Savchenko lifts the Alekhine Memorial 2019 Cup

by Rupali Mullick
7/9/2019 – The Alekhine Memorial in Voronezh is considered as one of the strongest tournaments in Russia. You have a host of Russian players who are under-rated and fighting for the top spots. RUPALI MULLICK, who was present at the event, with her son Raahil, brings us a detailed report from the venue. It includes photos, game analysis and videos, but also interviews with the first and second placed players Savchenko and Visakh who show us their best games along with analysis.

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Boris Savchenko, not to be overlooked

One tournament lost in the shuffle of super strong June action, the 23rd Alekhine Memorial finished with the top board players fighting tooth and nail to stay ahead of the rest of the field. IM Sergey Pavlov (UKR),  Arseniy Nesterov (RUS) and Azamaty Utegaliyev (KAZ) were clear leaders after five rounds with a 4½/5, but 16-year-old, untitled Arseniy Nesterov (RUS) won everyone’s hearts. His fabulous, solid performance on the top table enabled him to maintain a half point lead after round 6 over the rest of the players. At the end of the eighth round, while Arseniy was at leading with 6½/8, there were 8 players trailing the 16-year-old by only half a point at 6.0/8. The ninth round presented many twists and turns and ended up with both Visakh and Savchenko tying for first place with 7.0/9. But due to a better tiebreak Savchenko clinched the title.

GM Visakh NR vs Arseniy Nesterov | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Ultimately it came down to the last round, as GM Visakh NR showed his edge against youngster Arseniy Nesterov when he scored a crucial win on board one, moving closer to a top three finish.

GM Nikita Maiorov took an early draw against GM Dmitry Kryakvin on board number 2, and ended up with 6½/9.

Aftermath of a non-game with a move repetition beginning on move 7 | Photo: Rupali Mullick

In contrast, Savchenko, who was in a must win situation for a top three finish, scored a brilliant win on board three against IM Sergey Pavlov, who had been among the leaders all through the tournament!

Savchenko (black) against Pavlov | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Untitled and very talented Azamat Utegaliyev from Kazakhstan conceded to a draw against GM Nikita Meshkovs on board four and missed out on a top five finish, but took home a GM norm with a performance rating of 2612!

Azamat Utegaliyev vs Nikita Meshkovs | Photo: Rupali Mullick

GM Abhimanyu Puranik of India had to settle for an early draw by repetition against Belarusian GM Alexei Fedorov, thus finishing with 6.0/9. He was given a special prize of 3rd Best Foreigner.

Abhimanyu Puranik receives his prize | Photo: Rupali Mullick

IM Joshua Daniel Ruiz Castillo from Colombia crossed the 2500 Elo rating mark and got his GM title after defeating GM Abhimanyu Puranik in Rd 7, he also won the special prize of 2nd Best Foreigner. Check out this very interesting game and video where Joshua shows his win over GM Abhimanyu Puranik:


Ruiz Castillo on his win over Puranik

IM Sergey Pavlov was 'Best Foreigner' but narrowly missed his final GM norm | Photo: Rupali Mullick

GM Visakh N R finished joint first, but had to settle for second place due to a worse tiebreak at 7.0/9 | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Interview with GM Visakh NR after the tournament

The winner of the tournament, Russian GM Boris Savchenko with 7.0/9 | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Final Standings (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Savchenko Boris 7,0 49,0
2 Visakh N R 7,0 47,0
3 Maiorov Nikita 6,5 51,0
4 Rozum Ivan 6,5 51,0
5 Nesterov Arseniy 6,5 50,0
6 Utegaliyev Azamat 6,5 50,0
7 Shaposhnikov Evgeny 6,5 48,5
8 Meshkovs Nikita 6,5 48,0
9 Kryakvin Dmitry 6,5 46,5
10 Pavlov Sergey 6,0 52,5
11 Rios Cristhian Camilo 6,0 52,0
12 Ruiz Castillo Joshua Daniel 6,0 51,5
13 Svetushkin Dmitry 6,0 50,0
14 Goganov Aleksey 6,0 48,0
15 Fedorov Alexei 6,0 47,5
16 Puranik Abhimanyu 6,0 47,0
  Golubov Saveliy 6,0 47,0
18 Potapov Pavel 6,0 45,0
19 Moiseenko Vadim 6,0 45,0
20 Harutjunyan Gevorg 6,0 42,5

All available games


Improve your attacking chess with Boris Savchenko

After the tournament ended, GM Boris Savchenko sat down with me for a detailed interview. He gave some fine advice as to what youngsters ought to be doing in order to become stronger chess players. His suggestion is to study the classics. He also goes on to show a brilliant attacking game that he played against Rudik Makarian in round five.

Try to train your attacking play with Savchenko and then later go on to check the analysis and the video below.


Learn from Boris Savchenko!

The Indian youngsters fought hard against the strong Russians and learnt tremendously from them! You may not have the best tournament but when you still go home smiling, it shows the grit and determination of these youngsters!

Savitha Shri, Raahil Mullick, Rakshitta Ravi and her mother Sai Meera Ravi | Photo: Rupali Mullick

While the players fight it out inside the playing hall, Chess mom and WIM Sai Meera uses her time outside to ‘talk Chess’ with a local Voronezh player (almost every day!), even though they don’t speak the same language! | Photo: Rupali Mullick

A cute little chess dog named Pat, meaning ‘Stalemate’, all dressed up in his chess jumpsuit, entertained people outside the playing hall! | Photo: Rupali Mullick  

Interview with the tournament director Alexander Raetsky


Rupali is the mother of twelve-year-old Raahil Mullick, an upcoming chess talent from Mumbai. She has a Ph.D in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a partner at JVM Industries. Her husband Prashant is a FIDE Rated player making them a complete chess family.


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