Najer Tops Field In Jerusalem But Khismatullin Steals The Show

Najer Tops Field In Jerusalem But Khismatullin Steals The Show

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Mar 6, 2015, 1:27 PM |
26 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Evgeny Najer leads alone at the European Championship in Jerusalem, where the final round will be played on Sunday. GM Denis Khismatullin was absolutely brilliant today.

Evgeny Najer, the sole leader after round 10

The European Championship has reached its decisive phase, and the time has come for the top players to find their very best form. Some of them can still hope for the title, while a few dozen are still playing for a spot in the next World Cup.

In the eighth round GM Ian Nepomniachtchi grabbed the lead with a convincing win over GM David Howell. The very next day it was Nepomniachtchi's turn to get outplayed as Black.

GM David Navara played a really nice game that “Bent Larsen would have been proud of,” as GM Dejan Bojkov writes in his annotations. For the opening lovers there was a novelty on move seven, but this encounter was more about “using the whole board.”

Analysis by GM Dejan Bojkov

A great game by the top seed. | Photo Yoav Nis.

And so Navara was back in first place, together with two more players. One of them was GM Anton Korobov, who topped the standings earlier on.

The Ukrainain defeated local hero GM Ilia Smirin in the latter's favorite King's Indian. The theme of this game was “run Forest, run” as White was basically winning thanks to his a-pawn.

Below is the game, and Korobov's explanation together with GM Alon Greenfeld taken from the live broadcast produced by Chess.com:


One player who cannot remain unmentioned is Ilia Iljiushenok. For his IM title only some paperwork is needed, but officially he's still untitled. The 21-year-old Russian player scored a GM norm over nine rounds after drawing with GM Denis Khismatullin (from a winning position):

The third player to reach first place in the standings was GM Evgeny Najer. The 37-year-old Russian grandmaster outplayed GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu as White in a Petroff. He gave his opponent one chance, but that was overlooked by both players.

Evgeny Najer

On Friday the penultimate round was played. Whereas lots of quick draws were seen in previous rounds, this time only one game ended quickly that way. Everybody else was in a fighting mood!

At the end of the day the tournament saw a new leader: the aforementioned GM Evgeny Najer. He got the white pieces again, and his opponent GM Anton Korobov played the Nimzowitsch-Rubinstein system 2...Nf6 in the Sicilian. A risky choice.

Najer chose a solid setup where White gets a safe plus, and slowly but surely increased his advantage. Korobov was surprisingly helpless in this game.

That was nice, but what happened on board three was even nicer. If not, brilliant.

If you'd like to try and solve a terribly difficult puzzle, then go ahead and answer the question: can White play for a win in the position below?

The answer is provided in the game viewer below!

Analysis by GM Dejan Bojkov

A gem of a game by Denis Khismatullin. | Photo Yoav Nis.

Khismatullin now shares second place with GM David Navara, who drew with GM Sanan Sjugirov. (The Czech number one is now the 14th player in the world in the live ratings.)

Saturday is a rest day, when many players will join an excursion to the Old City of Jerusalem. For many this day alone might have been enough reason to participate in the European Championship this year.

On Sunday the round will start at 1pm local time. The top pairings are:

Khismatullin (7½) - Najer (8)
Navara (7½) - Cheparinov (7)
Bartel (7) - Nepomniachtchi (7)
Matlakov (7) - Rodshtein (7)
Korobov (7) - Volokitin (7)
Popov (7) - Sjugirov (7)
Laznicka (7) - Y.Vovk  (7)
Sargissian (7) - Can (7)
Motylev (7) - Iljiushenok (7)

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.

Like the previous rounds, the final round will be covered live on Chess.com/TV with video commentary by GM Alon Greenfeld and GM Ronen Har-Zvi. The show starts at 1pm local time (noon CET, 6am New York, 3am Los Angeles, 10pm Sydney).

2015 European Championship | Round 10 Standings (Top 30)

Rk. SNo Title Name Fed Rtng Pts TB1 TB2 TB3
1 37 GM Najer Evgeniy RUS 2634 8 2634 57,5 62
2 1 GM Navara David CZE 2735 7,5 2639 60 65
3 28 GM Khismatullin Denis RUS 2653 7,5 2537 53 57,5
4 11 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2687 7 2646 58,5 63
5 71 GM Vovk Yuri UKR 2588 7 2646 56 59,5
6 4 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2714 7 2640 59 64,5
7 22 GM Motylev Alexander RUS 2665 7 2624 58 62,5
8 33 GM Volokitin Andrei UKR 2646 7 2616 58 62,5
9 7 GM Matlakov Maxim RUS 2695 7 2610 53 58,5
10 13 GM Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2678 7 2605 54 58,5
11 128 Iljiushenok Ilia RUS 2450 7 2591 55 58,5
12 20 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2668 7 2588 58 63
13 39 GM Bartel Mateusz POL 2631 7 2588 55 59
14 19 GM Laznicka Viktor CZE 2670 7 2583 51 56
15 35 GM Popov Ivan RUS 2639 7 2573 57 61
16 12 GM Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2681 7 2572 50 54
17 26 GM Rodshtein Maxim ISR 2660 7 2567 55 59,5
18 92 GM Can Emre TUR 2555 7 2440 48 52
19 84 GM Stefansson Hannes ISL 2573 6,5 2658 55,5 59,5
20 67 GM Ipatov Alexander TUR 2592 6,5 2631 55,5 58,5
21 3 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2727 6,5 2622 60 65,5
22 60 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2605 6,5 2617 55,5 59,5
23 8 GM Moiseenko Alexander UKR 2695 6,5 2608 55,5 58
24 5 GM Bacrot Etienne FRA 2711 6,5 2595 54,5 59,5
25 30 GM Smirin Ilia ISR 2650 6,5 2592 57 62
26 47 GM Kempinski Robert POL 2625 6,5 2592 55 59,5
27 74 GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil GEO 2586 6,5 2586 53 56
28 25 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2660 6,5 2581 55 60,5
29 38 GM Dubov Daniil RUS 2632 6,5 2579 56 60,5
30 42 GM Khairullin Ildar RUS 2629 6,5 2573 53 57,5

(Full standings here.)

The top 23 players qualify for the World Cup in September in Baku, Azerbaijan. Note that the following participants in Jerusalem have already qualified: Nikita Vitiugov, David Navara, Pavel Eljanov, Hrant Melkumyan, Ivan Cheparinov, Sergei Zhigalko, Gabriel Sargissian, Alexander Motylev, Ivan Saric, Ilia Smirin, Constantin Lupulescu, Viorel Iordachescu, Dragan Solak and Samvel Ter-Sahakyan.


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