Tal Memorial Rapid won by Vladimir Onischuk

by Albert Silver
3/9/2017 – Organized by Alexei Shirov together with the Riga Chess Federation, the Tal Memorial Rapid tournament was recently held in Jurmala, Latvia. The aim of the tournament was to pay tribute to the brightest representative of Latvian Chess ever, and players from all around the world came to enjoy this event. The tournament was won by Vladimir Onischuk, but the biggest surprise was the 6th place finish by veteran Evgeny Sveshnikov. Here is the illustrated report.

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All photos from official site

In the opening speech, Alexei Shirov (above) gave a moving tribute to his hero, Mikhail Tal, whom the event was organized around. Even though there already is a well known Tal Memorial event organized in Russia, it made perfect sense that one should be made in his native Latvia. It was organized as a three-tier rapid event, divided in ratings groups, with a prizefund of 7100 Euros. The time control was 12 minutes plus a five-second increment per move.

Without question, the player who hailed from the greatest distance was Eric Hansen from Canada. He placed 12th with 7.5/11. The Canadian player has been evolving constantly, and an interesting detail came after subjecting his games to computer analysis (in this author's effort to locate tactical shots found or missed): at least two games saw no blunders by either player, but ended in crushing wins. This evidenced he had slowly squeezed his opponents to their asphyxiation.

Mind you, this is not to say Hansen was the only representative from the new world. Alexander Shabalov, four-time US Champion was there, also to honor his great compatriot, having hismelf been born in Riga, Latvia. He came in 13th with 7.5/11.

The best of the Americans was Jaan Ehlvest, who finished in 10th place with 7.5/11

Two strong Dutch players were also present: Benjamin Bok, who had a fantastic event and came in 4th place with 8.5/11, ...

... and Loek Van Wely

Another ex-pat from Lativa was Daniel Fridman, born in Latvia but now living in and playing for Germany, He cam in 8th place with 8.0/11

Kartunnen - Fridman

Czech Grandmaster Viktor Laznicka scored 6.5/11

Latvian GM Igor Kovalenko is a well-known specialist in rapid time controls, with notable results at the World Rapid Championship. He came in 7th place with 8.0/11.

Perhaps the biggest surprise came from 67-year-old Evgeny Sveshnikov, who player superbly and came in 6th place with 8.0/11. See below some of his handiwork.

Sveshnikov - Meskovs

IM Maxim Notkin finished with 6.5/11

A familiar sight in any well-packed event

Many came with their families, who were wll provided for

Ukrainian GM Natalia Zhukova

An encore of the champion, Vladimir Onischuk, receiving his prize from Alexei Shirov. Onischuk finished in sole first with 9.0/11. His rapid rating (2702) is considerably higher than his standard rating, and this result confirms his special talent at faster time controls.

Final standings after 11 rounds

Rk
SNo
 
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
rtg+/-
1
2
GM
Onischuk Vladimir
UKR
2702
9,0
12,2
2
11
GM
Neiksans Arturs
LAT
2605
8,5
33,8
3
8
GM
Jumabayev Rinat
KAZ
2619
8,5
24,2
4
10
GM
Bok Benjamin
NED
2606
8,5
12,4
5
9
GM
Fedorov Alexei
BLR
2611
8,0
11,8
6
28
GM
Sveshnikov Evgeny
RUS
2458
8,0
68,6
7
3
GM
Kovalenko Igor
LAT
2664
8,0
-10,2
8
4
GM
Fridman Daniel
GER
2663
8,0
-4,6
9
12
GM
Aleksandrov Aleksej
BLR
2599
8,0
9,8
10
15
GM
Ehlvest Jaan
USA
2558
7,5
33,4
11
18
GM
Stocek Jiri
CZE
2530
7,5
37,4
12
7
GM
Hansen Eric
CAN
2635
7,5
-18,2
13
13
GM
Shabalov Alexander
USA
2570
7,5
-8,4
14
69
 
Orndahl Markus
SWE
2230
7,5
96,8
15
1
GM
Shirov Alexei
LAT
2723
7,5
-37,6
16
32
GM
Starostits Ilmars
LAT
2439
7,5
14,6
17
23
IM
Kantans Toms
LAT
2511
7,0
27,6
18
21
IM
Vavulin Maksim
RUS
2512
7,0
5,6
19
36
IM
Panchenko Dmitry
RUS
2402
7,0
45,6
20
16
GM
Miezis Normunds
LAT
2548
7,0
-8,6
21
6
GM
Van Wely Loek
NED
2639
7,0
-30,2
22
20
GM
Gleizerov Evgeny
RUS
2523
7,0
-23,6
23
34
FM
Gorodetzky David
ISR
2424
7,0
21,6
24
19
GM
Kveinys Aloyzas
LTU
2525
7,0
-28,4
25
38
FM
Bernotas Arturs
LAT
2390
7,0
16,4
26
30
FM
Esipenko Andrey
RUS
2453
7,0
-14,6
27
14
GM
Gunina Valentina
RUS
2568
7,0
-48,0
28
66
MK
Stepins Edgars
LAT
2244
7,0
30,0
29
25
GM
Ladva Ottomar
EST
2473
6,5
28,0
30
5
GM
Laznicka Viktor
CZE
2662
6,5
-43,8

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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delax001 delax001 3/11/2017 07:59
Albert, to call 28.Re3 a ?! dubious move in Sveshnikov-Meshkov is not serious. Call things for what they are, a blunder. Any 2000+ player will find 28. Re6, winning a piece and the game, in 9 out of 10 blitz games. Your admiration for the chess legend Sveshnikov is understandable, but not excusable.
Babysplitz Babysplitz 3/10/2017 11:19
12 minutes plus 5 sec increaments
Babysplitz Babysplitz 3/10/2017 11:18
12 minutes plus 5 sec increments
Papatactics Papatactics 3/10/2017 05:29
Thought the picture of IM Notkin was GM Roman Dzindzi haha
Steven E DuCharm Steven E DuCharm 3/10/2017 05:11
I don't like the 4 games lasting 5 or 6 moves
milignus milignus 3/10/2017 03:11
Fantastic! Onischuk is my idol! By the way I want to share this stickers wit you: Chess players stickers for Telegram https://telegram.me/addstickers/chessplayers
parselmouth parselmouth 3/10/2017 01:54
Maybe call it the petrosian memorial. Russians play boring chess these days.
raghavbalaji raghavbalaji 3/10/2017 01:52
Sir
the board should be provided with notation to replay and enjoy the analysis
. now the two are separate and it is useless.
Lachesis Lachesis 3/9/2017 09:42
Great coverage including pictures, BUT no mention of the time control used for this event, except to say it was a Rapid Event. I had to check the website for the event to learn it was G/12/5
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