Nepomniachtchi Wins Levitov Chess Week
Nepomniachtchi received the trophy from Adele Levitov. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Nepomniachtchi Wins Levitov Chess Week

| 13 | Chess Event Coverage

Ian Nepomniachtchi edged out Alexander Grischuk on tiebreak to win the Levitov Chess Week in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Both players scored 5/7, but Nepomniachtchi had beaten Grischuk in their mutual game.

It was a fighting last day in the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam, with only one draw in eight games. The first winner was Vladimir Kramnik, who had lost all three games on Monday. It was a true opening disaster for Peter Svidler, rarely seen at this level:

Kramnik Levitov Chess Week 2019
An easy win for Kramnik to start the day. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Important for the tournament standings was Grischuk's win against Viswanathan Anand, who was still trailing the leader by half a point. Thanks to this game, Grischuk caught Nepomniachtchi as he reached four points as well, but Nepo still had to play his game in the second session of the penultimate round.

Grischuk's first three opening moves were extremely rare:

Grischuk Levitov Chess Week 2019
Like Nepomniachtchi, Grischuk played in Amsterdam for the first time ever. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

The 52-year-old Evgeny Bareev, the oldest player in the field, received warm applause when he finished his game with Boris Gelfand and returned to the hospitality room. It was his first (and only) win in the tournament.

Bareev used the old 5.Bf4 move against the Queen's Indian, which was introduced at top level by Viktor Kortchnoi in 1981. The double pawn sac 22.c5 and 23.d6 was thematic and nice.

Bareev Levitov Chess Week 2019
Evgeny Bareev. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Anish Giri then made sure the tournament would remain exciting until the very end, as he defeated Nepomniachtchi. As a result, Giri, Grischuk and Nepomniachtchi were going into the last round all on 4/6.

It was a pretty crushing win for Giri, who used a system against the Caro-Kann that's easy to underestimate:

Giri Svidler Levitov Chess Week 2019
Giri chatting with Svidler in between rounds. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Anand finished with a disappointing loss to Svidler. A pawn sacrifice had gone wrong, and when he was looking at a (very) bad position, the Indian GM decided to just resign.

"I'm sure his play was influenced by how his last couple of rounds went," said Svidler.

Anand Levitov Chess Week 2019
Anand before his game with Svidler. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

In the first session of the final round, Grischuk defeated Kramnik to become the first player with a final score of 5/7. This game won't make it into Kramnik's best games collection, if another one is coming.

Kramnik vs Grischuk Levitov Chess Week 2019
Kramnik vs Grischuk. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Nepomniachtchi had the relatively easy pairing of Bareev in the final round, and indeed he won quickly. Initially Grischuk was rubbing his hands when he saw Black taking on h2, but soon it became clear that the sacrifice wasn't correct.

Nepomniachtchi vs. Bareev Levitov Chess Week 2019
Nepomniachtchi vs. Bareev. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Giri drew with Gelfand in the last game of the tournament, and so it was the two Russians who tied for first, with Nepomniachtchi winning on tiebreak.

2019 Levitov Chess Week Rapid | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Nepomniachtchi,Ian 2773 2891 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 5.0/7 15.5
2 Grischuk,Alexander 2788 2889 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 5.0/7 14
3 Giri,Anish 2730 2840 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4.5/7
4 Gelfand,Boris 2702 2742 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 1 0 3.5/7 12.25
5 Anand,Viswanathan 2757 2735 0 0 ½ 1 0 1 1 3.5/7 9.75
6 Svidler,Peter 2727 2637 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 0 ½ 2.5/7 9
7 Kramnik,Vladimir 2756 2633 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 1 2.5/7 6.25
8 Bareev,Evgeny 2664 2522 0 0 0 1 0 ½ 0 1.5/7
Levitov Gustaffson Smeets Piket
More hand-and-brain on the final day with Ilya Levitov/Jan Gustafsson vs. Jan Smeets/Jeroen Piket. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

2019 Levitov Chess Week Rapid | Games rounds 1-7

The tournament finished with a boat trip along the canals of Amsterdam for the players, organizers and guests. Everyone had clearly enjoyed the small chess week, despite the busy calendar this year for some of the participants.

The Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, part of the Grand Chess Tour, starts August 10 and has Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Fabiano Caruana, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Ding Liren, Levon Aronian, Sergey Karjakin, Leinier Dominguez, Yu Yangyi and Richard Rapport.

You can find this and other major upcoming events in our tournament calendar.

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Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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