Rustemov takes Dos Hermanas title

4/8/2003 – Big names like Shirov, Khalifman, and Linares participant Vallejo were left in the dust as Russia's Alexander Rustemov took first with 6/9. His score was matched in the final round when Dreev wore down Campora in a marathon, but Rustemov won the title on tiebreaks over his countryman. Report, photos, and a selection of games here.

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Rustemov leaves big names behind in Spain

29-year-old Alexander Rustemov notched his career best result by winning the category 15 (2625 average) Dos Hermanas tournament. His solid 6/9 undefeated score was matched by Alexei Dreev in the final round, but Rustemov took the title on tiebreaks. His spectacular win over Vallejo was the only decisive game between the top six finishers. The event was mostly about this top six bashing the bottom four.

Game replay and download page

1999 FIDE world champion Alexander Khalifman scored +2 in an unambitious performance good enough for equal 3-4 with local player Francisco Vallejo Pons. The Spaniard played the most interesting chess in Dos Hermanas and missed various opportunities to improve his standing. Alexei Shirov came directly from Melody Amber and was hanging around the top of the table until being outplayed in complications by Argentine Daniel Campora in the eighth round. That dropped him back into a tie at +1 with Epishin, who played a very discreet event with one win and eight draws.


Winner Alexander Rustemov
All photos by Ismael Nieto of www.fsajedrez.com

Then comes a 1.5 point drop to what you could call the B tournament. The veteran Campora, both underrated and underestimated, played fighting chess and deserved better than his -3 score. Instead it was 13-year-old Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine who stepped up at the last minute to avoid a four-way tie for last place. He got his only win against Tiviakov in the final round to send the Dutch representative to the cellar. Karjakin started with two losses and got into trouble in the opening several times. Youthful fortitude gave him enough energy to grind out a 113-move piece-up endgame against Tiviakov. (In what was no doubt a confusion with Radjabov, a report at the official website once refers to Karjakin as an Azeri!)


Vallejo-Karjakin (who is NOT sitting in a high-chair)

Tiviakov's tournament was a disaster from start to finish. At least he had the consolation of a win against Illescas, who was the only winless player in the field. The overall quality of play was very uneven thanks to several players being far from their best form. Many winning advantages were squandered and several drawn endgames were blown.

Dreev gave Karjakin a 15-move draw in the eighth round, something that would have come back to haunt him had Campora held a drawn endgame against him in the final round. Rustemov also had his share of luck in the final round. In what must have been terrible mutual time trouble his 39..Ra7?? loses instantly to 40.Rxf8+ Rxf8 41.Rxa7, but Epishin also missed it.

One good thing about having some players in bad form is that we got several spectacular games. Tiviakov was on the wrong side of two nice attacking efforts. One was a demolition of his beloved Dragon Sicilian by Shirov and the other saw the move of the tournament by Dreev.

In this position Dreev unleashed 20.Re6!! Black has no good defense and went down in flames after 20..Bxe6 21.dxe6 f5 22.h5 gxh5

[Black's only hope was 22...Be7 23.Ne5 Nxe5 24.Bxe5 g5 25.Rd1 ( 25.g4 Qc8 26.Bd5) 25...Qc8 26.Bb5 a6 27.Bd3 Bf6 28.Bd6 Rd8 29.Bxf5; 22...g5 23.e7 Qxe7 24.Bd5+ Kh7 25.Re1 Qd8 26.Be6!]

23.Rxh5 Qe7 24.Nh4 Qxe6 25.Nxf5 Threatening Nxh6+ 25...Be5 26.Bd5! 1-0


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