Jobava extraordinary in Xtracon

by David Midema
8/3/2017 – The Xtracon Open and it's forbearer the Politiken Cup is a strong annual open tournament north of Copenhagen. This year fan favorite Baadur Jobava took first place clear with an impressive 8.5 / 10. Krishnan Sasikiran and Marin Bosiocic were second and third. IM David Midema was on the scene in Elsinore | Photo: Sigfred Haubro

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A cup of Jobava

The Politiken Cup (named after the Danish daily newspaper) has a long history dating back to 1979, but since 2016 it has become known Xtracon chess tournament, sponsored by Xtracon A/S, a Danish IT company, whose owner, Henrik Molvig, is a candidate master. Initially staged in Copenhagen, the open tournament now calls Elsinore (Helsingør in Danish) home.


If that name rings a bell (or perhaps a flourish of trumpets) it is because the castle of Shakespeare's Hamlet is nearby, and along with a pretty little city centre around the corner, the participants had ample opportunity to take their minds off the chess.

"Hamlet's Castle"

"Hamlet's Castle" | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Rather than one large playing hall, the tournament was split across several smaller rooms thus creating a difference in class. Communists would not have liked this setup at all, but fortunately communism is nowhere near Denmark right now.

It was definitely a wonderful location for the tournament. The playing hall was surrounded by "windows XP background-like" meadows. It felt like a little paradise where everything is white and built out of Scandinavian wood. Exactly the right circumstances for Baadur Jobava as it turned out. He won the big prize all for himself with an 8½ out of 10 score.

Sigfred Haubro and Jobava

A happy winner, thanking organizer Sigfred Haubro with a big bear hug. | Photo: Sigfred Haubro

Round three surprise

In round three the Georgian grandmaster slipped up against Norwegian FIDE Master Johannes Haug, who played a pretty decent tournament himself. This left Jobava behind the leaders with half a point. Fortunately for a mere mortal like me, it’s good to see that two games a day is hard for top players as well. On the other hand, top seed Nikita Vitugov and other favorites like Nigel Short and Norwegian champion Jon Ludvig Hammer did not spill any points.

Jobava's comeback was not easy, but his fighting spirit eventually made for exceptionally beautiful games. Let’s take a look at his round five win for which he was awarded the beauty prize:


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Jobava in shades

Jobava would look at home around a poker table | Photo: Sigfred Haubro

It is as if all his games were "make-it-or-break-it" games. So it was wonderful to see how he gained the upper hand every time. In Elsinore, Baadur was really taking his opponents into unknown territory. After this win he gained momentum. He caught up with the contenders who had jumped ahead in round three, and finally faced Nigel Short in round 8. This win left him in the sole lead half a point ahead of the rest. The game against Short, featured an interesting way of handling a bishop, and again a brilliant finish with a rook sacrifice. 



The body language says it all here | Photo: Sigfred Haubro

The last two rounds Jobava consolidated his lead with two draws. Leading us to the following scoreboard.

Final standings (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Jobava Baadur 8,5 56,0
2 Sasikiran Krishnan 8,0 58,0
3 Bosiocic Marin 8,0 57,0
4 Vitiugov Nikita 8,0 56,5
  Lyna Narayanan Sunilduth 8,0 56,5
6 Short Nigel D 8,0 55,5
7 Saric Ivan 8,0 54,5
8 Kvon Andrey 8,0 53,0
9 Andersen Mads 8,0 51,5
10 Urkedal Frode 7,5 57,0
11 Hammer Jon Ludvig 7,5 55,5
12 Vocaturo Daniele 7,5 55,0
13 Delorme Axel 7,5 55,0
14 Shabalov Alexander 7,5 54,0
15 Agdestein Simen 7,5 53,5
16 Motylev Alexander 7,5 52,5
  Sonis Francesco 7,5 52,5
18 Hector Jonny 7,5 52,0
19 Das Arghyadip 7,5 51,5
20 Holm Kristian Stuvik 7,5 51,0

Finally, it's worth noting a few norms scored. Andrey Kvon (who managed a win against Ivan Sokolov in the last round) earned a GM norm, while Filiip Bo and Stephen Dishman both made IM norms.


David became IM in 2009 and then tried to quit chess several times, at one point even pursuing careers as diverse as standup comedian and philosophy writer.


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