Kovalenko pays fitting tribute to Najdorf

by ChessBase
7/23/2015 – Grandmaster Igor Kovalenko, who was born in 1988 in Ukraine, but now plays for Latvia - he was Latvian Champion in 2013 and 2014 - has been in good shape recently: in May 2015 he had a rating of 2650, now he has a virtual rating of 2702. At the MetLife Najdorf Memorial in Warsaw he gained 20 points by winning with 8.0/9 and showing a superb performance.

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The MetLife Warsaw Najdorf Chess Festival (10. to 18. July) is the biggest tournament in Poland. It is organised by the Kazimierz Sosnkowski Foundation and the Polish Chess Federation and offers a total prizefund of 30.000 Euros. Players start in four rating groups. this year 450 players participated.

Warsaw by night

Igor Kovalenko wins Najdorf Memorial 2015

by Tomasz Mincewicz

Igor Kovalenko turned this tournament into a one-man show. He completely dominated his rivals and with seven wins and two draws he sailed to a smooth 8.0/9 victory. This led to a 2902 Elo-Performance and a win of 20 Elo-points. On the virtual Elo-list he now has a rating of 2702.

Tournament winner Igor Kovalenko

Place two went to top seed Ivan Cheparinov from Bulgaria. He played good chess (apart from round 1) and finished with 7.0/9.

GM Ivan Cheparinov

The best Polish player, Michal Krasenkow, lost against a lower-rated player in round 3 but ended the tournament on a good note. After a crucial win against Andrey Zhigalko in round 8 he drew in the last against Kovalenko and finished third.

GM Michał Krasenkow


The playing hall

Igor Kovalenko (right, with White) and Michal Olszewski at the beginning of round 3

GM Andrey Zhigalko finished with 6.0/9

With 6.0/9 IM Nikita Meskov made a GM norm

Polish fans were certainly disappointed with the result of Polish GM Dariusz Świercz:
he scored 5.5/9 and finished 22nd.

Chess veteran GM Oleg Romanishin watching the games.

Tournament director Maria Macieja gives an interview to a local TV station.

Closing ceremony of group D

A table at the tournament displayed Najdorf's most famous game


Final standings

Place Title Name Fed. FIDE Total MBch.
1 GM Kovalenko, Igor LAT 2682 8.0 40.50
2 GM Cheparinov, Ivan BUL 2683 7.0 37.50
3 GM Krasenkow, Michal POL 2610 6.5 40.00
4 IM Kanarek, Marcel POL 2508 6.5 36.00
5 GM Tomczak, Jacek POL 2579 6.5 35.00
6 GM Zhigalko, Andrey BLR 2574 6.0 40.50
7 IM Meskovs, Nikita LAT 2457 6.0 39.00
8 GM Safarli, Eltaj AZE 2649 6.0 39.00
9 GM Piorun, Kacper POL 2591 6.0 37.50
10 GM Markowski, Tomasz POL 2566 6.0 37.50
11 GM Efimenko, Zahar UKR 2652 6.0 35.50
12 IM Klekowski, Maciej POL 2475 6.0 35.00
13 GM Bajarani, Ulvi AZE 2515 6.0 33.50
14 GM Rozentalis, Eduardas LTU 2530 6.0 32.00
15 GM Miśta, Aleksander POL 2585 5.5 41.00
16 IM Warakomski, Tomasz POL 2449 5.5 37.50
17 IM Drozdowski, Kacper POL 2468 5.5 36.00
18 GM Neiksans, Arturs LAT 2597 5.5 35.50
19 IM Sunilduth Lyna, Narayanan IND 2475 5.5 34.50
20 IM Sadzikowski, Daniel POL 2477 5.5 34.50
21 GM Macieja, Bartłomiej POL 2586 5.5 33.00
22 GM Dragun, Kamil POL 2586 5.5 33.00
23 GM Świercz, Dariusz POL 2634 5.5 32.00
24 GM Durarbayli, Vasif AZE 2630 5.0 41.00
25 GM Volokitin, Andrei UKR 2654 5.0 38.00

...83 participants

The winners: (from left to right) Ivan Cheparinov, Igor Kovalenko, Michal Krasenkow

Photos are from Tomasz Mincewicz and the official tournament site


The games will be 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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