Ivanchuk & So Lead Edmonton International After Round 5
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The two top seeds of the Edmonton International, Vassily Ivanchuk and Wesley So, are sharing the lead after five rounds. Both players won four games, and drew against each other. Like every year, the Canadian tournament is a 10-player round robin designed to score IM or GM norms.
The 9th Edmonton International Chess Festival takes place 21-29 June at the Edmonton Chess Club. Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta, located on the North Saskatchewan River. It is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by Alberta's central region.
The festival includes a 5-round Swiss, a lecture by Irina Krush, a simul by Wesley So and a blitz tournament. The main event is a 10-player all-play all, with a group of players that stretches from Elo 2744 all the way down to 2168. The tournament is a possibility for local players to score norms, but that won't be easy!
Besides four international grandmasters (Wesley So, Vassily Ivanchuk, Sam Shankland and Irina Krush) and one from Canada (Anton Kovalyov), there are two IMs (24-year-old Raja Panjwani, Elo 2440 and 15-year-old Richard Wang, Elo 2365), two FMs (36-year-old Vladimir Pechenkin, Elo 2311 and 46-year-old Dale Haessel, Elo 2168) and “FM elect” Alex Yam, Elo 2299.
Sam Shankland is a last-minute replacement for Lazaro Bruzon, who won last year's edition convincingly but had to withdraw due to a family emergency.
Haessel's participation seems a bit out of place, although he's quite capable of upsetting players of a very high caliber, as the official website notes: “In the 2012 edition Dale upset GM Victor Mikhalevski thus preventing the GM from possibly winning the first place in the competition. In the last round of the 2013 edition of the event, Dale managed to draw GM Nigel Short.”
But this year it's not happening. Mr Haessel lost his first five games (like Axel Yam), and especially the last one didn't look good.
Generally speaking, the top players tend to outplay their weaker opponents mostly on calculation, especially when their opponents refuse to “believe” them. It's always a good not to trust your opponent too much, but if his name is Ivanchuk...
Pechenkin had a similar experience. Maybe he didn't like his position anyway, or maybe he really thought that his 2700-opponent was blundering a pawn? Well, he wasn't!
Ivanchuk also scored an interesting win against the Canadian grandmaster:
So's win over Panjwani was quite spectacular:
The top clash was played in round 4, and ended in a draw. Ivanchuk was pressing in an ending, but couldn't break the Philippine GM's defense:
Edmonton International 2014 | Round 5 Standings