Andriy Vovk wins in Oslo

by ChessBase
10/11/2017 – The Elo favourite at the Chess Festival Oslo was Polish grandmaster Grzegorz Gajewski who helps Vishy Anand as a second. However, Gajewski played too many draws and also stumbled against young Chinese IM Di Li. Things went smoother for Andriy Vovk, who won the tournament with 8½/10. | Photo: Anniken Vestby / Schachfestival Oslo

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Andriy Vovk wins Chess Festival Oslo

There was a time when strong grandmasters used to play in invitational tournaments while amateurs tried their skills in open tournaments. But lately this has changed. Today, there are open tournaments in which almost all top players and even the World Champion are keen to play. For amateurs it is harder and harder to hide from the super grandmasters... Well, not quite. There are still some "normal" open tournaments — tournaments with a number of strong players but without the absolute heavyweights. Last week, such an open took place in Oslo.

The venue was the "Quality Hotel Expo", close to the "Telenor Arena", host of the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. 

Almost 120 participants came to play, most of them from Norway. Among the players were ten grandmasters and a couple of titled players. The winner of the tournament would receive 25,000 Norwegian Crowns, about 2,600 Euro. 

Photo: Google Maps

Elo favourites were Grzegorz Gajewski (2630) and the Ukrainian grandmaster Andriy Vovk (2622). The two French grandmasters Sebastien Mazé and Matthieu Cornette could also boast of more than 2600 rating points. The best Norwegian in the field was GM Frode Urkedal with an Elo rating of 2570.

Gajewski started with two wins but then drew twice against weaker players. In rounds five and six Gajewski won again but in round seven suffered a defeat against the relatively unknown 18-year old Chinese IM Di Li. After this loss Gajewski drew his next two games but then lost against Swedish GM Erik Blomquist in the final round. With 6 / 10 Gajewski finished on a disappointing 26th place.

Andriy Vovk, the other Elo favorite, fared much better. He won the tournament with 8½/10, winning seven games and drawing three. Here's an energetic win by the Ukrainian:


The complex Najdorf

When choosing an opening repertoire, it is common to consider two types of variations. One is usually a solid opening, like 1...e5 against 1.e4, with plenty of strategical ideas and quiet paths of play. However, there are of course days when you want to play for a win with Black, when you want to bear down on your opponent’s position with a potentially crushing attack. The Najdorf is perfect for just such occasions – and it’s no coincidence that Garry Kasparov played it the most out of all the variations in the Sicilian – the opening served him well throughout his brilliant career. I myself have played it with both colours, but even I discover more to its endless depths every day! Strategy, combinations, attack and defence, sacrifices and marvellous manoeuvres – exciting chess is all about the Najdorf!


Second place went to GM Boris Chatalbashev, Sebasten Mazé finished third, fourth place went to Di Li.

The best Norwegian was Frode Urkedal in 6th place. In the first round he was hardly better against Kimiya Sajjda (1893) but had spotted an idea. 


Black had just played 24...Qd2, threatening Re1. White reacted with 25.Qc2?, which allowed Black to mate: 25...Re1 26.Kh2 Qf4 27.g3 Nf3, followed by Rg1. After 24...Bf1 things would have been okay for White.

Final standings (Top 15)





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kishan udipi kishan udipi 11/4/2017 12:11
Congratulations Andrey:)
I just saw this article and your great winning.
Annivest Annivest 10/11/2017 05:17
Photo from Oslo Chess is taken by Anniken Vestby