Howell and Baryshpolets win 2017 Winter Classic

by Albert Silver
3/22/2017 – The final rounds of the Winter Classic, for both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ events were true nail-biters. In the ‘A’ tournament, Vladimir Fedoseev surged to catch up and pass David Howell, but in the end, after 129 moves, Howell took sole first. Andrey Baryshpolets who had been running away with the ‘B’ event nearly stumbled, but recovered and also won. Illustrated report with analysis by the winners.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


After six rounds, David Howell had been in sole first with 4.0/6 followed by Fedoseev, Swiercz, and Xiong. The first twist took place when Fedoseev managed to win a torturous endgame against Xiong. Xiong had been under great pressure, but had consistently held fast, but when the most arduous calculations were required with little time, he went astray.

Vladimir Fedoseev treats every game as if it were his last

Vladimir Fedoseev vs Jeffery Xiong

This allowed Fedoseev to catch up with Howell, and threaten to take over. In round eight, he did just that as he brought down Samuel Sevian with black, and took sole lead with 5.5/8, with Howell and Ipatov right behind with 5.0/8. Thus it all came down to the final round nine.

Vladimir Fedoseev played a very dangerous game against Shankland, who was all too happy to be given a fighting game to work with. The pundits all commented how strange it was to see him choose such a tense opening, and concluded that maybe Fedoseev simply does not know how to play anything other than all-out chess. As admirable as that might be for spectators, it cost him dearly as he lost.

In the meantime, the top Turkish player Alexander Ipatov also succumbed in the last round, though in his case it was against a very inspired Emilio Cordova from Peru, possibly frustrated by a tournament he had hoped to shine in.

Emilio Cordova scored a very nice win in the last round

Emilio Cordova vs Alexander Ipatov

David Howell had a serious challenge ahead of him since a draw would only mean a three-way tie for first, and a possible playoff. Instead he ground down Li Ruifeng in an epic 129 moves, and secured sole first. It was a brilliant win for the aging Sussex player, who was also the oldest player of the field. The veteran grandmaster showed that age is not a factor to him in spite of his many years... All 26 of them.

Indeed, just ten years ago in 2007, he had become the youngest GM in British history at the age of 16, breaking the previous record by Luke McShane by six months

After the epic long game and final round, David Howell recounts his experience. This is followed by the winner of the 'B' event Andrey Baryshpolets.

Standings in Winter Classic 'A' after 9 rounds

The ‘B’ tournament had witnessed a crushing start by Andrey Baryshpolets, who had taken off with 5.0/6 and seemed untouchable. That was until round seven, when he faced the tournament's lowest-rated player, Irine Sundukar.

IM Irine Sundukar scored 4.0/9 and was the only player to beat Baryshpolets

It was clearly an off-day for the Ukrainian, and when an opening went sour, he lost his equanimity and sacrificed a piece. It soon became clear he had also sacrificed his game, as the very next move he spent over 35 minutes staring at the board before following up.

Irine Sundukar vs Andrey Baryshpolets

This was a wake-up call, and while he did not win anymore, nor did he collapse, and his two draws in rounds eight and nine were enough for first.

Standings in Winter Classic 'B' after 9 rounds


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 14 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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register