Sitges: Korobov still leads with two to go

by André Schulz
12/21/2019 – Anton Korobov gave up his first half point at the Sunway Sitges Open in round seven against his compatriot Vassily Ivanchuk (pictured), and his second in Friday's eighth round. But he maintains a half point edge over a quartet of pursuers. Dennis Wagner saved a half point with luck and skill, and he, along with fellow Germans Alexander Donchenko, Rasmus Svane and Andreas Heimann, trail by a full point. | Photos: sunwaychessfestival.com

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Ivanchuk is way back in 25th!

Anton Korobov made his first draw in the seventh round of the Sunway Sitges Open against Vassily Ivanchuk. The two Ukrainians gradually swapped off pieces and already on move 30 there was an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops on the board, which was not worth playing out. 

Dennis Wagner also drew against Narayanan. In a Ruy Lopez, the German GM was on the defensive and was soon pushed deep into his own territory.

 

After 35.♘d5 ♜xb5 36.♕xb5, Black would hardly have been able to move. 36...♝xa5 fails to 37.♕b8. Narayanan played less energetic 35.g2 and Wagner took the check on b8 out of equation with 35.h7. White is still superior, but a few moves later precision was required.  

 

Here White should cover his e4 pawn, for example with 40.♕c4. But on the last move to make time control he played 40.e7 and allowed 40...xe4 41.h2 xb6 42.axb6 xd5. The white pawn is destined to queen: 43.b7 f3 44.g1 d1+ 45.g2 d5 + 46.f3 c4 47.b8♕, but Black has a perpetual check: 47...e2+ 48.h3 f1+ 49.h2 f2+ 50.h3 f1+ draw.

Alexander Donchenko was even luckier. He was under a lot of pressure against Elshan Moradiabadi with white, but was able to break free from his opponent's clutches.

 

Here, 29.f4 was necessary, otherwise White loses a piece if Black gets to play 29...f4, thanks to the mate threat on c1. 29...b5 30.e1 a4 31.e2 and the worst is over. Now White can only be worse. But after 31...a5 32.f1 fxe4 33.fxe5 dxe5 34.g4 c2 35.g1 xb2 36.f1 the tide begins to turn. The black king is lonely and abandoned.

 

The mating picture begins to emerge: a knight on h6, a rook on f7 and a bishop on f6. Let's see: 36...Bb5 37.d6 Giving Black a chance! Immediately winning is 37.♘h6+! ♚h8 38.♖f8+ ♚g7 39.♖f7+ ♚h8 40.h4 ♜b1+ 41.♔h2 Rf1 42.♜b7.

But Moradiabadi's 37...Nd4 doesn't prolong the game much. 38.h6 + 38...g7 39.f7+ h8 40.f8 + g7 41.f7+ 41...h8 42.h4 (making luft, there is not much to be done about Bg5-f6) 1-0

Donchenko

Alexander Donchenko

Alexander Donchenko, Dennis Wagne, Andreas Heimann and Rasmus Svane — four German players — are each on 6 points.

Vassily Ivanchuk gave a very instructive training session between the rounds.

Ivanchuk

Vassily Ivanchuk

In Friday's round eight, Korobov drew again in 30 moves against one of his pursuers — GM Vasif Durarbayli from Azerbaijan. He's joined on 6½ by GMs Igor Kovalenko, Grzegorz Nasuta and Awonder Liang, who upset Ivanchuk in just 31 moves.

 

Ivanchuk can fight on with 28...♝c8, but 28...g5 allowed the American a chance to wrap things up quickly: 29.c7 c5 30.b8+ e7 31.b7 1-0

Kovalenko won in crushing fashion. In the following position can you spot the final blow?

 

29.b5 1-0

Standings after Round 8 (top 25)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Korobov Anton 7,0 40,5
2 Kovalenko Igor 6,5 38,0
3 Durarbayli Vasif 6,5 38,0
4 Nasuta Grzegorz 6,5 36,0
5 Liang Awonder 6,5 33,0
6 Donchenko Alexander 6,0 38,5
7 Santos Latasa Jaime 6,0 38,5
8 Tabatabaei M.Amin 6,0 38,0
9 Erigaisi Arjun 6,0 37,5
10 Puranik Abhimanyu 6,0 37,5
11 Narayanan.S.L 6,0 37,5
12 Gareyev Timur 6,0 36,5
13 Nihal Sarin 6,0 36,5
14 Wagner Dennis 6,0 36,5
15 Svane Rasmus 6,0 36,0
16 Gukesh D 6,0 35,0
17 Shevchenko Kirill 6,0 35,0
18 Heimann Andreas 6,0 34,0
19 Erenberg Ariel 6,0 34,0
20 Bjerre Jonas Buhl 6,0 33,5
21 Karthikeyan Murali 6,0 33,0
22 Sindarov Javokhir 6,0 33,0
23 Adly Ahmed 6,0 32,0
24 Kelires Andreas 5,5 38,5
25 Ivanchuk Vassily 5,5 38,0

All available games

 

Translation from German and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson

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

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