Aeroflot Open – where opposites meet

by ChessBase
2/11/2006 – At this big yearly open, played in three groups, it is all about strong vs weak, old vs young, and players from the four corners of the globe. You can see them analyse for hours, even though they speak different languages. We bring you a picture report from Moscow.

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The traditional Aeroflot Open is being staged in Moscow from February 7 (arrival) to 17 (departure), 2006 at the Hotel Gamma (part of the Tourist Complex "Ismailovo"). The Festival consists of four nine-round Swiss tournaments, with a total prize fund of US $175,000. The winner of A1 tournament will be invited to play in the Dortmund Sparkassen Meeting, which takes place from July 23 to August 5, 2006.

Aeroflot Open after round three

Report and pictures by Misha Savinov

After three rounds there are 12 players with 2.5 points: Akopian, Korotylev, Malakhov, Popov, Dyachkov, Naiditsch, Eljanov, Petrosian, Alekeev, Kuzubov, Vachier-Lagrave and Fressinet. There were no major upsets so far. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov finally won a game yesterday after 22 games without a win in a row, and looked very happy. Kiril Georgiev, the winner of the Gibraltar open, recovered after the first round loss, winning his next two games. The highest-rated female player Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Murtas Kazhgaleev yesterday and now has 2 points, as well as the only past winner of the Aeroflot participating this year, Viorel Bologan.

It looks to me like Ukrainian Pavel Eljanov is ready to make a big step forward. A very well schooled and consistent player, he is superbly prepared in all stages of the game, and has no problem with keeping cool during the game. the Ukrainian group is really impressive here – Areshchenko, Efimenko, Eljanov, and even young Kuzubov are all doing well.

In the tournament A1 two IMs, Krapivkin and Hoffmann, have a 100% score after three rounds, leaving more than 40 GMs behind. Like Corus B, Aeroflot B event is an exciting competition alone, it is sufficient to mention just a few names: Gagunashvili (who defeated Grischuk in one of the earlier Aeroflots in the Evans Gambit), world champion Stefanova, the brilliant analyst Sergey Ivanov, the immensely experienced Psakhis, living and playing legend Sveshnikov, etc.

The only fault of this year’s Aeroflot open is that it coincides with the Winter Olympics. Maybe this is why Magnus Carlsen did not show up; Norwegians love their ski jumping more than chess. Russians prefer figure skating, and figure skating competitions take place after the end of the Aeroflot festival, so…

Picture Gallery

Tournament C has the most colorful lineup

Vera Nikolayevnya Tikhomirova, grandmother of Russian chess, in tournament C

Young and old, all together in Tournament C

Anvar Tourdyev, Moscow conservatory champion, Moscow open winner (under 2200 section) and ChessBase contributor

Tournament B participants Anna Burtasova (left) and Vera Nebolsina (right). FM Carmen Voicu from Romania is in the middle

They did not understand each other’s language, but analysed together for at least half an hour

German GM Arkadij Naiditsch in Moscow

French IM Almira Skripchenko

Evgeny Najer, who has recovered from the illness that prevented him from playing in the Russian superfinal

Still very much alive and playing chess: Evgeny Sveshnikov

Top female player at Aeroflot 2006: Alexandra Kosteniuk

American GM Alexander Shabalov

Indian GM Sandipan Chunda

GM Zviad Izoria from Georgia, who pocketed $50,000 at the HB Global Chess Challenge in the United States last year

Vlad Tkachiev, as we love him. He is not playing this time

A fitness center ad in the hotel

The hotel’s internet café


  • Official web site – very professional and ambitiously presented in Russian and English
  • Games – live coverage and games to replay on a Flash board or for download as PGN.
  • Photos – There are lots of photos, presented in a very slick Macromedia Flash client, which does not work properly in Firefox but is fine in Internet Explorer. Once more there are no captions, so you either know the faces or simply enjoy the general atmosphere.
  • Information and regulations

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