Aeroflot R7: Amin Tabatabaei joins Kovalev in the lead

by Niklesh Kumar Jain
2/27/2018 – Amin Tabatabaei might have had a bad start to the tournament but ever since his first round loss to IM Eesha Karavade, the teenaged International Master from Iran has been on the rise. Scoring four wins in a row, he is now jointly leading the event with besides having scored a GM norm with two rounds to spare. With just two rounds to go, this young IM is definitely someone to watch out for. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

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Tabatabaei wins two in a row

It was -21 degrees Celsius in Moscow yesterday morning and the cold outside was in stark contrast to the heat of the competition inside. I had tons of questions in my head walking into the playing hall: will Kovalev keep up his lead or would Artemiev make a comeback? More importantly, the player who has been on the rise since his first-round loss, IM Amin Tabatabaei, will he, after having defeated the top-seeded Fedoseev in the previous round, be able to bring down Sasikiran today? Anyway, amid these questions, I had to occupy myself taking pictures as soon as I got in.

Round 7 highlights | ChessBase India YouTube

View of the venue during round 7 of the Aeroflot Open 2018

Some of the best talents from around the world have gathered here at this tournament hall in Moscow! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

seventh round game between Vladislav Kovalev and Igor Lysyj at the Aeroflot Open 2018

Vladislav Kovalev and Igor Lysyj had a fierce battle on the top board | Photo: Niklesh Jain

On the top board, tournament leader, Vladislav Kovalev chose the aggressive King's Indian Defence to counter his opponent, Igor Lysyj's queen pawn opening. As is typical for the King's Indian, Kovalev directed all of his forces towards the white king but his weak pawns in the centre and the queenside gave his opponent good counter-chances. After 30 moves, the players decided to sign the truce.


King's Indian: A modern approach

Bologan: "If you study this DVD carefully and solve the interactive exercises you will also enrich your chess vocabulary, your King's Indian vocabulary, build up confidence in the King's Indian and your chess and win more games."


Artemiev and Petrosian played a quick draw on board two | Photo: Niklesh Jain

On board two, Russian youngster, Vladislav Artemiev and the former world champion's namesake Tigran Petrosian wrapped up their game in merely 23 moves. The game, even though it was a draw, was quite a sharp theoretical battle. Had either side made one false move, the outcome might have been completely different.


The English Opening Vol. 1

Williams main teaching method behind this set of two DVDs is to teach you some simple yet effective set ups, without the need to rely on memorising numerous complicated variations.


Krishnan Sasikiran during his round seven game against Amin Tabatabaei at the Aeroflot Open 2017

Sasikiran's ambitious play cost him a full point | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Indian number four, Krishnan Sasikiran essayed the Slav Defence with the black pieces against IM Amin Tabatabaei. Quite early in the game, Tabatabaei was able to inflict pawn weaknesses on Sasikiran's kingside. With his active queen, however, Sasikiran enough counterplay to keep balance in the position. There were several opportunities for the Indian to drift the game towards a draw but he had more ambitious intentions. In an attempt to create winning chances, Sasikiran mishandled the position and ended up losing the full point.


The Semi-Slav

The Semi-Slav (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6) can arise via various move orders, has decided World Championships, and is one of Black's most fascinating replies to 1 d4. Magnus Carlsen's second, Grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen explains in detail what this opening is all about.


Amin Tabatabaei during his seventh round game at the Aeroflot Open 2018

Amin Tabatabaei | Photo: Niklesh Jain

With this victory, Tabatabaei has joined Vladislav Kovalev as the joint tournament leader. His rating performance as of round 7 is 2785 and his live rating has jumped up to 2595. More importantly, this young Iranian IM has also scored a GM norm with not one but two rounds to spare!

Game between Maxim Matlakov and Victor Bologan from the Aeroflot Open 2018

Victor Bologan tried hard to win in his game against Maxim Matlakov but had to settle for a draw in the end. | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Anton Korobov during his round 7 game at the Aeroflot Open 2018

The best game of the day was clearly Anton Korobov's bout against Parham Maghsoodloo | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Korobov's game against Maghsoodloo was an absolute treat for all spectators. From the white side of a Gruenfeld defence, Korobov dominated the board on all corners. Almost stepping into the middlegame, he gave up the right to castle and did not fear marching his king up the board to retain his advantage. Just one move after the first time control, Maghsoodloo resigned as his opponent's far advanced pawns and active pieces were too much for him to handle.


Vidit's drawing spree continues

The second seed of the tournament, Vidit Gujrathi continued his struggle with form in round seven as well. For the seventh consecutive time in the tournament, Vidit was unable to win his game and had to settle for a draw. Whether this string of draws has something to do with his work with his close friend Anish Giri is quite amusing to think about. Nevertheless, we hope he breaks the shackles of bad form and makes a strong comeback soon.

The game between Vidit Gujrathi and Firouzja Alireza from the seventh round of the Aeroflot Open 2017

Vidit Gujrathi drew his seventh game in a row, this time against IM Firouzja Alireza from Iran | Photo: Niklesh Jain



Standings after round seven (top 25)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Kovalev Vladislav 5,5 3
2 Tabatabaei M.Amin 5,5 3
3 Petrosian Tigran L. 5,0 3
4 Artemiev Vladislav 5,0 3
5 Lysyj Igor 5,0 3
6 Korobov Anton 5,0 3
7 Sargissian Gabriel 5,0 3
8 Xu Xiangyu 4,5 4
9 Bologan Victor 4,5 4
10 Sethuraman S.P. 4,5 4
11 Gordievsky Dmitry 4,5 4
12 Khalifman Alexander 4,5 3
13 Karthikeyan Murali 4,5 3
14 Matlakov Maxim 4,5 3
15 Mamedov Rauf 4,5 3
16 Najer Evgeniy 4,5 3
17 Romanov Evgeny 4,5 3
18 Maghsoodloo Parham 4,0 4
19 Yakubboev Nodirbek 4,0 4
20 Andreikin Dmitry 4,0 4
21 Piorun Kacper 4,0 4
22 Kamsky Gata 4,0 4
23 Inarkiev Ernesto 4,0 4
  Alekseenko Kirill 4,0 4
25 Sasikiran Krishnan 4,0 4


FIDE Instructor Niklesh Kumar Jain Jain is an international chess player who has participated in tournaments in almost in 20 different countries, winning the international tournament in Sri Lanka in 2010. He also worked for a television network as an anchor and news writer for two years and reported in Hindi during World Chess Championship 2013 and 2014.
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