The first Geneva Chess Masters

by ChessBase
6/27/2013 – The first Geneva Chess Masters is taking place from June 26th to 30th with eight players fighting for a spot in the final at a rate of 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move. In the lineup are Kramnik, Nakamura, Mamedyarov, Polgar, Pelletier, Bacrot, Edouard and Kosteniuk. In the first matches surprises already took place including a fantastic queen-sac in the notes. Report, pictures and video.

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The first Geneva Chess Masters

The first Geneva Chess Masters is taking place from June 26th to 30th. Eight players in two groups qualify for a knockout phase. The games are played at 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move. In the initial phase, two groups of four players play two game matches and play-offs (in other words, no ties) and produce points to go into an all-play-all table. The top two in each group go through to the final phase.

The stage with the players

The lineup is eclectic with Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Judit Polgar (Hungary), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaidjan), Etienne Bacrot (France), Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Romain Edouard (France), and Yannick Pelletier (Switzerland).

French GM Gilles Miralles opens the event

With four match ups and a minimum of eight games per day, the organizers made the most of it by breaking up the encounters into two groups of play. This allowed spectators to follow only two games at a time, without missing any of the action, and the live commentators to keep up.

Manny Rayner and Cathy Chua are providing live video commentary via the official
site. Commentary is quite colorful, with numerous references to Fred Reinfeld, and
comments on how worthless most computer suggestions are.

The first matches of the day were between Vladimir Kramnik and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov on one board, and Yannick Pelletier against Judit Polgar. Although Vladimir Kramnik had the edge in terms of Elo, in rapid games anything can happen, and that is precisely what took place. In a last minute scramble in the second game, Kramnik lost control of the position and the Azeri pulled of a win to earn his first match point.

Kramnik and Mamedyarov came quite tired after a grueling schedule these last months

The second match was between the local guest Yannick Pelletier, known to Playchess subscribers as a frequent GM commentator,  and one of the greatest prodigies of all time, Judit Polgar.

Judit Polgar is the freshest of the players, but perhaps too much so as rust may
affect her standard of play.

Despite having done little play for some time, Polgar was the clear favorite of the encounter, but the rust really showed, and it was an impressive route by the Swiss GM who won both games. In their first game, Pelletier won with relative ease, but sadly for him and the fans, missed an amazing queen sac that might have finished in great style.

Here is their first game with some light notes:

[Event "Geneva Masters GpA 2013"] [Site "Geneva SUI"] [Date "2013.06.26"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Pelletier, Yannick"] [Black "Polgar, Judit"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A30"] [WhiteElo "2574"] [BlackElo "2696"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2013.06.26"] 1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qb6 5. Nb3 a5 $2 {Even for a rapid game it is hard to understand this move. It doesn't develop anything, doesn't do anything for the center., and frankly, ...a4 is not threatening anything either.} 6. Nc3 e6 7. Be3 ({There was nothing wrong with the straightforward} 7. e4 {since after} a4 8. Be3 {White would play Nd4 and Ndb5 and Black would be in a world of trouble.}) 7... Qd8 8. Na4 Bb4+ 9. Nd2 Ne5 ({Black misses a chance for a more combative counter with} 9... d5 $1 10. Bb6 Qh4 {threatening Qxc4. Black might not be equal, but would be in a much better position to fight back.}) (9... Nge7 {loses the queen to} 10. Bb6) 10. Rc1 Nf6 11. a3 Bd6 12. Nf3 Bc7 13. Nxe5 Bxe5 14. Bb6 Qe7 15. g3 h5 16. h4 Ra6 17. Bg2 Ng4 ({An example that Polgar is rusty as she misses the sort of tactic she lives for.} 17... Bxb2 $1 18. Nxb2 (18. Bc5 d6 19. Rb1 dxc5 20. Rxb2 O-O) 18... Rxb6 {and Black is ok.}) 18. Qb3 Qf6 19. Rd1 Bc7 20. O-O ({Not} 20. Bxc7 Qxf2+ 21. Kd2 Qxg2 $17) 20... Qd8 21. Bxc7 Qxc7 22. c5 g5 {Live by the sword, die by the sword.} 23. hxg5 h4 24. Qf3 Ne5 25. Qf6 Rg8 26. Rd4 hxg3 27. fxg3 Rf8 28. Rfd1 Ng6 29. Rd6 Rxd6 30. cxd6 Qc2 31. Nc3 Qxb2 32. Be4 Qb6+ 33. Kg2 Qd8 34. Nb5 $2 ({Alas! White misses the fantastic shot} 34. Qxg6 $3 fxg6 35. Bxg6+ Rf7 36. Rh1 $1 Kf8 (36... Qxg5 $2 37. Rh8#) 37. Rh8+ Kg7 38. Rxd8 Kxg6 39. Rxc8 {and White is won.}) 34... Qxf6 35. gxf6 {White is still winning of course, but what a finish it might have been.} Ne5 36. Rc1 Nc6 37. g4 b6 38. Kg3 Bb7 39. Rb1 Rg8 40. Kf4 Kd8 41. Nc3 Rh8 42. Rxb6 Kc8 43. Na4 Rh6 44. Nc5 Ba8 45. Kg5 Rh2 46. Bf3 Rh8 47. Nd3 Rg8+ 48. Kf4 Rg6 49. Bxc6 Bxc6 50. g5 Rg8 51. Ne5 Rf8 52. g6 fxg6 53. Kg5 Be4 54. f7 1-0

The next batch of matches pitted Hikaru Nakamura versus Romain Edouard and although Edouard impressively took the match to the blitz tiebreaks, it only made his task all the harder. Nakamura’s blitz skills are well known, and he recently stormed away with the Tal Memorial Blitz. The result was that not only did he outplay his French opponent on the board, but the clock usage was also quite decisive.

Hikaru Nakamura showed that surviving the rapids only promised punishment in blitz

Here is the video of their two games. Feel free to skip ahead to the 4m30 mark to see the start of the games.


The second match faced former Women World Champion, Alexandra Kosteniuk, against Etienne Bacrot. The Russian GM was doing quite well as Black against her much higher rated opponent, and Bacrot could not outfox Kosteniuk in a Fianchetto Gruenfeld, much as he tried. Eventually, the position against her king became dangerous, and with little time she went astray and lost. In game two she was unable to equalize the match, and the French GM took the match point.

Bacrot outlasted Kosteniuk who came close to holding her own


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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