Voronezh Chess: Volkov leads the Alekhine Memorial Festival

by Priyadarshan Banjan
6/20/2017 – The Alekhine Memorial 2017 is one of the most colourful tournaments in Russia. The most attractive facet of this tournament is the variety: there is a Chess 960 tournament, Rapids, Blitz, and also a Sail of Hope tournament. And all this is apart from the main event, a classical tournament for Masters and FIDE Rated players (below 2200). Read this illustrated report after seven rounds.

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Voronezh Chess: Volkov leads Alekhine Memorial Festival

The 21st International Chess Festival "Voronezh-2017" (Alekhine Memorial) is being held in Voronezh from 10th June 2017. The festival that takes place yearly is supported by Voronezh region governor Alexey Gordeev, Voronezh region government, and the Association of Chess Professionals.

The festival is held in a chess club that serves a friendly atmosphere where a variety of chessplayers congregate every year to fight various tournaments like Chess 960, Rapid, Blitz, apart from the Classical main event in the Masters Section.

Indian GM Swapnil Dhopade won the Chess 960 event. Perhaps Voronezh is pioneering a revolution for the future?

GM Sergey Volkov (2615) started with a very shocking loss that you can watch below. However, he won all his games since then and is now leading alone with 6.0/7, half a point ahead of the rest of the field. [File Photo]

[Event "21st Alekhine Master 2017"] [Site "Voronezh"] [Date "2017.06.12"] [Round "1"] [White "Volkov, Sergey"] [Black "Tsoi, Dmitry"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2615"] [BlackElo "2326"] [Annotator "TA"] [PlyCount "84"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. dxc5 Qa5 9. e4 Nf6 10. Be3 O-O {E25: Nimzo-Indian: Sämisch: 5...c5 6 f3 d5 7 cxd5} 11. Kf2 Nfd7 12. Rb1 Rd8 {The position is equal.} 13. Qb3 (13. Rb5 Qxa3 14. Ne2 a6 15. Rb1 Qa5 16. Ra1 Ne5 17. Rxa5 Rxd1 18. Ng3 {1/2-1/2 (50) Mamedyarov,S (2743)-Lupulescu,C (2625) Tromsoe 2014}) 13... Qc7 14. Rd1 Rf8 15. Qb5 b6 16. cxb6 axb6 17. Ne2 Rxa3 18. Qb2 $146 Qa7 19. Rd2 Qa5 20. c4 (20. Nc1 $14) 20... Nc6 {...Rxe3! is the strong threat.} 21. Qb5 (21. Nd4 $5 Nce5 22. Nb5 $11) 21... Nde5 22. Qxa5 Nxa5 23. Bxb6 (23. Rc2 $15) 23... Naxc4 $17 24. Bc5 Ra5 $1 $36 {Black is really pushing.} ({Don't play} 24... Nxd2 $6 25. Bxa3 Rd8 26. Nf4 $11) 25. Bb4 {[#]} (25. Bxf8 $17 Nxd2 26. Bb4 Nxe4+ 27. fxe4 (27. Ke3 Ra4 $17) 27... Nd3+ 28. Ke3 Nxb4 29. Ng3) 25... Ra4 ({And not} 25... Nxd2 26. Bxa5 Nd3+ 27. Kg3 $11) (25... Rb5 $1 $19 26. Bxf8 Nxd2) 26. Bxf8 $15 { Threatens to win with Rd8.} Nxd2 27. Bd6 $2 {[#]} (27. Nc3 $1 $15 Ra1 28. Bd6 Nd3+ 29. Ke2) 27... Ng4+ $1 $19 28. Ke1 {[#]} (28. fxg4 {was called for.} Nxe4+ 29. Kg1 Nxd6 30. h3) 28... Nxe4 $1 {( -> ...Ra1+)} 29. Bf4 (29. fxe4 Ra1+) 29... Nef2 30. Rg1 Nd3+ 31. Kd2 Nxf4 32. fxg4 Nd5 33. h3 Ra2+ 34. Ke1 Ne3 35. Nf4 $2 (35. Kf2 Nxf1 36. Rxf1) 35... e5 36. Nh5 Bb7 {Black is clearly winning.} 37. Be2 Nxg2+ 38. Kf2 g6 39. Nf6+ Kg7 40. Ne8+ Kf8 41. Nd6 Nf4 42. Nxb7 Nxh3+ { Precision: White = 46%, Black = 79%.} 0-1

Indian talent WIM Vaishali R. (2312) caused a flutter in the first round by beating GM Dmitry Bocharov (2579).

[Event "21st Alekhine Master 2017"] [Site "Voronezh"] [Date "2017.06.12"] [Round "1"] [White "Vaishali R"] [Black "Bocharov, Dmitry"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2312"] [BlackElo "2579"] [Annotator "TA"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Be2 Nf6 6. Nc3 Qc7 7. O-O d6 8. f4 Nbd7 9. a4 b6 10. Bf3 Bb7 11. Qe2 e5 {LiveBook: 5 Games. B84: Sicilian Scheveningen: 6 Be2 a6, lines without early Be3} (11... Rc8 12. Be3 Qc4 13. Qf2 h5 14. h3 Nc5 15. e5 Nfe4 16. Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Bxe4 18. Rad1 dxe5 19. fxe5 { 1/2-1/2 (57) Popov,I (2609)-Nepomniachtchi,I (2716) Tyumen 2012}) 12. Nd5 Nxd5 13. exd5 g6 $1 {White is slightly better.} 14. Nc6 Bg7 $1 15. fxe5 (15. f5 $5) 15... Nxe5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Bh6 O-O-O $146 (17... f6 $11 {keeps the balance.}) ({Predecessor:} 17... f6 18. c4 Kf7 19. Bg4 Bc8 20. Bxc8 Raxc8 21. Rxf6+ Kxf6 22. Qg4 Qc5+ 23. Kh1 Ke7 24. Bg5+ {1-0 (24) Smyslov,V (2580)-Grigorian,K (2485) Moscow 1976}) 18. Be3 $16 Bxb2 19. Ra2 ({White should play} 19. Rab1 $16 Ba3 20. Bxb6 Bc5+ 21. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 22. Qf2) 19... Bc3 $14 20. Rb1 Rhe8 21. Qd3 {[#]} Rxe3 $1 22. Qxe3 Qc4 {...Bd4 is the strong threat.} 23. Kh1 ({Not} 23. Rxb6 $2 Bd4 $19) 23... Bd4 24. Qb3 Qxb3 25. cxb3 Re8 26. Re2 Be5 27. g3 Kd8 28. Kg2 f5 29. h4 Re7 30. Rc1 a5 31. Rd2 h6 32. Rc4 g5 33. hxg5 hxg5 34. Kf2 Rh7 (34... g4 $5 35. Bg2 Rh7 $11) 35. Bg2 Rf7 36. Rd1 f4 37. g4 Bb2 (37... Rh7 $11) 38. Be4 $16 Re7 {[#]} (38... Rf8 $142) 39. Kf3 $1 Ba3 (39... Bg7 $16 {was called for.} 40. Rh1 Re5) 40. Rh1 $18 Bc5 41. Rh8+ (41. Rcc1 $18) 41... Kc7 $2 (41... Re8 $16 42. Rxe8+ Kxe8) 42. Rc2 b5 43. Rch2 bxa4 44. bxa4 Ba6 (44... Bd4 {was worth a try.}) 45. R2h7 Rxh7 46. Rxh7+ {Endgame KRB-KB} ({Inferior is} 46. Bxh7 Bc4 $11) 46... Kb6 47. Rg7 {White is clearly winning.} Bc4 48. Rxg5 Bb3 49. Rg8 {Strongly threatening Rb8+.} Bxa4 50. g5 Bd1+ (50... Bd4 $142 51. g6 Be5) 51. Kxf4 Bd4 52. Rg7 $4 {Precision: White = 75%, Black = 51%. . Loss on Time!?} ( 52. Kf5 $18) 1-0

GM Boris Savchenko (2639) was in a fighting mood in the third round, as you can gauge from the following game:

[Event "21st Alekhine Master 2017"] [Site "Voronezh"] [Date "2017.06.14"] [Round "3"] [White "Savchenko, Boris"] [Black "Gabrielian, Artur"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2639"] [BlackElo "2506"] [Annotator "TA"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. Bd3 Bg7 8. h3 O-O 9. Nf3 b5 10. Nxb5 Re8 11. Nd2 Nxd5 12. Nc4 {A70: Modern Benoni: 6 e4 g6 7 Nf3} Nb4 13. Be2 {LiveBook: 4 Games} (13. O-O Ba6 14. Ncxd6 Nxd3 15. Qxd3 Re6 16. Qd5 Nc6 17. Bg5 Qd7 18. f4 Rb8 19. Rfd1 Nd4 {1/2-1/2 (66) Dreev,A (2677) -Belozerov,A (2506) Vladivostok 2012}) 13... Rxe4 {And now ...N8c6 would win.} 14. Ncxd6 {White is slightly better.} Rxe2+ 15. Qxe2 {[#] aiming for Bg5.} a6 $146 (15... Be6 $14) ({Predecessor:} 15... Ba6 16. Bg5 Bxb5 17. Bxd8 Bxe2 18. Kxe2 N8c6 19. Bg5 Nd4+ {1/2-1/2 (31) Lazarev,V (2410)-Cebalo,M (2515) Cannes 1995}) 16. Bg5 $1 $18 Qd7 {[#]} 17. Rd1 $1 axb5 18. Nxc8 Bd4 $2 (18... Qxc8 19. Rd8+ Qxd8 20. Bxd8 N8c6) 19. Nb6 $1 {White is clearly winning.} Qc6 {With the idea ...Ra6.} 20. Nxa8 Qxg2 {[#]} 21. Rxd4 $1 Qxg5 (21... cxd4 22. Qe8+) 22. h4 Qf5 23. Rd8+ Kg7 24. Nc7 1-0

But he suffered a debacle in the next round against Maksim Chigaev (2561)

[Event "21st Alekhine Master 2017"] [Site "Voronezh"] [Date "2017.06.15"] [Round "4"] [White "Chigaev, Maksim"] [Black "Savchenko, Boris"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2561"] [BlackElo "2639"] [Annotator "TA"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Bb3 d6 9. f3 Bd7 10. h4 h5 11. Qd2 Rc8 12. O-O-O Ne5 13. Bg5 Rc5 14. Kb1 b5 15. g4 hxg4 16. h5 Nxh5 17. Nd5 Rxd5 {B78: Sicilian Dragon: Yugoslav Attack, 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 0-0-0 Rc8} (17... Re8 18. Rxh5 gxh5 19. Qh2 Rxd5 20. Bxd5 Qb6 21. Nf5 Bxf5 22. exf5 Rc8 23. fxg4 Kf8 24. gxh5 Qc5 25. h6 Bh8 26. h7 Ke8 27. Qe2 { 1-0 (38) Motylev,A (2676)-Mikhalevski,V (2608) Budva 2009}) 18. Bxd5 {LiveBook: 4 Games} Qe8 (18... gxf3 $16 19. Nf5 Bxf5 20. exf5 Qd7) 19. Rdg1 $146 ({ Predecessor:} 19. Bh6 e6 20. Bb3 Qe7 21. Rdg1 Qf6 22. Bxg7 Qxg7 23. fxg4 Nf6 24. Qe2 g5 25. c3 {0-1 (43) Sahl,S (2195)-Nilsen,J (2397) Fagernes 2016}) 19... e6 ({But not} 19... gxf3 $6 {[#]} 20. Rxh5 $1 f2 21. Qxf2) (19... Nxf3 20. Nxf3 gxf3 21. Bh6 $18) (19... g3 $142 20. Bh6 e6) 20. fxg4 exd5 21. gxh5 Nc4 22. Qf2 Qe5 $2 (22... Bxd4 23. Qxd4 Qxe4 24. Qxa7 Bf5) 23. c3 f6 24. Bf4 Qxe4+ 25. Ka1 g5 26. h6 Bh8 27. h7+ Kf7 28. Bxg5 b4 {[#]} 29. Bxf6 $1 Bxf6 30. h8=Q Rxh8 31. Rxh8 {Rf8+! would kill now.} Bf5 32. Nxf5 {White mates.} bxc3 33. Qxa7+ Ke6 34. Re8+ 1-0

The Indian sensation IM Nihal Sarin (2454) played a short but powerful game in round six, where his opponent threw in the towel as a mating attack was executed.

[Event "Voronezh Masters Open 2017"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.06.19"] [Round "7"] [White "Nihal, Sarin"] [Black "Zontakh, Andrey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B42"] [WhiteElo "2454"] [BlackElo "2528"] [PlyCount "81"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. Qe2 d6 7. c4 g6 8. Nc3 Bg7 9. O-O O-O 10. Rd1 Nfd7 11. Nf3 Nc6 12. h3 Qc7 13. Bf4 Bxc3 14. bxc3 e5 15. Bh6 Rd8 16. Nh2 Nc5 17. Bg5 Rf8 18. Bh6 Re8 19. Nf1 Qe7 20. Be3 Ne6 21. Qd2 Qf6 22. Bb6 Nf4 23. Ne3 Qg5 24. Kh2 f5 25. Bf1 fxe4 26. Qxd6 Rf8 27. Nd5 Bf5 28. Be3 Rad8 29. Qc5 Qh5 30. Ne7+ Kf7 31. Rxd8 Rxd8 32. Nxc6 bxc6 33. Rb1 Rd1 34. Rb8 Ne6 35. Qa7+ Kf6 36. Re8 g5 37. Qe7+ Kg6 38. Rg8+ Kh6 39. Qf6+ Bg6 40. Be2 Qxe2 41. Rxg6+ 1-0

Standings after Round 07

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Volkov Sergey 6,0 29,5
2 Maiorov Nikita 5,5 33,5
3 Chigaev Maksim 5,5 33,0
4 Ponkratov Pavel 5,5 30,5
5 Pridorozhni Aleksei 5,5 29,5
6 Tran Tuan Minh 5,5 28,5
7 Shaposhnikov Evgeny 5,5 28,0
8 Lintchevski Daniil 5,5 25,5
9 Kryakvin Dmitry 5,0 31,0
10 Golubov Saveliy 5,0 30,5
11 Grachev Boris 5,0 30,5
12 Paravyan David 5,0 30,0
13 Shyam Sundar M. 5,0 30,0
14 Tsydypov Zhamsaran 5,0 27,5
  Iljiushenok Ilia 5,0 27,5
16 Nihal Sarin 5,0 26,5
17 Gunchenko Vadim 4,5 33,0
18 Popov Ivan 4,5 32,0
19 Savchenko Boris 4,5 30,0
20 Bakunts Rafael 4,5 29,0

Complete Standings

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Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.
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