Korobov Tops Field After 4 Rounds At European Championship

Korobov Tops Field After 4 Rounds At European Championship

| 7 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Anton Korobov is the only player left with a perfect score at the European Championship in Jerusalem. The two-time Ukrainian Champion leads with 4.0/4.

A group of eight players is half a point behind the leader: GM Evgeny Najer, GM Yuri Vovk, top seed GM David Navara, GM Karen Grigoryan, reigning champion GM Alexander Motylev, GM Ilia Smirin, GM Emil Sutovsky and GM Robert Kempinski.

It's easy to forget that the European Championship is held in such a special place as Jerusalem. The city is basically one big museum, with a huge number of historical locations, artifacts, and buildings. 

One example is the Israel Museum, which happens to be only 1.5 km away from the venue. Among other things you can find the Dead Sea Scrolls there, the second oldest manuscript of works later included in the Bible.

The museum also includes a 50:1 model of Jerusalem in 66 CE, the year in which the Great Revolt against the Romans broke out, leading to the destruction of the Second Temple and the city in the year 70 CE. (Click on the image to see a large version.)

The rounds start at 3 p.m., except for the two rounds on Fridays, which start at 11a.m. Therefore the players do have some time for sightseeing, but most of them will prefer to prepare for their opponent in the morning. However, on the rest days the organizers have arranged two excursions: one to the Dead Sea, and one to Jerusalem's Old City.

The second round saw many “small upsets” as 17 of the top 27 boards ended in draws. Top seed GM David Navara had a nice and quick win. He developed a strong initiative out of the opening, and won material after his Romanian opponent didn't find the best defense.

The playing hall during round two, with board one in front. | Photo Joav Nis.

A spectacular game was GM Alexander Riazantsev vs GM Daniele Vocaturo. The Russian grandmaster played a fantastic game from the start, but couldn't deliver the decisive blow. It must have been a bitter disappointment to even lose this game!

GM Nikita Vitiugov's victory in round three over GM Aleksej Alexandrov was an nice example of king activity. Simply picking up that pawn on d5 with 19.Kd4! and 20.Kxd5! was just awesome!

A beautiful king march by Vitiugov. | Photo Joav Nis.

GM Alexander Moiseenko, who won the tournament two years ago, could finish his game against GM Alexander Huzman with a pretty combination. Can you spot it?

During the third round, GM Boris Gelfand (who lives in Rishon LeZion, Israel) paid a visit to the tournament. Below is an interview with him taken from the live show:

Only five players were on 3.0/3: David Navara of Czech Republic, Anton Korobov of Ukraine, Evgeny Najer of Russia, Yuri Vovk of Ukraine and Constantin Lupulescu of Romania.

In round four, on Friday, Navara dropped his first half-point as he drew with Najer. Vovk lost to Vitiugov, and so Korobov, who defeated Lupulescu, remained the only player with a perfect score.

Anton Korobov, the only player on 4.0/4.

Another puzzle: how did GM Karen Grigoryan beat GM Viktor Laznicka from the following position?

And why not, let's finish with one more puzzle for this report. In the game GM Ilia Smirin vs GM Nils Grandelius, the following position was reached after 34.Qf4.

Black cannot take on a7 yet because of 34...Rdxa7 35.Rxa7 Rxa7 36.Bxe6! and wins. So he played 34...d3, so that he could take back with the queen on a7 with check. What was wrong with that idea?  

The 2015 European Championship takes place February 24-March 8 in Jerusalem, Israel. It's a big, 11-round Swiss with 248 participants, including more than 100 GMs.

The tournament is covered live every day on with video commentary by GM Alon Greenfeld and GM Ronen Har-Zvi, except on rest days (Saturday 28 February and Saturday 7 March).

2015 European Championship | Round 4 Standings (Top 30)

Rk. Title Name FED RtgI Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2687 4 2601 8 9,5
2 GM Najer Evgeniy RUS 2634 3,5 2624 7,5 9,5
3 GM Vovk Yuri UKR 2588 3,5 2614 8,5 9,5
4 GM Navara David CZE 2735 3,5 2604 9,5 11,5
5 GM Grigoryan Karen H. ARM 2596 3,5 2594 8,5 9,5
6 GM Motylev Alexander RUS 2665 3,5 2592 7,5 9,5
7 GM Smirin Ilia ISR 2650 3,5 2573 6 7,5
8 GM Sutovsky Emil ISR 2626 3,5 2553 6,5 8
9 GM Kempinski Robert POL 2625 3,5 2488 7 8,5
10 GM Stefansson Hannes ISL 2573 3 2666 8 8
11 GM Vocaturo Daniele ITA 2579 3 2650 8 9
12 GM Godena Michele ITA 2502 3 2622 7,5 8,5
13 GM Rombaldoni Axel ITA 2488 3 2619 8 9
14 GM Ipatov Alexander TUR 2592 3 2614 8 9
15 GM Beliavsky Alexander G SLO 2623 3 2610 8 9,5
16 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2605 3 2602 7,5 9,5
17 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2727 3 2599 9 11
18 GM Lupulescu Constantin ROU 2626 3 2596 8 9,5
19 GM Bukavshin Ivan RUS 2622 3 2594 8 10
20 GM Moiseenko Alexander UKR 2695 3 2592 8 9,5
21 GM Vitiugov Nikita RUS 2735 3 2591 9 11
22 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof POL 2591 3 2589 9 11,5
23 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2675 3 2587 8,5 11
24 GM Matlakov Maxim RUS 2695 3 2585 6,5 8,5
25 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2714 3 2581 7 9
26 GM Volokitin Andrei UKR 2646 3 2579 8,5 10,5
27 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2668 3 2563 6,5 8,5
28 GM Shimanov Aleksandr RUS 2594 3 2555 8,5 9,5
29 GM Popov Ivan RUS 2639 3 2554 7,5 8,5
30 GM Gajewski Grzegorz POL 2646 3 2553 8 10

(Full standings here.)

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