Farrukh Amonatov wins Eurasian Blitz Chess Cup

by Alina l'Ami
6/27/2016 – Having to rush, having to run, being under time-pressure, having only minutes or seconds for an important decision is a feeling more and more people of today share - and do not like. But chessplayers sometimes seem to enjoy the lack of time and many top players came to play in the Eurasian Blitz Chess Cup in Almaty. Alina l'Ami sends a big illustrated report.

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Festina lente

“I have no time!” is by far our modern times' bestseller, the contemporary world's syndrome. On the run all day long, 'present' in one place but thinking of another, rushing and hasting and hurrying and worrying... No time for being but obsessed of doing; almost everything is speed, fast food, shortcut, coffee to go, fast-forward... “What? A beautiful sunshine you said? Give me a break, don't you see I am busy?!” We have just enough time to complain that we have no time! Sadly, I recognize myself in this description too.

But for such views... the world can wait!

We have household appliances to replace our hands, turbo jets to bring us faster to our destinations, elevators to avoid all those stairs, computers, machines, engines, databases, all meant to ease up our lives and offer us precious seconds. And despite all that, we have less and less time. I know I am not the first one to say it but it is quite a remarkable paradox indeed.


Good we have these airplanes though, else we
would spend days to reach such destinations.


Why do we/I feel so rushed? After the recent and awe-inspiring trip to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where I had the chance to take part in the prestigious and super strong Eurasian Blitz Chess Cup, I was reminded the answer. For me, time poverty is clearly an issue of perception (perhaps a professional defect too) and distribution. Lack of time is not the problem but wasting it on futile things and thoughts is.

No matter how much advice we get, we still have to make our own mistakes.

Want more time?! Well... better do more with what you have :)

Everyone has the very same 24 hours a day (or the 3+2 on the clock), so it is up to each individual to prioritize or brush off the emotional garbage that fills up our heads, thus freeing important space on the hard drive. And if I am talking about Blitz, to also practice, practice, practice until you get the perfect coordination between:


… eyes...

… and brain!

However, you can't stop the wind from blowing, the time from flowing or the clock from going (actually 'ticking' is better but allow me the satisfaction of rhyming:). Busy species we are indeed, so there is no time for heedless hurry. Haste slowly is quite a good piece of advice here, much better than my hurry-scurry generously displayed on the board... Just how exactly to apply it in practice?! Both the organizers of the Eurasian Blitz and its winners proved it is possible!

A great tournament requires a great arbiter too: Ashot in his element,
conducting a laid-back yet to the point technical meeting, assisted by
the lovely and super efficient deputy executive director of Kazakhstan
Chess Federation, Gulmira, and the highly popular Australian arbiter, Jamie!

The fastest in town!


Farrukh won the tournament but had to overcome difficult moments:
he lost 2-0 in the final rounds against Sergey Karjakin.

Besides, the hero from Tajikistan had to slalom between strong players too.

Worried, focused? The tournament was a tough chess affair for everyone.

Wake up, win, repeat... the best 'advice' for Blitz.


The O'Sullivan of chess had a good tournament but a top
player like Nepo could consider the 2nd place a 'failure'.

25For others, like myself too, the mere participation was a gift and a reward in itself.

Relaxing between games or after a... flight which went wrong.
Sasikiran lost his connection and arrived in Almaty 'just in time' for
the 11th round. Noteworthy is that he didn't give up the idea
of joining the tournament!



To be more concrete, just like the other players, I received the invitation shortly before the actual start of the tournament. Despite the very little amount of time at their disposal, the Kazakhs challenged the (excuse me the stereotypes) Germans or the Dutch with an incredible display of promptitude, punctuality and precision. And I would add the unique generosity too. Everything went like clockwork, from the way they arranged our flights, the transfers, the outstanding accommodation, the entire schedule and all the little things in between those. If you add a 100 000 USD prize fund (1st place – 30 000; 2nd – 20 000 and 3rd 14 000 etc. plus many other special prizes) and a splurging Ritz Carlton to enjoy your chess life in, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why we, the chess players, enjoyed our million dollar chess lives.

Reception on the 30th floor?! In top ten of the best luxury hotel brands
in the world (according to CNN, Forbes etc), Ritz Carlton cannot disappoint its customers.

110 % satisfaction for yours truly. This was a part of my room: gorgeous view, elegant,
modern and headache-less lines plus a zillion of gadgets hidden all over the place. I felt like
on a treasure hunt, discovering new and surprising elements at every turn.

I felt like a little princess, pampered, important, a crowned head that deserves top treatment
and is not given any chance of doubting that. A+ from me and a big applause for the organization!

The VIPs were present too!

Obviously, the organizers left nothing to chance. Wonderful opening and...

… closing ceremonies as well!

And we were not the only ones to enjoy that.

But the happiest are the winners, of course. After a 'slow' start,
Harika proved she can put herself together for a better finish:
1st place in the women list!

Harika had fierce opposition, as Valentina Gunina had an excellent start of the tournament too.

Just that time went way too fast, in true 21st century's style... the three days in Almaty and the 22 games we played vanished in thin air before I could say Jack Robinson...

And yet, the organizing team found the resources to hold a simul as well,
given by none other than the great Boris himself! “Are you sure about that?!”

“Yes, I am!”

The people in Almaty are quite some characters and super-friendly too!

The frenzied rhythm, the emotions, the money at stake, the nerves (which not all were of steel), it all created an unfeignedly special atmosphere. True, I don't have experience in Blitz and my result is testimony, but I know it is possible to use those 3 minutes and the 2 seconds pretty well!


And despite all the adrenaline rush, which is inevitable in such circumstances, some players had the time to be kind, too!

"My sincerest and most grateful applause for my third round opponent GM Boris Savchenko at the Eurasian blitz cup! I arrived with a 14 second delay for our first game but he kindly leveled the time balance by waiting 14 seconds before making his first move!" - GM Mihail Marin

Also in one of my games, as it is usually happening in Blitz, I was winning, then unclear, then winning again, to only realize a few moves later that I am suddenly lost due to an unstoppable mate. In a desperate attempt, I sacrificed a piece, delivered some checks, threw away my queen and was waiting for the cruel fate → mate on the next move. To my shock, I see my opponent offering me his hand, with the clear gesture of resignation?! I was bug-eyed(!) but apparently he lost on time and I didn't even see that! Impressing and I am not sure I would have done the same... Just to clarify, myself & all my chess friends know that mate is stronger than a fallen flag, as checkmate wins the game immediately. However, we are not arbiters, so feel free to share your opinion and/or experience in the commentary below!

You don't have to win to be a winner, but it helps.

There is more to Blitz than a radical increase in speed, more than reflexes, practice, automatism. It is also a race with yourself, your emotions, a challenge that not everyone is up for but which proves that yes, there is enough time for good moves too! Perhaps the secret lays in finding the right formula between hasting and delaying your actions but if you failed to find it, don't worry. Enjoy your time or the... 'lack' of it!

I am certainly going to miss those smiles and...

… eyes.

Final standings after 22 rounds:

Rg. Snr   Name Typ Land Elo Pkt.  Wtg1   Wtg2   Wtg3 
1 24 GM Amonatov Farrukh   TJK 2679 16,0 0,0 15,0 2822
2 1 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian   RUS 2846 16,0 0,0 13,0 2827
3 30 GM Jobava Baadur   GEO 2635 15,5 0,0 14,0 2821
4 13 GM Artemiev Vladislav   RUS 2722 15,5 0,0 14,0 2812
5 3 GM Karjakin Sergey   RUS 2801 15,0 0,0 14,0 2791
6 9 GM Svidler Peter   RUS 2754 15,0 0,0 13,0 2816
7 12 GM Onischuk Vladimir   UKR 2734 15,0 0,0 11,0 2743
8 43 GM Megaranto Susanto   INA 2557 14,0 0,0 13,0 2747
9 18 GM Kovalenko Igor   LAT 2699 14,0 0,0 13,0 2691
10 29 GM Moiseenko Alexander   UKR 2646 14,0 0,0 12,0 2679
11 28 GM Sjugirov Sanan   RUS 2656 14,0 0,0 12,0 2605
12 10 GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam   UZB 2736 14,0 0,0 11,0 2771
13 19 GM Ponomariov Ruslan   UKR 2695 14,0 0,0 10,0 2771
14 5 GM Gelfand Boris   ISR 2792 14,0 0,0 9,0 2737
15 4 GM Mamedov Rauf   AZE 2796 13,5 0,0 12,0 2741
16 15 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar   AZE 2714 13,5 0,0 11,0 2761
17 22 GM Jumabayev Rinat   KAZ 2685 13,5 0,0 11,0 2525
18 37 GM Arutinian David   GEO 2589 13,0 0,0 12,0 2619
19 6 GM Wang Hao   CHN 2784 13,0 0,0 11,0 2750
20 7 GM Grischuk Alexander   RUS 2766 13,0 0,0 11,0 2749
21 2 GM Le Quang Liem   VIE 2805 13,0 0,0 11,0 2705
22 34 GM Volokitin Andrei   UKR 2621 13,0 0,0 11,0 2574
23 21 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco   ESP 2686 13,0 0,0 10,0 2630
24 56 IM Pak Yevgeniy   KAZ 2484 12,5 0,0 12,0 2550
25 31 GM Kazhgaleyev Murtas   KAZ 2635 12,5 0,0 11,0 2687
26 11 GM Jones Gawain C B   ENG 2734 12,5 0,0 11,0 2652
27 42 GM Potkin Vladimir   RUS 2564 12,5 0,0 11,0 2545
28 58 GM Harika Dronavalli w IND 2443 12,5 0,0 11,0 2504
29 17 GM Hou Yifan w CHN 2704 12,5 0,0 10,0 2650
30 20 GM Saric Ivan   CRO 2690 12,5 0,0 10,0 2639
31 8 GM Andreikin Dmitry   RUS 2759 12,5 0,0 10,0 2599
32 46 GM Yilmaz Mustafa   TUR 2543 12,5 0,0 10,0 2531

101 players...

Complete standings...




Tournament page

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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