Donchenko and Tomilova win ACP Knockout Tournaments

by André Schulz
7/31/2020 – Alexander Donchenko won the ACP-ChessBase Knockout Tournament, which took place in the Emanuel Lasker Arena of the PlayChess server. In the final, the young German grandmaster defeated two-time British champion Gawain Jones 3:1. In the women’s section, penultimate seed Elena Tomilova from Russia stunned by winning the event after beating Anastasia Bodnaruk in the final.

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Supporting chess professionals

For its premium members, the Association of Chess Professionals, together with ChessBase, organized two tournaments in knockout format, one open and one for women. Both tournaments were held on the PlayChess server on July 23-28.

With the tournament, the ACP members obtained an opportunity to play and be financially supported. Many chess professionals currently have no sources of income at all because of the Corona lockdown. 

A knockout system was used in both tournaments. In the Open, 16 players took part, while 12 players participated in the Women's. Some well-known players registered to participate — Pavel Eljanov, Nikita Vitiugov, Gawain Jones, Antoaneta Stefanova, Pia Cramling, among others. Each elimination round consisted of four rapid chess games with a time control of 10 minutes for the game plus 5-second increments. 

The total prize fund was 2,600 Euro and at least 16,800 ducats. (Ducats can be used in the ChessBase Shop and to use the Engine Cloud).

In the open tournament, Alexander Donchenko confirmed his excellent form and advanced to the final with victories over Anatoli Vaisser, Aleksandr Rakhmanov, Daniel Fridman and Nikita Vitiugov. Then, the young German grandmaster was paired up against Gawain Jones in the final. Donchenko, who comes from winning an over-the-board event in the Czech Republic, won two games and drew the rest to take the title.

Jones,Gawain CB (2735) - Donchenko,Alexander (2522) [B23]
ACP-Knockout-2020–Open R5 Emanuel Lasker Arena (1.3), 28.07.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 [This is the Carlsen variation.]

5...g6 [5...Sf6 6.b3 e6 7.Lb2 a6 8.0–0–0 b5 1–0 (31) Carlsen,M (2843)-Wojtaszek,R (2744) Shamkir 2018 CBM 184]

6.b3 Bh6 7.f4 f5 8.Bb2 Nf6 9.0–0–0 fxe4 10.Kb1 Qa5 11.Nge2 Rf8 12.h3 g5 13.Nd4 gxf4 14.Bb5 [Black is two pawns up and stands better.]

14...Bd7 15.Qe2 e3 16.Nd5 Nxd4 17.Bxd7+ Kxd7 18.Nxf6+ Rxf6 19.Rxd4 Rg6 20.Rhd1 Rc8 [Black dominates the board.]

21.Rd5 Rc5 22.c4 Rxd5 23.Rxd5 Qb4 24.Kc2 [24.Rb5 Qd2]

24...a6 25.Bc3 Qb6 26.Bd4 [Driving the black queen to her desired square.]

26...Qc6 [With the g2-square targeted, White is completely busted.]



27... e6 28.Rh5 Rxg2 29.Qe1 Rd2+ 30.Kc3 Qe4 31.Kb4 Bf8 32.Qh4 Qxd4 33.Rxh7+ Bg7 34.Qg5 Qc3+ 35.Ka3 Rxa2+ 36.Kxa2 Qb2# 0–1

Donchenko also won the fourth game:


From this rather harmless-looking position, White obtained a decisive advantage in a few moves.

19.Rbd1 Rd8 [19...e5 20.Nxd6 Rd8 21.Nxc8 Raxc8 22.Qc3 with an extra pawn.]

20.Rfe1! Rd7 21.e4 fxe4 22.Rxe4 e5 23.Rh4 [A very uncomfortable rook swing for Black.]

23...h5 [23...N8a7 24.Qh6+ Kg8 25.Rxd6 Rxd6 26.Nxd6 Rd8 27.Ng5 Rxd6 28.Bd5+ is terrible.]

24.Ng5 [24.Bh3 Rd8 25.Ng5 was also very strong.]

24...Nd4 [24...S8a7!? 25.Lh3 (25.Sc3!? Sd4 26.Txd4!?) 25...Nxb5 26.Ne6+ Kh8 27.cxb5 Nd4 28.Nxd4 cxd4]

25.Nxd4 cxd4 26.Bh3 Nb6 [Every escape is pointless. 26...Rd8 27.Ne6+]

27.Re1 [Threatening Rxd4.]

27...Qf6 28.f4 [28.Rxd4 exd4 29.Re6 was lethal.]

28...Re7 29.fxe5 [29.f5!]



30.Rf1 [Actually lets black off the hook.]

30...Qc6 [30...Qd6 with potential for consolidation. 31.g4!? (31.Ne4 Bxe4 32.Rxe4 Nd7 is not good for white.) 31...Qc6 is now better, because the knight cannot go to e4. 32.Nf3 Rf8 33.Bg2 Ref7 34.gxh5 Rf5 White has the better prospects, but it’s not over yet.]

31.Ne4 [Clears the diagonal for the queen and threatens Bg2. It’s over.]

31...Rf7 32.Rxf7+ Kxf7 33.Bg2 Kg8 34.Qg5 Rf8 35.Rxh5 Bc8 36.Rh6 Bf5 37.g4 Kg7 38.gxf5 [Everything wins. 38.Qe7+ Rf7 39.Rh7+ Kxh7 40.Qxf7+ Kh6 41.Qf8+ Kh7 42.Ng5#]

38...Rxf5 39.Qh4 Nc8 40.Rh7+ Kg8 41.Rh8+ Kf7 42.Qh7+ Ke6 43.Qxg6+ 1–0

The surprise winner of the women’s tournament was Elena Tomilova. She eliminated Antoaneta Stefanova and Irina Bulmaga and defeated Anastasia Bodnaruk in the final.

Results - Open tournament

1st Round - July 24th
1A: Murzin, Volodar (16) - Sadhwani, Raunak (17) 3-0
1B: Amin, Bassem (9) - Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan (24) 3-0
1C: Aleksandrov, Aleksej (12) - Bulmaga, Irina (21) + -
1D: Yuffa, Daniil (13) - Gaponenko, Inna (20) 3-0
1E: Romanov, Evgeny (14) - Krishna CRG (19) 3-1
1F: Salgado Lopez, Ivan (11) - Estrada Nieto, Julian (22) 2.5-1.5
1G: Kobalia, Mikhail (10) - Bodnaruk, Anastasia (23) 2.5-1.5
1H: Donchenko, Alexander (15) - Vaisser, Anatoli (18) 2.5-0.5

2nd Round - July 25th
2A: Kovalenko, Igor (1) -Murzin, Volodar (16) 2.5-0.5
2B: Jones, Gawain CB (8) - Amin, Bassem (9)  2.5-0.5
2C: Eljanov, Pavel (5) - Aleksandrov, Aleksej (12) 1-3
2D: Demchenko, Anton (4) - Yuffa, Daniil (13) 3-2
2E: Saric, Ivan (3) - Romanov, Evgeny (14) 2-3
2F: Vitiugov, Nikita (6) - Salgado Lopez, Ivan (11) 2.5-0.5
2G: Fridman, Daniel (7) - Kobalia, Mikhail (10) 2.5-1.5
2H: Rakhmanov, Aleksandr (2) - Donchenko, Alexander (15) 1-3

3rd Round - July 26th:
3A: Kovalenko, Igor (1) - Jones, Gawain CB (8) 1.5-2.5
3B: Aleksandrov, Aleksej (12) - Demchenko, Anton (4) 1.5-2.5
3C: Romanov, Evgeny (14) - Vitiugov, Nikita (6) 1.5-2.5
3D: Fridman, Daniel (7)  - Donchenko, Alexander (15) 1.5-2.5

4th Rouns  - July 27th:
4A: Jones, Gawain CB (8) - Demchenko, Anton (4) 2.5-1.5
4B: Vitiugov, Nikita (6) - Donchenko, Alexander (15) 1.5-2.5

Final - July 28th

Jones, Gawain CB (8) - Donchenko, Alexander (15)  1-3

All games - Open tournament


Results - Women’s tournament

1st Round - July 25th
1A: Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan (8) - Tomilova, Elena (9) 0.5-2.5
1B: Bodnaruk, Anastasia (7) - Bejatovic, Bojana (10) 2.5-0.5

2nd Round - July 26th
2A: Stefanova, Antoaneta (1) - Tomilova, Elena (9) 0-3
2B: Bulmaga, Irina (4) - Zatonskih, Anna (5) 3-0
2C: Gaponenko, Inna (3) - Zhukova, Natalia (6) 2.5-1.5
2D: Cramling, Pia (2) - Bodnaruk, Anastasia (7)  1.5-2.5

3rd Round  - July 27th:
3A: Tomilova, Elena (9) - Bulmaga, Irina (4) 2.5-0.5
3B: Gaponenko, Inna (3) - Bodnaruk, Anastasia (7)  0.5-2.5

Final - July 28th

Tomilova, Elena (9) - Bodnaruk, Anastasia (7)  2.5-1.5

All games - Women’s tournament



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


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