Nepomniachtchi Wins Aeroflot Open, Qualifies For Dortmund

Nepomniachtchi Wins Aeroflot Open, Qualifies For Dortmund

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Apr 5, 2015, 6:28 AM |
2 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi edged out GM Daniil Dubov on tiebreak and won the Aeroflot Open in Moscow on Saturday.

Nepomniachtchi, who qualified for the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund later this year, also won the blitz tournament on Sunday.

Photo Boris Dolmatovsky.

With five black games against four for Dubov, Nepomniachtchi edged out his young rival on tiebreak to clinch his second Aeroflot title. It was the first Russian winner since 2008, when 7.0/9 was good for a clear first place for... Nepomniachtchi.

Dubov and Nepomniachtchi were topping the field after six rounds with five points. They drew their mutual game in the seventh round (in just 13 moves) which allowed GM Ivan Bukavshin to catch them in first place. He beat GM Baskaran Adhiban:

GM Ivan Bukavshin. Photo Eldar Mukhametov.

Meanwhile GM Lu Shanglei was having a very solid tournament. He beat Matlakov, drew with Zvjaginsev, beat Khismatullin, drew with Khairullin, Adhiban and Petrosian and then beat Kobalia in round seven. Look at this powerful series of moves at the end:

GM Lu Shanglei.

GM Richard Rapport played a fascinating game with GM Alexander Khalifman, who knows his pawn endings like any Moscow taxi driver (not sure if this metaphor still holds up but OK) and therefore easily drew the game.


Dubov seemed to be following a tournament strategy that fits older and more seasoned grandmasters. (Shouldn't young GMs alway fight till the bitter end?) He played another quick draw in round 8: just 16 moves with Bukavshin.

Nepomniachtchi grabbed his chance, and the sole lead, beating Sasikiran in a 6.h3 Najdorf. Behind the frontline, the white king decided that the queenside was a safer place, and walked all the way over there:

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi. | Photo Boris Dolmatovsky.

Lu played a very powerful game against IM Van Foreest:


Salem Saleh's attacking victory over Tigran Petrosian should be included here as well:

GM Salem Saleh.

Nepomniachtchi drew his last-round game without problems against Bukavshin. Board 2 saw a true slugfest with both players going all in, trying to get one of the top prizes:

And so Dubov and Nepomniachtchi both finished on 7.0/9. Bukavshin completed the all-Russian podium with a third place, scoring 6.5 points.

The tiebreak rules were as follows:

  1. The number of games played with Black pieces. Byes and forfeited games will be considered as games played with White.
  2. The average of the opponents ratings minus the highest and the lowest rating.

Dubov had played 4 games as Black, and Nepomniachtchi 5, so the latter was declared tournament winner.

Not everyone agreed with this tiebreak system. Top GM Pavel Eljanov tweeted:

His Aeroflot win gives Nepomniachtchi the right to play in the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, to be held June 27 to July 5. 

The prizes (18,000 first and 10,000 second) were divided by the Hort System. As a result, Nepomniachtchi won 16,000 Euro and Dubov 12,000 Euro.

Top seed GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won't be too happy with his decision to play two open tournaments shortly after each other. The Azerbaijani grandmaster lost 16.3 Elo points and even dropped out of the world top 20 in the live ratings. Hard to believe.

Another erratic player is GM Ernesto Inarkiev, who won the Moscow Open in February but dropped 24.4 points at the Aeroflot Open!

IM Jorden van Foreest, the 2013 U14 European Champion from the Netherlands, finished on a 2645 performance rating. That means he must have scored a GM norm over 8 rounds (one of his opponents didn't show up, but he has fulfilled all other requirements).

Below you can see the final standings limited to the top 32, i.e. all players who finished on plus one or more.

2015 Aeroflot Open | A group | Final Standings (Top 32)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2
1 2 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2714 7 5 2615
2 22 GM Dubov Daniil RUS 2627 7 4 2660
3 26 GM Bukavshin Ivan RUS 2618 6,5 4 2647
4 43 GM Lu Shanglei CHN 2570 6 5 2645
5 41 GM Jumabayev Rinat KAZ 2572 6 5 2597
6 28 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2614 6 5 2592
7 21 GM Khairullin Ildar RUS 2630 6 4 2639
8 17 GM Khismatullin Denis RUS 2650 6 4 2588
9 32 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2603 6 4 2573
10 6 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2694 5,5 5 2621
11 15 GM Zvjaginsev Vadim RUS 2658 5,5 5 2595
12 40 GM Grigoriants Sergey RUS 2573 5,5 4 2666
13 18 GM Adhiban B. IND 2646 5,5 4 2617
14 60 GM Idani Pouya IRI 2496 5,5 4 2611
15 9 GM Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2674 5,5 4 2588
16 25 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2623 5,5 4 2586
17 7 GM Matlakov Maxim RUS 2693 5,5 4 2540
18 51 GM Gabuzyan Hovhannes ARM 2553 5 5 2610
19 14 GM Mamedov Rauf AZE 2658 5 5 2603
20 4 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2708 5 5 2599
21 62 IM Sanal Vahap TUR 2487 5 5 2590
22 10 GM Grachev Boris RUS 2673 5 5 2587
23 16 GM Motylev Alexander RUS 2653 5 5 2577
24 12 GM Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2669 5 5 2573
25 48 GM Oparin Grigoriy RUS 2562 5 5 2565
26 29 GM Khalifman Alexander RUS 2613 5 4 2681
27 61 IM Van Foreest Jorden NED 2493 5 4 2635
28 31 GM Potkin Vladimir RUS 2605 5 4 2628
29 8 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2682 5 4 2606
30 24 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2625 5 4 2589
31 1 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2756 5 4 2584
32 33 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2598 5 4 2521

(Full standings here.)

On Sunday a strong blitz tournament was held, as part of the festival. Guess who won? GM Ian Nepomniachtchi! Adding another 5,000 Euros, he got a big fat pay cheque of 21,000 Euros — that's a pretty happy Easter for him!

GMs Lu Shanglei, Alexander Grischuk and Maxim Matlakov tied for second place, 1.5 points below the winner. Other notable participants were GM Sergey Karjakin, GM Ruslan Ponomariov, GM Evgeny Tomashevsky and GM Ivan Sokolov.

Nepomniachtchi: € 21,000 richer thanks to Aeroflot. 

The Aeroflot Open was a nine-round Swiss which took place March 27-April 5 in Hotel Cosmos in northeast Moscow. There were rating groups A, B and C and the total prize fund was 140,000 Euro, including the blitz tournament on Sunday.

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