17-year old Daneshwar Bardiya wins Aktobe Open in Kazakhstan

by Diana Mihajlova
7/9/2023 – Kazakhstan, host of the World Championship match between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren, has a lively and thriving chess scene and continues to organise attractive tournaments. The Uralsk Open (20-29 July) and the World Schools Team Championships in Aktau (3-8 August) are in the pipeline, but below is a report on the recently concluded Aktobe Open, which took place from 19-28 June and was won by Iranian grandmaster Daneshwar Bardiya. | Photo: The main square of Aktobe | Photo: Kazakhstan Travel

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Aktobe Open 2023

Organised in memory of Vladimir Dvorkovich, a distinguished international chess arbiter and father of Arkadiy Dvorkovich, the 'Vladimir Dvorkovich Memorial' has been held in Russia for several years, but the last three editions have been held in Aktobe, Kazakhstan.

Dvorkovich attended the opening ceremony and thanked the local government of Aktobe for remembering and honouring his father.

FIDE President Arkadiy Dvorkovich greeting the guests at the "Aktobe Open 2023" | Photo: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

A 9-round tournament with a prize fund of 46,000 euros attracted two hundred athletes, 35 of them titled players, from 16 chess federations to the historic city of Aktobe in western Kazakhstan. 

In addition to the main Open, there was a youth tournament for the U14 and U10 categories.

A well-equipped playing hall with 18 electronic boards showing the games in progress | Photo: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

Tastefully designed cups and framed certificates for the winners | Photo: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

Iranian youngster, 17-year-old Daneshvar Bardiya, after his successful debut at the Asian Continentals where he won silver, went one step further here, winning outright, undefeated, 7.5/9. Daneshvar is ranked 22nd among the top 100 juniors in the July FIDE Ratings.

The winner, GM Daneshwar Bardiya from Iran | Photo: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

GM Matlakov Maxim (Silver) and GM Gareyev Timur (Bronze), tied for 2-3 with 7/9.

Bardiya (1st), Matlakov (2nd), Gareyev (3rd) and the mayor of Aktobe | Photo: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

Group photo of officials and winners of all categories | Photo: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

Actobe  boys IM Kirill Kuderinov (left), a 2013 national champion (5.5/9) and Arystanbek Urazayev (6.5/9) | Photo: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

Kazakh WIM Nasybullina Alfia, best female (5/9) | Photo: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

A handshake between neighbours: Timur Gareyev (USA), a native of Uzbekistan, and Eraly Tugzhanov, the mayor of Aktobe | Photo: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

The mayor pointed out in his opening speech that there are 1303 chess clubs in the Aktobe region, 433 of them in the villages. More than 19.5 thousand people are members of chess clubs.

As described in the Astana Times, Aktobe was founded in 1869 as a fortress to protect the then Russian Empire.  The name "Aktobe" is a reference to the heights on which the original settlement was built in the 19th century. It comes from the Kazakh words "ақ" (white) and "төбе" (hill).  

The city is now home to more than 417,000 people, making it the fifth largest city in Kazakhstan after Almaty, Astana, Shymkent and Karaganda.

Aktobe is proud of its famous personality, Gaziza Zhubanova (1927 -1993), who was born in the city. She was the first Kazakh woman composer, famous throughout the then Soviet Union. She was awarded the honorary title of "National Artist of the USSR" for outstanding achievements in the performing arts.  Her compositions encompassed all genres of classical music and were noted for combining Western classical and Kazakh folk music.

Gaziza Zhubanova | Photo: Kazinform

The Aktobe Regional Philharmonic Concert Hall, which served as the venue for the chess festival, is named after Zhubanova.

Aktobe Regional Philharmonic Concert Hall | Photo: Aktobe Regional Philharmonic

Rashid Nezhmetdinov (1912 - 1974) is another pride of Aktobe. The most fascinating chess player, a master of combinations, Nezhmetdinov spent his life in Kazan, where he died, but was born in Aktobe.

In the following video Simon Williams presents five amazing moves by Rashid Nezhmetdinov:

Most amazing moves

The interactive format encourages the viewer to study and find the brilliancy, following the footsteps of some of the greatest players of the game.

Final standings

Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4 
GM Daneshvar, Bardiya IRI 2555 7,5 0 48,5 6 2653
GM Matlakov, Maxim FID 2662 7 0 48,5 5 2584
GM Gareyev, Timur USA 2590 7 0 47 6 2446
GM Nikitenko, Mihail BLR 2526 6,5 0 47,5 6 2489
IM Abdyzhapar, Asylbek KGZ 2282 6,5 0 47,5 6 2462
IM Urazayev, Arystanbek KAZ 2436 6,5 0 47,5 4 2501
GM Alekseev, Evgeny ISR 2567 6,5 0 44,5 4 2440
GM Petrosyan, Manuel ARM 2629 6 0 50 4 2555
IM Atabayev, Saparmyrat TKM 2433 6 0 48,5 5 2446
GM Kovalev, Vladislav FID 2620 6 0 46 4 2406
GM Shimanov, Aleksandr RUS 2581 6 0 46 4 2334
GM Livaic, Leon CRO 2574 6 0 45,5 5 2383
GM Bernadskiy, Vitaliy UKR 2553 6 0 45,5 4 2401
GM Rychagov, Andrey RUS 2547 6 0 45 4 2422
FM Radzhabov, Rodion RUS 2308 6 0 43,5 5 2272
IM Agmanov, Zhandos KAZ 2446 6 0 42 4 2326
FM Arestanov, Timur KAZ 2228 6 0 41,5 6 2032
FM Sapenov, Daniyal KAZ 2310 6 0 41 5 2296
FM Moisseyenko, Ilya KAZ 2271 6 0 41 5 2146
IM Madaminov, Mukhiddin UZB 2431 5,5 0 46,5 4 2354

... Source: chess-results


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A former university lecturer in Romance philology, she is currently a painter as well as a chess journalist, and reports regularly from the international tournament scene.