Aeroflot Open 2013: Sergey Karjakin wins in last seconds

by ChessBase
2/18/2013 – It was a remarkably tough event, and among the eight qualifiers to the finals were more than one elite player, the most notable being Gata Kamsky. They were joined by Karpov, Karjakin, Svidler, Grischuk, Nepomniachtchi, Wang Hao, Mamedyarov and Andreikin. After several matches decided by sudden death, Karjakin fittingly beat Grischuk by a mere two seconds. Illustrated report.

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The venue is the International informational exhibition centre “InfoProstranstvo” (above) in Moscow, and the total prize fund of all tournaments in the festival amounts to US $150,000. This year's event is especial because it is the 90th anniversary of the leading Russian airline that lends it its name.


  • February 12-13: qualifying rapid tournament, a nine round Swiss played at 15 minutes per game plus 10 seconds per move increment.

  • February 14: massive blitz tournament with eight guest stars (e.g. Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Dmitry Andreikin, Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Wang Hao and Shahriyar Mammadyarov). Nine round Swiss, three minutes per game plus two seconds increment per move. Prize fund US $50,000.

  • February 15: Knockout tournament with 32 winners of the qualifying rounds. In each round two games are played, at 15 minutes per game plus 10 seconds increment per move. In case of a draw there will be an Armageddon blitz – 5 minutes (White) vs 4 minutes (Black) + 3 seconds increment, which White must win. Eight winners go into the main final. Participants who took places 9-16 get $1,500, places 17-32 get $ 1,000.

  • February 16-17: Grand Final with eight guest stars (Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Dmitry Andreikin, Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Wang Hao and Shahriyar Mammadyarov) and the eight winners of the qualifying competition. Knock-out system, with two games at 15 minutes per game plus 10 seconds per move and Armageddon tie break. Prize fund $72,000 (1st 16,000, 2nd 10,000, 3-4 $6,000, 5-8 $3,500, 9-16 $2,500).

  • February 17: closing ceremonies (February 18 departure).

Aeroflot Open 2013 - The final phase

The qualification phase left eight players to face the eight guest grandmasters to vie for the top prize and glory. The eight qualifiers were Dmitry Frolyanov, Rauf Mamedov, Alexander Shimanov, Pavel Eljanov, Sanan Sjugirov, Liem Le Quang, and Gata Kamsky. They were rejoined by Anatoly Karpov, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Dmitry Andreikin, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Wang Hao.

The guest grandmasters showed their free pass was no coincidence as they proceeded
to maul the qualfiers one by one. Svidler had already shown himself to be in fine form
in the Blitz tournament, and beat Rauf Mamedov.

Some of the guests found themselves facing each other. Nepomniachtchi, the winner
of the Blitz, beat Karpov.

Spectators were allowed in the playing area of the finals only a few at a time. Many
preferred the comfort of the commentary room.

Mark Glukhovsy and Sergey Shipov provided color commentary during the games for
both the live spectators and the online viewers following the high resolution broadcast.

After beating Frolyanov, Sergey Karjakin beat Wang Hao 1.5-0.5

Ian Nepomniachtchi found himself once again in a decisive blitz game against Peter
Svidler as the two decided their fate with a sudden death blitz. Once again Nepomniachtchi
emerged standing.

Gata Kamsky continued his superb run, and was the only qualifier
to make it into the semi-finals as he beat Pavel Eljanov.

Sergey Karjakin found himself facing his friend and rival, and this time only one would
pass. Once again Nepomniachtchi was in a sudden death game, but this time Karjakin
was the victor.

Gata Kamsky also saw his luck dry up as he lost to Alexander Grischuk 1.5-0.5

The final was decided between Sergey Karjakin and Alexander Grischuk. The games
were not only visible via the site or Playchess, but the wonderful high resolution
broadcasts as well. The above image is an unadulterated screenshot (aside from shrinking).

The match was fittingly decided by a sudden death blitz game, after two hard-fought
rapid games, and in a very tense climax, it literally came down to three seconds each.
A piece fumble by Grischuk cost him two vital seconds and he lost on time the move after.

A relieved and proud Karjakin in front of display showing the final
position and respective times

Sergey Karjakin, winner of the 2013 Aeroflot Open

Pictures by Vladimir Barsky and Eteri Kublashvili


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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