Top GMs face amateurs at International Open in Corsica

11/8/2006 – Okay, the event was won by Vladimir P. Malaniuk, 49, from Ukraine. But more interesting, for us at least, was the sight of world-class GMs facing children, in part a third their Elo rating and a third their weight, in the first round of the Corsica Circuit Open Festival that ended today. Check out our report for some truly unique images.

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The Third International Open of Ajaccio on Corsica

The "Corsican Circuit" International Chess Open Festival was held in Ajaccio, Venaco and Bastia, from October 30th to November 7th 2006. The total prize fund for the three tournaments was €175,000:

  • Tournoi d'Ajaccio (October 30 -31): €50,000
  • Tournoi de Venaco (November 2-3): €25,000
  • Corsica Masters Bastia (November 4-7): €100,000

Rate of play is 10 minutes for the entire game, with 3 seconds increment per move. According to the "Corsican Rules" draws by mutual agreement are forbidden for the all tournaments.

Corsica, which the French call Corse, is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily, Sardinia, and Cyprus). It is located west of Italy, southeast of France, and north of the island of Sardinia. The island belongs to France, and is famous for being the birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte.

A total of 311 players took part in the event, with children and amateurs participating with (and playing against) top GMs. In the end, of course, the latter had the leading places all to themselves. Here are the results of the qualifiers:

Pl  Ti Name Elo Fed.
Pts
Tr. Perf.
1 GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2672 UZB
7.5
48 2751
2 GM Sedlak Nikola 2549 SCG
7.5
47.5 2773
3 GM Malaniuk Vladimir P 2534 UKR
7.5
46.5 2710
4 GM Horvath Adam 2495 HUN
7.5
46 2688
5 GM Drozdovskij Yuri 2561 UKR
7.5
46 2685
6 GM Milov Vadim 2657 SUI
7.5
45.5 2698
7 GM Gritsak Orest 2542 UKR
7.5
45 2778
8 GM Golod Vitali 2582 ISR
7.5
43.5 2736
9 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2449 GER
7.5
42.5 2616
10 GM Bareev Evgeny 2683 RUS
7
47 2737
11 GM Motylev Alexander 2662 RUS
7
46.5 2626
12 GM Nikolic Predrag 2626 BIH
7
45.5 2634
13 GM Jussupow Artur 2600 GER
7
45.5 2625
14 GM Kazhgaleyev Murtas 2609 KAZ
7
45.5 2561
15 GM Guliyev Namig 2542 AZE
7
45 2524
16 GM Miroshnichenko Evgenij 2627 UKR
7
44.5 2572
17 GM Balogh Csaba 2616 HUN
7
44.5 2547
18 GM Sandipan Chanda 2550 IND
7
44 2620
19 GM Gagunashvili Merab 2611 GEO
7
43 2571
20 GM Markowski Tomasz 2561 POL
7
42.5 2571
21 GM Treggbov Pavel V. 2596 RUS
7
42 2600
22 GM Djuric Stefan 2468 SCG
7
36.5 2435

We note that there are many internationally know players who scored less than the group listed above: Bologan, Almasi, Smirin, Chernin, Sokolov, all 6.5, Naiditsch, Sasikiran, van Wely 6 points. We also note with great satisfaction that Germany's former junior world champion Elisabeth Pähtz had 7.5 points, together with the top players. We note (last note) with some disappointment that she failed to qualify for the knockout phase by one tiebreak point. But still a remarkable success for the 21-year-old.


The winner of the qualification, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, playing on a garden chess board


In great form in Corsica: Germany's top female player Elisabeth Pähtz

It is interesting to see how the top rated players fared. Rustam Kasmidzhanov, fifth seed, took first place, while Vadim Milov, ranked 11th, finished in sixth place. These were the only two 2600+ players, of a total of 19, to qualify for the knockout phase.

Seed
Rank
Player Rat.
Pts
Perf.
1

10

Bareev Evgeny

2683

7

2737

2

33

Naiditsch Arkadij

2676

6

2593

3

35

van Wely Loek

2676

6

2536

4

34

Sasikiran Krishnan

2675

6

2580

5

1

Kasimdzhanov Rustam

2672

7,5

2751

6

29

Sokolov Ivan

2670

6,5

2565

7

26

Almasi Zoltan

2664

6,5

2619

8

11

Motylev Alexander

2662

7

2626

9

25

Bologan Viktor

2659

6,5

2646

10

27

Smirin Ilia

2659

6,5

2568

11

6

Milov Vadim

2657

7,5

2698

12

72

Gurevich Mikhail

2648

5,5

2462

13

16

Miroshnichenko Evgenij

2627

7

2572

14

12

Nikolic Predrag

2626

7

2634

15

17

Balogh Csaba

2616

7

2547

16

19

Gagunashvili Merab

2611

7

2571

17

14

Kazhgaleyev Murtas

2609

7

2561

18

70

Fridman Daniel

2604

5,5

2473

19

13

Jussupow Artur

2600

7

2625

The quarterfinals were won by Kasimdzhanov (2672), Drozdovskij (2561) Gritsak (2542) and Malaniuk (2534). Drozdovskij and Malaniuk went through to the finals, where the latter was victorious. Vladimir P. Malaniuk, 49, is from Ukraine.


The winner of the Ajaccio Masters 2006: Vladimir Malaniuk

Previous winners of the Corsica Masters:

1997 – Pavel Tregubov (Russia)
1998 – Alexander Chernin (Hungary)
1999 – Vladimir Akopian (Armenie)
2000 – Viswanathan Anand (India)
2001 – Viswanathan Anand (India)
2002 – Viswanathan Anand (India)
2003 – Viswanathan Anand (India)
2004 – Viswanathan Anand (India)
2005 – Vadim Milov (Switzerland)

The event in Corsica is unique because it pits world-class grandmasters against amateurs and children in the first round. Here are some pictures and games that you will enjoy.


Top GMs vs children. Nikolic, Gurevich, Milov, Gagunashvili, Jussupow, Tregubov


GM Pavel Tregubov, 2596, vs (great name!) Sheherazade el Fetthoui


GM Artur Jussupow, 2600, facing Caroline Egloff, who weighs in at a third of his
Elo – and dare we suggest: a third of his body weight


Gurevich, 2648, Gagunashvili, 2571 and Tregubov, 2596 taking on the kids


A new one for Rustam Kasimdazhanov, 2762: 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 Nf6 against Elsa Bartoli


Ivan Sokolov, 2670, facing Elsa's sister Serena Bartoli


Evgeny Bareev, very, very strong, vs Christophe Altieri, playing 13...Kxg7

Bareev,Evgeny (2683) - Altieri,Christophe (1099)
Aiacciu aiacciu (1), 30.10.2006
1.d4 Na6 2.e4 d6 3.f4 Nh6 4.Nf3 Nb4 5.a3 Na6 6.Nc3 Nb8 7.Bc4 g6 8.0-0 Qd7 9.f5 Bg7 10.Nd5 0-0 11.f6 a6 12.Nxe7+ Kh8 13.fxg7+ Kxg7 14.Qd2 Qxe7 15.Qxh6+ Kg8 16.Ng5 Ra7 17.Qxh7# 1-0.


Former child prodigy Arjadij Naiditsch, 2676, vs Wahiba Aouina

Aouina,Wahiba (1099) - Naiditsch,Arkadij (2676)
Aiacciu Aiacciu (1), 30.10.2006
1.h4 e5 2.a4 d5 3.b4 Bxb4 4.c4 Nf6 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.h5 Nc6 7.Nf3 e4 8.Ne5 Nxe5 9.Bb2 Ng4 10.Rh2 Nxh2 11.Nc3 Ng4 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Bxg7 Qf5 14.Bxh8 Bf8 15.Be5 0-1.


Damien Arrighi lasted 22 moves against GM Loek van Wely, 2676

Van Wely,Loek (2676) - Arrighi,Damien (1099)
Aiacciu Aiacciu (1), 30.10.2006
1.d4 a6 2.e4 a5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.c3 b6 5.a4 d6 6.h3 Ra6 7.Na3 Be6 8.Bxa6 g6 9.d5 Qd7 10.dxc6 g5 11.cxd7+ Kxd7 12.Nxg5 Ke8 13.0-0 c6 14.Nxe6 Kd7 15.Bh6 Ke8 16.Bxf8 Nh6 17.Bxh6 c5 18.Qxd6 fxe6 19.Rfd1 e5 20.Qxe5 Kf7 21.Rd7 Kg8 22.Qg7# 1-0.


India's Krishnan Sasikiran, 2675, vs rookie player Rached Barhoumi

Barhoumi,Rached (1099) - Sasikiran,Krishnan (2675)
Aiacciu Aiacciu (1), 30.10.2006
1.Na3 d5 2.Nb5 Nf6 3.a4 a6 4.Ra3 axb5 5.axb5 Rxa3 6.h4 Ra1 7.d4 Bf5 8.Qd2 e6 9.Qa5 Rxa5 10.c4 dxc4 11.Kd2 Qxd4+ 12.Ke1 Bb4+ 13.Bd2 Ra1# 0-1.


Merab Gagunashvili, 2611, vs Moufida Hemissi


Ilya Smirin, big 2659 GM from Israel, vs Nathalie Campos Veloso, local cutie pie


So what if we lost in 15 moves? Chess is fun, chess is in our blood!


Chief organizer Leo Battesti (middle), Vice-President of the French Chess Federation

All pictures by courtesy of the Organisation



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