Howell 'Victorious Veteran' At Winter Chess Classic

Howell 'Victorious Veteran' At Winter Chess Classic

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Mar 22, 2017, 3:47 AM |
15 | Chess Event Coverage

At 26 he was the oldest player in the field, but ended up winning the $5,000 first prize. GM David Howell of England won the top group of the Winter Chess Classic in St. Louis, ahead of GMs Dariuz Swiercz of Poland and Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia.

With the U.S. Championship, the Sinquefield Cup and the new rapid & blitz event of the Grand Chess Tour, the city of St. Louis was already a majestic host of super strong tournaments. Now, it's taking its nickname "the U.S. capital of chess" to the next level.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis will be hosting four more tournaments each year, involving 20 chess professionals. The first has just been held.

We're talking about the Winter Chess Classic, two separate 10-player round robins that were held 11-18 March, with a $20,000 prize fund in total.

The time control was the traditional FIDE rate of play: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds (increment) per move starting from move one. No draw offers before move 30 were allowed.

The main group was chuck full of rising stars, but also had some more experienced players. However, if GM David Howell (26) is the oldest player in the field, you know it's a very young affair!

The English grandmaster played a solid tournament, with six draws and wins against the young American GMs Jeffery Xiong, Sam Sevian and Li Ruifeng

The win against Sevian was a great battle, in which the tournament winner was actually in trouble.

After eight rounds it was in fact GM Vladimir Fedoseev who was in clear first place, with 5.5 points. However, in a final round with only decisive games, Fedoseev went down against GM Sam Shankland. The latter calculated deeply in the opening and played an excellent game throughout:

This meant that Howell needed to win his last-round game to win the tournament overall. He managed, after getting an endgame on move 29 and converting it exactly 100 moves later—mostly playing on increment!

The key game for deciding the tournament. | Photo U.S. Chess Champs.

Here's that game, and Howell's comments afterward from the St. Louis studio:



Winter Chess Classic, Group A | Final Standings

# Fed Title Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 GM Howell,David 2667 2756 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 6.0/9
2 GM Swiercz,Dariusz 2645 2717 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 5.5/9 23.75
3 GM Fedoseev,Vladimir 2658 2715 ½ ½ 1 0 1 0 1 ½ 1 5.5/9 23.50
4 GM Ipatov,Alexander 2660 2675 ½ ½ 0 1 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 5.0/9 21.50
5 GM Shankland,Samuel 2666 2675 ½ ½ 1 0 0 1 ½ ½ 1 5.0/9 21.00
6 GM Zherebukh,Yaroslav 2605 2681 ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½ ½ 1 1 5.0/9 19.75
7 GM Cordova,Emilio 2655 2599 ½ 0 1 1 0 ½ 0 0 1 4.0/9 18.50
8 GM Xiong,Jeffery 2674 2597 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 4.0/9 15.25
9 GM Li,Ruifeng 2577 2481 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 1 0 0 2.5/9 12.00
10 GM Sevian,Samuel 2587 2480 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 1 2.5/9 9.75

The B group was won by Ukrainian GM Andrey Baryshpolets, ahead of GMs Ioan-Cristian Chirila and Robert Hess. Here's a game from the winner, where he shows that taking back with the f-pawn can sometimes create extra chances on the kingside (although in this case Black was more than fine!).

Winter Chess Classic, Group B | Final Standings

# Fed Title Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 GM Baryshpolets,Andrey 2578 2671 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 6.5/9
2 GM Chirila,Ioan-Cristian 2522 2632 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 6.0/9
3 GM Hess,Robert 2571 2546 0 0 1 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 5.0/9
4 GM Finegold,Benjamin 2481 2516 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 4.5/9 19.50
5 GM Ramirez,Alejandro 2549 2509 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 0 1 1 4.5/9 18.00
6 IM Ali Marandi,Cemil Can 2497 2476 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 4.0/9 18.75
7 IM Sukandar,Irine Kharisma 2423 2484 1 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 0 ½ 4.0/9 18.00
8 GM Krush,Irina 2444 2481 ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 4.0/9 17.25
9 GM Rambaldi,Francesco 2559 2470 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 4.0/9 15.25
10 GM Chandra,Akshat 2505 2348 ½ 0 0 1 0 ½ ½ 0 0 2.5/9

Games from TWIC.

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