Jobava's perfect score at Abu Dhabi Masters 2019

by Shahid Ahmed
8/8/2019 – Baadur Jobava at one point in his chess career was well above 2700 on the Elo scale and otherwise has managed to keep his rating close to 2700. However, recently his bad form has taken him into the 2500 Elo mark. But that's not his true level! The Georgian GM is showing this at the Abu Dhabi Masters 2019 as he beats one GM after another and is now in sole lead with 6.0/6. Parham Maghsoodloo won the blitz event, while in the exhibition match between Leko and Morozevich, it was the Hungarian who came out on top. | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Winning with the Ruy Lopez Vol. 1 - 3 Winning with the Ruy Lopez Vol. 1 - 3

Really, among the open games the only opening with which White can really fight for an advantage in the long term is the Ruy Lopez. But in order to make this serious effort, he has buckle down and learn a whole series of sub-variations. That is what the professionals do, including of course Viktor Bologan, who now reveals the secrets of his own grandmaster repertoire.


Maghsoodloo wins Blitz, Jobava gets revenge

The Abu Dhabi Masters began on August 2nd, 2019. There are three tournaments taking place: Masters (above 2100), Open (below 2100), and Juniors (under-16). In the masters section, we have 151 participants and 76 of them are Indians! There are only four UAE players taking part, as there are only nine players in the country who have a rating above 2100. The tournament is taking place in Hotel Sofitel and it is a nine-round Swiss event. The time control is 90 minutes for the entire game with a 30-second increment for each move from move one. There are players from 28 countries and 48 out of 151 players are grandmasters. Top seed of the tournament is GM Yuriy Kryvoruchko (2686) and there are 17 players above the Elo of 2600. The first prize in the masters section is USD $13,000.

Before we see Jobava's dominance in the Masters, let's have a round-wise review of the tournament so far.

Top seed of the Masters tournament GM Yuriy Kryvoruchko did not have the perfect start as he lost the first round to Viani D'Cunha | Photo: Rupali Mullick


IM Viani D'cunha sacrificed a pawn earlier to gain an initiative and now it seems like all his plans are thwarted by White, when in reality it is not. Find out the best continuation for Black.


Well White could have tried 24.b4 to continue the fight but 24.e2 allows the Black pieces to barge in.


WIM Divya Deshmukh shocked Ukrainian GM Vladimir Onischuk | Photo: Rupali Mullick

India's prodigious Divya Deshmukh was worse out of the opening against Onischuk and at some point she was clearly lost. However, back-to-back errors by her opponent gave her two extra pawns in the endgame which she converted with ease.


30...e6 was the first major mistake by Onischuk. Divya correctly capitalized it by grabbing the c6 pawn with 31.axc6 which allowed her to have connected passed pawns on the queenside. Divya used correct technique in the Queen ending to net the full point.


CM Raahil Mullick maneuvered his knight beautifully against GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan | Photo: Rupali Mullick


At a first glance, an unassuming move like 17.a1 seems harmless.


Still the knight at f5 doesn't seem to stir any major trouble.


Raahil showed great restraint as he didn't grab the exchange on g6. He simply built up his position and it became too much for Samvel to handle.


And now knight's journey is complete. It has done what it aspired to do starting from a1. White has made eight moves of the knight in the final 23 moves.

At the conclusion of round 1, India no.2 Harikrishna tweeted this:

IM Raunak Sadhwani held GM Andrey Esipenko to a draw in a thrilling game | Photo: Rupali Mullick

In a Ruy Lopez exchange variation, Raunak played fearlessly which almost cost him the game in the second round.


When you face a position like this against Esipenko, not everyone lives to tell the tale. But Raunak managed to hold on after his opponent made a few inaccuracies.


Black played 33...a1 and reduced his chances of winning drastically. Find out the better move for Black.


Black still has one last chance to continue the attack. How?


The most exciting draw of the round was between Akash and Tabatabaei | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Tabatabaei survived a scare in round two. IM Akash Pc Iyer held Biel Masters 2019 champion GM Amin Tabatabaei to a draw in an exciting game arising out of Semi-Slav opening.


Akash made it very clear early in the game that he is not going to hold back any punches with 10.h4


If you are going for an attack, you cannot afford to take a step back especially in a position like this.


In a position like this, one must be ready to play what's necessary. So 14.d1 even though may look awkward but that's what the position demands.


Black just played 19...g3 with some nasty threats lying ahead. How should White react here?


Apparently White missed a decisive advantage here by playing 21.c7+. What did he miss here?


Black just blundered here with 26...h3. Can you find the winning continuation here for White?


Rise of Jobava in round 3


It is quite evident that Black is winning. Jobava showed correct technique to score the win.


Jobava takes sole lead in round 4

Jobava beat Russian GM Aleksandar Indjic using a beautiful combination to finish off the game and jump into the sole lead.


White has a simple yet beautiful combination to finish the game. Can you find it?


Jobava beats home favourite Salem Saleh

UAE's no.1 player Salem Saleh managed to squeeze compensation for a pawn in Semi-Slav Defence. However, he made a critical mistake and squandered any advantage he had.


There are various ways for White to continue here, but Salem went for 21.e6 which was not the best choice. What was the better way for White to continue here?


Despite 26.f6 seeming dangerous for Black, there is absolutely no real threat because Black can neutralize it. How? Also, find out what White should have played instead.


White has made one final attempt to create some trouble, but it is just not enough.


Aleksandar Indjic showcased his attacking skills against Luka Paichadze when the latter misplayed in an already difficult position.


It is evident that White has a decisive advantage. Find out the correct continuation for White here.


Maghsoodloo wins the Abu Dhabi Blitz

The Abu Dhabi blitz was held on the rest day on the 6th of August. It was an 11-round tournament and was won by Iranian GM Parham Maghsoodloo.

Final blitz rankings

Rk. Name Pts.
1 Maghsoodloo Parham 9,5
2 Jobava Baadur 9,0
3 Praggnanandhaa R 9,0
4 Yuffa Daniil 9,0
5 Zubov Alexander 8,5
6 Indjic Aleksandar 8,5
7 Esipenko Andrey 8,5
8 Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 8,0
9 Suleymanli Aydin 8,0
10 Antipov Mikhail Al. 8,0

Complete standings

Going into the final round, Maghsoodloo was leading by half a point. He was up against Baadur Jobava. If Baadur won his game, he would win the tournament and at some point that was exactly what seemed to be happening. The Georgian GM got a winning position as he was not just ahead in time, but also had tricked Maghsoodloo. But the Iranian didn't back down. Using every bit of the last few seconds on his clock, he fought back and managed to hold the game. Check the entire action unfold in this video:

The high pressure game between Jobava and Maghsoodloo in the final round of Abu Dhabi Blitz 2019

Praggnanandhaa played a fine event to finish third. Here is his 10th round win over Tabatabaei.

6.0/6 for Baadur!

After drawing the final round Blitz game against Parham Maghsoodloo, Jobava knew that he had his chance for a revenge in classical chess.

Jobava in a cheerful mood before move no.1 against Maghsoodloo | Photo: Rupali Mullick


Jobava's last 4 out 5 moves have been with his knight. His 24.c6 echoed that he is confident about his position, and he is not bothered about Black's threat of 24...exf3+ which his opponent played in the game.


Maghsoodloo with his ever bold attitude, played 26...e4 nonchalantly. Little did he know that his passed pawns are not as strong as he wanted them to be.


Jobava is a gentleman of the game but when he is facing a fierce opponent on the board, he does not go gentle with his ideas. Jobava's reply to 27...e3 was a simple usage of the popular saying, "Passed pawns must be pushed" and he played 28.b6


Despite Black's pawn being more advanced than White's, it does not have a safe square to promote. So Jobava removed the support of Black's passed pawn with 30.gxf3 and then it was just a matter of time and technique which allowed the Georgian GM to win and gain a full point lead.


GM Aryan Chopra defeated GM Vladimir Onischuk with perfect play | Photo: Rupali Mullick


To be able to play 13.g4 in a position like this in Modern Defence, is anybody's dream.


Since the position is locked, there is only one way to make a breakthrough, 22.h5


White is absolutely winning in this position. It's time to crash through Black's defence with 32.Bxf5 gxf5 33.Rxg6+-


IM CRG Krishna beat GM Vladimir Akopian | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Akopian tried his best to survive but CRG had no intention to flounder. He calmly collected the full point.


Standings after Round 6

Rk. Name Pts.
1 Jobava Baadur 6,0
2 Yakubboev Nodirbek 5,0
3 Socko Bartosz 5,0
4 Karthikeyan Murali 5,0
5 Ni Hua 5,0
6 Maghsoodloo Parham 4,5
7 Aleksandrov Aleksej 4,5
8 Zubov Alexander 4,5
9 Yuffa Daniil 4,5
10 Bartel Mateusz 4,5
11 Aryan Chopra 4,5
12 Antipov Mikhail Al. 4,5
13 Esipenko Andrey 4,5
14 Can Emre 4,5
15 Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 4,5

Leko wins the Rapid Challenge

Leko remained undefeated and won the Rapid with a score of 5-1 against Morozevich | Photo: Adchessfestival

All rapid games


Masters games



Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.


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