Abdusattorov comes from behind, wins TePe Sigeman & Co.

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/4/2024 – Despite entering the final round a half point behind three co-leaders, Nodirbek Abdusattorov ended up claiming overall victory at the TePe Sigeman & Co. Tournament in Malmö. Abdusattorov defeated Marc’Andria Maurizzi in round 7, while co-leaders Arjun Erigaisi and Peter Svidler only managed draws in their games — Anton Korobov lost to Ju Wenjun and was left out of contention. A 3-player blitz tiebreaker saw Abdusattorov showing stronger nerves than his opponents to become the tournament winner. | Photo: Mikael Svensson / tepesigemanchess.com

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Abdusattorov scores, Korobov blunders

Nodirbek Abdusattorov entered the TePe Sigeman & Co. Tournament as the top seed, a few rating points ahead of Arjun Erigaisi. A disappointing start, however, with a loss against Anton Korobov followed by two draws, left him out of the race for first place in the first half of the event. Wins in rounds 4, 6 and 7 (three out of the last four games), though, allowed him to catch up with the leaders and reach the deciding blitz tiebreaker.

In round 7, the Uzbek star was trailing three players by a half point, with none of the four frontrunners paired up against each other on the final day of action. Abdusattorov obtained a quick, 31-move win over an out-of-form Marc’Andria Maurizzi, which meant that he would get into a tiebreaker for overall victory if none of the three co-leaders — Arjun, Korobov or Peter Svidler — managed a win.

Playing black against Abdusattorov, Maurizzi faltered decisively with 25...Rd8

Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Marc'Andria Maurizzi

Nodirbek Abdusattorov playing white against Marc’Andria Maurizzi | Photo: Mikael Svensson / tepesigemanchess.com

Svidler signed a 42-move draw in his game with white against Vincent Keymer, while Arjun showed good defensive skills to get a half point from an inferior endgame against local hero Nils Grandelius.

Arjun Erigaisi

Arjun Erigaisi | Photo: Mikael Svensson / tepesigemanchess.com

At this point, it was clear that at least three players would make it to the potential tiebreaker — except that Korobov was still playing. A win for the Ukrainian GM, who was facing Ju Wenjun with the black pieces, would grant him outright victory. However, the game eventually reached a drawn rook endgame which required careful play by both contenders.

In the end, it was Korobov who made the last mistake.

Black can keep the balance here with 57...Kb4, as his c-pawn provides enough counterplay to save a draw in the pawn-down position. His 57...Kxa6, on the other hand, loses to 58.Rc5 — the c-pawn will fall, the white king will defend the remaining passer on the g-file and the rook will keep the black king away (for as long as necessary) by cutting it off along the c-file.

Ju showed proper technique to claim a 75-move victory, which allowed her to end the tournament with a fifty-percent score. The women’s world champion was the rating underdog in Malmö, so her 3½/7 performance gained her 12.4 rating points. The Chinese GM showed great resilience in Sweden, as she recovered her usual form after kicking off the event with consecutive losses against Arjun and Svidler.

Ju Wenjun

Ju Wenjun | Photo: Mikael Svensson / tepesigemanchess.com

Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler | Photo: Mikael Svensson / tepesigemanchess.com

Results - Round 7

Final standings

Strong nerves in 3-way tiebreak

The round-7 results meant that two youngsters — Abdusattorov and Arjun — who were also the top two seeds in the event would join defending champion Svidler in the deciding blitz tiebreaker. A 3-player single round-robin with a time control of 3 minutes plus 2-second increments would decide the winner.

Abdusattorov survived an inferior middlegame position to hold Arjun to a draw in the first game of the tiebreaker. Both youngsters then went on to defeat Svidler, who twice blundered in objectively drawn endgame positions.

Playing white against Abdusattorov, Svidler missed a simple fork in a minor-piece ending.

44.Kd5 loses at once to 44...Nc3+, grabbing the bishop.

Since Abdusattorov and Arjun both finished with a 1½/2 score in the round-robin, they went on to play a 2-game blitz match to decide the tournament winner. A 65-move draw was followed by an 87-move victory for Abdusattorov (with black), who showed stronger nerves than his opponent in a tension-filled struggle.

At the end of the 7-round event, Abdusattorov and Arjun performed near their rating expectations, with the Uzbek GM gaining 0.7 Elo points and Arjun claiming 1.6 Elo points.

The biggest rating winners were Ju (as mentioned above), Svidler and Korobov. Svidler gained 8.6 Elo points, and now stands 2 points away from rejoining the exclusive 2700-club.

Nodirbek Abdusattorov

A fighter at heart — Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Photo: Mikael Svensson / tepesigemanchess.com

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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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