Rubinstein Memorial: Shevchenko and Navara tie for first

by André Schulz
8/24/2021 – The 57th Rubinstein Memorial was again held as a big chess festival in Polanica Zdroj, Poland. Kirill Shevchenko and David Navara finished the GM tournament tied on points (6 out of 9). Shevchenko was declared the tournament’s winner since he had the better tiebreak score — direct encounter. Kacper Piorun and Pawel Teclaf finished a half point behind. | Photos: Rafał Siwik

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A large chess festival

Last Saturday, the 57th edition of the Memorial Tournament in honour of Akiba Rubinstein came to an end in Polanica Zdroj. From 15 to 18 August, a large chess festival with seven open tournaments and other accompanying events was held in the city located in south-western Poland. The main event was a strong GM tournament.

One of the playing halls

Polanica Zdroj is a small community located in Kłodzko County, Lower Silesia. The Rubinstein Memorial was founded here in 1963 and soon developed into an international tournament with many well-known world-class players. The likes of Vasily Smyslov, Semyon Furman, Jan Smejkal, Vlastimil Hort, Boris Gelfand or David Navara are among the winners of the event. Occasionally — also in recent years — the Rubinstein Memorial was held as an open tournament. In 2021, however, the main event was a round-robin tournament again.

David Navara participated in this year’s edition, 18 years after his tournament victory. Back then, the tournament was held as an open, while this year the Czech star was one of the ten participants in the single round-robin competition. Navara almost won again. In the end, he narrowly missed on a second triumph, as Ukrainian grandmaster Kirill Shevcheno, who scored as many points as him, defeated him in a turbulent, wild game.

Navara, David (2675) - Shevchenko, Kirill (2619) [E97]
57th Rubinstein Memorial, Polanica-Zdroj (6.1) - 18.08.2021

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 The Bayonet Attack in the King’s Indian, like the main variation itself, has gone somewhat out of fashion lately.

9...Nh5 10.Re1 f5


11.a4 [The main variation in this line arises after 11.Ng5 Nf6]

11...h6 12.a5 Nf6 13.Nd2 f4 14.c5 White wants to get by without the move f2-f3.

14...g5 15.a6 In these attacks on opposite flanks, typical of the King’s Indian main variation, White is always faster on the queenside, but Black is more dangerous on the kingside.

15...bxa6 [15...b6 16.Nb5]

16.Bxa6 Ng6


17.Bxc8 The exchange of the light-squared bishop is considered a success for White, since the black bishop can often be sacrificed on the kingside (h3) or become troublesome some other way.

17...Qxc8 18.b5 Rf7 19.Ra6 Bf8 20.Ba3 Nh4 The black attack on the kingside is, however, also dangerous without the c8-bishop.

21.Nf3?! [21.Nc4?! f3 22.g3?? (Better is 22.Re3 Nxg2 (22...Qg4? 23.g3) 23.Rxf3 Nf4=) 22...Qh3]

21...Qg4 22.Nxh4 Qxh4 23.Qf3 [23.g3!? Qh3 24.Qf3 g4 25.Qg2 Qh5 with equal chances.]

23...g4 24.Qd3 dxc5


25.Na4? This leads to an overload of the white queen. Presumably both players were already in time trouble. [Better was 25.d6 Bxd6 (25...cxd6 26.b6) 26.b6]

25...c4 26.Qc3 g3 27.fxg3 fxg3 The tactics now favour Black.

28.hxg3 [28.h3 Qf4 followed by the nice sequence 29.Rf1 Qxf1+ 30.Kxf1 Nxe4+ 31.Ke1 Nxc3 32.Nxc3 Bxa3 33.Rxa3 Rf2 winning.]

28...Qh5? [More precise was 28...Qg5]


29.Rxf6 Rxf6 30.Bxf8?! [After the objectively better 30.Nb2 Bxa3 31.Qxa3 Raf8 32.Nxc4 Qg5 33.Qc3 White can still fight for a draw.]

30...Raxf8 31.Nc5 Threatens a fork, which Black ignores.

31...Kh7 [The best continuation was 31...Qf7 32.Qxe5 Rf1+ 33.Rxf1 Qxf1+ 34.Kh2 Rf2 35.Qe8+ Kh7 36.Qd7+ Rf7, but Black still has work to do.]

32.Nd7 Qg5 33.Ra1 [Or 33.Nxf6+ Qxf6 34.Kh2+–]

33...R8f7 34.Nxf6+ Qxf6 35.Kh2 Now White should win.

35...h5 36.Rxa7 h4 37.gxh4?! [37.Ra6 Qg5 38.gxh4 Qf4+ 39.Qg3+–]



38.Ra6? Decides the game. [38.Ra3+–]

38...Rf4 39.Qh3 Rxh4 40.Ra3 Qf4+ Tragic. A typical King’s Indian.


Kirill Shevchenko

Kirill Shevchenko

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Shevchenko Kirill 6,0 1,0
2 Navara David 6,0 0,0
3 Piorun Kacper 5,5 0,5
4 Teclaf Pawel 5,5 0,5
5 Tomczak Jacek 5,0 0,0
6 Gumularz Szymon 4,5 0,0
7 Bluebaum Matthias 4,0 0,0
8 Stocek Jiri 3,5 0,0
9 Ovsejevitsch Sergei 3,0 0,0
10 Krasenkow Michal 2,0 0,0

All games



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


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