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Oparin Beats Shirov In Playoff, Qualifies For Zurich

Oparin Beats Shirov In Playoff, Qualifies For Zurich

GM Grigoriy Oparin qualified for the 2017 Kortchnoi Zurich Chess Challenge. The 19-year-old grandmaster defeated GM Alexei Shirov 1.5-0.5 in a playoff at the Nutcracker tournament in Moscow.

The Nutcracker tournament finished today in the Central Chess House in Moscow. Our previous report covered the classical part; this report covers the rapid portion, held on Wednesday and Thursday.

Grigoriy Oparin. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

Before the rapid, the "Kings" were enjoying a small lead. GMs Alexander Morozevich, Boris Gelfand, Alexei Dreev and Alexei Shirov were up 17-15 against GMs Vladimir FedoseevDaniil DubovVladislav Artemiev, and Grigoriy Oparin.

However, the "Princes" managed to level the score over the next two days. Yes, after so many games, the final score was exactly even!

# Kings CR P1 P2 P3 P4 P1 P2 P3 P4 P1 P2 P3 P4 Pts
K1 Morozevich 2676 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 6.5
K2 Gelfand 2722 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 0 9
K3 Dreev 2652 2 1 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 0 6.5
K4 Shirov 2673 2 1 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 0 1 10
Total 32
# Princes CR K1 K2 K3 K4 K1 K2 K3 K4 K1 K2 K3 K4 Pts
P1 Fedoseev 2667 1 1 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 0 5.5
P2 Artemiev 2653 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 9
P3 Oparin 2616 1 1 2 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 10
P4 Dubov 2660 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 1 0 7.5
Total 32

Everyone could live with this final result, but there was one small problem. The best performer in the tournament would qualify for the 2017 Kortchnoi Zurich Chess Challenge, but there were two best performers.

And so it was decided that Oparin and Shirov, both on 10 points, would play two games of blitz (three minutes plus a two-second increment).

Things were more or less decided in the first game. In the final position, the rook ending was drawn, but Shirov forgot about his clock and flagged!

You can watch the video broadcast of this game here:

The second blitz game ended in a draw after lots of complications. It was a just result, if only because Oparin missed a mate in four somewhere!

And so it's Oparin who completes the field for the Zurich tournament, which will also feature GMs Vladimir KramnikViswanathan AnandHikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand and Yannick Pelletier.

In the women's section, the "Queens" defeated the "Princesses" 36-28. The best performer in this match was IM Alisa Galliamova, who scored 12.5 points.

Players, organizers and sponsors all together. | Photo: Vladimir Barsky.

To finish this report, there was a bit more news about Shirov. Today the grandmaster from Latvia informed the chess world on Facebook that, after having played for his native country for a few years, he is planning to represent Spain again.

I am still the citizen of Spain (although currently living in my native Latvia) and I represented the country officially from 1996 till 2011. In 2011 I decided to help my native country to develop chess level and it was impossible without playing for the national team, so I have been representing Latvia since 2012. There was no conflict with Spanish chess in 2011, it was just an uneasy personal decision because I felt I had to do something for my land.
However now it's clear that the mission has come to an end, a little earlier than it should. There are many personal (not financial) irregularities with the current management of Latvian Chess Federation and I don't find enough strength at my 44 years of age to continue my successful until now chess work and be connected with those people at the same time.
With current draconian FIDE rules it's very difficult to start playing for a new country just like that but I hope that in my case there would be some facility to soften the procedure.

Alexei Shirov, soon to play for Spain again. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

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