Sockos win Polish Championships

4/24/2013 – The Polish Chess Championship, which took place from 13-21 April in Chorzow, was dominated by the Socko family. Bartosz won the open tournament, while Monika prevailed in the women's event, however not without the thrill of the final round battles. Grzegorz Gajewski took silver, 18-year-old Kamil Dragun took bronze,  the greatest surprise of the tournament. Big pictorial report.

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Bartosz and Monika Socko win Polish Chess Championships

Report by Beata Kadziolka

In the middle of the tournaments many believed that the reigning champions – Mateusz Bartel and Iweta Rajlich, would defend their titles. Bartel was playing safely and never ran into serious troubles, at least until the eighth round, when he lost to Bartosz Socko, who went into the share lead with Gajewski with six points each.

Mateusz Bartel – this time "only" bronze

Third place was shared by Bartel and Dragun with 6.0 points each. Everybody was expecting an exciting battle between the two leaders in the last round, but they both preferred a non-risk game and drew in an unspectacular way. At the same time Bartel, not without troubles, drew with Miton, while Dragun easily drew with Swiercz. The results meant a tie-break for the title between Socko and Gajewski, and a bronze medal for Mateusz Bartel. In the tie-break Gajewski went for an exchange sacrifice and had to defend a worse position. Eventually he got a drawish endgame B vs R, where he finally blundered the bishop, game and the title, which went to Bartosz Socko, for the second time in his career.

Grzegorz Gajewski – the best theoretician in Poland
gained his first medal in the national championship

The second place of Grzegorz Gajewski is not a big surprise. He made a huge progress in the last years and was recently showing only good or very good results. He complicated his chances for the final victory already in the first round, when he lost to the 15-year-old Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Mateusz Bartel didn't manage to defend the title, however this bronze medal is one of his best results recently.

Grzegorz Gajewski (right) facing 15-year-old Jan-Krzysztof Duda in round one

A talent to watch: IM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, 15, rated 2497

Kamil Dragun, 17 years old, the "Polish Tal "

A fantastic tournament was played by the 17-year-old Kamil Dragun, former world youth champion. He finished fourth and won a lot of interesting games. His playing style may be compared with the Tal's – his games were thrilling and full of sacrifices. One may say that they were also not free from mistakes, but at the same time they were so wild and complicated that it was his opponents who were making more mistakes.

IM Kacper Drozdowski, rated 2432

Final standings

# Ti Player Rtng Pts TB1 TB2
1 GM Socko, Bartosz 2651 6.5 37.50 49.00
2 GM Gajewski, Grzegorz 2653 6.5 34.50 44.00
3 GM Bartel, Mateusz 2619 6.0 35.50 46.00
4 IM Dragun, Kamil 2492 6.0 35.50 45.00
5 GM Swiercz, Dariusz 2622 5.5 37.50 46.50
6 GM Tomczak, Jacek 2564 5.0 37.50 48.00
7 GM Miton, Kamil 2628 5.0 37.50 47.50
8 GM Piorun, Kacper 2529 5.0 35.50 45.00
9 GM Kempinski, Robert 2599 5.0 34.50 45.00
10 IM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2497 5.0 33.50 43.00
11 GM Markowski, Tomasz 2558 5.0 33.50 43.00
12 GM Grabarczyk, Miroslaw   2452 5.0 33.00 43.00
13 IM Tazbir, Marcin 2555 5.0 31.00 40.00
14 GM Macieja, Bartlomiej 2608 5.0 28.00 36.50
15 IM Hnydiuk, Aleksander 2400 4.0 30.50 39.00
16 IM Szelag, Marcin 2484 4.0 29.50 38.50
17 GM Bulski, Krzysztof 2549 4.0 29.50 38.00
18 IM Drozdowski, Kacper 2432 4.0 29.00 38.00
19 IM Urban, Klaudiusz 2467 4.0 28.50 36.00
20 GM Jaracz, Pawel 2548 4.0 27.00 34.50
21 IM Pakleza, Zbigniew 2486 3.5 29.00 36.50
22 k Gajek, Radoslaw 2303 3.5 28.00 35.50
23 IM Kanarek, Marcel 2482 3.5 27.00 34.50
24 FM Licznerski, Lukasz 2338 3.0 23.00 30.00
25 IM Czakon, Jakub 2485 2.5 27.00 35.00
26 IM Orzech, Dominik 2379 1.5 25.50 34.50

Gold, silver and bronze for Bartosz Socko, Grzegorz Gajewski and Mateusz Bartel

Women's section

In the women's event it was Iweta Rajlich who was trying to defend the title and claim the national champion for the eighth time in her career. The only problem was that she was not playing well, in fact she had a lot of luck and was collecting points in miserable or drawish positions. Anyway she was leading or sharing the lead almost throughout the whole tournament, but lost in the penultimate round to Monika Socko, who with that victory celebrated her second win in the tournament (six draws and two wins). Very close to the sole lead before the last round was Jolanta Zawadzka, who technically outplayed Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska in an equal endgame, but was unable to transform it into a full point.

Deserved silver: Jolanta Zawadzka

Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska – played a solid tournament and won a bronze

The most exciting games in the first round were expected to be between K. Szczepkowska-Horowska and J. Majdan-Gajewska and J. Zawadzka vs M. Przezdziecka. Many fans hoped for a seven-player tie-break, which was theoretically possible, but actually everyone exepected Iweta to outplay Agnieszka Matras-Clement easily. Sometimes (and in sport quite often) the reality differs from the expectations and in fact Iweta never had real chances for a victory and finally drew.

WGM Marta Przezdziecka, rated 2286

Zawadzka played a very miserable game against Marta Przezdziecka, where she could resign with a clear conscience, but the fortune came back to Jola (who played without any luck the whole event and drew a lot of winning positions): Marta blundered a rook and the game ended in a draw.

Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska (above) easily outplayed Joanna Majdan-Gajewska after the opening, but then played poorly and the position equalized. Fortunately for Karina, her opponent blundered a bishop.

Chess is so hard – Joanna Majdan-Gajewska

Iweta Rajlich, who is expecting her second child, didn't manage
to stand the strain of the tie-break and finished only fourth

The best game of her tournament was played in the last round by Monika Socko who simply smashed Anna Iwanow. Joanna Worek got a bye from Anna Gasik, who withdrew from the tournament after the sixth round, which precluded Asia from gaining her final WGM norm.

Joanna Worek – a very tough opponent for everyone

The tie-break in the women's event was a double round robin with four players: M. Socko, I. Rajlich, J. Zawadzka and K. Szczepkowska-Horowska. As everybody expected the games were exciting, thrilling and full of blunders as all players were already extremely tired. In the end Socko, Zawadzka and Szczepkowska-Horowska shared first place with 3.5 points out of six games and finished the tournament in the order given below on the basis of Berger tie-break from the main tournament. Monika Socko won the fifth title in her career.

# Title Player Rtng Pts
1 GM Socko, Monika 2451 6.0
2 WGM Zawadzka, Jolanta 2376 6.0
3 WGM Szczepkowska-Horowska, K.   2360 6.0
4 IM Rajlich, Iweta 2406 6.0
5 WIM Worek, Joanna 2312 5.5
6 WGM Majdan-Gajewska, Joanna 2383 5.0
7 WGM Przezdziecka, Marta 2286 5.0
8 WIM Matras-Clement, Agnieszka 2274 3.5
9 WIM Iwanow, Anna 2209 2.0
10 WIM Gasik, Anna 2238 0.0

Gold, silver and bronze for Monika Socko, Jolanta Zawadzka and Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska

Monika and Bartosz Socko both showed nerves of steel and claimed the national championship titles. They had already celebrated the "double gold" in 2008.

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