Aeroflot Open 2016 – not to be missed!

by Sagar Shah
1/22/2016 – This great open tournament is into its 13th edition, running on February 29 to March 10th. The Open will be held in three rating categories, so that practically anyone can take part. There are excellent discounts offered by the organizers and Aeroflot Airlines. And the exchange rate of the Ruble makes everything affordable. This article will give you nine good reasons why Aeroflot Open 2016 should not be missed.

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AEROFLOT OPEN 2016 – Not worth missing!

From 29th of February to 10th of March we will be witnessing one of the strongest tournaments in the world – the Aeroflot Open 2016. A tournament filled with rich tradition and history, it is already into its 13th edition. In the year 2002 the first Aeroflot Open was played. Eugeny Atarov interestingly pointed out in one of his articles – “Actually, Aeroflot has created a new type of tournaments – the GM Swiss tournament.” In addition to the Category ‘A’ (2549+) there will also be two other opens for lower rated players. In this article we bring you nine reasons why you should play in this fascinating Open.

1. It’s your chance to be a part of this rich tradition!

Most of the top players who are ruling the chess world today have participated at some point or the other in the previous editions of the Aeroflot Open. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof:

The 14-year-old Magnus Carlsen, who had a rating of 2484 made his second GM norm
at the 2004 edition of the Aeroflot [picture by Jean-Michel Pechine]

The 19-year-old Mamedyarov (with moustache), 14-year-old Sergey Karjakin, who was already a grandmaster (remember, he was just 12 years 8 months when became one), and 19-year-old Evgeny Alekseev, who went on to win the Aeroflot Open 2007 – three years after this picture was taken. [Picture by Jean-Michel Pechine]

The 13-year-old Hou Yifan at the 2008 edition. She was already
an extremely strong player with an Elo of 2527! [Picture by Ozgur Akman]

2. Winner goes to the super tournament in Dortmund

The winner of the Aeroflot Open (A title) gets invited to the super tournament in Dortmund, Germany, that is held usually in July – this year it is from 9th-17th of July. One person who made excellent use of this opportunity was Victor Bologan.

In the Aeroflot Open 2003, Aleksej Aleksandrov of Bulgaria drew his last round game quickly against his countrymate Alexei Fedorov. Aleksandrov with 7.0/9 was confidently strolling after his game, pretty much sure that he would win the tournament and qualify to play in Dortmund. But Bologan had different plans. He fought valiantly against Julio Granda Zuniga, winning the game and thus tying with Aleksandrov on 7.0/9. The tiebreak favoured the Moldovian grandmaster and he won the 2003 edition of the Aeroflot Open.

A jubiliant Viktor and Margarita Bologan at the end of the Aeroflot Open 2003 [picture by Eugeny Atarov]

But this is just half of the story. Bologan was then invited to play in the Dortmund Super tournament. The line-up was quite intimidating.

Bologan (left) was going to lock horns against the World Champion Vladimir Kramnik,
Vishy Anand, Teimour Radjabov, local boy Arkadij Naiditsch and Peter Leko.

Kramnik, Anand and Leko, with their ratings well above 2700, were surely the favourites. No one gave Bologan even a miniscule chance of winning the title. But Viktor played one of the best tournaments of his life and won the event a full point ahead of Kramnik with a score of 6.5/9. Read all the ChessBase reports from Dortmund 2003.

3. No one is left out!

While the major focus will be on the A category (2549+), there are two more categories for the lower rated players as well. The B-group is for participants from 2300 to 2550, while the C-group is for anyone below the rating of 2300 and unrated players.

Some of the top players who have already confirmed their participation to this year’s Aeroflot Open are:

  • Ding Liren (2781, he will play only in blitz)
  • Wei Yi (2737)
  • Boris Gelfand (2735)
  • Bu Xiangzhi (2710)
  • Artemiev Vladislav (2676)
  • Inarkiev Ernesto (2668)
With five weeks still to go we can expect many more strong players to join.

Just to give you an idea how strong this event is, here is the list of top 20 players from last year’s Aeroflot Open 2015:

No. Name FED Rtg
1 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2756
2 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2714
3 Rapport Richard HUN 2709
4 Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2708
5 Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2706
6 Korobov Anton UKR 2694
7 Matlakov Maxim RUS 2693
8 Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2682
9 Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2674
10 Grachev Boris RUS 2673
11 Petrosian Tigran L. ARM 2671
12 Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2669
13 Kovalenko Igor LAT 2661
14 Mamedov Rauf AZE 2658
15 Zvjaginsev Vadim RUS 2658
No. Name FED Rtg
16 Motylev Alexander RUS 2653
17 Khismatullin Denis RUS 2650
18 Adhiban B. IND 2646
19 Kobalia Mikhail RUS 2632
20 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2630
21 Khairullin Ildar RUS 2630
22 Dubov Daniil RUS 2627
23 Salgado Lopez Ivan ESP 2627
24 Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2625
25 Sethuraman S.P. IND 2623
26 Bukavshin Ivan RUS 2618
27 Tregubov Pavel V. RUS 2617
28 Anton Guijarro David ESP 2614
29 Khalifman Alexander RUS 2613
30 Ponkratov Pavel RUS 2613

4. High prize money, well planned schedule and different time controls

With so many stars playing the winnings have to be good. The total prize fund of the three tournaments (A, B, C) is €120,000, the total prize fund Group A is €65,000. Here are the details:

Tournament A: for players with a FIDE rating over 2549. The winner will be entitled to participate in the round robin Super Tournament in Dortmund (9–17 July, 2016).
1st Prize €18,000
2nd Prize €10,000
3rd Prize €7000
4th Prize €4000
5th Prize €3000
6th - 10th Prizes €1700 х 5 = €8500
11th - 15th Prizes €1,200 х 5 = €6000
16th -20th Prizes €700 х 5 = €3500
21st - 30th Prizes €500 х 10 = €5000
Total prize fund €65,000
Tournament B: for chessplayers with a FIDE rating less than 2550, but higher than 2299.
1st Prize €8000
2nd Prize €5500
3rd Prize €3500
4th Prize €2000
5th Prize €1500
6th - 10th Prize €850 х 5 = €4250
11th -15th Prize €550 х 5 = €2750
16th - 25th Prize €450 х 10 = €4500
26th- 35th Prize €300 х 10 = €3000
Total prize fund €35,000
Tournament C: for chessplayers with a FIDE rating lower than 2300 or without rating.
1st Prize €3000
2nd Prize €2300
3rd Prize €1500
4th Prize €1000
5th Prize €700
6th - 10th Prizes €500 х 5 = €2500
11th -15th Prizes €400 х 5 = €2000
16th - 25th Prizes €250 х 10 = €2500
26th- 35th Prizes €200 х 10 = €2000
Total prize fund €17,500

The start time for A and B groups is in the afternoon (15:00) while that of the C group is in the morning (09:30). This gives players below the rating of 2300 a great opportunity to see the top players in action and follow their games live.

Festival schedule

  Tournaments A, B Tournament C
Arrival and Registration Feburary 29 Feburary 29
Opening Ceremony Feburary 29, 21:00 Feburary 29, 21:00
Round 1 March 1: 15:00 March 1: 09:30
Round 2 March 2: 15:00 March 2: 09:30
Round 3 March 3: 15:00 March 3: 09:30
Round 4 March 4: 15:00 March 4: 09:30
Round 5 March 5: 15:00 March 5: 09:30
Round 6 March 6: 15:00 March 6: 09:30
Round 7 March 7: 15:00 March 7: 09:30
Round 8 March 8: 15:00 March 8: 09:30
Round 9 March 9: 15:00 March 9: 09:30
Blitz Tournament March 10: 10:00  
Closing Ceremony, prizes March 10: 18:00  
Departure March 10 - 11 March 10 - 11

Not only are the schedules different but so are the time controls:

Tournament A: 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from the first.

Tournament B: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from the first.

Tournament C: 90 minutes for the whole game with an increment of 30 seconds per move from the first. The participants must keep the record of moves till the end of the game.

5. Blitz tournament

The blitz tournament at the Aeroflot is completely unique. There is an entire day dedicated to blitz after the classical event ends. The seriousness of the organizers can be gauged from the total prize fund: a humungous €20,000 and the first prize is €5,000. This might well be the prize fund of a huge open tournament somewhere! Some players come specially to just play the blitz event. This year Ding Liren is coming to the Aeroflot just to play in the Blitz tournament!

The format is also quite special. You have to play two rounds against every opponent you face – one with white and the other with black. So in all you play 18 rounds. The only advice for all the players planning to play in this event is – Build up your stamina!

Blitz Tournament: the double nine-round Swiss Blitz Tournament will be held
on March 10. Time control: 3 minutes with an increment of 2 seconds per move.
1st Prize €5000
2nd Prize €3000
3rd Prize €2000
4th Prize €1500
5th Prize €1000
6th -10th Prizes €700 х 7 = €3500
11th - 15th Prizes €500 х 5 = €2500
16th- 20th Prizes €300 х 5 = €1500
Total prize fund €17,500

That’s a picture by Yana Melnikov from the 2009 Aeroflot Blitz. Look at the crowd that has gathered! That’s the level of popularity of this blitz event. Also check out some of the videos taken by Sergey Sorokhtin for the 2011 blitz tournament

6. Aeroflot airlines

As Aeroflot airlines is one of the chief sponsor of the event, it is highly possible that the flight ticket from your city to Moscow is extremely cheap. To avail of this benefit you will have to book your Aeroflot flight ticket through the organizers.

7. The Cosmos Hotel and the beautiful city of Moscow

The festival will be held in the Hotel Cosmos, which is one of the largest in Moscow (over 1700 rooms). The hotel is located in one of the most beautiful and environmentally pure Moscow districts, within 20 minutes travelling from Red Square and only 200 metres walking from the nearest subway station (VDNKh). The official accommodation for the participants and also the venue of the Tournament will be at the Cosmos hotel.

The Cosmos Hotel, pr-t. Mira, 150, Moskva, Russia

Spacious and well furnished rooms

The majestic lobby of the hotel

The Red Square [picture above by Valerii Tkachenko] separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitaigorod. The Red Square is considered the central square of Moscow since the city's major streets, which connect to Russia's major highways, originate from the square.

The Bolshoi Theatre is a historic theatre in Moscow, Russia, designed by architect Joseph Bové,
which holds performances of ballet and opera

The Tretyakov Gallery where the Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match was held in 2012

Candidates 2016

Was it always your dream to be present at a huge tournament like the Candidates? Well, by coming to play in the Aeroflot you can kill two birds with one stone. The Aeroflot Open ends on the 10th of March 2016 and the Candidates begins from the 11th of March! This is tournament will determine Magnus Carlsen’s challenger for the World Championship Match 2016 and it is going to be held in Moscow as well! All you need to do is to extend your stay for a few days in Moscow and book the flight ticket accordingly. Of course, the Aeroflot organizers will help you with that.

In fact the Candidates tournament is just ten kilometres away from the Cosmos Hotel

It is a unique opportunity for you to see eight of the greatest stars of our generation in action!

9. Devaluation of the Russian Ruble

The Russian Ruble has devalued considerably. Two years ago, that is in 2014, one Euro would give you something around 45 rubles. Now, as of January 2016, the same Euro will fetch you nearly 90 Rubles! The reason for this devaluation is two-fold: the fall in oil prices and international economic sanctions of Russia following their annexation of Crimea. Due to the devaluation of the Ruble, it becomes financially much more attractive to play in Moscow.

The extremely efficient tournament director of Aeroflot Open
since its inception – Alexander Bakh

More information about the tournament related to visa, ticket and payment

From the list given below one can see the financial conditions of participation. The price of the package (airfare, transfer, accommodation and entry fee) is given at a discount. People who do not need air tickets and accommodation need only pay the entrance fee, which is the same for all participants. The earlier the payment is made the smaller its amount. Buffet breakfast is included in a package.

We again call the attention of all foreigners who wish to participate in the festival Aeroflot Open 2016 that in order to get their visas and air tickets in time they should pay for the package no later than February 15, 2016. After the payment is made please send to the organisers’ email or fax addresses the registration form, including name and surname, Elo rating, birth date, home address, number and expiry date of your passport, as well as a (scanned) copy of it, your itinerary (with arrival and departure dates). Please name the city in which you want to get your entry visa. The further course of action is this – the Association of Chess Federations receives a confirmation of payment and sends an invitation to start arranging for a visa. Electronic tickets will be sent to the email address you indicate. Accommodation at the hotel room from February 29 to March 11, 2016 is paid for by the package. Those who wish to come earlier and/or depart at a later date should book and additionally pay for their rooms in advance (not later than February 15, 2016). The room prices in the periods from February 26 to 29 and from March 11 to 14, 2016 are:

  • single room (standard) – EUR 55
  • single room (superior) – EUR 65
  • double room (standard) – EUR 80
  • double room (superior) – EUR 90

One person may stay in a double room only if he has paid the whole price (EUR 90). Attention is called to the fact that full packages that have already been paid for are not refundable. Payments in US dollars is accepted at the rate EUR 1 = US $1.2.

Additional information will be published on the site
Email: – Tel/fax: +7 (495) 635-5684 – Tel.: +7 (985) 763-3616

Bank details: We kindly request the participants to transfer the payment in EUR or USD for the package to the following double-currency (EUR, USD) account:

Beneficiary Interchess Ltd.
Account IBAN LV36RTMB0000639806488
Rietumu Banka Vesetas 7, Riga, LATVIA SWIFT: RTMBLV2X

PDF documents for you to download

Important notice: From 26th of January 2016 all the details regarding Aeroflot Open 2016 will be put up on the following website of the Association of Chess Federations:

ChessBase has been covering all the editions of the Aeroflot open. Here are some of the most interesting articles on the previous editions:


The games will be 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 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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