Evgeny Bareev wins clear first in Enghien-les-bains

6/26/2003 – It may have lacked drama but it didn't lack authority. Russia's Bareev has returned to the top ten and it looks like he wants to stick around for a while. He ran out to the lead with 5/6 and then drew his final three games to take the title a half-point ahead of Adams and a full point in front of Gelfand and Polgar. Guess who had the most decisive games! Report, games, and analysis here.

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Bareev coasts to victory


Enghien-les-bains 2003 final standings
Official siteReport rounds 1-5 Round 6-9 replay/download page

Evgeny Bareev won clear first in the category 17 (avg. 2669) Enghien-les-bains tournament in France. No word on whether or not he sampled les bains (the baths) of this resort town to celebrate, but it would be a well-deserved plunge.

The 36-year-old Russian was saved from being the field's veteran by Korchnoi, twice his age! (Unfortunately for Viktor, Bareev had twice his score.) This was a fine bounce-back win for Bareev after his dismal showing in Sarajevo last month.

He and Adams were undefeated and Bareev was able to coast home with draws after winning three straight. The top seed's only nervous moments in the home stretch came in a wild sacrificial battle with Bauer that burned out to a draw.

We'll have to wait and see if these great results (Bareev won Wijk aan Zee 2002) mean he is ready to do combat with the likes of the KKA Triangle. There aren't many supertournaments around these days in which to meet them, unfortunately. Even if Bareev can't make it back to #3 in the world, a slot he once occupied behind Kasparov and Karpov, he is definitely making the most of his opportunities.

It was also a solid performance from Adams, who won his first three whites and was rarely in danger. Someone must have been slipping something into Boris Gelfand's breakfast cereal. The usually peacefully inclined Israeli had six decisive games and by winning two of his last three scratched his way up to the podium.

His win against Polgar mussed an otherwise excellent performance for the Hungarian, who tacked on a few more rating points. On the next list Polgar will likely move up a few more spots, perhaps as high as #8.

Fressinet started strong but had the wind taken out of his sails by a few tough losses and never recovered. He made a play for a plus score in the final round against Polgar but in the end he had to content himself with the best record amongst the locals. Bauer also had his moments and played several very entertaining games.

To round out the French contingent, Joel Lautier found himself in the unusual position of finishing behind two of his countrymen. He has been the French #1 more or less since the death of Deschappelles and talented juniors like Bacrot and Fressinet have yet to knock him off the hill.

Speaking of juniors, this may well be Teimour Radjabov's first tournament that could be called anything other than a success by some standard. His black repertoire is still having trouble holding up to super-GM scrutiny.

But when Gelfand left the books and played a closed Sicilian line against him Radjabov outplayed the experienced 2700 in steady fashion. It's not often you see Gelfand so convincingly blown off the board with white. (Maybe this disaster will start to push people away from these closed "Sissy Sicilians" and back to taking on the Sveshnikov.)

Gelfand was also the only bright spot in the tournament for Akopian. It's a sure sign of bad form when several players get their only wins against you. Remember Kasparov in last year's Russia vs the World match when he lost to Polgar and Akopian, who both lost just about every other game they played!

In turn, Akopian was the only ray of sun on an otherwise rainy event for Korchnoi. The legend has had a typically busy year and there was no way to recover from losing three of his first four games.

We hope to be back in two years to cover this marvelous event again. Enghien-les-bains always serves as a good example of how to put together a fighting field.

Gelfand started his comeback with a fine attacking win over Polgar. Here he set up deadly threats with 35.Qg6! and Black has no good defense to Rh8+ and Qh8 mate. Polgar managed to set up a few traps but Gelfand evaded them all.

35.Qg6! Threatening mate in 2 with Rh8+. 35...Rf5 36.Rh2!

[36.Bxf5?? Qe2+ 37.Kh3 Qf1+ 38.Kh2 Qe2+ 39.Kh3 Qf1+ 40.Kh2= (40.Kh4?? Be7+ 41.Kh5 Qh1+ 42.Kg4 exf5+ 43.Qxf5 Qxh7; 40.Kg4?? exf5+ 41.Qxf5 Qxf5+ 42.Kxf5 Kxh7) ] 36...Kf8 37.Rh8+ Ke7 38.Bxf5

[38.Re8+ Kd7 39.Rxe6] 38...Qe2+ [38...Qxf5 39.Qxg7+ Qf7 40.Qg5+ Kd7 41.Ra8] 39.Kh3 Qf1+ 40.Kh4 [40.Kh4 Qxf5 41.Qxg7+ Qf7 42.Qxf7+ Kxf7 43.Ra8] 1-0
 

 

Polgar was again in the unusual role of defender in her final round game against Fressinet. Her tactical acumen came in handy as she escaped the worst (and perhaps Fressinet missed the best.)

The Frenchman gave it one last try here with 30.Nxf8 but couldn't avoid a repetition. Still, it made for an exciting conclusion to an exciting tournament.

30.Nxf8 Rxd1 31.Qxh7+ Kxf8 32.Qh8+ Kf7 33.Qf6+ Kg8 34.Qxg6+ Kf8 35.Qh6+ Kg8 36.Qg6+ Kf8 37.Rxd1 Re1+ 38.Rxe1 Qxe1+ 39.Kg2 Qe2+ 40.Kh3 f3 41.Qf5+ Ke7 42.Qf6+ Kd7 43.Qf7+ Kd6 44.Qf4+ Kc6 45.Qc4+ Kb6 46.Qd4+ Kc6 ½-½
 

 

Bauer got his only win against Korchnoi and he did it in style. It's not every day you see a pawn push like the one he used to crack open the apparently safe black king.

28.f5! gxf5 (Taking with the e-pawn loses a knight to 29.Bxd5.) 29.Bxd5 exd5 30.Kh1! f6??

[The toughest defense: 30...Kh8 31.Rg1 Rf8 ( 31...Rg8?? 32.Qd6!!) 32.Rg5!? f6 33.Rxf5]

31.Rg1+ Kh8

Clearly Korchnoi had overlooked the devastating next move.
 

32.Qd6!! 1-0

Everyout out there say OOOUUUUUUCH. Black has no way to cover the queen, f7, and f6 at the same time so he resigned.

(In case you haven't had your coffee yet today, if 32...Qxd6 33.Nf7 is mate.)
 

 

Mig Greengard

Photos of Bareev and Gelfand from the official website.

 


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