XV Karpov-Poikovsky starts with firebrand lineup

by Albert Silver
5/13/2014 – Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Karpov-Poikovsky tournament had never really begun as a series, but now it is one of the most powerful round-robin traditions in Russia, and brings together dynamic Russian players, with hard-hitting foreigners. This year the lineup includes Morozevich, Shirov, Bacrot, Eljanov, Motylev, and more, and in their games you will find no boring openings.

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The 15th Anniversary edition of the Karpov-Poikovsky international tournament is underway and is being played at Nefteyugansk in the district of Ugra, Russia. It is a ten-player round robin competition played at 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment as of move one.

The playing hall of the XV Edition

If you have been following the latest super GM tournaments with a bit of disappointment at the mostly innocuous opening play, with Berlins galore, and oddball openings that lead to nothing much, then the recently started Karpov Poikhovsky tournament is for you. The lineup alone virtually guaranteed dynamic firebrand chess it is worth mentioning.


Morozevich, Alexander g RUS 2722
Saric, Ivan g CRO 2665
Jakovenko, Dmitry g RUS 2726
Shirov, Alexei g LAT 2702
Eljanov, Pavel g UKR 2732
Bacrot, Etienne g FRA 2722
Sutovsky, Emil g ISR 2642
Nepomniachtchi, Ian g RUS 2732
Motylev, Alexander g RUS 2685
Bologan, Viktor g MDA 2649

The list of players is quite intriguing, and promises exciting chess, needless to say. Many of the participants are repeat offenders, and three of them have won the event twice (no one has yet won it three times), including Victor Bologan, who won it in the two inaugural years, 2000 and 2001, Etienne Bacrot (2005, 2011), Dmitry Jakovenko (2007, 2012), while others have already stood on the top of the podium, such as Alexey Shirov (2006), reigning European Champion Alexander Motylev (2009), and the title-holder Pavel Eljanov (2013 obviously).

Pavel Eljanov won it in 2013 and will seek to defend his title. He is in great form,
having won the Gashimov Memorial B just two weeks ago.

Dmitry Jakovenko won the tournament twice

Add to them Ivan Saric, the 2014 Croatian champion, Emil Sutovsky, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and the much admired maverick Alexander Morozevich.

If there is one quality one can count on for Morozevich, it is his unpredictability

So what kind of openings have they played in the first two rounds? Two Sicilian Najdorfs, two King's Indian Classical, two Ruy Lopez Center Attacks, and an Anti-Meran Gambit to boot. In round one, only one player was able to score a win, despite the exciting battles, and that was Alexander Morozeich after a very sharp game against Viktor Bologan that could have gone wrong. He never compromised though, and with an advantage in the endgame, milked it for all its worth with great technique and tenacity.

In round two, Ivan Saric showed he was not to be trifled with, despite his more modest rating compared to several others, and defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi in a powerful attack.

Ivan Saric showed he was not cannon fodder in round two as he demolished Nepomniachtchi

[Event "15th Karpov GM 2014"] [Site "Poikovsky RUS"] [Date "2014.05.12"] [Round "2.4"] [White "Saric, Ivan"] [Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2666"] [BlackElo "2735"] [PlyCount "113"] [EventDate "2014.05.11"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. f3 Be6 9. Qd2 h5 10. Nd5 Bxd5 11. exd5 Nbd7 12. Be2 O-O 13. O-O (13. c4 b6 14. Rc1 h4 15. O-O Nh5 16. Rfe1 Ndf6 17. Bd3 g6 18. Qb4 Nd7 19. Bf1 Re8 20. Na1 Ng7 21. Bf2 Nc5 22. Qc3 Bg5 23. Rcd1 a5 24. Nc2 Bf4 25. Be3 Bg3 26. hxg3 hxg3 27. Be2 Qh4 28. Kf1 Qh1+ 29. Bg1 Nh5 30. Rd2 Nf4 31. Bd1 Kg7 32. Re4 g5 33. Ne3 Kf6 34. Bc2 Rh8 35. Ng4+ Kg7 36. Rxf4 gxf4 37. Nxe5 dxe5 38. Qxe5+ Kg8 39. Re2 Qh6 40. Bd4 Qh1+ 41. Bg1 Qh6 42. a3 Nd7 43. Qc7 Nf8 44. Qxb6 Qxb6 45. Bxb6 Rb8 46. Bg1 Kg7 47. Bd4+ f6 48. Re7+ Kh6 49. Bxf6 Rg8 50. Be5 {1-0 (50) Sevian,S (2393) -Eckert,D (2247) Saint Louis 2013}) 13... Qb8 14. Kh1 Bd8 {A typical maneuver to exchange off the bad bishop transferring to b6.} 15. c4 Bb6 16. Bxb6 Nxb6 { The biggest problem is that exchanging the bisgop had a cost: the knight is poorly placed on b6, preventing counter moves with b5, and will cost tempi to be repositioned.} 17. f4 $1 {Wasting no time: Black only has two pieces on the kingside.} e4 18. Nd4 Qc8 19. Rac1 Re8 20. b4 Qd7 21. Nc2 Nc8 22. Ne3 Ne7 23. f5 Rec8 (23... b5 {was worth considering as a means to get counterplay. There is nothing Black can do to stop White from opening lines on the kingside, but he needs something to distract him.} 24. g4 {would still follow though, with a strong attack.} (24. c5 {is no good since Black can play} dxc5 {and} 25. d6 { is not a threat as the pawn is pinned.})) 24. Rf4 b5 $1 25. g4 $1 {Blow for blow, but White's chances are to be preferred.} bxc4 26. g5 c3 {This is actually a small trap, and though the engines think it is second best, it is the right move for practical reasons. White is not a computer after all and could go wrong.} 27. Qd4 {except he doesn't.} ({If White were to carelessly capture with} 27. Rxc3 $2 Rxc3 28. gxf6 (28. Qxc3 $4 Nfxd5 {[%cal Rd5c3,Rd5e3, Rd5f4]}) 28... Rxe3 $1 29. fxe7 Rxe2 30. Qxe2 Qxe7 {Black would be fine.}) 27... Nh7 28. Bxh5 Nxg5 29. h4 $1 {White shows his attacking skills, as he balances restricting Black's pieces while bringing in his own.} Nh7 30. Rg1 f6 31. Qxe4 Kh8 32. Bf7 Qa7 33. Be6 {They say a knight on d6 (or e6) is worth a rook, but surely the bishop is not worth less.} Rc7 34. Nc4 Rd8 35. Rc1 $2 { probably short of time, White misses the most efficient path to victory, but he still reels in the point.} Qb7 36. Rxc3 Qxb4 37. Rb3 Qc5 38. Rg3 Ng8 39. Qd4 Qb4 40. a3 Qb1+ 41. Kh2 Nh6 42. Qb6 Qxb6 43. Nxb6 Rb8 44. Rc4 Rcb7 45. Nc8 Rb2+ 46. Rg2 R2b3 47. Nxd6 Rxa3 48. Rc7 Ra4 49. Nc4 Nf8 50. d6 Rd8 51. Rgxg7 Ra2+ 52. Kh3 Re2 53. Rge7 Rb8 54. Rb7 Rxb7 55. Rxb7 Nxe6 56. fxe6 Rxe6 57. Re7 1-0

Saric was not the only victor in round two, as Morozevich scored his second straight win, at the expense of Alexander Motylev, to take the early lead with 2.0/2. Dmitry Jakovenko also won his game against Bologan.

Motylev (left) was unable to contain Morozevich in round two. That said, he started
badly in Gashimov too and came back to take clear second.

Photos by Evgeny Vashenyaka 


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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rajesh51 rajesh51 5/13/2014 01:51
No commentary of Morozevich games? :(
rajesh51 rajesh51 5/13/2014 01:51
No commentary of Morozevich games? :(