Aero-Alekseev the best in Moscow

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He may truly call himself the king of Russian chess at the moment. Evgeny Alekseev, who won the Russian Championship at the end of last year, this week showed that great form can endure for months. After a quick draw on board one between Tomashevsky and Jakovenko, Alekseev beat Gabriel Sargissian after five hours struggle and ensured himself of a clear first place at the Aeroflot Open. A report on the apotheosis in Moscow: the last four rounds and the closing ceremony.

Round 6

One of the games of the round was played by Kotronias and Bologan today. They were following the game Anand-Adams from the world championship in St Louis. In a closed Spanish Zaitsev the Greek GM avoided the line that Anand played which has been currently assessed as a forced draw and deviated with 23.Be3 but the real novelty came later on with 25.Qd2. Both players are known for their theoretical knowledge and there is little doubt both have had this position at home. Both players made errors throughout the game but with such unusual king positions its not so surprising. In the end the Moldovian Grandmaster marched his king and pawns up the board and the Greek grandmaster could not stop him.



On the top boards things were quieter with only one decisive result on the top ten games. This is not to say that they were all devoid of fighting spirit as the surprise of the tournament Stanislav Novikov had to defend for over 6 hours in a rook ending a pawn down and find many only moves while his opponent Jakovenko kept pressing for the win. Many expected a breakthrough but in the end the half point was shared. This was impressive defence from the young virtually unknown Novikov who had to ask permission from the organizers to play in this section as his rating (2535) would normally be too low.



Many top board games were drawn early and only the wily Armenian GM Artashes Minisian who at 40 is virtually the veteran of the event grinded down Chinese Wang Hao. The Armenian never allowed the tactics the young Chinese star is famous for and won an instructive ending.



Round 7

After yesterday's quiet day certain people thought it was time to make their mover forward. Evgeny Alekseev used some old home analysis to defeat early leader Stanislav Novikov in an unusual d5 Modern Defence with White. Very soon both kings became exposed and after some fireworks the direct attack of the Russian champion Alekseev decided the result, definitely a game to play through and enjoy! Next on board 2 Russian GM Evgeny Tomashevsky overcame Armenian GM Artashes Minisian in another Modern Defence, although this one was not so sharp at the beginning but later White still sacrificed his queen on move 33 for an overwhelming attack. Maybe we will not see this opening any more this tournament? It continued being a bad day for Armenia as GM Vladimir Akopian lost to Russian GM Dmitry Jakovenko in a Closed Spanish. The Armenian sent his rook ona hunting expedition for a loose a-pawn but in the end found it self being trapped. After losing the exchange it it was only ?¢‚Ǩ?ìa matter of technique?جø¬?? as they say but Jakovenko proved up to the task. One can only wait until this young man gets his first invitation to the super tournaments.



One should note the from of Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky who has now won his third game in a row to come back to the high boards. He defeated Kazak GM Darmen Sadvakasov in a sharp Sicilian Najdorf where again we had a material inbalance on the board of lone queen versus rooks and bishop, not surprisingly the pieces came through again but it showed courage from both players to enter in such lines, another game to play through with a galls of wine by your side for enjoyment!



Slowly but surely some players have started to brave the cold and venture out into the center of town and take some photos and buy some souvenirs, not to mention escape the same hotel food which you can only become accustomed to after enduring it for over a week. Even some hardened Dutch people remarked on the low temperatures but it was the Indian and Greek players who suffered the most! See if you can feel their suffering from the accompanying photo!

Round 8

Round 8 will be considered another day where most of the top boards were draws and everyone was consolidating their position. On the top 11 boards there were only 3 decisive results and they all belonged to members of the group from Armenia! This will give them the chance to play for the highest prize tomorrow. The title of tournament champion is decided but the unusual tie-break system of who has had the most Blacks, then and only then do we revert to things like normal Bucholtz system. Because of this there are still 6-7 people still capable of winning the tournament. Whether Jakovenko and Tomashevsky will take risks on board one is another matter but they have had 5 Whites and 4 Blacks and will have to watch for the other player on 6/8 evgeny Alekseev who could pass them if they draw by defeating Armenian GM Gabriel Sargissian but Sargissian himself and Minisian could win by winning their games because they have had more Blacks! The same applies to Stanislav Novikov who will be Black in his final round game.

Round 9

After a quick draw on board one between Tomashevsky and Jakovenko all eyes turned to board 2 and after 5 hours struggle Russian champion Evgeny Alekseev defeated Armenian GM Gabriel Sargissian on the White side of a quiet Italian opening. It took 48 moves but it can be said that the right person one as the Russian champion was on the top boards for the whole tournament and he never seemed in danger of losing any game, Jakovenko was the other who gave the most accomplished appearance as he also never seemed to be in any real trouble for the duration of the event.



Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony was short and to the point. We crowned Evgeny Alekseev as the 2007 Aeroflot champion and congratulated the organsiers for a successful tournament. An interesting fact was that a young Polish player FM Leniart, Arkadiusz with a rating of 2329 was allowed into the A2 section, the normal cutoff being 2400. This player performed at over 2700 and gained a GM norm! The round started at 11 a.m. and the last games finished simultaneously at 5:30. The find of the tournament Stanislav Novikov after knocking back a draw in mutual time trouble, tried too hard to win, over pressed and found himself needing to resign against Chinese GM Wang Yue. At the same time two of the tournaments characters and great over the board exponents of will and fighting spirit played out their game to the death, both needing a win. Finally after realizing that an inevitable draw due to lack of pawns left on the board the half point was shared between these two friends who then analyzed animatedly for over an hour in front of a happy crowed of interested spectators.

Alekseev won 30,000 US dollars and the right to play in the upcoming Dortmund in July (with (Anand, Carlsen, Gelfand, Leko, Kramnik, Mamedyarov and Naiditsch) and show the greater chess world what he is capable in a round-robin format against some of the established stars.

Other facts to note was the best female prize deservedly went to Indian player WGM Harika Dronavalli who was always on a high board, always some 2600 GM attempting to gain the upper hand and she managed to keep most of them at bay!

Another strange fact is the performance of Swedish GM Emanuel Berg who started with 4 losses and then like a test of manhood he pulled himself together and scored 4 wins from his next 5 games to finish with a respectable score and the only player to have no draws from his 9 games!

Here are the final standings. (Also of the second group, so you'll know all about the talents-with-difficult-names. It's Russia, China and Armenia that will be dominating in future years!).

Group A1 final standings        Group A2 final standings

1. GM Alekseev 7,0 RUS 1. IM Askarov 7,5 RUS 2. GM Tomashevsky 6,5 RUS 2. FM Leniart 7,0 POL 3. GM Jakovenko 6,5 RUS 3. GM Dvoirys 7,0 RUS 4. GM Wang Yue 6,5 CHN 4. IM Danin 7,0 RUS 5. GM Ni Hua 6,5 CHN 5. IM Wang Rui 6,5 CHN 6. GM Almasi 6,0 HUN 6. GM Zhao Jun 6,5 CHN 7. GM Jobava 6,0 GEO 7. IM Wen Yang 6,5 CHN 8. GM Sutovsky 6,0 ISR 8. GM Safin 6,5 UZB 9. GM Volkov 6,0 RUS 9. IM Maletin 6,5 RUS 10. GM Minasian 5,5 ARM 10. IM Andreikin 6,5 RUS 11. GM Akopian 5,5 ARM 11. GM Le 6,5 VIE 12. GM Sargissian 5,5 ARM 12. IM Chibukhchian 6,0 ARM 13. GM Areshchenko 5,5 UKR 13. GM Pashikian 6,0 ARM 14. GM Khalifman 5,5 RUS 14. GM Ovetchkin 6,0 RUS 15. GM Vallejo Pons 5,5 ESP 15. IM Ragger 6,0 AUT


And the winner is (again)... Russian Champion GM Evgeny Alekseev

Closing ceremony with chief arbiter Gijssen on the left and Anatoly Karpov

The winner with the former world champion

Bronze for the Russian GM Dmitry Jakovenko

4th: Chinese GM Wang Yue

7th: Georgian GM Badur Jobava

8th: Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky

10th: GM Artashes Minasian from Armenia

24th: GM Wang Hao, also from China

57th: WGM Dronavalli Havika from India

60th: Swedish GM Emanuel Berg

72th: GM Pentala Harikrishna from India

Tomashevsky-Jakovenko

Bodava-Tomashevsky

Hou Yifan-Kotronias

Wang Yue-Novikov

Smirin-Yusupov, with Akopian and Khalifman in the background

Luther-Sasikiran

Wang Yue-Sutovsky

Ladies boards

Adly-Smerdon

58th in group A2: Dutch IM Robert Ris

The Chinese delegation

Emil Sutovsky & Badur Jobava

Making new friends

Please, no white and black ones anymore, let's do the Red Square "^Reports^^^1172374510^1314786230^manuel "Daily puzzle 022507"^"Daily puzzle 022507 White to move and win. The solution will be published tomorrow.

Yesterday's solution: Daily puzzle 022407 41.Be6!!+- fxe6 42.dxe6 Nf6 43.Rxa8 Bxa8 44.Rxa8! Qxa8 45.Qxf6 Qxe4+ 46.Kh2 Rb7 1?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú0, Golod - Boim, Israel (rapid) 2003 Have fun with our daily puzzles!
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