2015 Euro Ch Rd10: Najer new leader

by Albert Silver
3/6/2015 – With just one round to go Russian GM Evgeny Najer is the sole leader in the European championship with 8.0/10 after three consecutive wins against Esen, Nisipeanu and Korobov respectively. Nepomniachtchi, who had been in the lead in round eight, lost a crucial game to Navara, who is in second. In third is Khismatullin who's win deserves the beauty prize.

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Round nine

In round nine, it was a dog-eat-dog world as the leaders saw numerous decisive games, notably at the top boards. On board one, David Navara played a Symmetrical English against Ian Nepomniachtchi, but somehow it all went wrong for the Russian as he tried his best to destabilize his opponent with a very optimistic 13...f5. The weakness that resulted ended up being decisive as the Czech player never strayed.

Nepomniachtchi finale lifting his hood, and Navara faced his aggressions undaunted

Board two saw Anton Korobov choose the Averbakh system against Ilia Smirin,
the top positioned Israeli, and within 15 moves the Ukrainian had a lone passer
on the a-file that decided the game in his favor as it sprinted forward.

Everything went right for Korobov (left) as he retook the lead after round nine

If Korobov enjoyed a passed pawn in his middle game, Evgeny Najer enjoyed two connected passers on the c and d-files that also worked favorably for him. This left the three players, Korobov, Navara, and Najer tied for first with 7.0/9, with Korobov once more enjoying the taste of gold in his mouth.

Round ten

Round ten changed much of this as Evgeny Najer faced down Anton Korobov in a Sicilian Nimzowitsch in a game where Black conceded some weaknesses on the dark squares with the intention of counterattacking on the wings to weaken Black's hold. Instead he found himself anchored to the defense of a backward pawn and his counterplay never got off the starting block. This left Najer in sole first with 8.0/10 after Navara failed to make anything of his position against Sjugirov.

The thriller of the round was easily the finale in the game between Russian Denis Khismatullin and Ukrainian Pavel Eljanov.

Before showing it, see the position as it stood on the board. Black not
only has an immensely threating looking d-pawn just two squares away
from queening, but he is attacking the rook with a mate in one threat as
well. Khismatullin is white, and what does he play?

Denis Khismatullin has always been in the contenders and is now third after a stroke of genius

We won't torture you too long, since just the idea behind his winning sequence boggles the mind.

Denis Khismatullin-Pavel Eljanov:

[Event "16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015"] [Site "Jerusalem ISR"] [Date "2015.03.06"] [Round "10.3"] [White "Khismatullin, Denis"] [Black "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E46"] [WhiteElo "2653"] [BlackElo "2727"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5Q2/5p1p/1pPr2p1/6k1/8/3pP2P/2q2PP1/3R1K2 w - - 0 44"] [PlyCount "27"] [EventDate "2015.02.24"] 44. Kg1 $3 {Absolutely fantastic! Not only does White leave the rook hanging with a check, but what is even more incredible is that taking the rook loses by force.} Qxd1+ {Presumably, Black was unable to calculate the win for White, and thought somehow he could escape with a draw.} ({After the best move} 44... Rd5 {White would continue as in the game with} 45. Kh2 $3 Kf6 46. e4 Rc5 47. Qd6+ Kg7 48. Rxd3 Rxc6 49. Qe5+ Rf6 50. Rf3 Qc6 {and though White has a terrific bind, there is no clear win. Even so, it would be a very tough defense for Black.}) 45. Kh2 Rxc6 46. Qe7+ Kh6 47. Qf8+ Kg5 48. Qxf7 $1 {The point. It is now a forced mate. The immediate threat is Qf4 Kh5 g4+ followed by mate, however there is no way to avoid the combination of pawnroller and queen.} Rf6 49. f4+ Kh6 50. Qxf6 Qe2 51. Qf8+ Kh5 52. Qg7 {Threatening Qxh7 mate.} h6 53. Qe5+ Kh4 54. Qf6+ Kh5 55. f5 gxf5 56. Qxf5+ Kh4 57. Qg6 (57. Qg6 {is mate in two. For example} d2 ({Or} 57... h5 58. Qg3#) (57... Qh5 58. g3#) 58. Qxh6+ Qh5 59. g3# {With queens on the board, Black gets mated with a pawn!} ) 1-0

Although there are numerous tales of success in the tournament, one that sticks out far more prominently than others is that of current 11th place Ilia Iljushenok. Who? Ilia is a 21 year-old untitled Russian rated 2450 (ranked 128th at the start!), who has been having the tournament of his life. Not only is he in the group looking at a spot in the World Cup, but he has scored a GM norm and then some with 7.0/10 and a 2684 performance.

Although many will be watching to see who takes gold, for many it is one of the 23 qualifying spots to the next World Cup that matters, since there is prestige and an extra paycheck for even first round exits.

Standings after ten rounds

Rk
SNo
Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
 TB 
1 37 GM Najer Evgeniy RUS
2634
8.0
2634
2 1 GM Navara David CZE
2735
7.5
2639
3 28 GM Khismatullin Denis RUS
2653
7.5
2537
4 11 GM Korobov Anton UKR
2687
7.0
2646
5 71 GM Vovk Yuri UKR
2588
7.0
2646
6 4 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS
2714
7.0
2640
7 22 GM Motylev Alexander RUS
2665
7.0
2624
8 33 GM Volokitin Andrei UKR
2646
7.0
2616
9 7 GM Matlakov Maxim RUS
2695
7.0
2610
10 13 GM Sjugirov Sanan RUS
2678
7.0
2605
11 128   Iljiushenok Ilia RUS
2450
7.0
2591
12 20 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM
2668
7.0
2588
13 39 GM Bartel Mateusz POL
2631
7.0
2588
14 19 GM Laznicka Viktor CZE
2670
7.0
2583
15 35 GM Popov Ivan RUS
2639
7.0
2573
16 12 GM Cheparinov Ivan BUL
2681
7.0
2572
17 26 GM Rodshtein Maxim ISR
2660
7.0
2567
18 92 GM Can Emre TUR
2555
7.0
2440
19 84 GM Stefansson Hannes ISL
2573
6.5
2658
20 67 GM Ipatov Alexander TUR
2592
6.5
2631
21 3 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR
2727
6.5
2622
22 60 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS
2605
6.5
2617
23 8 GM Moiseenko Alexander UKR
2695
6.5
2608
24 5 GM Bacrot Etienne FRA
2711
6.5
2595
25 30 GM Smirin Ilia ISR
2650
6.5
2592
26 47 GM Kempinski Robert POL
2625
6.5
2592
27 74 GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil GEO
2586
6.5
2586
28 25 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM
2660
6.5
2581
29 38 GM Dubov Daniil RUS
2632
6.5
2579
30 42 GM Khairullin Ildar RUS
2629
6.5
2573
31 48 GM Romanov Evgeny RUS
2625
6.5
2573
32 73 GM Brkic Ante CRO
2586
6.5
2566
33 57 GM Grandelius Nils SWE
2609
6.5
2563
34 27 GM Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter GER
2654
6.5
2553
35 85 GM Zhigalko Andrey BLR
2572
6.5
2551
36 139 FM Kantarji Pinchas ISR
2420
6.5
2551
37 89 GM Kravtsiv Martyn UKR
2565
6.5
2549
38 21 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR
2667
6.5
2547
39 14 GM Alekseev Evgeny RUS
2677
6.5
2535
40 59 GM Zubov Alexander UKR
2607
6.5
2530
41 18 GM Grachev Boris RUS
2670
6.5
2527
42 75 GM Nabaty Tamir ISR
2585
6.5
2514
43 9 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR
2692
6.5
2512
44 83 GM Michalik Peter SVK
2576
6.5
2447

Click for complete standings

Report by Yachanan Afek and Albert Silver
Photos by Yoav Nis


Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



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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BKnight2003 BKnight2003 3/8/2015 08:21
If he saw all the sequence, why repeat the moves (46.Qe7+ Kh6 47.Qf8+ Kg5)?

I bet he chose to give up the rook instead of resigning (as Wallace said), expecting to find a mate net somewhere with the queen and pawns, which he eventually did. Briliant, anyway.
Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 3/7/2015 08:09
Well, he doesn't actually HAVE to calculate it all the way. Once you realize 44.h4 and 44.f4 don't work, then it's simply a matter of stepping away from the mate (Kg1 was the third choice I considered). I couldn't see if it worked, and perhaps Khismatullin did, but since it's either (A) give up the rook and see what happens or (B) resign... why not give up the rook? That said, if he really did calculate it all the way (and he might have) then big respect to him. Really, really impressive.
rollschuh rollschuh 3/7/2015 02:12
This is really an amazingly deep move sequence! Very difficult to calculate I believe, as some of the moves are not forcing. Would be really interesting to know what Khismatullin claims to have seen in advance. I dont have an engine here but according to chessbomb.com stockfish only confirmed the win on move 50! It actually evaluates the previous move to Kg1 (43.Qf8) as a blunder.
juanviches juanviches 3/7/2015 01:41
He had to see everything before giving up the rook. Congratulations Denis!
notyetagm notyetagm 3/7/2015 04:14
Has Khismatullin said how much of this he saw in advance??
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