Nakamura wins in San Sebastián after beating Ponomariov 2-0 in tie-break

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Nakamura wins in San SebastianRuslan Ponomariov caught him in the last round, finishing shared first with 6.5/9, but Hikaru Nakamura, who dominated the event from the start, won the Donostia Chess Festival anyway. The U.S. Champion beat the Ukrainian 2-0 in the blitz tiebreak today.

Hikaru Nakamura, Champion of the Donostia Chess Festival, before the start of the last round | Photo © David Llada

The Donostia Chess Festival took place July 6-16 in San Sebastián, Spain. (This is very logical as Donostia is the Basque name for San Sebastián.) It consisted of four different, 10-player round-robins: the "San Sebastian European Cultural City 2016", the "Kutxa Tournament", the "Euskal Xake Eskola Tournament" and the women tournament "Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa". For all details see our first, big pictorial report.

Rounds 8-9

At 5.5/7 Hikaru Nakamura was half a point clear of former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. The American finished his tournament with a 17-move draw against Movsesian yesterday and a 22-move draw against Kasimdzhanov today, allowing Ponomariov to catch him in the standings.

The Ukrainian had also played a relatively quick draw yesterday with Black against Svidler (who caught a flu in San Sebastián) but today he beat Paco Vallejo convincingly, to finish shared first with Nakamura.

Ponomariov would have won on SB points, but the regulations decided on a two-game blitz (5+0) tiebreak and once again Nakamura confirmed his status as one of the strongest blitz players in the world, winning both games. The end of game 2 is not available yet; they played more moves than is shown in the viewer below.

Nakamura wins in San Sebastian

The glorious winner at the prize giving, wearing a 'txapela', the hat that typically is awarded as trophy in the Basque Country | Photo David Llada



Both players played a fantastic tournament, staying undefeated and scoring +4. For Nakamura it meant a place in the world's top 20 - currently he's 17th in the live list (he won 20 points in his last 11 games), while Ponomariov is now 12th at 2740, perhaps on his way to returning into the top 10!?

Anatoly Karpov played his only quick draw in the last round, just to get it over with. He finished on a dreadful 1.5/9, which might well be his worst international tournament performance ever. In San Sebastián he lacked sufficient opening preparation and practice which showed again in his round 8 game against Kasimdzhanov (a nice combination by the Uzbek, though).

Van Wely had the worse end of a quick draw against Jose Fernandez and so lost a reasonable chance to catch Magem, who indeed quickly shared the point as well, with Hamdouchi. The Spaniard won the Euskal Xake Eskola Tournament with 6.5/9. In the Kutxa group Eric Prie won with the same number of points and in the women only "Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa" Tania Sachdev caught Sophie Milliet in the last round; both ended on 7.0/9. Milliet was the winner on tiebreak (we presume they didn't play blitz games). This was based on an error in our PGN file - sorry for that. Sophie Milliet won this tournament clear first, of course.

Nakamura wins in San Sebastian

The four winners, from left to right: Nakamura, Prie, Milliet and Magem | Photo David Llada



"San Sebastián European Cultural City 2016" | Final Standings
San Sebastián European Cultural City 2016 | Final Standings


"Euskal Xake Eskola Tournament" | Final Standings
Euskal Xake Eskola Tournament | Final Standings


"Kutxa Tournament" | Final Standings
Kutxa Tournament | Final Standings


"Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa" | Final Standings
Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa | Final Standings





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