Kings Beat Princes In Nutcracker Battle Of Generations
A group photo with the participants. Photo: Boris Dolmatovsky/Russian Chess Federation.

Kings Beat Princes In Nutcracker Battle Of Generations

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

Experience prevailed in this (or rather, last) year's Nutcracker tournament as the "Kings" defeated the "Princes" with a round to spare. The final score was 35-29 for the Kings.

The annual Nutcracker tournament in Moscow, where talents get the chance to face famous players, was moved from December to March due to scheduling issues. Therefore, the tournament was actually the 2019 edition (our site was not unique in holding the Speed Chess Championship in the new year!), and we might see another one in December. 

The young guns this year were GMs Andrey Esipenko (17), Alexey Sarana (20), Daniil Yuffa (23), and IM Semyon Lomasov (18). They played against GMs Boris Gelfand (51), Evgeniy Najer (42), Alexei Shirov (47), and Evgeny Tomashevsky (32).

Nutcracker chess 2020
The last day of action. Photo: Boris Dolmatovsky/Russian Chess Federation.

It's never a bad idea to invite Shirov to your tournament; you will be certain of a number of highly interesting games. In this year's Nutracker, Mr. Fire on Board showed some of his signature chess, which could be described as a combination of aggression and class.

Our first report already had an example. Let's continue with, first, a (fairly difficult) puzzle. Shirov has just played 36.Nc3, and he had obviously spotted the fork 36...g4. What was his idea?

Nutcracker Kings
The Kings from left to right: Boris Gelfand, Evgeniy Najer, Alexey Shirov, and Evgeny Tomashevsky. Photo: Vladimir Barsky/Russian Chess Federation.

That puzzle was from a rapid game in the penultimate round, played on Monday. The tournament was played using a triple Scheveningen system, with each player playing one standard and two rapid games against each player on the opposing team.

In what was also a rapid game, from Sunday, Shirov scored another crushing victory with the white pieces in a Sicilian. Where have we seen that before? Oh right, in numerous prior games from him!

Tomashevsky scored the best for the Kings, while the 17-year-old Esipenko did quite well for the Princes. He scored two wins and two draws in the standard games and plus-one in the rapid.

Here's one of Esipenko's rapid games in which he used an interesting idea in the Anti-Marshall where Black gives a knight for three pawns. It has been known in correspondence chess for at least a decade but was only played in over-the-board chess for the first time in 2017.

Princes Nutcracker chess
The Princes from left to right: Daniil Yuffa, Andrey Esipenko, Semyon Lomasov, and Alexey Sarana. Photo: Vladimir Barsky/Russian Chess Federation.

The score between the two teams was fully equal after the first four days of standard chess (when the points counted double) and also after the first day of rapid. However, the older generation apparently had more energy left on the final day, when the Princes scored a disastrous minus six.

Nutcracker 2019 | Final scores

# Fed KINGS Rtg Pts # Fed PRINCES Rtg Pts
1 Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2705 11 1 Esipenko, Andrey 2654 10.5
2 Gelfand, Boris 2685 9.5 2 Sarana, Alexey 2656 8
3 Shirov, Alexei 2672 9 3 Lomasov, Semyon 2541 6
4 Najer, Evgeniy 2661 5.5 4 Yuffa, Daniil 2566 4.5
35 29

Games Rounds 3-12

Tomashevsky Esipenko Nutcracker chess
The top scorers for their team, Tomashevsky and Esipenko. Photo: Boris Dolmatovsky/Russian Chess Federation.

Previous report:

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!

Company Contact and News Accreditation: 

Phone: 1 (800) 318-2827
Address: 877 E 1200 S #970397, Orem, UT 84097

More from PeterDoggers
Stephane Bressac Wins Unique 1st Blindfold Chess Challenge, Open To Everyone

Stephane Bressac Wins Unique 1st Blindfold Chess Challenge, Open To Everyone

Caruana Wins Superbet Chess Classic Romania In Playoff After Dramatic Final Day

Caruana Wins Superbet Chess Classic Romania In Playoff After Dramatic Final Day