Durban GM brings fourteen grandmasters

by Albert Silver
10/2/2014 – Held simultaneously with the WYCC in Durban, South Africa, the Durban GM Open was also held over eleven hard rounds of play. This provided an important opportunity for players from South Africa and surrounding nations to get some valuable competitive practice against titled players. Fourteen grandmasters starred in the lineup, not to mention numerous masters. Illustrated report.

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At the top of the list was Indian grandmaster Gupta Abhijeet with 2642 FIDE. Although
he performed roughly in line with his rating, his final score of 8.5/11 was good for sole
third, ahead of a number of players on 7.5

Mexican GM Gilberto Hernandez played solidly, but a last-round loss to
top-seed Gupta prevented him from penetrating the podium, and he
ended with 7.0/11

In second was 19-year-old Indian GM Grover Sahaj who tied for first-second with 9.0/10

The winner of the tournament was Italian GM Sabino Brunello, who not only had a great
tournament throughout, leading from end to end, but in the eleventh round when crunch
time came, he defeated his compatriot Axel Rombaldoni in a key game

Here is a key win by GM Sabino Brunello (2531) over top-seed Gupta Abhijeet (2642) in round seven:

[Event "Open Tournament"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.09.25"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Brunello Sabino (ITA)"] [Black "Gupta Abhijeet (IND)"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D85"] [PlyCount "105"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 c5 8. Be3 Qa5 9. Qd2 Nc6 10. Rb1 a6 11. Rc1 cxd4 12. cxd4 Qxd2+ 13. Kxd2 e6 14. d5 exd5 15. exd5 Ne5 ({In a high-profile blitz game, Levon Aronian beat Nepomniatchi with 14.d5 and play continued} 15... Ne7 16. Bc4 Nf5 (16... O-O 17. Bc5 Bh6+ 18. Kc3 Bxc1 19. Rxc1 Re8 20. Re1 Nxd5+ 21. Bxd5 Rxe1 22. Nxe1 Be6 23. Bxb7 Rb8 24. Bxa6 Bxa2 25. Nd3 h5 26. Nb4 Be6 27. Bd4 Kh7 28. Nd3 Rb3+ 29. Kd2 Ra3 30. Bb7 Ra2+ 31. Nb2 Ra5 32. f4 Bd5 33. Bxd5 Rxd5 34. Ke3 Ra5 35. Nd3 { 1-0 (70) Holzke,F (2506)-Ftacnik,L (2570) Germany 2012}) 17. Bc5 Bh6+ 18. Kc3 Bxc1 19. Rxc1 f6 20. Re1+ Kd7 21. Re6 b5 22. Bb3 a5 23. g4 b4+ 24. Kd2 Nh6 25. Ba4+ Kc7 26. Re7+ Kd8 27. d6 Ra6 28. Bb5 Nxg4 {1-0 (28) Aronian,L (2801) -Nepomniachtchi,I (2720) Moscow 2010}) 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. g3 O-O 18. Bg2 Bd6 { [#] This is a key position. Black wants to neutralize the d5 pawn and if possible capture it, while White wants to use it to hamper Black's play, and use the space to force concessions. The engines say it is equal, and while it may be, Black's lack of development and space makes it less comfortable.} 19. Bc5 $1 {An excellent decision since it is easily Black's best piece. Not only does it blockade the d-pawn, but it also prevents penetration to c7 or other dark squares.} Rd8 20. Rhe1 Kf8 21. Kd3 Bxc5 22. Rxc5 Bf5+ 23. Kd4 Rd7 24. a4 Rb8 25. Re3 b6 $2 {No one likes to be stuck behind the trenches passively waiting for the opponent to show his hand, but that is what he needed to do. The text move creates a nasty weakness that immediately tips the balance in White's favor.} 26. Rc6 $1 b5 27. a5 b4 {Forced} ({Trying to protect the a-pawn with} 27... Ra8 {fails to} 28. Kc5 Raa7 29. d6 {and it is clear that Black is lost.}) 28. Rb3 Re8 29. Bf3 {Preventing any shenanigans such as Re2.} Re1 30. Rxb4 {White is up a pawn and is eyeballing the a6 pawn to create a second passer.} Be6 31. Kc5 Bh3 32. Rxa6 ({The immediate} 32. d6 $1 {was more precise since now} Rc1+ {fails to} 33. Rc4) 32... Rc1+ 33. Kd4 ({The difference is that now} 33. Rc4 {cannot be played due to} Rxc4+ 34. Kxc4 Bf1+ 35. Kc5 Bxa6) 33... Rc2 34. Ra4 Rxf2 35. Ke3 Rb2 36. d6 ({Low on time, White misses} 36. Rb6 Re7+ 37. Be4 {and the speeding a-pawn will decide things quickly}) 36... Rb3+ 37. Kf2 Rb2+ 38. Ke1 Bg2 39. Bxg2 Rxg2 40. Rb6 Rd8 41. Kd1 $1 {An important precision. Why?} ({Because carelessly shoving} 41. a6 $4 { would let Black slip through the cracks with} Rc8 $1 {and White must play} 42. Kd1 {to prevent Rc1 mate, and now} Rcc2 {ensures a draw.}) 41... Rc8 42. d7 { Sorry, your time has run out.} Rd8 43. Rb7 Rg1+ 44. Kd2 Rg2+ 45. Kd3 Rg1 46. a6 Rc1 47. a7 Rcc8 48. Ke4 Ra8 49. Kd5 Ke7 50. Kc6 f5 51. Ra2 g5 52. Re2+ Kf6 53. Re8 1-0

Strong Canadian GM Eric Hansen was the third seed with 2593, but
a string of four draws in the middle prevented him from doing better
than fifth with 7.5/11

Naturally it wasn't all grandmasters and masters. Stephen Skosona
from South Africa had the privilege of playing three grandmasters
one-on-one. Not your everyday opportunity for an amateur.

Canada had several representatives in the event, such as IM Nikolay
Noritsyn who finished with 7.0/11

GM Sandro Mareco from Argentina chats with Italian GM Axel Rombaldoni at the prize ceremony

A group shot of all the top performers in the open

We would like to extend special thanks to Reint Dykema who has provided wonderful pictures at the South African Chess federation's Facebook page. The pictures presented here are but the smallest sample of his work.

Final standings

Rk SNo Ti. Name
Fed
Rtg
Pts
TB 
1 5 GM Brunello Sabino
ITA
2552
9.0
65.0
2 10 GM Grover Sahaj
IND
2492
9.0
62.5
3 1 GM Gupta Abhijeet
IND
2642
8.5
64.5
4 19 GM Bui Vinh
VIE
2411
7.5
56.0
5 14 GM Solozhenkin Evgeniy
RUS
2448
7.5
62.0
6 3 GM Hansen Eric
CAN
2593
7.5
61.5
7 9 GM Popilski Gil
ISR
2493
7.5
59.5
8 7 GM Bhat Vinay S.
USA
2511
7.5
62.5
9 28   Van Rensburg Ryan Pierre
RSA
2175
7.0
56.0
10 48   Nel Andre
RSA
1889
7.0
53.0
11 13 IM Noritsyn Nikolay
CAN
2449
7.0
63.5
12 20 GM Khatanbaatar Bazar
MGL
2376
7.0
57.0
13 24   Rubery Mark
RSA
2238
7.0
55.5
14 6 GM Hernandez Guerrero Gilberto
MEX
2531
7.0
60.0
15 15 IM Annaberdiev Meilis
TKM
2439
7.0
59.5
16 12 GM Bakre Tejas
IND
2452
7.0
58.5
17 16 IM Cawdery Daniel
RSA
2432
7.0
58.0
18 8 GM Rombaldoni Axel
ITA
2502
7.0
63.0
19 45   Pesa Mofoka A.
RSA
1940
6.5
51.5
20 4 GM Mareco Sandro
ARG
2585
6.5
62.0

Click for complete standings

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.




Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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