Alekhine Mem.: Ponkratov snatches win at end

by Albert Silver
6/21/2014 – The Alekhine Memorial finished with a heavily bloodied battlefield since none of the players were able to stay clear ahead of the field for any length of time. Though Ponkratov and Artemiev were clear leaders after five rounds with 4.5/5, one round later they had been caught by two more, and after round seven the new leader was Fedorov. It ended in a photo finish.

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Ultimately it came down to the last round as the two leaders Fedorov and Khalifman drew,
while Pavel Ponkratov edged them out when he scored a crucial win on board three against...

... Alexander Rakhmanov (2614).

Alexei Fedorov came second with 7.0/9, losing to Ponkratov on tiebreak

Vladislav Artemiev ran a bit out of steam at the end, and finished with four draws, though
still a fourth place and 2687 TPR

Untitled Alexander Predke (2491) finished with a superb 6.5/9 and 2670 performance with this win over mexican GM Manuel Leon Hoyos in round nine:

[Event "18th Voronezh Master Open 2014"] [Site "Voronezh RUS"] [Date "2014.06.21"] [Round "9.8"] [White "Predke, Alexandr"] [Black "Leon Hoyos, Manuel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B67"] [WhiteElo "2491"] [BlackElo "2515"] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "2014.06.12"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 9. f4 b5 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. Kb1 {So far this is all main theory.} Rc8 {However, this is not. Qb6 is usual.} 12. f5 b4 $6 {Black is asking for trouble...} (12... Nxd4 13. Qxd4 Be7 $14 {was more sensible, cutting down on White's ability to wipe him off the board.}) 13. fxe6 {... and is served! Now e6 will become a target and a fatal one.} fxe6 (13... bxc3 $2 14. exd7+ Qxd7 15. Qxc3 Nxd4 16. Qxd4 {and Black is lost, a pawn down and a joke of a pawn structure.}) 14. Nce2 Ne5 $2 15. Nf4 $1 Kf7 {This may look normal, but Black has no way of holding on material here.} (15... Qe7 16. Bxa6 $18) 16. g3 h5 17. Bh3 {Come to papa} Ng4 18. Qe2 ({There is no question White saw the simple} 18. Nxh5 Rxh5 19. Bxg4 {but since he also knew he was going to get a pawn no matter what, probably chose the text hoping to maximize his position after.}) 18... Rc5 19. Bxg4 hxg4 20. Qxg4 Qc8 $2 {Between protecting e6 or g6, Black makes a very strange choice.} (20... Rh6 {was the only way to offer resistance. }) 21. Qg6+ Ke7 22. h4 {There is more than one road to Rome here, and this is one of the easier ones to calculate.} ({For the sake of purity, the engines do point out} 22. Nf5+ $1 {as stronger, but the main line is quite a headache to calculate.}) 22... Bh6 23. Rhf1 Qf8 24. Ndxe6 $1 Bxe6 25. Nxe6 Kxe6 26. Rxf6+ $1 Qxf6 27. Rxd6+ Kxd6 28. Qxf6+ {and with the rook on h8 falling, Black resigned.} 1-0

Fortunately for Predke, this superlative performance and positive score against seven grandmasters, was worth a GM norm despite playing GMs from only two nationalities, instead of the required three. The reason, as explained by tournament director Alexander Raetsky, is in rule 1.43e in the FIDE Handbook which includes the exception "Swiss System tournaments in which participants include at least 20 FIDE Rated players not from the host federation, but from at least 3 federations and at least 10 of whom hold GM, IM, WGM,WIM titles."

The player area is cordoned off

12-year-old Alexey Episenko finished with 5.0/9, but more importantly: a win over GM Vitaly Kunin

16-year-old Kirill Kozionov had a solid tournament and ended on 5.5/9

Final standings

Rk
SNo
Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
 Perf 
1
9
GM
PONKRATOV Pavel
RUS
2595
7.0
2738
2
13
GM
FEDOROV Alexei
BLR
2574
7.0
2694
3
4
GM
KHALIFMAN Alexander
RUS
2617
7.0
2644
4
2
GM
ARTEMIEV Vladislav
RUS
2647
6.5
2682
5
32
 
PREDKE Alexandr
RUS
2491
6.5
2670
6
3
GM
KOKAREV Dmitry
RUS
2628
6.5
2666
7
16
GM
BRODSKY Michail
UKR
2556
6.5
2638
8
29
GM
NOSENKO Alexander
UKR
2492
6.0
2619
9
19
IM
ROZUM Ivan
RUS
2544
6.0
2589
10
21
GM
ZONTAKH Andrey
UKR
2533
6.0
2586
11
38
IM
ULKO Jaroslav
RUS
2422
6.0
2584
12
6
GM
TIMOFEEV Artyom
RUS
2603
6.0
2583
13
18
GM
TUKHAEV Adam
UKR
2547
6.0
2579
14
24
IM
PRIZANT Jaroslav
RUS
2516
6.0
2568
15
11
GM
KRYAKVIN Dmitry
RUS
2581
6.0
2562
16
17
GM
MOZHAROV Mikhail
RUS
2552
6.0
2555
17
15
GM
KHARITONOV Alexandr
RUS
2558
6.0
2509
18
26
IM
DEMIDOV Mikhail
RUS
2512
6.0
2483
19
14
GM
SHARIYAZDANOV Andrey
RUS
2568
6.0
2467
20
5
GM
RAKHMANOV Aleksandr
RUS
2614
5.5
2554

Click here for complete standings

Pictures by Elena Ponomarev


Links

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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