Grischuk wins Moscow Blitz Championship

by ChessBase
9/2/2009 – The lineup of the traditional Moscow Blitz Championship was, as usual, extremely strong. The usual suspects Alexander Grischuk and Alexander Morozevich were joined by the newcoming Muscovite Sergey Karjakin. The sky-high rated Dmitry Jakovenko and always tough Vladimir Malakhov were dark horses of the event. Big pictorial report by Misha Savinov.

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The Moscow Blitz Championship

Report by Misha Savinov

The field in this event, which for decades has been sponsored by the newspaper “Vechernyaya Moskva” (Evening Moscow), notably lacked Vlad Tkachiev (who went to India to play some classical chess), Ian Nepomniatshchi (reason unknown), and Sergey Shipov (decided to play in the journalists’ event). Alexandra Kosteniuk joined the main competition, leaving the women’s challenge to the younger generation. Valentina Gunina took the first place there, followed by Darja Charochkina and Alina Kashlinskaya, all below 20.

Moscow Blitz Championship – chess in the park

It happened that the key game was played in the first round. Alexander Grischuk shook off the challenge of Alexander Morozevich. I missed the game, but according to Morozevich’s long time friend and second Vladimir Barsky, “Sasha was still asleep”. Anyhow, a good way to start the tournament for Grischuk. In the end the players were separated by the narrowest of margins...

The women's blitz championship

Sergey Karjakin started the championship extremely well, winning five games and drawing one. However, in the seventh round he was flattered by the quiet force – Vladimir Malakhov. Malakhov had black, but nevertheless got a better position, which quickly turned into a better endgame.

A key game: Karjakin-Malakhov...

... which Black won in a rook and pawns ending

As Grischuk said, the only difficult thing for Malakhov in such positions is to keep himself from laughing at the hopelessly resisting opponent. Black proceeded to a rook ending with an extra pawn, then there were two extra pawns, and Karjakin resigned.

Another key game, Karjakin vs Grischuk, ended in a draw

Grischuk took the lead and won five games in a row between 6th and 10th rounds. He played in a classical manner, doing everything according to the positional demands and not trying to push too hard – Alexander was ready to accept a draw if the position demanded it. However, usually his positions were winning around move 40. Grischuk is just too tough for the average 2650 GM.

Alexandra Kosteniuk, the only female in the "men's" section, playing against Grischuk

Evgeniy Najer vs the current Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk

After the 11th round Grischuk was in the lead with powerful 9.5 points, Morozevich and Karjakin were tied for second with nine points. They finished in the same order. In the 17th round both chasers lost their games, while Grischuk won his, and the edge grew to 1.5 points. Next, Morozevich defeated Karjakin in their individual game, while Grischuk failed to convert two extra pawns against Dlugy (draw). Round 19 saw the leader making another draw, while Morozevich and Karjakin won their games. At that time two Alexanders were separated by half a point. Round 20: Grischuk wins against Kostenuik, Morozevich wins against Savchenko. The final round was the decisive: Morozevich had white against Jakovenko, Grischuk played black against Amonatov.

A bird's eye view of the game Dmitry Jakovenko vs Alexander Grischuk

I watched Grischuk’s game. It was the Caro Kann. White held a slight edge until Black blundered badly around move 30. Amonatov won a pawn and nervously proceeded to the win in a queen ending. However, by the time Grischuk resigned he was already the official winner! Morozevich had a better game against Jakovenko, but when Dmitry finally equalized, Alex missed an elementary fork, lost a rook for a pawn and resigned immediately. Thus Jakovenko helped his good friend Grischuk winning the second Samovar of the Moscow Blitz Championship.

Final standings

Grischuk 17.0
Morozevich, Karjakin 16.5
Kobalia, Malakhov 14.0
Savchenko, Jakovenko    13.0
Amonatov, Riazantsev 12.5
Dlugy 11.5
Korotylev 11.0
Najer, Zvjaginsev 10.5
Dragomaretsky 10.0
Grachev 9.0
Vlassov 8.5
Kalinichev, Kastanieda 6.0
Kosteniuk, Mesropov, Vorobiov 5.0
Vasiukov 4.0

The winner: Alexander Grischuk, with Alexander Morozevich in second place
(in the middle guest of honour Anatoly Karpov)

Trophies for the winners: heavily ornated Russian samovars, used to make tea

One, two and three: Grischuk, Morozevich and Karjakin

There were many side events – women, veterans, juniors, journalists... There was also a poetic contest, and all the participants received signed copies of Alexandra Kosteniuk’s new book. The weather was great, and many people (including me) came to Muzeon with children, making the overall atmosphere quite relaxed. The last Sunday of the summer turned to be very enjoyable.

Impressions from the Moscow Blitz

Saruman style entrance to the Muzeon Park in Moscow

Peter the Great colossus – the statue is of Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov who ruled
Russia in the late 17th century, not Pyotr Svidler, who rules in chess today

Lenin and Marx in the park

Karl Heinrich Marx was of course the German philosopher who taught that capitalism would inevitably produce internal tensions which will lead to its destruction and replacement by socialism; while Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, a.k.a. Lenin, was a Russian revolutionary and Bolshevik leader, who after 1917 formed the destiny of his and many other countries for the next eighty years.

Karjakin and Ghandi, with musical accompaniment

Sergey Karjakin, 19, was at twelve the youngest grandmaster in the history of the game. He hails from Ukraine and is married to Ukrainian WGM Kateryna Dolzhikova, but has recently moved to Moscow and is now playing under the Russian flag. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the country's independence movement.

Grischuk and Dragomarezkij

Alexander Grischuk, 25, is a top-level Russian grandmaster, winner of this year's Linares Super-GM. He is especially dangerous in blitz. Grischuk is married to the Ukrainian WGM Natalia Zhukova. Evgeni Dragomarezkij, 56, is a Russian IM rated 2447.

Malakhov vs. Riazantsev

Vladimir Malakhov , 28, is a Russia Super-GM who playing in the 2004 FIDE World Chess Championship 2004. He is rated 2715. Alexander Riazantsev, who turns 24 next week, is a Russian GM rated 2646.

Zvjaginsev and Kobalia

Vadim Zvjaginsev, 33, Russian GM rated 2635, is an aggressive, tactical player with lots of new ideas (in chess and in life). His startling antidote to the Sicilian is 1.e4 c5 2.Na3!?, a move that renders the game a battle of wits from the very start. Zvjanginsev had defeated Khalifman and Ponomariov (both former FIDE World Champions) with this system. Mikhail Kobalia is a Russian GM rated 2648.

Pro sports bettor Nikolay Vlassov won one of the qualifiers to earn his place in the tournament

Evgeny Vasiukov, 76, rated 2485, who won the Championship of Moscow six times in the past

Malakhov vs. Morozevich

Maxim Dlugy

GM Maxim (Max) Dlugy, 43, rated 2518, is originally Moscow, but has lived in the USA for the last thirty years. He got a job on Wall Street and eventually became a principal of the Russian Growth Fund, a hedge fund.

Alexander Grischuk in his game against Evgeny Najer

The final tables of the 2009 Moscow Blitz

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