Karpov, Bacrot, Ivanchuk and Muzychuk through

by ChessBase
11/1/2013 – The Cap d'Agde qualifier finished with the expected win by Karpov, followed by Bacrot two points behind, but with only two spots left to be fought over by Ivanchuk, Pelletier, and Muzychuk, a tiebreaker was played. On paper, the two grandmasters were the overwhelming favorites, but the last female standing had other plans, and it literally went to a tiebreaker of tiebreakers.

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Cap D'Agde rapid tournament, "Second Anatoly Karpov Trophy"

Location: Cap d'Agde, France
Dates: October 25 - November 2, 2013
Tournament mode: A double round-robin qualifying four players into a knockout phase.
Time control: 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment per move.
Times: See timetable (round are local time: GMT + 1)

Playchess transmission: Click HERE to watch the Cap d'Agde games on Playchess.

Karpov, Bacrot, Ivanchuk and Muzychuk through

It was business as usual for Karpov as he beat Nino Maisuradze in round eleven

The qualifying stage of the Cap d’Agde ended with a deserved victory by the event’s namesake, Anatoly Karpov. His rout never let up, and after eleven of the fourteen rounds, he stood on a monstrous 9.5/11. As a result, he understandably went into cruise control, ending on 11.0/14, saving his energy for the knockout phase to follow. It bears remembering that last year, he took the title after nearly three hours of battle with Vassily Ivanchuk, when a non-stop series of tiebreaks failed to separate the two.

Yannick Pelletier greets Anatoly Karpov, relishing the chance to play a legend

Mariya Muzychuk beat Marie Sebag, positioning herself to have a shot at the top four

Top female player in France, GM Marie Sebag

In second was Etienne Bacrot with 9.0/14, the only other player able to shine, which meant that the rest of the pack had a problem. With four spots in all, and two already spoken for, Vassily Ivanchuk, Yannick Pelletier, and Mariya Muzychuk, all tied with 8.0/14, had to determine which two of the three would proceed. On paper, the two grandmasters were the overwhelming favorites, but appearances can be deceiving as soon became clear.

Lovely video images of rounds 11 and 12 (courtesy Europe Echecs)

The tiebreaker was a double round-robin between the three players, played at three minutes plus two seconds increment, and the very first game threw the mathematical predictions out the window as Muzychuk, playing her Ukrainian compatriot and idol, Vassily Ivanchuk, overcame him in a crazy game in which he overstepped the time. Midway into the game, with a minute left, the transmission broke down, and the low resolution video was all that was left. The live commentators were trying to guess what was happening based solely on the player expressions. When Mariya was seen pointing to the clock, while Ivanchuk displayed a face of despair and dismay, there was no need to be a poker player to surmise what had happened. A couple of minutes later, the verdict was confirmed.

No words are required to say who won between Vassily Ivanchuk and Mariya Muzychuk

Game two confirmed nothing could be taken for granted as Muzychuk faced Swiss GM Yannick Pelletier and scored her second straight point. Despite having only played two of her four games, it was evident that a surprise was a likely scenario, and when the dust had settled, she and Ivanchuk had both qualified.

With a win over GM Yannick Pelletier, it was clear a surprise was rearing it head

There was only one problem: a tiebreaker of the tiebreaker now needed to be played to settle who was third and who was fourth. This was not a battle for cheap honors, but a crucial one to see who would face Karpov in the semi-finals, and who would face Bacrot. With Karpov steamrolling the field, both players preferred to be third and take their chances with the French super GM instead, but this time Ivanchuk imposed himself and took the mini-match 1.5/2.

Video of the tiebreaker 

The semifinals, played at 25 minutes plus ten seconds, will pit Mariya Muzychuk against Anatoly Karpov, and Vassily Ivanchuk against Etienne Bacrot. Thus far the entertainment has certainly lived up to its billing.

Crosstable of qualifier

Pictures and videos by Europe Echecs


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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