"Meeting of Generations" handicap tournament

by Albert Silver
12/23/2013 – A new handicap tournament "Meeting of Generations" was held, in honor of Vladimir Dvorkovich. The system used allows elder players past their prime to still have an enjoyable game against strong grandmasters, and is the brainchild of GM Evgeny Vasiukov, chairman of the Commission of Veterans of the Russian Chess Federation. Here are explanations, a pictorial, and a pawn study.

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Ekaterina Kovalevskaya against Evgeny Vasiukov. Despite his 80 years of age,
GM Vasiukov is still an active player and rated 2451 FIDE.

A new handicap tournament "Meeting of Generations" was held, this time in honor of Vladimir Dvorkovich, the International Arbiter, and member of the FIDE Titles and Ratings Committee, Rules and Regulations Committee who passed away on 29 June, 2005.

Savely Golubov (left), 13 years old, facing IM Vladimir Zhelnin, 66 years old and
rated 2457 FIDE

Evgeny Vasiukov explaining the system to Maria Fominikh (left) with sponsor
Oleg Skvortsov and his wife Natalia

This handicap format was also behind the tournament recently played in tribute to the Battle of Moscow. The system used allows elder players past their prime to still have an enjoyable game against strong grandmasters, and is the brainchild of GM Evgeny Vasiukov, chairman of the Commission of Veterans of the Russian Chess Federation.

Anatoly Golikov, 88 years old, shows his rich past

Igor Zaitsev and Anatoly Kremenetsk play with Galina Strutinskaya watching

Valentina Gunina is shown a beautiful pawn study to see if she can find Black's defense

The study being shown to Valentina Gunina is the position
above. White to play but Black to draw. We encourage you
to try and work out at least a few of the lines yourself. The
solution is at the end.

The participants are divided into ten rating groups (R-1 to R-10) depending on the ratio of age and Elo. For each game a total of 20 minutes is allotted, organized so that if both opponents belong to the same category, they split the 20 minutes equally with ten minutes each, whereas if a player of the weakest group, R-10, faces a top-tier player from R-1, the first player will have 18 minutes at his disposal, while the second will have two.

Olga Katskova and Rimma Bilunova who played in several USSR championship
in her heyday. Mega 2014 has 119 games if you are curious.

Boris Dolmatovsky and Anatoly Bykhovsky 

Katya Volkova and her furry trophy

Despite the nearly vicious handicap system, bear in mind the player with less time can still think on his opponent’s time. In first place was Russian team member Ian Nepomniachtchi, who finished on 8.0/9, followed by Vadim Zviaginsev with 7.5/9. In third was 13-year-old Savely Golubov with 7.0/9, and in fourth was top veteran scorer, GM Evgeny Vasiukov with 6.5/9. Although the total prize fund was for 150 thousand rubles, no one left empty-handed. 

Gifted with a book, Nepomniachtchi receives his prize, though he was not the only one

No one will be left without a bunny

Vadim Zviaginsev (right) came in second

Valentina Gunina was the top female scorer

Pictures by Vladimir Barsky

Solution to the study:

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Study"] [Black "?"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "k7/pp3p2/5P2/1p6/1p6/1P6/1K5P/8 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "32"] 1. h4 a6 $3 {This is the key to Black's defense.} 2. h5 Ka7 3. h6 Kb6 4. h7 Ka5 $3 5. h8=N ({The point is that now after} 5. h8=Q {Black plays} b6 {and White can do nothing against the stalemate!}) 5... Kb6 ({The idea} 5... b6 $4 {no longer works due to} 6. Ng6 $3 ({not} 6. Nxf7 $4 {stalemate}) 6... fxg6 7. f7 g5 8. f8=Q g4 9. Qf1 g3 10. Qa1#) 6. Nxf7 Kc7 7. Ne5 (7. Kc2 Kd7 8. Ng5 a5 9. Kd3 a4 10. Kc2 Ke8 {and it will draw as White cannot progress. Black will not take on b3 or push a3, instead he will just repeat and wait until White gives up hope.}) 7... Kd6 8. Nd3 Ke6 9. Nxb4 Kxf6 10. Nd3 b6 11. Nb4 a5 12. Nd5+ Ke5 13. Nxb6 Kd6 14. Kc3 (14. Ka3 Kc5 15. Nd7+ Kd6 16. Nf6 Ke5 17. Ne8 Kd5 18. Nc7+ Kc5 19. Ne6+ Kd6 20. Nd8 Kc5 21. Nf7 Kd5 22. Ng5 Kc5 {and White cannot win anymore.}) 14... Kc6 15. Nc8 Kd5 16. Na7 (16. Kd3 Kc5 17. Kc3 b4+ 18. Kb2 Kb5 19. Kc2 a4) 16... Kc5 {draw} 1/2-1/2

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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