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    Entries in 2018 Poikovsky (8)

    Wednesday
    Jun062018

    Poikovsky, Final Round: Draws At The Top Mean Jakovenko Takes Clear First

    Unfortunately, the last round of the 19th Karpov Poikovsky tournament turned out to be a dud as the games relevant to the fight for first both ended in short draws. Dmitry Jakovenko led Ian Nepomniachtchi and Boris Gelfand by half a point entering the round, and since Nepomniachtchi had White against Jakovenko in the last game an exciting game was in prospect. Unfortunately for spectators looking for a thrilling fight, Jakovenko achieved such a solid position that there was nothing for his opponent to try in the end, and the game was drawn in 27 moves. Sadly, this was game was a marathon in both time and number of moves compared to Gelfand's game with Vladislav Kovalev. He had Black, achieved equality right from the opening, and as the pieces started to be liquidated the players called it a day after White's 19th move.

    Two other games were drawn, both after long struggles, and there was one decisive outcome: Victor Bologan finally crawled out of the hole when Emil Sutovsky's all-out attack with 14...Qh4 boomeranged badly.

    Final Results:

    • 1. Jakovenko 6.5 (out of 9)
    • 2-3. Nepomniachtchi, Gelfand 6
    • 4. Vidit 5.5
    • 5. Fedoseev 5
    • 6. Kovalev 4.5
    • 7. Korobov 4
    • 8. Artemiev 3.5
    • 9. Sutovsky 2.5
    • 10. Bologan 1.5

    Monday
    Jun042018

    Poikovsky, Round 8: Gelfand Catches Nepomniachtchi, Half a Point Behind Jakovenko Entering the Last Round

    That about sums it up! Boris Gelfand beat the tournament punching bag, Victor Bologan (hopefully he will bounce back brilliantly before long; in this event he has gone .5/8 and lost 25 rating points), and now he, like Ian Nepomniachtchi, has 5.5/8 going into the last round. (Also on the topic of ratings: Gelfand is back over 2700 again, as one would expect.) While Nepo came into the round half a point ahead of Gelfand, he was fortunate to finish it in a tie, as he was entirely busted against Vladislav Artemiev - and more than once. As for the tournament leader, he had White against Vladislav Kovalev, but didn't manage to achieve anything with White in a Classical King's Indian, and the game was drawn in 26 moves.

    In tomorrow's grand finale, Nepomniachtchi has White against Jakovenko, while Gelfand has Black against Kovalev. Gujrathi Vidit is a further half a point back, so while he could theoretically catch or even surpass Gelfand and Nepo, he can only tie with Jakovenko in a scenario where Nepomniachtchi finishes in clear first. So while Vidit could finish in second - even clear second - he cannot win.

    More here.

    Sunday
    Jun032018

    Poikovsky, Round 7: Jakovenko in Clear First

    Through most of the tournament it has been a two-man race between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Dmitry Jakovenko, and for the first time in the tournament Jakovenko is the clear leader. Nepomniachtchi drew quickly with Black against Vladislav Kovalev, while Jakovenko was always worse-to-equal against Victor Bologan in a Taimanov-turned Scheveningen-turned quasi-French. Fortunately for Jakovenko, Bologan's horrendous tournament got a little bit worse, and 44.Ba6?? lost by force by simple means. After 44...Nxd4 45.Kxd4 Ra2 the bishop was essentially trapped. Its only safe square was on d3, but after 46.Bd3 Rd2 the threat of 47...Rxd3+ followed by 48...Bb5+ and 49...Bxf1 meant White had to move the rook. Unfortunately for him, after 47.Rf3 Bb5 Black liquidates to an easily won king and pawn ending, which Jakovenko of course converted.

    The other player with an outside shot at winning the event, Boris Gelfand, only managed a draw against Vladimir Fedoseev, though he was very slightly better with Black throughout the game. Vidit-Artemiev was also drawn, but there Artemiev was almost certainly winning at some point. Only in one game did White do well, and that was Korobov-Sutovsky - a salutary reminder that opposite-colored bishops do not guarantee a draw.

    In round 8 Jakovenko (5.5) will have White against Kovalev (3.5), Artemiev (2.5) will have White against Nepomniachtchi (5), and Gelfand (4.5) will be White against Bologan (.5). It's a friendlier round for Jakovenko than for Nepo, but in the last round Nepomniachtchi has White against Jakovenko himself, so it's likely that the tournament will come down to the wire. (And in case it proves relevant, Gelfand will have Black against Kovalev in the last round.)

    Saturday
    Jun022018

    Poikovsky, Rounds 4-6: Jakovenko & Nepomniachtchi Lead; Gelfand Chasing

    When we left off, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Dmitry Jakovenko were tied for first in the Karpov Poikovsky tournament, and they still are. They had 2.5/3, and have gone 2/3 since then, though in different ways. Nepomniachtchi beat Anton Korobov in round 4, lost to Vladimir Fedoseev in round 5, and then bounced back to defeat Victor Bologan in round 6. (About Bologan: he is probably having the worst tournament of his career; he just a single draw, from round 2, to his credit.) Jakovenko's path has been a little more stable, with draws in rounds 4 and 5 against Gujrathi Vidit and Korobov, respectively, before defeating Fedoseev in round 6.

    Boris Gelfand has come back strongly since his first-round loss to Nepo. He drew Jakovenko in round 2, then beat Vladislav Artemiev in round 3, Emil Sutovsky in round 4, drew with Vidit in round 5, and beat Korobov in a marathon in round 6. He stands half a point behind the leaders.

    Vidit and Fedoseev have 3.5, Vladislav Kovalev has 3, Korobov 2.5, Sutovky and Artemiev 2 apiece, and Bologan has .5.

    The decisive games involving the top three, from the past three rounds, are here (with some cursory comments).

    Tuesday
    May292018

    Poikovsky, Round 3: Wins for Gelfand, Fedoseev, and New Co-Leader Jakovenko

    Ian Nepomniachtchi failed to win for the first time in the tournament, but that's a somewhat artificial way of putting it, as he was surely satisfied with an easy draw with Black against Gujrathi Vidit. He's now at 2.5/3, as is Dmitry Jakovenko, who won with Black against Emil Sutovsky. Sutovsky's 27.Ref2 allowed his kingside to be weakened after 27...Bxg2+, and once Jakovenko played 34...h3 defeat was inevitable though not immediate.

    Vidit, with 2 points, is tied for 3rd-4th with Anton Korobov. Korobov was winning at one point against Vladislav Kovalev, though not trivially. Had he played 29.d6 he would have had very good chances to join the tie for first, but after trading queens a whole series of exchanges soon followed, and the value of White's extra pawn was negated by the opposite-colored bishops.

    In the next score group, at 1.5/3, are two players who won to get back to 50%. Boris Gelfand won a very good positional game against Vladislav Artemiev, while Vladimir Fedoseev won speedily against Victor Bologan when the latter was unable to cope with White's kingside attack. (17...Nc6! 18.hxg6 Nd4! would have kept the game alive; after 17...Qf6 18.Rd2 Black was already lost.)

    In round 4 the 2.5s battle the 2s: the leading pairings are Nepomniachtchi vs. Korobov and Jakovenko vs. Vidit.

    Monday
    May282018

    Poikovsky, Round 2: Nepomniachtchi the Day's One Winner

    After five decisive games out of five in round 1, round 2 saw only one game finish with a winner. That was Ian Nepomniachtchi, who defeated Emil Sutovsky in a sharp line in the Classical French. He has 2/2, half a point ahead of Dmitry Jakovenko, Gujrathi Vidit, and Anton Korobov. Sutovsky is on 50%, and Boris Gelfand, Vladislav Kovalev, Victor Bologan, Vladimir Fedoseev, and Vladislav Artemiev are tied for 6th-last with half a point apiece.

    Here's the Nepomniachtchi-Sutovsky game, with my notes. Tournament website here.

    Sunday
    May272018

    Poikovsky, Round 1: Five Decisive Results

    Now that's the way to have a chess tournament start! And it wasn't due to mismatched pairings, either, nor did White win every game (though four out of five ain't bad, to adapt an old song).

    Dmitry Jakovenko won a pawn and ground down Vladislav Artemiev. Artemiev should have played 20...Qc7, and although White could still snag a pawn after, say, 21.Rf1 a5 22.Nxd4 Nxd4 23.Rxd4 Rxd4 24.Qxd4, Black would have full compensation after 24...Rd8 25.Qe3 Qc5. In fact, he probably just regains the pawn: 26.Qxc5 bxc5 followed by ...Rd4 seems to do the trick.

    Emil Sutovsky would have enjoyed excellent compensation for a pawn had Vladislav Kovalev played 23...Nxe4. Instead, Kovalev's 23...Nd7 left him with a lousy position, and he was completely lost a few moves later. Sutovsky wasn't in any rush to win, nor was Kovalev particularly eager to resign, but the win was inevitable and happened after White's 80th move.

    Black's one win came in Boris Gelfand vs. Ian Nepomniachtchi. Gelfand sacrificed a pawn in the English, and he was apparently surprised early on because he thought for 41 minutes on move 16 and another 11-12 minutes on his next move. The result of these deep thinks was a middlegame with no compensation. Black consolidated and then some, and shortly before the time control he won a piece to boot. After the players made their 40th moves, Gelfand resigned.

    In the London System variation 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.Nd2 c5 5.c3 Be7 6.h3 Bd6 White would never dream of playing 7.Bg3, allowing Black to wreck White's pawns, but in the game between Anton Korobov and Vladimir Fedoseev something similar happened. There was a key difference, of course, but it was still somewhat surprising. The opening was a Torre Attack, and it took ...h6 and ...g5 to push White's bishop back to g3. The exchange occurred there, and White was even willing to sac a pawn or two for play down the f-file and an attack. Fedoseev declined the opportunity to play 13...Qxg3, but he had a lousy position all the same. I'm not sure if he lost on time trying to make his 38th move or gave up out of disgust with his position, which was thoroughly lost in any case.

    Finally, Gujrathi Vidit convincingly defeated Victor Bologan in a nice game with some simple but attractive sacrifices that highlighted the dark square poverty Black suffered after 22...g5?

    Games here, on Chess24.

     

    Friday
    May252018

    Poikovsky, Norway Chess Both Start on Sunday (Sort of)

    Officially the Karpov Poikovsky tournament starts on Saturday and the Altibox Norway Chess tournament starts Sunday, but in both cases the first day of classical chess comes on the next day. So Poikovsky starts on Sunday and Norway Chess starts on Monday...except that there's a blitz tournament the day before. (Or that's what I assume. On the website it says "rapid", but it's highly unlikely that there will be a nine-round rapid event in one day, and it has been blitz the past four years.)

    Here are the lineups:

    Poikovsky: Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia, 2751), Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia, 2735), Santosh Vidit (India, 2707), Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia, 2706), Vladislav Artemiev (Russia, 2704), Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2695), Anton Korobov (Ukraine, 2678), Vladislav Kovalev (Belarus, 2650), Emil Sutovsky (Israel, 2647), and Victor Bologan (Moldova, 2610).

    Norway Chess: Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2843), Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2822), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2808), Ding Liren (China, 2791), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France, 2789), Sergey Karjakin (Russia, 2782), Wesley So (USA, 2778), Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2769), Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2764), Viswanathan Anand (India, 2760).

    Of course the second tournament will be the main event, but there are some terrific players in the first one too, and the rating disparities make it more likely that we'll see lots of blood. Also, while half the players in that tournament are rated below 2700, all but Kovalev have been rated above 2700. (Gelfand has for much of the past three decades been rated well above 2700, with a peak of 2777; Korobov has been 2723, Sutovsky 2703, and Bologan as high as 2734.)