Akiba Rubinstein is back in town in Polanica-Zdroj

by ChessBase
9/24/2011 – IM Aleksander Hnydiuk won the 47th Rubinstein Memorial held in Polanica-Zdroj, Poland, scoring his first GM norm with a 2608 performance. The Memorial is likely to regain its level from the past when it used to be a significant event for both top grandmasters and aspiring masters. This would be a good news given the beauty of Polanica and its surroundings. Pictorial report by Piotr Kaim.

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Akiba Rubinstein is back in town in Polanica-Zdroj

Report by Piotr Kaim / Photos by Sylwia Rudolf

Musical fountain in the town of Polanica-Zdroj

The Polanica-Zdroj Chess Festival started in 1963, and has been organized as the Akiba Rubinstein Memorial since 1965. The Memorial's round robin tournaments have earned a reputation as strong events where aspiring masters (most often Polish ones) compete with world class GMs. As far as the latter group is concerned, Polanica used to attract really big names including Vassily Smyslov, Salomon Flohr, Yuri Averbakh, Vlastimil Hort, Wolfgang Uhlmann, Ulf Andersson, Boris Gulko and many others.

The Festival's golden era came with the last decade of the 20th century when the round-robin tournaments involved players like Vesselin Topalov, Viktor Korchnoi, Sergey Dolmatov, Oleg Romanishin, Alexander Beliavsky, Jaan Ehlvest, Joel Lautier and Susan Polgar. The strongest and the most memorable tournament was held in 1998 when Anatoly Karpov (the then FIDE World Champion) finished miserably at 4/9 after losing to Michal Krasenkow and Sergei Rublevsky; the tournament was dominated by Boris Gelfand followed by Alexei Shirov and a group of four top GMs including Michal Krasenkow, Vassily Ivanchuk, Peter Leko and Sergei Rublevsky.

Unfortunately, after the onset of the 21st century, the Memorial's rank collapsed due to financial problems, and there were years with no chess festival at all, while in others there was no GM round robin tournament. Recently, the organizers have worked hard to re-establish the Rubinstein Memorial to it former glory and the GM round-robin has come back. Its 2011 strength (2441 average ranking) was rather modest, but the tournament is likely to develop in the near future.

Big hopes are associated with the year 2012, a very special one for the Memorial as it marks a centennial of the patron's greatest achievements. In 1912, Akiba Rubinstein won five top tournaments in a succession (including San Sebastian), and was considered the outright favorite to play Emanuel Lasker for the world championship. That is why the European Chess Union declared 2012 as the year of the great Jewish-Polish grandmaster. The Memorial organizers expect these coinciding circumstances will help them to attract sponsors for the 2012 event.

Their success would be a good news for chess players given the beauty of Polanica and its surroundings. Should you need evidence on these issues, please take a photo tour at the end of this report. Please also note that the Rubinstein Memorial is not limited to ten players competing in the GM round-robin. There is also an open tournament (for players of at least 1700 Elo), a tournament for players ranked up to 2000, a senior tournament (men aged at least 60 and women aged at least 50), two tournaments for children aged under ten and under fourteen, and an assortment of rapid and blitz tournaments. On top of this you can also participate in a Fischer Random chess tournament and a solving contest.

IM Hnydiuk is bored with his winning chess

This year, the GM round-robin was won by a Polish IM Aleksander Hnydiuk (2432) who scored his first GM norm with 6.5/9 and a 2608 performance. He left behind a group of three players who scored 5.5/9 including IM Marcin Tazbir (2520), IM Marcin Sieciechowicz (2454) and FM Mateusz Kolosowski (2408). The biggest name in the field was GM Vladimir Malaniuk (2455), who had been a three-time Ukraine Champion and a regular participant of the Soviet Championship Finals. Unfortunately, this time he limited his efforts to quick draws and outplaying the lowest-ranked Pawel Stoma (2322), which gave him five points and a 5th/6th place shared with GM Vadim Shishkin (2457).

When I approached Aleksander Hnydiuk, the tournament winner, he declared he plays "boring chess". – "I have nothing to show to the Chessbase readers" – he added. Only after I insisted that he should reconsider, did the winner recall a quality game against GM Vadim Shishkin.

[Event "47th Rubinstein Memorial"] [Site "Polanica Zdroj"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "4"] [White "Shishkin, Vadim"] [Black "Hnydiuk, Aleksander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D15"] [WhiteElo "2457"] [BlackElo "2432"] [Annotator "Aleksander Hnydiuk"] [PlyCount "72"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 ({This came as a surprise. My opponent usually goes} 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 {when most lines lead to a tactical fight that suits well an attacking player. However, I was going to avoid that kind of stuff, relying on chess catenaccio i.e. the line} e6 7. f3 c5 8. e4 Bg6 9. Be3 cxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. Bxd4 Nfd7 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. Bxc4 {that was seen in the World Championship matches of Topalov (as White) against Kramnik (2006) and Anand (2010). I had analysed this ending for several hours before I sat against GM Shishkin. Critical lines reach as deep as move 30. Though he avoided my preparation, the work was not in vain. I made use of it two rounds later against IM Marcin Sieciechowicz (2454). The latter game followed:} Rc8 14. Bb5 a6 15. Bxd7+ Kxd7 16. Ke2 f6 17. Rhd1 Ke8 18. Rac1 Be7 19. Bb6 Rf8 20. a5 f5 21. exf5 $6 (21. e5 $1 {Topalov-Anand, Sofia (m/8), 2010}) 21... Bxf5 22. Ne4 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Bxe4 24. fxe4 Bd6 {and now, in this equal position, we agreed to a draw.}) 4... a6 {Chebanenko System. I use it regularly against e2-e3.} 5. Nf3 b5 6. c5 Nbd7 {The most principled response, though some players prefer 6...g6, which leads to a cramped position.} 7. b4 ({The main line is} 7. Bd3 {Surprisingly, it led to a short disaster for White, administered to no other than the current World Champion:} e5 8. Nxe5 Nxe5 9. dxe5 Nd7 10. e6 Nxc5 11. exf7+ Kxf7 12. b3 Nxd3+ 13. Qxd3 Qg5 14. g3 Qf6 15. Bb2 Qf3 16. Rg1 Bg4 17. a3 Re8 18. Rc1 b4 19. axb4 Bxb4 20. h3 Bxh3 21. g4 Bxg4 22. Rg3 Qf5 23. Qd4 Re4 24. Qa7+ Qd7 25. Qb6 c5 {0-1 Anand-Aronian, Tal Memorial, Moscow 2009. This game shows the dangers that await White if he plays carelessly.}) ({Other White's options are} 7. a3) ({and} 7. Bd2) 7... a5 8. bxa5 Qxa5 {The idea is to follow with b4 and Ne4 in order to spoil the harmony in the White camp.} ({Worse is} 8... e5 $6 {that was played in Dreev-Korotylev, Russia 2004. After} 9. Bd2 e4 10. Ng1 Rxa5 11. a4 bxa4 12. Rxa4 Rxa4 13. Qxa4 Qc7 14. Na2 Be7 15. Nb4 {White achieved a position of his dreams. The a- and b- files are open and Black is in big trouble due to the weak c6 pawn and bad white-squared bishop.}) 9. Bd2 b4 10. Nb1 ({It is likely that} 10. Ne2 {is more accurate, e.g.} Ne4 11. Nc1 Nxd2 12. Qxd2 e5 13. Nb3 Qa4 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Qxb3 16. axb3 Rxa1+ 17. Ke2 {with interesting play that was seen in Wang Yue-Jakovenko, Taiyuan 2006.}) 10... Ne4 11. Be2 e5 12. a3 Nxd2 13. Nfxd2 Qc7 14. O-O Be7 15. Qb3 $2 {Unexpectedly, this can be met with a strong tactics.} ({In his youth, one well-known French magician played here} 15. a4 {(Feller-Kurmann, Mulhouse 2006)}) 15... exd4 ({Prelude to the move 16. Surprisingly, this position has been already played in a game between two GMs and Black missed the opportunity by playing} 15... bxa3 {?} 16. Rxa3 Rxa3 17. Qxa3 O-O 18. Nc3 exd4 19. exd4 Bf6 20. Nf3 Re8 21. Bd3 Nf8 22. h3 Ng6 {1/2:1/2 Prohaszka-Vuckovic, Cappelle la Grande 2011}) 16. exd4 Nxc5 $1 17. dxc5 Qe5 { I can recapture the sacrificed piece thanks to the double attack on Ra1 and Be2. My play can seem a bit risky given that I have not castled yet, and the e-file is open. However, White's pieces are so poorly coordinated that they are not able to take advantage of the above circumstances.} 18. Ra2 ({Probably, White could do better by sacrificing a pawn for activity:} 18. Bb5 $5 {However, after} cxb5 19. Ra2 Bxc5 20. Nf3 Qd6 21. Re1+ Be6 22. axb4 Rxa2 23. Qxa2 Bb6 ( 23... Bxb4 24. Qa8+) 24. Qd2 O-O 25. Na3 Bd7 26. Ne5 {Black is better.}) 18... Qxe2 19. axb4 Rxa2 20. Qxa2 O-O {The real problem is that White's knights are not only poorly developed, they have no future since they cannot find any safe harbour in the centre.} 21. Nc3 {From now on I make several moves that gain tempi.} Qd3 22. Ndb1 Bf6 23. Rd1 Re8 24. h3 {The king needs the h2 escape square, but the text move weakens White's position further.} Qg6 {Gaining tempo again: 25...Bh3 is threatened.} 25. Kf1 d4 26. Ne2 Be6 27. Qa6 Bd5 28. f3 {Another forced weakening move.} (28. Nf4 {Loses on the spot due to} Qc2 29. Qd3 Bc4 {and the queen is lost.}) 28... Qc2 29. Rc1 Qb2 30. Na3 g6 31. Rd1 Qxb4 32. Nf4 Bh4 $1 33. Nd3 Qb3 34. Rb1 Qa2 35. Kg1 Bg3 {After forcing White to weaken his position I find a perfect outpost for my bishop.} 36. Qa4 Re2 0-1

Photo tour

IM Tazbir (2520) finished second, but failed to score a GM norm

IM Sieciechowicz surprised by a photographer while noting down a move from GM Shishkin

GM Malaniuk confirms a common perception: the neighbours’
position is always more interesting than our own.

FM Bartosz Kocwin of the open tournament: the best painter
among chess players and vice versa.

The River Bystrzyca Dusznicka (try to pronounce it!) flowing
through Polanica-Zdroj.

This fellow is supposed to resemble Akiba Rubinstein; does he?

Stonewall Defence: that’s where the idea was born...

... but it was a poor choice against Akiba Rubinstein: he used to look at details and
could always find the holes

Anthropoid: another evidence for the theory of evolution

It’s really difficult to see the sunlight unless you are in a cave”
(quote by Plato, Rudolf & Kaim)

Rubinstein’s rook endings inspired Mother Nature

Warning: keep your hands off that little top stone!


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