Motylev wins his first big one

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0 | Chess Event Coverage
Alexander MotylevAlexander Motylev achieved his best career performance yesterday by winning the Karpov tournament in Poikovsky with a 7/9 score. The Russian GM finished clear first, a full point ahead of Vugar Gashimov whom he beat in the penultimate round.

The 10th edition of the Karpov tournament, a 10-player round-robin, took place June 3rd-12th in Poikovsky, Russia. From our previous reports on rounds 1-3 and rounds 4-7 we already know that Gashimov and Motylev were doing well, and Shirov wasn't.

The big game between the tournament leaders was played in round 8 on Thursday. One could say that if you want to win a really big tournament, you should be able to beat the Petroff, and this is exactly what Motylev managed to do against Gashimov. He used the rare (well, at least at the highest level) move 15.c5 and followed up with the novelty 20.Bg5!? (compared to 20.Ne5 as played in Antonio-Roussel-Roozmon, Montreal 2005).

White held a slight initiative after the opening, and with his queen and rook much more actively placed, he clearly had an edge, which continued well into the ending. In fact, until the very end, as Motylev converted the advantage showing excellent technique. A model game!

Leading by a point the Russian needed a draw for clear first, which he got with Black against Bologan in the last round, using the Petroff himself. Interstingly, in the 5.Nc3 line Bologan also pushed his c-pawn to the 5th rank and even won an exchange, but tournament winners not only win nice positions, but also survive difficult ones. In a pawn race on different sides of the board, White's extra material had little value.

Gashimov couldn't convert an extra pawn in a rook ending against Efimenko and so the Azerbaijani grandmaster stayed a full point behind Motylev. The rest of the field finished pretty close except for Naiditsch (who collapsed after a good start), Efimenko and of course Shirov, who didn't win a single game. He can try to do better already starting tomorrow as he plays in another big one: the King's Tournament in Bazna (Romania) together with Radjabov, Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Kamsky and Nisipeanu.

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