Poikovsky: Morozevich & Saric Shared First After Three Rounds
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Alexander Morozevich got off to a flying start at the Karpov Tournament in Poikovsky, Russia. The Muscovite started with two wins, and was close to a third on Tuesday againt Alexei Shirov. He was caught by Ivan Saric of Croatia - both lead the tournament with 2.5/3.
Photos © Evgenya Vashenyaka courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation
This year the annual tournament named after 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov is celebrating its 15th anniversary edition. According to the official website, since 2000 65 grandmasters from 33 countries participated.
Poikovsky is located in the Nefteyugansk region of the Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous area. Its name comes from the nearby river Poyka. The population is close to 30,000 people and the main economic drive is the extraction of oil and gas.
Fourteen years ago local authorities decided that a big chess tournament would do the region well. A year later a chess school for children was opened which was, like the tournament, named after Anatoly Karpov.
“I wish that in ten years from now we will be able to meet these boys and girls in the main tournament. Youth is on our heels!” laughed Alexei Shirov at the opening ceremony. “But the most important opponent always remains: yourself. If you want, you can play. Your age is not so important.”
Shirov is one of the ten participants this year. Again the tournament is not just strong, but also sees a nice mixture of both solid and more aggressive.
The line-up this year: former Russian Champion Ian Nepomniachtchi, Shamkir B group winner and reigning champion in Poikovsky Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine, former world number two Alexander Morozevich of Russia, French number two and two times winner Etienne Bacrot, former top player (and now organizer) and 2006 winner Alexei Shirov of Latvia, European Champion and 2009 winner Alexander Motylev of Russia, Tata B winner Ivan Saric of Croatia, 2012 winner Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia, Emil Sutovsky of Israel, and three times winner in Poikovsky Victor Bologan of Moldavia.
Despite the great field of players, two third of the games in the first three rounds ended in draws. It should be noted that the Karpov Tournament is one of the few strong round robins left where no anti-draw rules are in effect. It is therefore possible to come across fascinating games like this:
But let's stop complaining about something that doesn't (yet) deserve too much criticism yet; there have been a lot of interesting fights in the tournament so far.
Alexander Morozevich is a name we don't hear or read that often anymore, but in Poikovsky he is certainly playing a key role, at least for now. The 36-year-old Russian grandmaster had an excellent start: he won two games in a row.
In the first round his victim was Victor Bologan, who is, together with Alexander Onischuk, the record holder for having played the most tournaments in Poikovsky - 14 in total. Morozevich used the double fianchetto but the game had far from a quiet start: Bologan played the same, spectacular queen sacrifice as Mohamed Ezat did last year against Vladimir Kramnik!
This time White quickly gave back his queen to end up with an extra Exchange for pawn. With lots of zugzwangs Morozevich forced his opponent to resign on move 96.
In the second Morozevich defeated Motylev with the black pieces. Perhaps the European Champ resigned a bit too early, because there were chances to end up with pawns on one flank, and Black would have the wrong bishop...
In the same round Ivan Saric and Ian Nepomniachtchi played a very complicated game that was eventually won by the Croatian champion. After the game Nepomniachtchi tweeted:
Amazingly poor play level from both sides, but the biggest idiot prize has (expectedly) gone to me...— Yan Nepomniachtchi ( @lachesisq) May 12, 2014
Saric then won another one to catch Morozevich in first place:
Morozevich missed a good chance to reach 3/3. In the opening he won a healthy pawn, but couldn't convert it against Shirov:
Karpov Tournament 2014 | Results & pairings
|Round 1||11.05.14||11:00 CET||Round 2||11.05.14||11:00 CET|
|Round 3||13.05.14||11:00 CET||Round 4||14.05.14||11:00 CET|
|Round 5||16.05.14||11:00 CET||Round 6||17.05.14||11:00 CET|
|Round 7||18.05.14||11:00 CET||Round 8||19.05.14||11:00 CET|
|Round 9||20.05.14||11:00 CET|
Karpov Tournament 2014 | Round 3 Standings