Bu gives Pearl Spring a dream start

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Bu, the winner of day 1By beating Sergei Movsesian in the first round, local hero Bu Xiangzhi gave the brand new Pearl Spring Super GM Tournament in Nanjing, China a dream start. He took the lead since Aronian-Topalov and Ivanchuk-Svidler ended in a draw. Round 1 report with annotated games.

The Pearl Spring Super GM Tournament started today and is taking place till December 21 at the Mingfa Pearl Spring Hotel in the Pukou District of Nanjing, China. The city of Nanjing (literally meaning "southern capital") is the capital of China's Jiangsu Province, located 300 km northwest of Shanghai.


It's a six-player double round robin event with Veselin Topalov (BUL, 2791), Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR, 2786), Levon Aronian (ARM, 2757), Sergei Movsesian (SVK, 2732) Peter Svidler (RUS, 2727) and Bu Xiangzhi (CHN, 2714). At least by Elo average (2752) it's the strongest tournament ever held in China.

Pearl Spring Participants

The total prize fund is ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 250,000: ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 80,000 goes to the winner, 2nd ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 55,000, 3rd ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 40,000, 4th ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 30,000, 5th ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 25,000 and 6th ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 20,000. Live games start daily at 15:00 local time which is early morning for Western countries (08:00 CET, 02:00 EST).

The tournament is organized by Municipal People's Government of Nanjing and Chess & Cards Administration Center of General Administration of Sport of China; undertaken by People's Government of Pukou District, Nanjing, and Nanjing Administration of Sport; sponsored by Jiangsu Kanion Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Yangzi Evening, and Mundell International University of Entrepreneurship.

So how did such an event suddenly appear on the tournament calendar? Introducing their tournament, the Pearl Spring organisers state that they were driven by three aspects: to start with, the general popularity of chess worldwide, and secondly "the pursuit of harmony in this tournament aligns with the city spirit of Nanjing".

During the World Urban Forum 4 and Cultural Industry Fair 2008 (Third) Nanjing, China, dialogues and negotiations regarding values have been held revolving about the harmonious development of cities. Likewise, this tournament will intensify this theme through chess art and cultural communication. Nanjing is a famous city with a long history and a great cultural heritage. So, the proper connotation of ?¢‚Ǩ?ìgaming, harmony and development?¢‚Ǩ? of chess is in line with the city spirit of ?¢‚Ǩ?ìenlightenment, open-up, humanity, sincerity, pioneering and innovation?¢‚Ǩ? and works in concert with its development orientation of modernized, internationalized, humanistic green city.

Thirdly, the Nanjing organisers are hoping that the event will serve as "an interface for communication and a bridge connecting the international community." More about the tournament background, spirit and motto can be read here.

The tournament apparently received great support from FIDE, ECU and the Asian Chess Union (ACU) and invited guests at the opening ceremony included FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, ECU President Boris Kutin, ACU President Sheikh Sultan and Sectary-General of FIDE Liang Zhirong, as well as Vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Xu Jialu and Nobel Prize winner Robert A. Mundell.

Pearl Spring, Nanjing 2008

The Pearl Spring tournament is almost an exact copy of the MTel Masters tournaments: six players, double round-robin, one rest day between the two legs. There's a small difference though: unlike in Sofia, the Nanjing organisers have just mirrorred the pairings of the second leg from the first without swapping round 6 with another round. This has the effect that Levon Aronian is playing Black three times in a row (rounds 5, 6 and 7). But there's a good reason to keep it like this: local hero Bu Xiangzhi has White three times in a row!


Considering the similarity with MTel, it's likely that the Nanjing tournament is, or will become, one of the Grand Slam tournaments. However, in the following little note that can be found at the tournament website, Sofia isn't mentioned while Dortmund (not a Grand Slam event!) is:

it is being applied to be the 4th major chess tournament in the world, coming after Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting, The Corus Chess Tournament and The Linares Chess Tournament.

Hm... Well, on to the games then, and about this first round cannot we complain. OK, Aronian-Topalov was a quiet draw but there was enough to enjoy in the other two games. Bu outplayed Movsesian in an ending that looked dead equal but was perhaps already a bit better for Black soon after the queens went off. Especially the knight manoeuvre to b2 was impressive play by the Chinese GM.

Another great fight was Ivanchuk-Svidler, but as so often, the grandmaster from St Petersburg wore the suit of a gentleman today where he should have picked the clothes of a butcher. (Actually all players were dressed in Mao style as can be seen at the photos on Gujuan Tzu's Chessnews Blog). Svidler built up his attack nicely but in a winning position he went for safety first - a perpetual.

Annoted games of the first round:


The first move in the game Aronian-Topalov

Photos: Gujuan Tzu's Chessnews Blog


More from PeterDoggers
Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race