2014 Euro-Ch Rd10: Motylev and the teen wonders

by Albert Silver
3/14/2014 – It has been a fantastic event, and after a a bit of elbowing and shoving at the top, a single leader emerged. Alexander Motylev has not only kept the lead, but brought down every one of his would-be challengers, opening a full point lead once more with 8.5/10 and one round to go. Leading the group behind, is 19-year-old Vladimir Fedoseev followed by Turkish Dragan Solak. Illustrated report.

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The championship is an eleven-round Swiss system in accordance with the ECU Tournament Rules and FIDE Laws of Chess. and is held in Yerevan, Armenia from March 2 (day of arrival) until March 15 (day of departure) 2014. The tournament is held at the Elite Plaza Business Centre.  The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one.

The tournament does not allow players to draw before the 40th move, and the controversial zero-tolerance rule will be in effect. In case of pre-arranged results the Chief Arbiter can decide that the result of the respective game is 0 - 0. If a prize-winner is absent during the closing ceremony, then the money prize will be reduced by 20%.

The total prizefund is 160 thousand Euros, with 20 thousand for first place, 16 thousand for second, down to 1000 for 25th place. There are also prizes for the best overperformer, meaning the player who performs highest over his rating.

The European Individual Championship 2014 is a qualification event for the next World Cup. According to FIDE regulations and the decision of the ECU Board, 23 players will qualify.

Round nine

The team that has kept the event running smoothly

The European Championship is now closing in on the finish line, and round nine saw a the leader finally draw a game, and allow Turkey’s Dragan Solak and Israeli Ilia Smirin within half a point distance, and once again, the fight for the top spot is open. However the biggest news of the round came from much lower boards.

Turkish GM Dragan Solak (right) has been one of the surprises of the tournament
with a 2786 performance

Ivan Saric (2661)

After the ninth round, two players had performed exceptionally for their ages, though from opposite sides of the spectrum. 13-year-old FM Maritrosyan (2234 FIDE), who had entered the spotlight as one of the top overperformers relative to his rating, finally clinched a GM norm in the ninths round , having faced six grandmasters and defeating two of them. A fantastic result for the Armenian prodigy. On the other end was another grandmaster norm, by IM Alexandre Qashashvili (2378 FIDE). What sticks out is the fact he is 39.

Georgian IM Alexandre Qashashvili shows it is never too late to shine. Here
he defeated his much higher-rated opponent in roud nine, his third win over
a grandmaster in the tournament.

There is nothing wrong with this, however a player has usually stabilized by then (he was 2379 in 2000 for example), and is unlikely to be producing results quite as exceptionally beyond his standard by then. Nevertheless, he played seven grandmasters and defeated no fewer than three of them. Whether or not he will complete the hat-trick necessary to become a full GM over time is unclear, but whatever the future holds, he will emerge from the tournament with his highest rating ever. Kudos.

GM Elina Danielian is looking great, and deserves our deepest congratulations

Round ten

In round ten, any doubts as to whether the title could be wrested from Alexander Motylev were put to rest as he defeated his would-be challenger Ilia Smirin, taking his score to a magnificent 8.5/10, a score that has often been enough to win the championship outright after eleven rounds. With a full point lead once again, the gold seems securely his. He does face top Czech player David Navara in the final round, but even if he loses (knock on wood), it seems unlikely he would be denied.

What can one say about Motylev that has not been said over and over? Wow.

Of significant note are the teenagers in the tournament, and two occupy the top spots, including 19-year-old Vladimir Fedoseev, who leads the pack with 7.5/10, after he overcame Vladimir Akopian in a fascinating struggle.

19-year-old Fedoseev has had a fantastic tournament

[Event "15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014"] [Site "Yerevan ARM"] [Date "2014.03.13"] [Round "10.5"] [White "Fedoseev, Vladimir"] [Black "Akopian, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2641"] [BlackElo "2682"] [PlyCount "193"] [EventDate "2014.03.03"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. O-O Be7 6. c3 O-O 7. Re1 Bd7 8. Ba4 Re8 9. d4 Bf8 10. d5 Ne7 11. Bxd7 Qxd7 12. c4 Ng6 13. Nc3 c5 14. Rb1 Rec8 15. g3 Be7 16. Kg2 Bd8 17. Qd3 Ba5 18. a3 Bxc3 19. Qxc3 b5 20. b3 bxc4 21. Qxc4 Rab8 22. Nd2 a5 23. a4 Rb4 24. Qe2 Rcb8 25. h3 h6 26. Kh2 Nh7 27. Qg4 Qa7 28. Re3 Rd4 29. Qe2 f5 30. Bb2 Rxd2 $1 {A strong exchange sacrifice that should yield Black good compensation.} 31. Qxd2 f4 {This move is tempting, but it only keeps the balance in the best of conditions.} ({The best way to continue was} 31... fxe4 $1 32. Rxe4 Ng5 33. Re3 Qf7 {[%csl Rf3,Rh3] and Black would have been better here with serious threats against the kingside and weaknesses (f3 and h3). For example} 34. Kg2 {would lose to} Nf4+ $3 35. gxf4 exf4 36. Ree1 f3+ 37. Kg3 Qg6 {and the discovered check/attack is game over.} 38. Rg1 ( 38. Kh2 Qf5) 38... Qf5 {[%cal Rf5h3,Rg5e4]} 39. Rbe1 Qxh3+ 40. Kf4 Qh4+ 41. Rg4 Rf8+ 42. Ke3 Qxg4) 32. gxf4 Nxf4 {While attractive, the rook protects h3 quite well from the third rank.} 33. Rg1 Nf6 {A second mistake and now the balance swings in White's favor, showing just how double-edged the position was.} 34. Bc1 $1 Kh7 35. Qc2 N6h5 36. Rf3 Kh8 {Not only is a5 now a target, not to mention a possible queen invasion via b5, but White can always give back the exchange if desired.} 37. Bd2 Rb7 38. Rg4 Rf7 39. Qc3 Qa6 40. Qc4 Qa8 (40... Qxc4 41. bxc4 Rb7 42. Bxa5 Ra7 43. Bd8 Rxa4 44. Be7 Ra6 {and White's rooks will have a party on the queenside.}) 41. Qb5 Qf8 42. Bxf4 Nxf4 43. Qxa5 {and Black is lost.} Rb7 44. Qa6 Qb8 45. a5 Kh7 46. Qf1 Rxb3 47. Rxb3 Qxb3 48. a6 c4 49. Rg3 Qa2 50. Rc3 Qxa6 51. Qxc4 Qa7 52. Rc2 h5 53. Qb3 Qf7 54. Qf3 Qg6 55. Rc7 Qf6 56. Rd7 Qg6 57. Kh1 Qf6 58. Kg1 Qf8 59. Rc7 Qe8 60. Kh2 Qg6 61. Rc1 Qf6 62. Rc2 Qg6 63. Rc3 Qf6 64. Kg1 Qg6+ 65. Kf1 Qe8 66. Rc6 Qd7 67. Qa3 Qb7 68. Qa2 Qb5+ 69. Rc4 Nxh3 70. Kg2 Nf4+ 71. Kh2 Qd7 72. Qb3 h4 73. Qf3 Kh6 74. Rc1 g6 75. Rg1 Qa7 76. Kh1 Qb6 77. Rg4 Qd8 78. Kh2 Qf6 79. Qe3 Kh5 80. Rg1 Kh6 81. Qd2 Qe7 82. Qd1 Qa7 83. Qf3 Qe7 84. Qg4 Qf6 85. Rd1 Nh5 86. Rd2 Nf4 87. Rc2 Nd3 88. f3 Nf4 89. Rc8 Nd3 90. Kg1 Qe7 91. Kf1 Kg7 92. Rc3 Nf4 93. Qc8 Kh6 94. Rc7 Qf6 95. Qg8 h3 96. Rh7+ Kg5 97. Qc8 1-0

19-year-old Spanish GM David Anton Guijarro has also been one of the revelations

Spaniard David Anton Guijarro, also 19, overcame his loss to Smirin in the round before by beating top-seed Etienne Bacrot (2739) who has also struggled with his form. Sadly, he is no longer in contention even for one of the qualifying spots in the World Cup, however French fans need not despair as Laurent Fressinet has excellent chances after moving to 7.0/10 with a win over GM Jon Hammer.

GM Fressinet seems likely to represent France in the forthcoming World Cup

[Event "15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014"] [Site "Yerevan ARM"] [Date "2014.03.13"] [Round "10.11"] [White "Fressinet, Laurent"] [Black "Hammer, Jon Ludvig"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2709"] [BlackElo "2647"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5bk1/1pp3p1/1n2rp1p/8/q2PN1Q1/2PN3P/5PP1/4R1K1 b - - 0 32"] [PlyCount "24"] [EventDate "2014.03.03"] 32... Qd7 $2 {White was better already, but this is a blunder.} 33. Ndc5 $1 Bxc5 34. dxc5 {Black realize that he cannot move the knight away and is now lost.} f5 ({The reason is that if} 34... Nd5 {White now has the deadly} 35. Nxf6+ $1 Nxf6 (35... Rxf6 36. Qxd7) 36. Qxe6+ Qxe6 37. Rxe6 {and White is winning.}) 35. Qxf5 Qd5 36. Qf3 Nd7 37. Nf6+ Nxf6 38. Qxd5 Nxd5 39. Rxe6 Nxc3 40. Re7 Nb5 41. Re8+ Kf7 42. Rb8 Nd4 43. Rxb7 Ne6 44. f4 1-0

Photos by Arman Karakhanyan

Standings after ten rounds

Rk Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB Perf
1 GM Motylev Alexander RUS 2656 8.5 2626 2897
2 GM Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2641 7.5 2639 2804
3 GM Solak Dragan TUR 2610 7.5 2629 2786
4 GM Navara David CZE 2700 7.5 2598 2774
5 GM Saric Ivan CRO 2661 7.5 2536 2701
6 GM Lysyj Igor RUS 2655 7.5 2531 2709
7 GM Najer Evgeniy RUS 2633 7.0 2649 2767
8 GM Melkumyan Hrant ARM 2613 7.0 2644 2758
9 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2559 7.0 2636 2738
10 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2723 7.0 2630 2763
11 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2713 7.0 2626 2758
12 GM Smirin Ilia ISR 2644 7.0 2605 2730
13 GM Fressinet Laurent FRA 2709 7.0 2604 2737
14 GM Lupulescu Constantin ROU 2643 7.0 2598 2723
15 GM Laznicka Viktor CZE 2681 7.0 2596 2727
16 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2676 7.0 2595 2725
17 GM Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2681 7.0 2591 2722
18 GM Pashikian Arman ARM 2612 6.5 2622 2698
19 GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2723 6.5 2621 2714
20 GM Grigoriants Sergey RUS 2574 6.5 2612 2680
21 IM Artemiev Vladislav RUS 2621 6.5 2605 2678
22 GM Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2689 6.5 2598 2690
23 GM Areshchenko Alexander UKR 2705 6.5 2597 2691
24 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2716 6.5 2597 2685
25 GM Perunovic Milos SRB 2617 6.5 2589 2672

Click for complete standings


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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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