The category bazillion tournaments are over until the summer but that doesn't mean the chess world is asleep. Somewhere at this very moment pawns are being pushed... There is a selection of games, some with notes, for online viewing and download here.
4th KARPOV TOURNAMENT - RUSSIA
Peter Svidler took top honors at the Karpov Tournament in Poikovsky, Russia. "Where's that?" you ask? In the Nefteyugansky region, of course! Okay, okay, that's in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area of the Tyumen region. Didn't you study this in geography class? All of the above are in Siberia in the far east of Russia, where this powerful category 16 tournament took place.
Last year's winner Alexander Onischuk was there, as was the 2001 champ Victor Bologan. Nowadays Onischuk is representing his new home, the USA, and the result was also different. He finished a point behind the Svidler and Frenchman Joel Lautier, who both scored +3 (6/9) undefeated with Svidler taking the title on tiebreaks. Mother Russia took the other medals with Rublevsky and Zvjaginsev on 5.5/9.
2003 Karpov Tournament – Poikovsky, Russia
Round five turned out to be the decider. Lautier defeated Zvjaginsev (in a WILD opening) and Svidler beat Rublevsky. In the bloody eighth round all the games were decisive, with all four leaders winning and local boy Obodchuk getting his only win, against Onischuk. (A noteworthy game for those of you who play the super-sharp Botvinnik Semi-Slav.) The two leaders met in the final round and Lautier was unable to make progress against Svidler's beloved Grunfeld Defense.
Bologan's miserable form was confirmed when he played someone who was having an even worse tournament. Lputian finished him off in this position. Use it to test your tactics. White to play and Black to soon resign...
GOVERNOR MARIO COVAS INTERNATIONAL - BRAZIL
A strong double round-robin event was just completed in Santos, Brazil. Named for the legendary politician native to Santos, the six players included top representatives from the host country and nearby nations. Chilean Ivan Morovic won the tournament title on tiebreaks, although Brazil's Gilberto Milos crushed Hoffman in the final round to tie for first with 6.5/10 to save the national honor.
2003 Governor Covas International
Morovic also won the mini-match against Milos in an exciting attacking game. After many adventures the game was only decided when the Brazilian blundered on the famous 40th move.
It could have ended a few moves earlier in this position after 37...gxh4. Morovic made things harder for himself with 38.Qxh4 Bxe7. Instead the cute rook U-turn 38.Re4! settles things immediately. (38...Qb1+ 39.Be1! Qb6+! 40.Qxb6 Bc5+ 41.Qxc5 Nxc5 42.Rxh4)
If you're looking for excitement, check out Zapata-Rodriguez and Hoffman-Rodriguez on the game page. The latter starts out in our favorite line against the Dutch: the "insane h-pawn push caveman variation". We apologize for singling out the pride of Uruguay, Andres Rodriguez, in these games, but as you can see from the crosstable it just wasn't his tournament.
DUBAI OPEN - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
This event has been getting stronger every year and the 2003 edition attracted many familiar names to the Arab state. A half-dozen 2600s, including two Russian champions, showed up to fight for first prize. But it was 19-year-old Georgian GM Baadur Jobava who took clear first prize, the best result of his young career. The top seeds didn't fare well in Dubai.
Jobava's impressive 7/9 gave him a half-point edge over Volkov, Sargissian, and Anastasian. The Georgian is one of at least a half-dozen teens from the Caucasus region poised to vault into the top 100. Azerbaijan and Georgia are all stocked with 80's-born talent.
1: Jobava, Baadur 7.0
2-4: Volkov, Sergey; Sargissian, Gabriel; Anastasian, Ashot 6.5
5-11: Aleksandrov, Aleksej; Alekseev, Evgeny; Kuzmin, Alexey; Magerramov, Elmar; Sveshnikov, Evgeny; Guseienov, Kadir; Mamedov, Rauf 6.0
The tournament winner didn't take an easy road to the title. He drew with Sakaev and Volkov and defeated Alekseev and Motylev. This position comes from his game with white against Alexander Motylev. The unassuming h-pawn allows Jobava to get his sidelined a4 knight back into the game with a vengeance.
He played 28.Nb6! and ended up winning the endgame after 28...Qe5 29.Nc4 Bg5 30.Nxe5 Bxd2 31.Nd7 Bxh6 32.Nxb8
The knight is immune to capture. 28...Rxb6?? allows a quick mate thanks to the h6 pawn. 29.Qd5+ Kh8 30.Rxf6 Rxf6 31.Qa8+ Rf8 32.Qxf8+ Qxf8 33.Rxf8#
Evgeny Najer won what must be the strongest city championship in the world. (Although the town of Rishon Le Zion, Israel, might give Moscow some competition. Rishon has become the home of dozens of immigrant Grandmasters in the past decade.)
Najer won the title in a 32-player knockout, beating top seed Malakhov in the four-game final match. The semifinalists were Shipov and Vorobiov.
In the diagram Vorobiov takes advantage of the cramped situation of the black queen with a classic Sicilian d5 temporary knight sacrifice in his game against Jakovenko.
21.Nd5! exd5 22.cxd5 Nc5 23.bxc5 bxc5 Now comes a central breakthrough that leads to a crushing kingside attack. 24.e5! Ba8 25.Qd3 Rb2 26.Bd4! Rb5 27.e6 Rf8 28.Be4 g6 29.exf7+ Rxf7 30.Bxg6! hxg6 31.Qxg6+ and the end was near.
PS: The conclusion of the Lputian-Bologan game: 25.Bxa5 Rxa5 26.Nxg6 1-0. 27.Re8 is next.