2009 Hungarian National Championship: Almasi takes the title on tiebreaks

by ChessBase
8/17/2009 – Entering into the final round, Zoltan Almasi and Ferenc Berkes held the joint lead, a half-point ahead of their nearest competitor, Csaba Balogh. After an indecisive final round, with all games drawn, Almasi and Berkes emerged as the tournament's top finishers. Unfortunately, for Berkes, with a superior Sonneborn Berger score, Almasi takes home the title.

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59th Hungarian National Championship in Szeged, Hungary

This event took place from August 9th-17th 2009. It is a Category 14 tournament, with Almasi and Berkes topping the field at 2684 and 2647 respectively. The event was the 59th official championship of Hungary, with defending six-time champion, Zoltan Almasi, having won the title as far back as 1995. With Ferenc Berkes having won two titles of his own, in 2004 and 2007, they were the clear favourites to win the event.

Tournament Report

Over nine rounds of what was sometimes fierce battle, GMs Zoltan Almasi and Ferenc Berkes emerged victorious, each sporting +3 scores, with identical results of three wins and six draws each.

Top seed and ultimate winner, Zoltan Almasi, 2684

Ultimately, however, Almasi took home his seventh title all-time, due to a superior tiebreak. This must have been a disappointment to two-time champion, Berkes, who stood neck-and-neck with his rival for much of the tournament.

Second-seeded Ferenc Berkes, 2647, left with the bitter taste of an inferior tiebreak.

Third-seeded GM Csaba Balogh was never far behind the leaders, but came up short in the final stretch. As a 22-year-old, up-and-comer, however, his prospects of taking the title in future editions look hopeful.

Third seed, Csaba Balogh, 2595, who stayed in contention throughout, but was staved off in the final stretch.

Thus concludes another national championship, which saw decisive games in every round, except the most important - the final round - where draws were the order of the day, and anti-climax clung to the lips of more than a few spectators.

Final standings


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