Bronstein Memorial Under Way in Minsk
Eltaj Safarli and Vasif Durarbayli face each other on board one today in round 4 of the Bronstein Memorial in Minsk, Belarus. The two Azerbaijani grandmasters are the only players left with a 100% score. The tournament is held in honor of David Bronstein, who was born 90 years ago this week.
Photo courtesy of the Bronstein Memorial
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.
“What was David like outside the chessboard? As in chess, he loved beauty. You know, he loved to buy beautiful things. People even said: what would a thing be like in order for Bronstein to buy it? Expensive and beautiful, useless and inefficient to carry. And he was incredibly generous. He always brought flowers, sweets and wine, and he tried to please everyone who stepped into his house or his hotel room. I recall how Smyslov, a very rich man by the way, once exclaimed: ‘Davik, you're so happy, you can do without all that!’
David Ionovich did not finish university, only high school, and after that the war began. His university was life itself. I studied science, but his knowledge was natural compared to mine. He had his very own opinion about everything. And here's another special trait he had. He could lift people to his level, in his presence everything became meaningful and necessary by itself. And he lifted me, too, to such heights that I'm still experiencing it today. I'm a very happy woman, and I am very lucky to have had such a great companion in my life.” (Translation by Arne Moll.)
World title challenger, Soviet team member, creative grandmaster, respected chess author — David Bronstein doesn't need any further introduction here and it suffices to say that a memorial in his honor is more than justified!
There are two separate tournaments, and both are 9-round Swisses. The first prize in the A group is US $10,000, while for the B group it's US $1,000 (although 12% tax will be deducted). There are special prizes for e.g. women and veterans. The time control is 90 minutes for the whole game, with 30 seconds increment per move.
The decent prize fund has attracted quite a few strong players. The line-up in Minsk, the birth place of GMs such as Boris Gelfand and Yuri Shulman, includes Baadur Jobava, Vladimir Akopian, Gabriel Sargissian, Boris Grachev, Sergei Zhigalko, Rauf Mamedov and Aleksandr Shimanov. A bit lower on the list we find e.g. Ilia Smirin, Sergei Tiviakov (who turns 41 today), Daniil Dubov, Jaan Ehlvest and Emanuel Berg.
At the time of writing the tournament has reached the third round. Only two players, both from Azerbaijan, won their first three games: Eltaj Safarli and Vasif Durarbayli. Safarli won a nice, technical game against Savchenko in round 3. It's not fun to play the French like this!
Vasif Durarbayli is a young Azeri GM (he'll turn 22 in ten days) who hasn't really been in the spotlight yet. His third round game against Sargissian was not bad at all; he completely refuted his opponent's risky play. It is fun to play the Grünfeld like that!
The day before Sargissian had given a nice endgame demonstration. It is said that a knight is better than bishop with pawns on one wing, because it can control squares of both colors while the long-range problem doesn't exist. This game supports that claim:
Top seed Baadur Jobava drew with Emanuel Berg in the second round. In a game between two sharp players you can expect an opening like the Dragadorf (a combination of the Dragon and the Najdof), but unfortunately play quickly led to a not so exciting endgame.
The following game cannot remain unmentioned either. 64-year-old Yuri Balashov, who won the veterans’ prize last week at the Moscow Open, defeated 17-year-old Daniil Dubov [Update: no, it was the other way around]:
Bronstein Memorial 2014 | Round 3 Standings (Top 40)
(Full standings here.)
The Bronstein Memorial takes place 11-19 February in Minsk, Belarus. You can follow the games live here.