Misratdin Iskandarov wins in Sousse

by André Schulz
1/4/2022 – In 1967 the city of Sousse (Tunisia) organised one of the most talked about Interzonal Tournaments in the history of chess. After 10 rounds Bobby Fischer led with 8½/10 but after quarrels with the organisers, the eccentric American decided to withdraw from the tournament and to wait for three more years before making his final attempt to become World Champion. The first Bicapawn International Chess Tournament that was played in Sousse at the end of 2021 went much more smoothly and was won by GM Misratdin Iskandarov from Azerbaijan.

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The Bouhjar International Chess Academy BICA is a FIDE-recognised chess academy under the auspices of the Tunisian Chess Federation (TCF). From 17 to 31 December 2021 it organised the first Bicapawn International Chess Tournament in Sousse.

The venues for the chess festival were the Sentido Bellevue Park and the Iberostar Kantaoui Sousse Hotel.

The festival was held with two independent tournaments. From 17 to 23 December, an U16 tournament was held, with a prize fund of 16,000 euros. From 23 to 31 December, an international open was played. The prize fund here was 40,000 euros.

Both tournaments were 9-rounds Swiss with a time control of 90 minutes for the whole game and an increment of 30 seconds per move.

Sousse is located in central eastern Tunisia, 20 km from Monastir and Monastir Habib Bourguiba International Airport. Sights include the Great Mosque, and tourists appreciate the endless white sandy beaches.

Chess fans will remember the city of Sousse as the venue of the Interzonal Tournament 1967. Bobby Fischer led the tournament with 8½/10 but quit after quarrels with the organisers about the scheduling of Fischer's games.

The winner of the 2021 International Bicapawn Open was Misratdin Iskandarov. The 26-year-old Grandmaster from Sumqayit (Azerbaijan) was the only player to reach 7.5/9 points. The tournament was decided in the last round when Iskandarov defeated GM Masoud Mosadeghpour from Iran, who had been leading until then.

Iskandarov,Misratdin (2548) - Mosadeghpour,Masoud (2489) B51

1st Open BICA Pawn 2021 Sousse (9.1), 30.12.2021

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.0–0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.c3 b5 7.a4 c4 8.Bc2 Bb7 9.axb5 axb5 10.Rxa8 Qxa8 11.Na3 Bxe4 12.Bxe4 Nxe4 13.Nxb5 Qa5 14.Na3 Qa6 14...d5 ½–½ (70) Raghavi,N (2213)-Brunello,M (2261) Rochefort 2014

15.Nxc4 Qxc4 16.d3 Nxc3 17.bxc3 Qc8 Not 17...Qxc3? 18.Qa4

 

18.c4 Black lags behind in development and has problems to bring his pieces into play.

18...e5 19.Re1 f6 20.Nd4 Be7 21.Qg4 g6 21...0–0? 22.Nf5 Rf7 23.Nh6++–

22.Nb5 22.Ba3!?

22...Qc6 23.Ba3 f5 24.Qf3 White accepts the doubled pawns to exchange queens and to win the pawn on d6. However, converting the material plus into a win still requires a lot of work.

24...Qxf3 25.gxf3 Kf7 26.Bxd6 Bxd6 27.Nxd6+ Ke6 28.Nb5 f4 29.Kf1 Rd8 30.Rd1 Nc5 31.Ke2 g5 32.d4 exd4 33.Rxd4 Rxd4 34.Nxd4+ Ke5 35.Nc6+ Kd6 36.Nb4 h5 37.Kd2 g4 The waiting move 37...Nd7 offered better defensive chances.

38.Nd3 Ne6 39.fxg4 hxg4 40.Kc3 Ng5

 

41.Kd4 Nh3 41...Nf3+ 42.Ke4 Nxh2 43.Kxf4 Kc6 44.Kg3 Nf3 45.Kxg4 and White wins.

42.Ke4 Kc6 43.Ne5+ Kc5 44.Nxg4 Kxc4 45.Ne5+ Kc5 46.Nd3+ Kd6 47.Kf3 White wins the last remaining black pawn.

47...Ng5+ 48.Kxf4 Nf7 49.Kf5 Ke7 50.f4 Kf8 51.Kg6 Nd6 52.f5 Nf7 53.f6 Kg8 54.Kf5 Kf8 55.Ne5 1–0

Top seed and rating-favourite Igor Kovalenko finished second with 7.0/9. He had a better tiebreak than Mosadeghpour who also finished with 7.0/9.

Final standings

 

Games

 

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.

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