Nepomniachtchi wins Aeroflot

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Only 17 years old, Ian Nepomniachtchi has finished clear first at the 6th Aeroflot Open in Moscow by successfully defending his lead in the last round.

Before last year's Corus Chess Tournament, Nepomniachtchi was somewhat of an unknown in the west. But after that even everybody knew his difficult name, perhaps not yet how to spell it, but surely how strong he already was.

The former Russian junior champion was dominating the C group in 2007 and eventually finished second. This year he played the B group of Corus, and finished at a very decent fifth place, which showed he had made considerable progress.

Winning the Aeroflot is a major success for the young Russian, who not only won the huge first prize of 30,000 USD, but also secured his invitation for the super tournament of Dortmund, this summer.

We left the tournament after six rounds, when Nepomniachtchi was leading together with Rodshtein and Dreev. After the top four boards ended in a draw in round 7, he took clear first place in round 8 by beating the Vietnamese player Quang Liem Le with Black in the most fashionable of opening variations today:

Continuing our theme of drama in chess: also in round 8, after an excellent game, poor Emil Sutovsky (Israel) lost on time just one move short, in a position that's not possible to lose otherwise. Here's the game and a video by Europe-Echecs that includes the final phase.

And so Nepomniachtchi was leading with 6,5 out of 8, followed by Dreev and Motylev with 6. The latter two played a fifteen-move draw in the last round, and so "Nepo" also needed only half a point. This was not a problem, with the White pieces:

Another talent who played in Corus '07 and '08 is Hou Yifan from China. With a TPR of 2605, she seems to have scored a GM norm at Aeroflot. Against another strong young player, Viktor Laznicka from the Czech Republic, she teared down the Berlin Wall with active play:


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