Ivanchuk wins in last round Pearl Spring

PeterDoggers
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Ivanchuk wins in last round Pearl SpringUsing the rare Vienna Opening, Vassily Ivanchuk defeated Bu brilliantly to score his first win in Nanjing. The Ukrainian finished shared 5th with Movsesian, who drew with tournament winner Topalov. Aronian finished in clear second place after drawing with Svidler.

The 1st Pearl Spring Tournament took place December 11- 21 in Nanjing, China. It was a six-player, double round-robin with Veselin Topalov ( 2791), Vassily Ivanchuk (2786), Levon Aronian (2757), Sergei Movsesian (2732), Peter Svidler (2727) and Bu Xiangzhi (2714).

Round 10

Veselin Topalov had already won the tournament and so it came as no surprise that he didn't press too hard with the white pieces today. He went for the Exchange Slav against Movsesian, who knew what he was doing and so after the whole queenside had disappeared, the players shook hands.

More interesting was Aronian-Svidler, a quiet game with a brief phase of tactical shots that started with a topical line from the English Four Knights. It had a similar finish as in Topalov-Movsesian: no queenside left, no play left.

Every once in a while Ivanchuk surprises the chess world by widening his already very broad opening repertoire even more: today he went for the Vienna Opening. His opponent Bu played a few inaccurate moves at an early stage and with 13.f3!! (a piece sacrifice that could hardly be called a sacrifice) White more or less decided the game. The only way for Black to survive was to give a pawn with e4-e3 to keep the f-line closed, but it only meant postponing the execution.

Too bad for Bu, who had been topping the standings for more than half of the tournament but lost to Svidler and Ivanchuk in the final three rounds. Still, a fine tournament for the Chinese.

But it was good to see Ivanchuk win at least one game, after he had missed many chances earlier in the tournament. Let's hope it won't be his last event for two years, but that FIDE won't go further than giving the Ukrainian a reprimand during the planned meeting in Wijk aan Zee next month.

Sergei Movsesian started quite reasonably with a fifty percent score, but then went minus two in the second half (he has four draws against the numbers one and two in the final standings). Svidler was a bit unstable as well and Bu, well, he started just great but couldn't keep the pace. Aronian's plus one (just one loss to Topalov) was enough for clear second, and a few extra rating points.

Ivanchuk wins in last round Pearl SpringSpeaking of rating, everybody will be doing that as far as Topalov's is concerned. The Bulgarian scored a 2892 performance in Nanjing, and has crossed the 2800 border with a big margin, but this will probably not be the case as from January 1st, 2008 since the deadline for the rating reports was December 15. But as far as we know, besides his upcoming match against Kamsky, the Bulgarian won't play rated tournaments for the April list so in February we'll know more.

Although his 7/10 was impressive, we've seen bigger wins by the Bulgarian (for one, he was lucky against Bu) but still, in Nanjing, Topalov has made it clear once more that he should be considered clear favorite to win that match, to become the challenger of World Champion Viswanathan Anand.

It looks like the Chinese have got themselves a super tournament on the map. The sponsors have secured it for five years and the organisers will join a Grand Slam meeting in January in Wijk aan Zee, to include their tournament in the Series. From what can be judged from the tournament website, it seems to have been well organised. These are good times, for chess.

Games of the 10th round:



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