Baadur Jobava wins Aeroflot Open

2/18/2006 – He is 22, hails from Georgia and is currently rated at 2614. He had promised his father to finish in the top three, and remained determined after an unlucky loss and a narrow escape in early games. Using the Caro-Kann as a striking weapon Baadur Jobava was unstoppable in the second half of the event. Big illustrated report.

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The traditional Aeroflot Open was staged in Moscow from February 7 (arrival) to 17 (departure), 2006 at the Hotel Gamma (part of the Tourist Complex "Ismailovo"). The Festival consisted of four nine-round Swiss tournaments, with a total prize fund of US $175,000. The winner of A1 tournament will be invited to play in the Dortmund Sparkassen Meeting, which takes place from July 23 to August 5, 2006.

Aeroflot Open Final Report

Report and pictures by Misha Savinov

The last round of the Aeroflot Open turned everything upside down! The two leaders, Pavel Eljanov from Ukraine and Kiril Georgiev from Bulgaria, were to meet Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (as Black) and Krishnan Sasikiran (as White). Eljanov had a tiebreak advantage, so Georgiev required a win to improve his overall winning chances. A draw was a good result for Eljanov, however, the pace of Mamedyarov in the second part of the event looked really scary.


Relaxed: Baadur Jobava


Top boards: Georgiev vs Sasikiran, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Mamedyarov surprised his opponent in the opening, allowing the Nimzo-Indian (he normally plays the Queen’s Indian, but Shakh was very disappointed about the positions he was getting in it). A double-edged variation led to a very complicated position. Both players were up to the task, as Eljanov’s decisive mistake was discovered only under a microscope of grandmaster analysis. The computer could not help, as it was not a tactical mistake. Eljanov just did not correctly guess the best square for his rook. Mamedyarov’s play was superb that day, and the victory brought him 6.5 points.


Vachier-Lagrave kibitzes on Eljanov’s round 8 game

On the second table Georgiev suddenly appeared in a worse position against Sasikiran. The Indian was extremely focused before and during the game, and capitalized on his opponent’s inaccuracies to snatch a full point in the endgame. The result of this game was apparent long before Georgiev resigned, and all eyes turned to other tables as well as color coefficients.


Deep concentration: India's Krishnan Sasikiran

Once again winning as Black in the final round proved decisive. Rublevsky, Sutovsky, and now – Jobava! Baadur Jobava’s striking weapon, the Caro-Kann, helped him to knock down Vladimir Malakhov.

Viorel Bologan’s fourth (!) consecutive win also gave him 6.5 points. His opponent Alexander Motylev got into a huge time trouble by move 20. He had five seconds for last five moves (without increment), and barely made the time control. However, the position was already lost.


Motylev resigns to Bologan

The average rating of Jobava’s opponents was higher than of Sasikiran and Bologan. So, the tiebreak placed four Aeroflot winners as follows:

1. Baadur Jobava, Georgia,
2. Viktor Bologan, Moldova,
3. Krishnan Sasikiran, India,
4. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Azerbaijan.


Four winners: Sasikiran, Bologan, Mamedyarov, Jobava

At the closing ceremony I asked Mamedyarov whether he thinks the color tiebreak is unfair. Not really, was his reply. The color makes a real difference. “Had I had black against Eljanov, winning could have become a real problem”.


Arbiter Geurt Gijssen and organiser Alexander Bakh

In the interview to Russian websites and the 64 magazine Baadur Jobava said that before the tournament he had a feeling that he may succeed. He had promised his father to finish in the top three, and his confidence was not shaken by an unlucky loss (from a much better position) to Mamedyarov in round four. A draw with Jakovenko was the turning point. Jobava mixed up a move order in a sharp line of the Caro-Kann, but avoided a sure loss with resourceful defense. After that, he was unstoppable.


Baadur Jobava and his special award

Talking to other players during the closing ceremony revealed, that moving to the Izmailovo hotel was no problem for them at all. The playing hall was okay, and hotel rooms were even better than before. The most significant improvement was suggested by GM Karlsson: he advised the organisers to add a coffee machine to the playing hall. Maybe next year?

Picture gallery


A wall between A1 and A2 tournaments was introduced for rounds 8 and 9, and only media and organizers were allowed to enter the A1 hall.


Alexandra Kosteniuk won her 8th round game: +2 before the last round! She lost the last game, but +1 is a fantastic result anyway!


Nikola Sedlak: one of the +2 group


Kiril Georgiev defeated Akopian after the latter unsuccessfully “improved” White’s play in Anand-Topalov San Luis game.


Listening to an announcement


German GM Arkady Naiditsch


Tatiana Kosintseva


The Americans: Shabalov and Ivanov


Sakaev and Tomashevsky, both at +1


Joel Lautier is interviewed by Sport Channel


Watching the Internet relay


Jobava during an interview


The present-day Tigran Petrosian

Final Standings (5.5/9 or higher)

1

Jobava, Baadur GEO 2614 6.5

2

Bologan, Viktor MDA 2661 6.5

3

Sasikiran, Krishnan IND 2670 6.5

4

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE 2709 6.5

5

Eljanov, Pavel UKR 2655 6.0

6

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime  FRA 2542 6.0

7

Petrosian, Tigran L ARM 2558 6.0

8

Akopian, Vladimir ARM 2704 6.0

9

Georgiev, Kiril BUL 2645 6.0

10

Naiditsch, Arkadij GER 2657 6.0

11

Jakovenko, Dmitry RUS 2662 6.0

12

Efimenko, Zahar UKR 2666 5.5
13 Najer, Evgeniy RUS 2652 5.5
14 Fedorov, Alexei BLR 2608 5.5
15 Asrian, Karen ARM 2646 5.5
16 Balogh, Csaba HUN 2561 5.5
17 Yakovich, Yuri RUS 2551 5.5
18 Sedlak, Nikola SCG 2518 5.5
19 Malakhov, Vladimir RUS 2694 5.5
20 Korotylev, Alexey RUS 2609 5.5
21 Alekseev, Evgeny RUS 2634 5.5
22 Izoria, Zviad GEO 2652 5.5
23 Motylev, Alexander RUS 2638 5.5

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