Shakhryar Mamedyarov wins Essent Hoogeveen

10/22/2007 – With a win and two draws Shak Mamedyarov took the four-player double round robin in Essent by half a point. Behind him Ruslan Ponomariov and Loek van Wely switched places – Loek took second – and at the end of the table former Junior World Champion Zaven Andriasyan stayed firmly with his zero point score. Games, results and a photo special by Fred Lucas.

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Essent Chess Tournament 2007

The Crown Group consists of four players, who take part in a double round robin tournament. Here are the participants with their ratings and world rankings:

Player Country
rating
rank
Shakhryar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan
2752
7
Ruslan Ponomariov Ukraine
2705
21
Loek van Wely Netherlands
2679
31
Zaven Andriasyan Armenia
2546
--

A special feature of this tournament is that the players in the Crown Group have to play with glass pieces.

The second half of the event reflected the first, at the top and bottom of the table. Top seed Shak Mamedyarov played two draws and a win (in the first half it was two wins and a draw) to take sole first place. And underdog (and Junior World Champion) Zaven Andriasyan, almost 170 rating points lower than the average of his opponents, lost all his games, as he did in the first half. This was the negative record in the event: a pure and unadulterated zero out of six points.

In the middle of the table Holland's top grandmaster Loek van Wely switched places with former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov. In the first half "Pono" (as he does not like to be called) had a win and two draws to van Wely's win, loss and a draw. In the second half van Wely turned up the heat, scoring two wins and a draw to Ponomariov's win, draw and loss. The key game here was, of course, the encounter between the two:

Ponomariov,R (2705) - Van Wely,L (2680) [B90]
Essent Crown Group Hoogeveen NED (6), 20.10.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Qd2 Be7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 10.f4 Ng4 11.g3 Nxe3 12.Qxe3 b5 13.Kb1 Nf6 14.Be2 Qb8 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.exd5 Qc7 17.g4 0-0 18.fxe5 dxe5 19.g5 Ne8 20.Bg4 a5 21.Rhe1 Bd6 22.Qd3 a4 23.Nc1 a3 24.b3 Bb4 25.Re4 Be7 26.Qe3 Bc5 27.Qc3 Nd6 28.Rxe5 b4 29.Qd3 Rae8 30.Re2 Rxe2 31.Nxe2 Qe7 32.c3 Qxg5 33.Bd7 Qe5 34.Rc1 Qxh2 35.cxb4 Bxb4 36.Rc2 Qh1+ 37.Nc1 Rd8 38.Bc6 f5 39.Re2 Qg1

Loek van Wely has outplayed his opponent in this aggressive Najdorf. Black is a pawn up and on the attack, so he should be able to take the full point. Pomomariov helps him in this endeavor: 40.Re6? Rf8 (good enough, but 40...Nf4 is more effective) 41.Qe2? Ne4! Threatening 42...Nc3+ and 42...Bd2+. 42.Kc2. Covers these threats, but... 42...Qd4. Opening a new, one-gallon can of worms, so 0-1.

Final standings

Picture gallery by Fred Lucas


Essent's Four: Ponomariov, Andriasian, Mamedyarov, van Wely


The name is Mamedyarov. Shak Mamedyarov


Loek van Wely in killer mode


Loek, the top Dutch player, with Pablo Picasso looking on


Zaven Andriasyan, Junior World Champion from Armenia


Me 'n Pablo: Ruslan Ponomariov, former FIDE World Champion


Donna Schut, rated 1999, participant in the Essent Open


Rob Hartoch, arbiter


Caught between glass: Loek van Wely


Zaven Andriasyan recording his moves


Pono vs Shak in round three – the game ended in a draw


The winner of the open group IM Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan


Remember him? Amon Simutowe took 11th place in the Open


Ruslan checking out the art work in the offices of the newspaper 'Hoogeveensche Courant'


Shak with sister Turkan Mamedjarova (left, who made an IM norm in the Open), and friends from Azerbajdzjan who live in Holland

All pictures © Fred Lucas


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