Korobov and Kosteniuk dominate IMSA Rapid 2019

by Satanick Mukhuty
5/16/2019 – The rapid section of IMSA chess tournament came to conclusion. Anton Korobov emerged as the sole leader in the open section after a swashbuckling 4.0/4 on Day 2 and a steady 2.0/3 on Day 3 of the event. He won the tournament with a margin of 1½ points! In the women's section it was Alexandra Kosteniuk who dominated the last day with a clinical 4.0/4 sweep to bag the first prize. In this report we bring to you the glimpses of exciting action from days 2 and 3.

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Nerves of steel help Korobov and Kosteniuk

Men's Section

Anton Korobov registered two impressive victories over the leaders of day 1 to proclaim his domination. Here are the highlights from those two games against Dominguez Perez and Vladimir Fedoseev. 


The position was even up to this point when Dominguez lashed out with 13...b5, this was rash and led to weakening of the queenside. Black was hoping for 14.♗xb5 ♛a5 perhaps, but after 14.c1 e7 15.c2 b7 16.xb5 xa3 White stood discernibly better and after a few more moves he was completely dominating the queenside.


The diagram above shows the position after Black's 22nd move — White is simply crushing on the queenside.

Korobov in action against Gelfand

The next casualty in line was Fedoseev: 


After maintaining a good position for twenty-six moves, White erred by playing 27.g1. The Ukrainian grandmaster seized the opportunity immediately with 27...d4! winning an exchange on the spot. After 28.xd4 xf3 it was a fairly easy victory for Black.

After his back-to-back winning spree Anton Korobov emerged as the sole leader. At the end of day 2, he had a score of 6½/8 which was a whopping 1½ points ahead of Le Quang Liem who stood on the second spot with 5.0/8

In the last round of day 2, Le Quang Liem scored an emphatic win over Dominguez Perez which ended with a picturesque checkmate on the board.  


White decided here to grab an exchange for a pawn and a piece with 29.b5 xb5 30.d4 — the position is theoretically okay here for Black but in practical terms it is the side with the exchange who has better chances. In the game White got a clear advantage by move forty and then the following happened:


Black played 40...h6 with the idea of expanding on the kingside with g5 but this invited a direct mating onslaught. The game ended with 41.g1 g5 42.b1 d3 43.hxg5 hxg5 44.b7 e4 45.b6 e8 46.h8+ d7 47.b7+ c6 48.b8 c5 49.b5+ c6 50.b6+ c5 51.d6#


Anton Korobov maintained his unbeaten streak on the last day of the event too. His encounter against Richard Rapport was particularly exciting.


The above is a position laden with many possibilities, Rapport went with the aggressive 12.f5 and after 12...dxe4 13.dxe4 0-0 14.f4 d6 15.d1 a tactical sequence of exchanges followed which was practically forced. 


15...exf5 16.xd6 xd6 17.g6 d8 18.xf8 xf8 19.exf5 xf5 20.xh6 e8 (Note: 20...gxh6 21.♘e5 winning the bishop or knight is obviously inferior for black) 21.h4 xc2 22.xf6 gxf6 23.xf8 xf8 and we arrived at the following position:


Black seems to be better here. Why? Well, Black is a pawn up and even though his pawns are doubled on the f-file he has clear Queenside pawn majority ready to march down the board. 


Black uses his queenside majority, after 32.xa5 xb3 he has a passer. The game followed 33.d4 b2+ 34.e3 and White's pawns on the kingside were hacked off.


The game continued till 61 moves but it was clear that the above position (after Black's 36th) is completely winning.

Winners: 1st: Anton Korobov, 2nd: Quang Liem Le, 3rd: Leinier Dominguez Perez

The smile of victory

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Korobov Anton 8,5 0,0
2 Le Quang Liem 7,0 1,0
3 Dominguez Perez Leinier 7,0 0,0
4 Fedoseev Vladimir 6,5 0,0
5 Yu Yangyi 6,0 0,5
6 Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 6,0 0,5
7 Andreikin Dmitry 5,5 0,0
8 Ponomariov Ruslan 5,0 0,0
9 Cheparinov Ivan 5,0 0,0
10 Rapport Richard 5,0 0,0
11 Bu Xiangzhi 5,0 0,0
12 Wang Hao 5,0 0,0
13 Gelfand Boris 4,5 0,0
14 Mamedov Rauf 4,5 0,0
15 Leko Peter 4,0 0,0
16 Jones Gawain C B 3,5 0,0

Replay all games


Women's section

The end of day 2 saw three leaders emerge from the playing sixteen — Zhao Xue, Valentina Gunina, and Alexandra Kosteniuk. But Kosteniuk won all her games from Round 6 to 11 and emerged as the sole champion. Let's have a look at an interesting highlight from her game against Nana Dzagnidze from the last round of Day 2.

That's the kind of determination required when you score six wins out of six rounds


In the above position 19...e4 was played and now where does White move the knight? In the game 20.fe5 was played what followed next was 20...g2 21.h4 xh1 22.xh1 ae8 23.ad1 xe5 24.xe5 xe5 25.xe5 xe5 and Black had the decisive edge.


Black's pieces, especially the queen, are super-active around the monster of a pawn on e4 and on top of that White is structurally loose — all in all, this is a crushing position for Black. No wonder, what followed next was demolition: 26.f4 h5 27.d6 f3+ 28.g2 c3 29.b1 g4 30.dd1 e3 31.d2 xd1 0-1

Kosteniuk played a long and exciting round 10 game on day 3. We present an endgame from her duel against Krush.


The position is even here but Black (Kosteniuk) erred with 42...e7, the knight on c5 is well-placed and White could have seized the opportunity by pushing a4 followed b4, but 43.e6 was played which spares Black, now after 43...f6! 44.a4 g5 he has enough counter-play on the kingside to survive. Interestingly, in the next few moves fortunes changed hands quite few more times but every time returning to equilibrium. It was on the 57th move finally that the balance was broken for good, this time it happened in Black's favour. Here, we have the position after 56...c4


A difficult position, the only move that holds here is 57.♘c5! the point is now Kxd4 can be met with Ne6+ (fork), but the US grandmaster failed to find this and went 57.g4 instead. She quickly crumbled after 57...xd4 58.d6 c5 59. a5 xa5 60.xh4 c4 61.g5 c3 — the winner is indeed the one who makes next-to-last mistake!

Winners: Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina, Mariya Muzychuk

The satisfaction you get after scoring six straight wins and taking back home 12,000 euros

The closing ceremony in progress

Standings after round 11

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Kosteniuk Alexandra 8,0 0,0
2 Gunina Valentina 7,0 0,0
3 Muzychuk Mariya 6,5 0,5
4 Tan Zhongyi 6,5 0,5
5 Bodnaruk Anastasia 6,0 1,0
6 Zhao Xue 6,0 0,0
7 Abdumalik Zhansaya 5,5 0,0
8 Stefanova Antoaneta 5,5 0,0
9 Dzagnidze Nana 5,5 0,0
10 Paehtz Elisabeth 5,5 0,0
11 Lei Tingjie 5,0 0,5
12 Ushenina Anna 5,0 0,5
13 Krush Irina 4,5 1,0
14 Harika Dronavalli 4,5 0,0
15 Koneru Humpy 4,0 0,0
16 Khotenashvili Bela 3,0 0,0

Replay all games:


On 17th and 18th the players will indulge in a 11-year-old blitz tournament. Stay tuned for some exciting games!

Satanick Mukhuty has a background in Mathematics. He is an avid enthusiast of composition chess and is sincerely committed to promoting it around the world. He works for ChessBase India.


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