Gashimov and Ponomariov also knocked out in San Sebastian

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Top favourites Vugar Gashimov and Ruslan Ponomariov were eliminated in the 5th round of the San Sebastian-Donostia Chess Festival's A group. They lost to Viktor Laznicka and Andrei Volokitin respectively.

Alexander Moiseenkov and Etienne Bacrot in round 5 | All photos © David Llada and Anastasiya Karlovich

EventDonostia Chess Festival | PGN via TWIC
DatesDecember 28th-January 5th, 2011
LocationDonostia-San Sebastian, Spain
System64-player knock-out, matches of two games played simultaneously
PlayersGashimov, Mamedyarov, Ponomariov, Moiseenko, Bacrot, Naiditsch, Dominguez and Vachier-Lagrave are topping the list
Rate of play2 hours for all moves + 30 seconds increment

By Anastasiya Karlovich

The 5th round of Donostia Chess Festival was welcomed with sunny weather. However, all the games of the A and B tournament were quite tense. Rating favorites Vugar Gashimov and Ruslan Ponomariov were defeated by Viktor Laznicka and Andrei Volokitin in the classical time control, and had to leave the tournament.

Viktor Laznicka eliminated top seed Vugar Gashimov

Leinier Dominguez Perez and Julio Granda Zuniga made two draws, but the Cuban player proved to be stronger in rapid and defeated his opponent with a 2-0 score.

In an all-Latin American match, Leinier Dominguez Perez (l.) won against Julio Granda Zuniga

Alexander Moiseenko and Etienne Bacrot played a very tough match. After two draws in the games with classical time control, they exchanged punches in the rapid games, made two more draws in the blitz games and then had to play Armageddon.

Such a match consists of two blitz games, also played simultaneously. During the drawing of lots Alexander Moiseenko chose the black pieces and got 5 minutes in both games. Etienne Bacrot had 6 minutes and the white pieces, and needed to score 1.5 points in the match in order to win. The first game was drawn quite fast and Moiseenko, who needed to make half a point, managed to mate his opponent in the second game.

Etienne Bacrot (l.) and Alexander Moiseenko, moving at the same time on different boards

As a result, two Ukrainian participants, Alexander Moiseenko and Andrey Volokitin, will play against Viktor Laznicka and Leinier Dominguez Perez in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

The last round of the B-group was held on Tuesday. Four out of five matches finished in the classical time control – Loek Van Wely, Ivan Cheparinov, Tigran Gharamian and Christian Bauer won their matches, while Antoaneta Stefanova and Andrei Shchekachev drew both games and had to play tie-breaks. The former Women's World Champion lost the match with a 1.5-0.5 score in the rapid.

Andrei Volokitin about his victory against Ruslan Ponomariov:

The match was very tough and both games were complicated. In one game I sacrificed a pawn but my opponent didn’t defend very well and I got a very big advantage. In the other game I suddenly managed to make a draw. I think Ruslan could have played stronger; I think he played too fast in one moment. The Basque system is very interesting and not typical. It has a right to exist. I like to play chess in general, so I feel comfortable to play so many games. The more, the better!

Young and old enjoying the Donostia chess spectacle

Games A group, round 5

PGN file

The city hall of Donostia-San Sebastian, built in 1887 to house the main casino. It closed as a casino after the ban on gambling in 1924. In that year an agreement was reached to open the Center of Attraction and Tourism and in 1945 the city council moved to the building.

The beach of La Concha, part of the Bay of La Concha, on its turn part of the bigger Bay of Biscay...

...where surfing is quite popular...

...but the beach is good for a romantic stroll as well...

...or simply dreaming away a bit

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