Boris Grachev wins 3. Dvoretsky Memorial

by André Schulz
2/17/2021 – On the second weekend in February, the Russian Chess Federation hosted a strong rapid tournament at the Moscow Central Chess Club to honour the legendary chess coach Mark Dvoretsky. Ten of Dvoretsky's former students took part, and after nine rounds Boris Grachev and Ernesto Inarkiev shared first place with 6½/9 each. Grachev won on tiebreak.

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The tournament was an over-the-board round-robin event with a time-limit of 15+10.

The tournament venue

After the first day and five of nine rounds Boris Grachev was sole Reader with 4.0/5. Andrey Esipenko, Ernesto Inarkiev and Mikhail Kobalia followed half a point behind.

In the sixth round Grachev scored an important win against Kobalia and then finished the tournament with three draws. This allowed Inarkiev to catch up to him, but as Grachev had the better tiebreak (direct encounter) these three draws were enough for Grachev to win the tournament.


31...f5? Better is 31...Bc6 32.Qxe4 with equal chances.

32.Qc3+ Kg6 33.Qe5 The queen is powerful and suddenly Black has no more good moves.

33...Qe8 33...Bc6? 34.Qe6+; 33...Be8 34.Ne7++–

34.Qf6+ Kh7 35.Qxb6 35.b3!? Bxb3 36.Qxb6 Bxc4 37.Nf6++–

35...Qe5 36.Qxa5 Be8 37.Qxc5 Kh6


38.Qf8+ White wins the bishop on e8. 1–0

Valentina Gunina was the only woman player in the field, and with 2.0/9 (four draws and no win) she finished ninth. In round eight she lost a theoretically important game against Mikhail Kobalia.

Gunina,Valentina (2427) - Kobalia,Mikhail (2587) D45

3rd Dvoretsky Memorial 2021 Moscow (8.4), 11.02.2021

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.b3 0–0


8.Bb2?! This move has been played in more than a thousand games but Black now seizes the initiative and White quickly runs into trouble. The main line is 8.Be2 e5 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.Nb5 Bb4+ 11.Bd2

8...e5 9.cxd5 After 9.Be2 e4 10.Nd2 the statistics also favour Black.

9...cxd5 10.Qxe5 Nxe5


11.Be2? The Mega contains 86 games with this move.

11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Bd3 with a roughly equal position might be the best for White. Or 11.Nd4 Nc6 (11...Bd7!?) 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.Be2 Qc7 14.Bf3 Re8 ½–½ (41) Karpov,A (2670)-Kramnik,V (2785) Moscow 2007

11...Nxf3+ 12.Bxf3 d4 13.exd4 Re8+ 14.Ne2 14.Kf1 Qa5 15.Qd1 0–1 (31) Kortschnoj,V (2615)-Beliavsky,A (2650) Leon 1994 CBM 042 Ftacnik,L 15...Bd7!? and Black is better.

14...Bg4 15.Bxg4 Nxg4


16.h3 Bb4+ 16...Rc8!? 17.Qd3 Qh4 18.g3 ½–½ (40) Huch,R (2279)-Lautner,J (2175) Bayern 2008 18...Qh5 and Black is clearly better.

17.Kf1 17.Bc3!? Nxf2!? (17...Rc8 18.0–0=) 18.Kxf2 Qf6+ 19.Kg1 Bxc3 20.Nxc3 Qxd4+ 21.Kh2 Re3 22.Rhc1 Rc8 and White has good drawing chances.

17...Rc8 Black has good compensation for the pawn. 17...Nf6 18.a3 Rc8= 0–1 (43) Johannesson,I (2269)-Fressinet,L (2625) Reykjavik 2006

18.Qf5?! 18.Qd3!?

18...Nf6 19.Rd1? After this move White is lost. Better was 19.g3 though Black is still superior. 19...Ne4


20.f3 Nd2+?!

20...Rc5!–+ is a typical engine move. 21.Qf4 g5 22.Qg4 Nf6 23.Qg3 Nh5 24.Qf2 Rc2;
Or 20...g6 with ideas such as 21.Qb5 Rc2 22.Qxb4 Rxb2 23.fxe4 Qf6+ 24.Kg1 Rxe2 25.Rf1 Qg5–+

21.Kf2 Qe7?! 21...Rc6!? e.g.: 22.Qd3 Nxf3 23.gxf3 Rce6 24.Ng3 Qh4 with an attack.

22.Qd3 Rc2 Black's position is impressive but White still has a chance to save herself.



23.Bc1! holds:

a) 23...Qg5 24.Rxd2 Rxd2 (24...Bxd2? 25.Qxc2 Qe3+ 26.Kg3 The king escapes and White wins.25.Bxd2 Bxd2 26.g3=

b) 23...Qh4+ An important in-between-check to control the g3-square. 24.g3 Qg5 25.a3  is enough. (25.Rxd2 does not work: 25...Bxd2 26.Bxd2 (26.Qxc2 Qe3+ 27.Kg2 Qxe2+ 28.Kg1 Qe1+ 29.Kg2 Re2#) 26...Rxd2) 25...Rxe2+ 26.Qxe2 Ne4+ 27.fxe4 Qf6+ 28.Ke3 Rxe2+ 29.Kxe2 Be7=

23...Rxa2 24.Rhe1 Qh4+ 25.g3 Qh5 26.Kg2 Nxf3 26...Nxf3 27.Qxf3 Rexe2+ 28.Rxe2 Rxe2+–+ 0–1

Grachev and Inarkiev shared first with 6½/9, Kobalia finished third with 5½/9.

Mark Dvoretsky's son Leonid awarded the prizes during the closing ceremony.

Final standings




Mark Dvoretsky (1947-2016) was a renowned coach and he trained players such as Artur Jussupow, Sergey Dolmatov, Nana Alexandria, Alexander Chernin, Alexey Dreev, Vadim Zvjaginsev, Alexander Riazantsev, Victor Bologan, Pavel Eljanov, Ernesto Inarkiev, Alexander Motylev, Vladimir Potkin, Evgeniy Najer, Ivan Popov, and many others. Dvoretsky was also a prolific and successful writer of manuals textbooks.


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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