Three winners in Minsk

by Alejandro Ramirez
2/20/2014 – Today would have marked the 90th birthday of the legendary David Bronstein. Arguably the strongest player to have ever lived to not obtain the World Champion title, Bronstein's legacy is unquestionable. He died in Minsk, and this city has held a tournament in his memory. Oleksienko, Fedorchuk and Jobava finished at the top with 7.0/9, but the Georgian edged them out on tiebreaks.

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The David Bronstein Memorial was held in Misnk, Belarus from the 11th to the 19th of February, 2014. Today would have marked Bronstein's 90th birthday. The great genius, who Kasparov opined should have won the match in 1951 against Botvinnik for the World Championship, passed away in 2006 in Minsk. His grave can be found there.

The top prize of $10,000 attracted some of the top players in Europe, but only one 2700. Baadur Jobava entered as the top seed and he maintained a steady and strong pace to take the tournament. Here are some phtographical impressions from the event taken from the official website:

Yuri Balashov was maybe never at the level of Bronstein, but he is a legend in his own right,
being ranked in the top 25 players in the world consistently during his prime

The top boards had a horde of 2600 players throughout the event

But the "lower" boards were plagued with grandmasters as well!

Vasif Durarbayli, one of Azerbaijan's young promises, battling his compatriot Eltaj Safarli.
This game ended in a draw.

American grandmaster Jaan Ehlvest spends most of his time in Estonia, his home country

Jobava occupied the first board through most of the event, but he was bumped out of it by Hovanisian in round three who took a draw from him.

Jumbayev finished with a great 6.5/9, only 0.5 away from the three winners

Khalifman blasted through the event with 4.5/5,
but he ran out of gas and he didn't win a single game in the last four rounds

Kravtsiv didn't have the tournament of his life, he ended up losing almost 18 points

Kveinys is one of Lithuania's top grandmasters. He finished with a good 6.0/9

Nino Maisuradze is one of Europe's top females. She had complaints about the organization, mainly being late on promised payments to the players. We are trying to reach her to find out if the issue was resolved.

Sargissian, Aronian's second, entred the tournament as the third seed and finished with 6.5/9

IM Zaiatz fell victim to Jobava in the first round

The Zhigalko brothers are the best chess players in Belarus. This one is Sergei who is over 50 points ahead of his sibling, Andrey

Zhukova has certainly kept herself busy, having played Gibraltar only recently

At the end of the day Jobava did win the tournament, but he did not finish in clear first:

Rk. Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1  Rp rtg+/-
1 Jobava Baadur GEO 2706 7.0 2578 2798 9.8
2 Fedorchuk Sergey A UKR 2641 7.0 2504 2724 9.3
3 Oleksienko Mikhailo UKR 2630 7.0 2492 2712 9.5
4 Zhigalko Sergei BLR 2661 6.5 2574 2740 9.6
5 Shimanov Aleksandr RUS 2658 6.5 2560 2726 8.4
6 Safarli Eltaj AZE 2649 6.5 2546 2712 7.4
7 Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2671 6.5 2540 2706 4.6
8 Khairullin Ildar RUS 2651 6.5 2487 2653 1.2
9 Jumabayev Rinat KAZ 2564 6.5 2436 2602 8.3
10 Tiviakov Sergei NED 2639 6.0 2580 2705 8.2
11 Dubov Daniil RUS 2614 6.0 2576 2701 11.0
12 Akopian Vladimir ARM 2682 6.0 2556 2681 0.0
13 Mamedov Rauf AZE 2659 6.0 2544 2669 1.3
14 Kovalenko Igor LAT 2642 6.0 2519 2644 1.0
15 Grachev Boris RUS 2669 6.0 2516 2641 -0.4
16 Khalifman Alexander RUS 2611 6.0 2513 2638 6.1
17 Smirin Ilia ISR 2644 6.0 2506 2631 -1.5
18 Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2643 6.0 2504 2629 -1.2
19 Fier Alexandr BRA 2587 6.0 2458 2553 -2.2
20 Chigaev Maksim RUS 2510 6.0 2447 2572 9.6

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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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