27th Metz International Open Chess Tournament

4/27/2009 – Reputed to be France's third most prestigeous open tournament of the calender year, the organizing Metz Alekhine Chess Club succeeded in surpassing expectations with the participation of 26 GMs and ten IMs in a field of 101 players from more than a dozen countries. The prize fund was 10,000 Euros, with four players tying for first, amongst them our reporter GM Kevin Spraggett.

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The 27th Metz International Open Chess Tournament

Report by GM Kevin Spraggett

Reputed to be France's third most prestigeous open tournament of the calender year, the organizing Metz Alekhine Chess Club succeeded in surpassing expectations with the participation of 26 GMs and ten IMs in a field of 101 players from more than a dozen countries. The chief organizer and long time promoter of chess in Metz, Salvatore Centonze, aided by the very competent Chief Arbiter Pierre Becker, has kept the tournament's tradition alive in Metz for many years now, and guarantees a prize fund of 10,000 Euros, of which 3,000 goes to the winner.


Cathedral St. Etienne in Metz in the northeast of France


The city center of Metz (pronounced Mes – or Divodurum in Roman times)

Counting on the continued financial support of the tournament's chief sponsors (the local newspaper Le Republicain-Lorrain, le Conseil Regional, le Conseil General and the Ville de Metz), Mr. Centonze is confident that next year's event will be an even greater success! It is hoped that as many as 150 players will take part in the 2010 edition.


The playing hall


In the heat of battle: left GM Vereslav S Eingorn (translates to "unicorn") of Ukraine

The time control was a very reasonable 1hr 40 minutes for the first 40 moves (with 30 seconds for each move played), followed by another 20 minutes (plus 30 seconds per move) to finish. All of the players appreciated this time control and I think that the overall quality of the games is reflected in the additional time. Few grandmasters today are satisfied with the constant efforts of FIDE to erode the quality of the game with continued reductions of the standard playing time, and this makes the Metz tournament an even bigger draw on the European circuit.

Another excellent feature of the tournament was the inclusion of the draw rule: no game could be agreed drawn before at least two hours of play had passed (exceptions at the discretion of the chief arbiter). My view of this rule is very positive: I think that all open tournaments should follow the Metz example!


GM Alberto David of Luxenburg


WGM Elvira Berend, rated 2316, from Luxenburg


WGM Adina-Maria Hamdouchi, 2314, ROU

This year's event was marked by two double-round days, which made for an even tougher competition than usual. The course of the tournament held few surprises, with most of the top places going to the established grandmasters. However, going into the final round, not less than four players had chances for the GM norm (Tigran Gharamian, Oleg Spirin, Anthony Wirig and the youngster Clovis Vernay) and two players were looking at making an IM norm (Elvira Berend and Tanguy Migot).


GM Alexei Barsov, 2505, UZB vs GM Friso Nijboer, 2562, NED

What was unusual about this year's tournament was the exceptionally close nature of the fighting: there were many draws (fighting draws!) and the competition at times resembled more the Tour du France bike race than a chess competition! Perhaps many of the participants were more concerned about quality of play than on winning first prize alone!? Difficult to say, but from my own experience in this year's tournament I have to say that it was very frustrating at time not being able to outplay opponents 200 points below me! Certainly the overall quality of play has been improving in French tournaments in recent times.

Pl. Ti. Player
Elo
Nat.
Pts
Tr.
Bu.
Perf.
1 GM GULIYEV Namig
2534
AZE
6.5
42
50.5
2617
2 GM SPRAGGETT Kevin
2601
CAN
6.5
40.5
50.5
2642
3 GM NIJBOER Friso
2562
NED
6.5
40.5
49
2629
4 GM HORVATH Adam
2519
HUN
6.5
40.5
48.5
2615
5 GM BAUER Christian
2605
FRA
6
42.5
52
2626
6 GM DAVID Alberto
2587
LUX
6
42.5
51
2584
7 GM BOROVIKOV Vladislav
2584
UKR
6
41.5
51.5
2611
8 GM IORDACHESCU Viorel
2608
MDA
6
41.5
51
2605
9 IM GHARAMIAN Tigran
2600
FRA
6
41.5
50.5
2571
10 GM SAVCHENKO Stanislav
2529
UKR
6
41.5
49
2582
11 GM EINGORN Vereslav S
2560
UKR
6
41
49.5
2538
12 IM SPIRIN Oleg
2437
RUS
6
40
49
2589
13 GM ZUBAREV Alexander
2566
UKR
6
40
49
2536
14 GM AGREST Evgenij
2588
SWE
6
39.5
49
2544
15 GM ABBASOV Farid
2577
AZE
6
39.5
48
2502
16 GM EPISHIN Vladimir
2591
RUS
6
39.5
47.5
2520
17 IM VERNAY Clovis
2440
FRA
6
39.5
45.5
2560
18 GM CHATALBASHEV Boris
2571
BUL
6
38
46.5
2514
19 IM DRENCHEV Petar
2450
BUL
6
38
45.5
2495
20 GM SVETUSHKIN Dmitry
2615
MDA
6
36.5
44.5
2493
21 GM CZEBE Attila
2472
HUN
5.5
41.5
48
2513
22 GM SHCHEKACHEV Andrei
2532
FRA
5.5
40
49.5
2525
23 IM WIRIG Anthony
2472
FRA
5.5
40
48.5
2561
24 IM FARGERE Francois
2459
FRA
5.5
40
47.5
2519
25 GM LALIC Bogdan
2508
CRO
5.5
39.5
49
2527
26 GM BARSOV Alexei
2505
UZB
5.5
39
48
2442
27 IM MILCHEV Nikolay
2346
BUL
5.5
39
47.5
2366
28 IM GRIGOROV Grigor
2488
BUL
5.5
38
46.5
2465
29 GM ZINCHENKO Yaroslav
2531
UKR
5.5
37.5
46
2461
30 FM LE QUANG Kim
2333
BEL
5.5
36
43
2299
31 FM BAUDUIN Etienne
2272
BEL
5.5
35
41.5
2300
32   RUSSO Julien
2088
BEL
5.5
34.5
40
2245
  • Full final classification is available here.

Four GMs tied for first place: Namig Guliyev (AZE), Kevin Spraggett (CAN). Friso Nijboer (NED) and Adam Horvath (HUN), each with 6.5 points. Guliyev won the title on tiebreak. With six points each were not less than 16 (!) players, of which 12 were GMs.


The winner: GM Namig Guliyev of Azerbaijan


GM Kevin Spraggett of Canada

The top female prize went to GM Adina Hamduchi; the top French player went to the young talent Clovis Vernay, who narrowly missed his GM norm in the final round; the top Lorrain prize went to Joaquim Iglesias; the top Veteran prize went to Claude Maury ; the top Metz Alekhine Club prize went to Viktoriya Schweitzer; the top Mosellan prize went to Olivier Pucher and the top Messin prize went to Dominique Hartmann. Special mention should go to the very talented youngster Geoffrey Lemaire who won the prize for best player rated less than 1600.


The closing ceremony in Metz

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