Mr Cool wins Moscow Blitz Tournament

12/11/2004 – Due to their dynamism, blitz tournaments are always fascinating. Instant duel, instant bloodshed! But when you organize it in the vicinity of the Kremlin, with supertalents like Morozevich, Rublevsky, Vlad Tkachiev and Sasha Grischuk, suddenly the event becomes a global spectacle. Here's a report with lots of pictures.

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The Moscow Blitz Tournament

Organised by Chess Pro

The Moscow Blitz Tournament was held December 4th in the Balchug-Kempinsky Hotel, with a view to the Kremlin. There were five personally invited participants and seven winners of the qualifying semifinal. The 12 GMs were: Alexander Morozevich, Alexander Grischuk, Alexey Dreev, Sergey Rublevsky, Vladislav Tkachiev, Alexander Riazantsev, Mikhail Kobalia, Dmitry Yakovenko, Farrukh Amonatov, Vladimir Belov, Sergey Shipov and Alexey Korotylev.


Moscow in the morning, the Red Square in snow


The tournament hall in festive decoration


A perfect view of the Kremlin from the playing site


Alexander Grishuk with his girlfriend Natalia Zhukova


Each to his own liking: Grishuk kills a bottle of coke, Tkachiev is worried more about lack of nicotine during the match (how effective can nicotine be we shall see later)!


"And then according to Fritz you must play Ng4!" Grischuk, Zhukove and Tkachiev


A storm is a brewing!


The first move, executed symbolically by the event’s main sponsor


And the games can begin


World number four Alexander Morozevich


GM Farrukh Amonatov


Table cards with the contestants' names


Arbiter Sergey Kurakulov begins with the drawing of colours. All the contestants are there except Alexey Dreev, who was stuck in a traffic jam. First contestant to be drawn is…Morozevich!


What are friends for? Natalia Zhukova draws the colour for Dreev.


Sergey Rublevsky: I simply sit down and play!


Sergey Shipov in a grim mood


Vlad Tkachiev kibitzes on Sergey Rublevsky's game. In the first half of the match Rublevsky lost once, but the real disaster struck in the second half: three losses in a row!

Just like Rublevsky it was Grischuk’s turn to enter the Danger Zone: he lost once, then another. He came back with a win against Dreev but then disaster: three losses in a row!


Rublevsky vs Grischuk


Mikhail Kobalia

The tournament needed a leader and it found it: Mikhail Kobalia and surprise surprise…Morozevich who by the end of the tournament had a crowed of supporters including his attractive girlfriend (lady in red).


Fast action in Belov-Amonatov

The situation before the last round was: Kobalia and Morozevich had 13.5 points each; Rublevsky and Tkachiev had thirteen points each, behind them Grischuk and Amonatov with 11.5 points each. The good news: Morozevich has to play Tkachiev, Kobalia against Amonatov and Rublevsky against Grischuk…


Tkachiev vs Morozevich

Tkachiev fails to gain the slightest advantage; Kobaliya is turning up the pressure, Morozevich feels that his opponent is not playing actively enough and makes a move to take the advantage. Unfortunately he blunders and Vlad Tkachev seizes the initiative immediately. Morozevich’s attempts to instill fear don’t make any difference and in the very last seconds Vlad takes home the full point! Attention turns to the table where Kobalia is playing for a win against Amonatov. Then the game is over you can tell from the expression on Kobalia’s face: Misha has lost it!


The unlucky Rublevsky (here vs Amonatov)

A few seconds later a grumpy Rublevsky stands up and it turns out the undisputed winner is: Vladislav Tkachiev! The Kazakh GM had never managed to lead a single round throughout the tournament!


Mr Cool Vladislav Tkachiev


Morozevich, watched by his girlfriend Marina, took second


Nightfall over the Kremlin, after a stormy day of blitz

Pictures by Eugeny Atarov of Chess Pro
Text translated by Aryan Argandewal


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