Bronstein Memorial: Jobava Leads, Two Rounds to Go
Top seed Baadur Jobava is defending a half-point lead in round 8 of the Bronstein Memorial in Minsk. At the time of writing, the Georgian grandmaster plays Sergei Tiviakov as Black. The Dutch GM is tied for second place with GMs Dubov, Shimanov and Oleksienko.
Photo courtesy of the Bronstein Memorial
Let's pick up the tournament after the third round, when Eltaj Safarli and Vasif Durarbayli, both from Azerbaijan, were tied for first with 3.0/3. Their mutual game is not worthy of showing in a game viewer (but if you want you can test your blindfold skills: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Bg5 Re8 10. Nd5 Nxd5 11. cxd5 c6 12. Bc4 1/2-1/2).
Board two was drawn as well, but what a difference with board one! A great fight that ended with a remarkable perpetual:
Aleksandr Shimanov defeated Vitaliy Bernadskiy with the black pieces and must have enjoyed that game! It was a model attack on the h-file against a fianchetto bishop with themes that we normally see in the Sicilian Dragon. But something you can do it from the other side, even when you have castled kingside!
But winning in positional style can be just as nice. Here's Tiviakov's game from the same round, in which both sides got a passed pawn but the white one stole the show:
By then Tiviakov tied for first with Zhigalko and Safarli. The latter went down in round 5 against Daniil Dubov:
Former FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman played a splendid game with the white pieces against one of his old rivals, whose Hedgehog didn't work out when White uncorked the typical 14.Nd5!!.
Baadur Jobava tried that new opening system that was seen in Wijk aan Zee last month: 1.d4, 2.Nc3 and 3.Bf4. (This doesn't seem to have a name yet?) It worked well against Boris Savchenko in what was a bit of a coffee house game:
Unlike in the previous rounds, there were two decisive games on the top boards on Sunday. After a somewhat disappointing performance in Gibraltar, Daniil Dubov apparently decided that he was going to have a good tournament this time! He won against Khalifman in one of the main lines of the Volga/Benko Gambit as he responded well against an interesting sacrificial sequence by El Khalif:
Jobava played another very inspired attacking game:
In round 7 it was Jobava who grabbed sole lead with the following win. The Georgian GM is playing 1.b3 so often these days! Hopefully our article on this opening in the January Bulletin won't be out of date too soon! :-) It was another fantastic game:
The Bronstein Memorial takes place 11-19 February in Minsk, Belarus. It is held on the occasion of Bronstein's 90th birthday this week: the great Soviet grandmaster was born on 19 February 1924 in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine. He passed away on 5 December 2006 in Minsk, where the tournament is held.
The first prize in the top group is US $10,000. The time control is 90 minutes for the whole game, with 30 seconds increment per move.
At the time of publishing this report, the penultimate round has just started. You can follow it live here.
Bronstein Memorial 2014 | Round 7 Standings (Top 40)
|14||15||GM||Fedorchuk Sergey A||UKR||2641||5||2465|
(Full standings here.)