhamia-Grant,Ketevan (2447) [E60]
11th European Individual Women Chess Ch Rijeka/Croatia (8), 14.03.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Nc3 d5 5.Qa4 Bg7 6.Nf3 0-0 7.Bg2 Ne4 8.0-0 Nd7 9.cxd5 Nb6 10.Qb3 Nxc3 11.bxc3 cxd5 12.Bf4 Bf5 13.a4 Be4 14.Nd2 Bxg2 15.Kxg2 a5 16.Rfb1 Ra6 17.e4 e6 18.h4 h6 19.Qa3 Re8 20.Rb5 f5 21.exd5 Nxd5 22.Nf3 Rc6 23.Bd2 b6 24.Re1 Nc7 25.Rbe5 Bxe5 26.Nxe5 Rd6 27.Bxh6 Nd5 28.Bg5 Qc7 29.c4 Nb4 30.Qc3 Qg7 31.Nf3 Nc6 32.Qa3 Nb4 33.Bf4 Rdd8 34.Be5 Nc2 35.Qc3 Nxe1+ 36.Qxe1 Qf7 37.Qe3 Rc8 38.c5 bxc5 39.dxc5 Red8 40.h5 Rd5 41.h6 Rcxc5 42.Ba1 f4 43.Qb3 Rd8 44.gxf4

44...Qf5?? Better was 44...Rh5 45.Ng5 Qf5 46.h7+ Rxh7 47.Nxh7 Qg4+ 48.Kh2 Qxf4+ 49.Kg2 Kxh7. 45.h7+ Kxh7 46.Qb7+ Kh6 47.Qg7+ Kh5 48.Qh7+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

Round nine

A black day for the two leaders who had led throughout the event, as both lose their respective games to spectacular attacks.

Men's section

Jobava met the young gun, nineteen-year-old Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, who trailed by a half-point after beating Inarkiev in great style in the previous round. Nepomniachtchi was clearly very inspired, and pulled out all stops to wrest the lead with a spectacular win.

Nepomniachtchi,Ian (2656) - Jobava,Baadur (2695) [B12]
11th European Individual Men Chess Cham Rijeka/Croatia (9), 15.03.2010

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 Qb6 4.a4 e5 5.dxe5 dxe4 6.a5 Qc7 7.f4 Nh6 8.Nc3 Bb4 9.Bd2 e3 10.Bxe3 0-0 11.Nf3 Rd8 12.Bd3 Na6 13.Qe2 Bxa5 14.0-0 Nb4 15.Be4 Bf5 16.Kh1 Bb6 17.Bxb6 Qxb6 18.Ng5 c5 19.Rae1 Qg6 20.Bxb7 Nxc2 21.Nd5 Rxd5 22.Bxd5 Bd3 23.Qf3 Re8

24.e6! Nxe1 25.Rxe1 fxe6 26.Rxe6 Kh8 27.h3! Forced since 27.Rxg6?? is met by 27...Re1+. 27...Rxe6 28.Bxe6 Bb5 29.f5!

29...Qe8. 29...Qxg5? 30.Qa8+ 30.f6! Qf8 [30...gxf6 31.Qxf6#] 31.f7. The mate is unstoppable. e.g. 31.f7 a5 32.Qe4 Threatening Qxh7 mate 32...g6 33.Qe5+ Qg7 34.f8Q+ Ng8 35.Qxg8#. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Riazantsev,Alexander (2660) - Sokolov,Ivan (2638) [A56]
11th European Individual Men Chess Cham Rijeka/Croatia (8), 14.03.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.g3 h5 6.Nf3 Be7 7.Bg2 Nbd7 8.e4 a6 9.a4 Nf8 10.a5 Rb8 11.0-0 b5 12.axb6 Rxb6 13.Na4 Rb4 14.Qc2 Ng6 15.Bd2 Rb8 16.Rfb1 Bd7 17.b4 cxb4 18.Rxb4 0-0 19.Ne1 Rxb4 20.Bxb4 Qc7 21.Nd3 h4 22.Nab2 Qb7 23.Qc3 Ra8 24.Ba3 Rc8 25.c5 dxc5 26.Nc4 h3

27.Bh1?! This move looks incredibly strange. Perhaps White envisioned an f4 and didn't want the bishop in the way, but why not try to develop it via f3 instead of burying it on h1? 27...Bb5 28.Ndxe5 Nxe5 29.Nxe5 Re8 30.Bb2 Bf8 31.Rd1 c4 32.Qd4 Qc8

33.Nc6? This mistake was possibly caused by a hallucination in which Riazantsev thought the pawn was untouchable. 33...Bxc6 34.dxc6 Qxc6 35.e5 Qe6! The knight cannot be taken as 36.exf6?? would allow Qe1+ and mate. 36.Bf3 Bb4 37.Rf1 Nd7 38.Bd5 Nxe5 39.f4 Qc8 40.Kh1 Bc5

41.Qc3. 41.Qe4 was forced, after which a draw by perpetual is clear. 41...Nd3 42.Qg6 Nf2+ 43.Kg1 Ng4+ 44.Kh1 Nf2+. 41...Qd7. Sokolov now finishes the attack with surgical precision. 42.Rd1 Qg4 43.Rf1 Nd3 44.Bf3 Qg6 45.Qxc4 Nf2+ 46.Kg1 Ne4+ 47.Bd4 Nd2 48.Qxc5 Qd3 0-1. [Click to replay]

Right behind Nepomniachtchi, sole leader with 7.5/9, are no less than seven players, Jobava, I. Sokolov, Efimenko, Akopian, Khismatullin, Timofeev, and R. Mamedov on 7.0/9.

Timofeev,Artyom (2655) - Melkumyan,Hrant (2582) [C90]
11th European Individual Men Chess Cham Rijeka/Croatia (9), 15.03.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a3 d6 9.c3 Be6 10.d4 Bxb3 11.Qxb3 Nd7 12.Qc2 Bf6 13.Be3 Ne7 14.a4 c6 15.Nbd2 Qc7 16.h3 Nb6 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.c4 Qb7 19.Qb3 Nd7 20.Red1 Rfb8 21.Qc2 Nf8 22.Bc5 Rd8 23.Nb3 Ne6 24.Bd6 Nd4 25.Rxd4! exd4 26.e5 Ng6 27.c5 d3

28.Qc3! 28.Qxd3? Nxe5 29.Nxe5 Bxe5 30.Na5 Qd7. 28...Be7 29.Na5 Qc8 30.Nd4 Bxd6 31.exd6 Nf4 32.Qd2 Ne2+ 33.Nxe2 dxe2 34.Qxe2 Qd7 35.Qg4 Qxg4 36.hxg4 Rac8 37.axb5 axb5 38.Re1 Kf8 39.Re7 Re8 40.Rb7 Re1+ 41.Kh2 Re6 42.b4 g5 43.Kg3 Rf6 44.Rc7 1-0. [Click to replay]

Right behind Nepomniachtchi, sole leader with 7.5/9, are no less than seven players, Jobava, I. Sokolov, Efimenko, Akopian, Khismatullin, Timofeev, and R. Mamedov on 7.0/9.

Women’s section

Polish GM Monika Socko had managed to protect her lead until now, when she was caught up by IM Viktorija Cmilyte in the last round. The Lithuanian IM was clearly on a high as she surprised her opponent with a Shliemann Defense against the Ruy Lopez. She built this into a huge attack and took over the lead in spectacular fashion.

Socko,Monika (2465) - Cmilyte,Viktorija (2485) [C63]
11th European Individual Women Chess Ch Rijeka/Croatia (9), 15.03.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.d3 fxe4 5.dxe4 Nf6 6.0-0 Bc5 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.Nxe5 0-0 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.Bxf6 Rxf6 11.Nd3 Bd4 12.c3 Bb6 13.Nd2 d5 14.e5 Rf8 15.Kh1 Qg6 16.Nb3 Ba6 17.Nbc1 Rf5 18.Qd2 Raf8 19.a4 Rh5 20.Re1 Rff5 21.h3

21...Rf3!! Superb, and decisive. 22.Nf4 Qh6 23.gxf3 Rxh3+ 24.Nxh3 Qxh3+ 25.Kg1 Qg3+ 26.Kh1 Bxf2 27.Qxf2 The only move to prevent Qh3 mate. 27...Qxf2 28.Nb3 Qxf3+ 29.Kg1 Be2 30.Nd4 Qg3+ 31.Kh1 Bd3 32.e6 Be4+ 33.Rxe4 dxe4 34.Rf1 Qh4+ 35.Kg2 Qg5+ 36.Kh3 e3 37.b4 c5 38.bxc5 Qxc5 39.Kg2 g6 40.Rf3 Qe5 41.Nc2 e2 42.Kf2 Qxe6 43.Ke1 Qe4 0-1. [Click to replay]

On Board 2, top-seed Bulgarian Stefanova also won her game, when she uncorked a very nice shot, to end the game after a mere 23 moves.

Stefanova,Antoaneta (2555) - Zhukova,Natalia (2492) [E04]
11th European Individual Women Chess Ch Rijeka/Croatia (9), 15.03.2010

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 c5 6.0-0 cxd4 7.Qxd4 Qxd4 8.Nxd4 a6 9.Nd2 Bc5 10.Nc2 Nd5 11.Nxc4 Bd7 12.b4 Ba7 13.e4 Nb6 14.Nd6+ Ke7 15.Nxb7 Rc8 16.Ne3 Na4 17.Rd1 Nc3 18.Rd2 Bd4 19.Bb2 Nc6 20.Re1 Rc7

21.Nd5+!! exd5. 21...Nxd5 22.exd5 Bxb2 23.d6+. 22.exd5+ Be6. 22...Kf8 23.dxc6 Bxc6 24.Bxc6 Rxc6 25.Rxd4. 23.d6+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

Behind IM Cmylite, sole leader with 7.5/9, are GM Stefanova, IM A. Muzychuk, and GM Cramling, all on 7.0/9.

Top scorers in the men's section (nine rounds)

# Ti. Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   Rp
1 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2656 7.5 40.0 51.5
2 GM Efimenko Zahar UKR 2640 7.0 42.0 53.5
3 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2695 7.0 41.5 53.5
4 GM Sokolov Ivan BIH 2638 7.0 40.0 51.0
5 GM Mamedov Rauf AZE 2639 7.0 39.0 51.0
6 GM Timofeev Artyom RUS 2655 7.0 38.0 48.5
7 GM Khismatullin Denis RUS 2657 7.0 37.0 48.5
8 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2688 7.0 37.0 48.0
9 GM Movsesian Sergei SVK 2709 6.5 41.5 53.5
10 GM Alekseev Evgeny RUS 2700 6.5 39.0 50.0
11 GM Ragger Markus AUT 2572 6.5 39.0 49.5
12 GM Fressinet Laurent FRA 2670 6.5 38.5 49.0
13 GM Berkes Ferenc HUN 2659 6.5 37.5 48.5
14 GM Lysyj Igor RUS 2615 6.5 37.5 48.0
GM Potkin Vladimir RUS 2606 6.5 37.5 48.0
16 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2667 6.5 37.0 49.0
17 GM Sutovsky Emil ISR 2650 6.5 37.0 48.0
18 GM Salgado Lopez Ivan ESP 2592 6.5 34.5 44.5
19 GM Macieja Bartlomiej POL 2625 6.5 34.0 44.0

Top scorers in the women's section (nine rounds)

# Ti. Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   Rp
1 IM Cmilyte Viktorija LTU 2485 7.5 39.0 49.0
2 IM Muzychuk Anna SLO 2533 7.0 42.0 52.5
3 GM Stefanova Antoaneta BUL 2555 7.0 40.5 53.0
4 GM Cramling Pia SWE 2523 7.0 38.0 48.0
5 GM Socko Monika POL 2465 6.5 43.0 54.5
6 GM Kosintseva Tatiana RUS 2524 6.5 41.0 51.5
7 WGM Zawadzka Jolanta POL 2404 6.5 40.5 51.5
8 WGM Galojan Lilit ARM 2380 6.5 40.0 51.0
9 GM Sebag Marie FRA 2506 6.5 38.0 47.5
10 IM Romanko Marina RUS 2409 6.5 37.5 47.0
11 IM Ushenina Anna UKR 2452 6.5 36.0 46.0
12 IM Dembo Yelena GRE 2457 6.5 33.5 44.0

Video interviews by Europe Echecs

Interview by GM Robert Fontaine with Topalov manager and chess organiser Silvio Danailov

Danailov states that the World Championship match in Sofia, which starts in April, is going well: "Of course we have some difficulties, but just logistic – there are a lot of small details we have to manage. But everything is fine." Danailov states that the "Sofia rules" will be applied in the match. "Even if they are not official, if one player doesn't offer or accept draws they will apply. Vishy does not agree with it, but he will be forced, because Topalov will not offer him a draw and not speak to him. This is absolutely right, this is the future of chess." He says that Topalov is in great shape, having won Linares without showing any opening ideas. At the end of the video there is a short interview with Topalov's second Ivan Cheparinov.

Video impressions and interviews with Robert Fontaine

All videos by Europe Echecs


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