5 Share Lead In Aeroflot After Round 7

5 Share Lead In Aeroflot After Round 7

| 7 | Chess Event Coverage

Now in its 13th edition, the extremely competitive Aeroflot Open is currently taking place in Moscow, Russia. This event, sponsored by the Russian airline Aeroflot, is famous for having three groups: A (Open to 2549+ [!] with a few exceptions), B (2299-2550), and C (U2300).

All photos in this report courtesy of Amruta Mokal. More pictures can be found on her Facebook page.

After seven tough rounds in the A group, five grandmasters share the lead with 5.0/7: Boris Gelfand (Israel), Maxim Matlakov (Russia), Evgeniy Najer (Russia), Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia), and Mateusz Bartel (Poland). An additional 15 players trail with 4.5/7. The overall winner of the tournament will qualify into the annual Dortmund super-tournament (usually held in the summer), and the total prize fund for the event is 140,000 euros.

Already the first round produced plenty of upsets (if we can call them that), including this interesting win by GM Vladimir Potkin over one of the top seeds in the event, Chinese prodigy GM Wei Yi:

As is typical for most high-level open tournaments, the leaders can change from round to round and often take different paths. Gelfand, the top seed, drew his first two rounds and slowly fought his way to the top with wins over GMs Anton Demchenko, Lu Shanglei, and Boris Grachev. Conversely, Najer emerged as the sole leader after winning his first three rounds before being slowed down by four straight draws.

Here's Gelfand's long grinding win over Grachev from round six, nursing an extra pawn for quite some time before finally achieving victory in a queen endgame: 

Despite a fast start, the 2015 European Champion has drawn his last four games. (Photo: Amruta Mokal)

From the same round, Matlakov had an impressively smooth victory over GM Robert Hovhannisyan:

Maxim Matlakov has brought his "A-game" both in terms of chess and in terms of sweaters. (Photo: Amruta Mokal.)

Meanwhile, Bartel outplayed GM Vladislav Artemiev in a "Dragodorf"-type Sicilian:

Mateusz Bartel hopes to reproduce his result from 2012, when he won the event on tiebreak. (Photo: Amruta Mokal.)

Then in round seven, Fedoseev took advantage of a blunder by GM Axel Bachmann to catch up to the leaders:

Vladimir Fedoseev will finally reach the top boards in round eight. (Photo: Amruta Mokal.)

Round eight takes place tomorrow, March 8, with the following pairings on the top boards: Bartel - Gelfand, Fedoseev - Najer, Matlakov - Bu Xiangzhi (4.5/7). Look for coverage of the final rounds of the event in a future report.

2016 Aeroflot Open | Round 7 Standings

Rk. SNo Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2
1 27 Bartel Mateusz POL 2625 5 4 2606
2 15 Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2664 5 4 2579
3 16 Najer Evgeniy RUS 2664 5 3 2638
4 6 Matlakov Maxim RUS 2682 5 3 2632
5 1 Gelfand Boris ISR 2735 5 3 2620
6 7 Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2677 4,5 4 2619
7 5 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2704 4,5 4 2602
8 11 Kamsky Gata USA 2673 4,5 4 2597
9 13 Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2667 4,5 4 2597
10 25 Dubov Daniil RUS 2634 4,5 4 2583
11 37 Jumabayev Rinat KAZ 2607 4,5 4 2563
12 36 Wen Yang CHN 2609 4,5 3 2671
13 52 Goganov Aleksey RUS 2575 4,5 3 2664
14 18 Zvjaginsev Vadim RUS 2662 4,5 3 2614
15 8 Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2677 4,5 3 2611
16 26 Kobalia Mikhail RUS 2632 4,5 3 2611
17 20 Rakhmanov Aleksandr RUS 2650 4,5 3 2610
18 2 Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2724 4,5 3 2600
19 12 Moiseenko Alexander UKR 2668 4,5 3 2583
20 23 Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2637 4,5 3 2569

(Full standings here.)

IM Kostya Kavutskiy

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IM Kostya Kavutskiy is a professional chess author, journalist, coach, commentator, and player. As a part of's content team since 2009, Kostya has recorded many video lectures, covered elite tournaments, written instructive articles & blogs, and has done many live commentary shows for Chess TV. Kostya has also written a number of articles for Chess Life magazine and Chess Life Online, and is currently an instructor for Chess University. In 2015, Modernized: The Open Sicilian was released, which Kostya co-authored with IM Zhanibek Amanov. Kostya's tournament accomplishments include winning the 2014 Southern California Closed Championship, as well as achieving his IM title in November 2016. In April 2017, he placed 6th in the star-studded 2017 Reykjavik Open. He currently resides in Mountain View, CA, and his plans are to pursue the GM title while working actively as a coach.



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