Tegernsee Masters: Donchenko takes big lead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/7/2020 – Alexander Donchenko is on the verge of winning the Tegernsee Masters 2020, as he currently stands 1½ points ahead of his closest pursuer with two rounds to go. Nonetheless, due to Vincent Keymer’s withdrawal, the leader has a bye round on Saturday. The one player with realistic chances to catch up with Donchenko is Matthias Bluebaum, who will be paired up against Thai Dai Van Nguyen and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu on the weekend. | Photos: Sebastian Siebrecht

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Almost there

The only players who could theoretically still catch Alexander Donchenko in the final standings are Matthias Bluebaum and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. But to keep these chances intact, both have to score in the eighth round on Saturday — Bluebaum with white against Thai Dai Van Nguyen, Nisipeanu with black against Pier Luigi Basso. Donchenko, on the other hand, will have a bye round on Saturday.

Donchenko comes from getting back-to-back victories in rounds 6 and 7, first against Daniel Dardha and then against Pier Luigi Basso.

Bad Weisse

A beautiful view

In round 6, Dardha faced the dangerous Caro-Kann Defence, fell into a murderous direct attack, barely survived it and now had to try to keep the balance in an inferior endgame.


Here White threw another little smoke bomb, with...

39.Nf5 Nxd2 [Or the immediate 39...exf5 40.gxf5 Kc6 and the a-pawn will decide the game.]

40.Kxd2 exf5 41.gxf5 [If White was allowed to play several times in a row, he would go for 41...-- 42.f6 -- 43.Bg6 -- 44.Bxf7 getting counterplay.] 41...Be7  [41...a5!? 42.Bd1 Kc6 z.B.: 43.f6 Bb2 44.Kc2 Na4]  42.f6 Bxf6 [“Take it easy”, probably thought Black. 42...Bd8 cannot be wrong either.]

43.exf6 Ke6 44.Rh5 Nd7 [Or even 44...a5 45.Txg5 a4 46.Bd1 a3 47.Kc1 Rb8 48.Rg2 Kxf6 49.Ra2 Ra8]

45.Rxg5 Rh8 46.Kc1 a5 47.Bd1 Rh1 48.Kc2 Rh2+ 49.Kc1 Rh1 50.Kc2


50... Nb6 [50...Nxf6!? and after 51.Re5+ Kd6 52.Rf5 wins. 52... Ne4 53.Rxf7 Rh2+ 54.Kc1 Nxc3. The winning route for black does not look particularly straightforward in the next few moves, but still leads to the goal.]

51.Rg8 Kxf6 52.Re8 Na4 53.Re3 Rh2+ 54.Kc1 Nb6 55.Re8 Rh6 56.Kd2 Kg5 57.Bc2 a4 58.Rg8+ Kf4 59.Rf8 Rf6 60.Rb8 Re6 61.Rb7 f6 62.Ra7 Nc8 63.Ra5 a3 64.Rxa3 Nd6 65.Bd1 f5 66.Ra5 Ne4+ 67.Kc2


67... Rh6 68.Rxd5 Rh2+ 69.Kc1 Nxc3 70.Rc5 Na2+ 71.Kb1 Nc3+ 72.Kc1 Rh1 73.Rxc4 Nxd1 0–1

Daniel Dardha, Alexander Donchenko

Daniel Dardha facing Alexander Donchenko

Donchenko then went on to face Basso’s Slav Defence in round 6. The following position was reached after 19 moves:


A position that is difficult to understand. From White’s point of view, the idea of capturing the black knight with the bishop and then attacking Bd5 (which Black could then only cover twice) three times is simple. However, it is difficult to decide whether Black should swap one or both pairs of rooks and how he can stage a successful counterattack (b2, a3) supported by the bishop. In any case, White managed to do it in the game.

19...Rfc8 20.Rxc6 Rxc6 21.Rd1 Qe8 22.Nf4 g5


A quieter move by Black would have been responded by Bc3, following the plan described above.

23.Ne2 Ne4 24.Nc3 Nf6 25.Be1 Qc8 26.Ne2 Ne4 27.Qxd5 Rd6 28.Qb3 Rxd1 29.Qxd1


Now White had a healthy extra pawn. Nevertheless, Donchenko needed to work hard to convert his advantage into a 60-move win in a knight endgame.

Pier Luigi Basso

Pier Luigi Basso

Alexander Donchenko

Alexander Donchenko

Additional reporting by André Schulz and Klaus Besenthal

Standings after Round 7

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Donchenko Alexander 5,5 16,25
2 Blübaum Matthias 4,0 10,75
3 Basso Pier Luigi 4,0 9,75
4 Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter 3,5 7,25
5 Nguyen Thai Dai Van 3,0 8,00
6 Mendonca Leon Luke 2,5 8,25
7 Fier Alexandr 2,0 7,75
8 Dardha Daniel 2,0 6,25
9 Parvanyan Ashot 1,5 3,25
10 Keymer Vincent 1,0 1,50

All games



Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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