Potkin still on top in Aix les Bains

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Potkin on a roll in Aix les BainsNormally Vladimir Potkin's name reaches our reports when he works as a second of a better known grandmaster. In January he joined Ian Nepomniachtchi in Wijk aan Zee, but at the moment Potkin is doing very well himself, at the European Championship in Aix les Bains, France. He scored 6/7 and is half a point ahead of 19 GMs.

Vladimir Potkin in sole lead after 7 rounds | Photo © official website, more here

General info

The 12th European Individual Chess Championship is being held from March 21 till April 3rd, 2011 in Aix les Bain, France. It's an 11-round Swiss system with a total of 407 participants (172 GMs). There are 23 qualification spots for the World Cup 2011 in August-September in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia). The games start every day at 15:00 CET (live here). More info here.

Report rounds 5-7

After seven rounds Vladimir Potkin leads with an impressive 6/7 score. The Russian can enjoy his star status for at least one more day, as Tuesday, March 29th is the one and only rest day in Aix les Bains. In the fifth round Potkin crushed co-leader Boris Savchenko to reach 5/5.

Potkin-Savchenko Aix les Bains 2011 Potkin-Savchenko

In a Budapest Gambit Savchenko has played too many pawn moves. Potkin refuted Black's setup as follows: 19. f4! fxg5 20. fxe5 Qg7 Protecting g6. 21. Rf6! Bxe5 22. Rxg6 Qe7

Potkin-Savchenko

23. Bxh5! Bh2+
(23... Rxh5 24. Rg8+ Kf7 25. Qg6#) 24. Kh1 1-0

Potkin continued with two quick draws, against Nisipeanu and Volokitin - not a bad idea when you're leading with a 100% score and the goal of finishing among the first 23 players is getting closer and closer.

Also belonging to the club of 'seconds who can play some damn strong chess themselves' are Viorel Iordachescu (who worked for e.g. Nisipeanu), Cheparinov (Topalov), Khismatullin (Jakovenko) and Moiseenko (Ponomariov) - they are all on 5.5/7 too together with e.g. Nisipeanu and Vallejo.

The many hours of hard labour that the Topalov team has invested in the Anti-Moscow over the years, paid off for Cheparinov in the fifth round.

Cheparinov - Ter-Sahakyan Aix les Bains 2011 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Be2 Bb7 10. O-O Nbd7 11. Ne5 Bg7 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. Bd6 a6 14. a4 b4

Cheparinov - Ter-Sahakyan

15. d5!? This move currently doesn't have a very good reputation. 15. Bxb4 Qb6 16. Ba3 Qxd4 17. Qc2 was played in a number of games, including the (very) recent examples Sargissian-Cheparinov, Villafranca 2010, Anand-Gelfand, Monaco 2011 and Topalov-Gelfand, Monaco 2011. 15... bxc3 16. dxe6 Ne5 17. Bh5

Cheparinov - Ter-Sahakyan

17... cxb2N 17... Bc8 18. e7 Qd7 19. f4 gxf4 20. Rxf4 Qa7+ 21. Kh1 Be6 22. Qf1 cxb2 23. Rb1 Kd7 24. Bxe5 Bxe5 25. Rxf7 Rhe8 26. Rd1+ Kc7 27. Rh7 c3 28. Bxe8 Rxe8 29. Rd8 Qf2 0-1 l'Ami-Henrichs, Vlissingen NED 2010. 18. Rb1 Bc8 19. exf7+ Nxf7 20. e5

Cheparinov - Ter-Sahakyan

20... Bf8? We suspect that 20... Be6 21. Rxb2 Bf8 is critical here. 21. Qf3 Ra7 22. Qxc6+ Qd7 23. Qxc4 Black won't be able to survive this. The game lasted only a few more moves: 23... Qe6 24. Qc6+ Qd7 25. Qc3 Bxd6 26. e6 Qxe6 27. Qxh8+ Kd7 28. Qd4 1-0

Judit Polgar has been showing some inspiring chess. At first her creativity backfired in round 5.

Polgar-Ragger Aix les Bains 2011 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 Qb6 4. Nc3 dxe4 5. fxe4 e5 6. dxe5 Be6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. Bd3 Ne7 9. Qe2 Ng6 10. Bd2 Ndxe5

Polgar-Ragger

Here Polgar goes for exciting stuff, but also incorrect stuff, as Ragger demonstrates. 11. Nd5!? Nxd3+ A computer would defend with 11... cxd5 12. Nxe5 (12. Bb5+ Bd7 13. Bxd7+ Nxd7 14. exd5+ Be7) 12... Nxe5 13. exd5 Qxb2 14. Bb5+ Kd8 15. O-O Bg4 -+. 12. cxd3 cxd5 13. exd5

Polgar-Ragger

13...Qxb2!
Often wrong, but strong here. 14. O-O Nf4! That's the point; perhaps missed by Polgar!? 15. Qe4 Nxd5 16. Rab1 Qa3 17. Rxb7 Nf6 18. Qc6+ Nd7 19. d4 Qd6 and White didn't have enough for the piece.

This game didn't stop Polgar from sacrificing more material in the next round:

Pantsulaia-Polgar Aix les Bains 2011 1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. Qc2 c5 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 e5 7. Nb3 Nc6 8. Bg2 Nb4 9. Qd1 dxc4 10. N3d2 Bf5 11. Na3

Pantsulaia-Polgar

White's opening has been suspicious, but if he can win back the c4 pawn it might be not so bad... 11...b5! No way! 12. Bxa8 Qxa8 13. Nf3

Pantsulaia-Polgar

13... Nd3+!?
The simple 13... Qc6 14. O-O Bh3 15. Re1 Ng4 is horrible for White too, but Polgar goes for the real fireworks! 14. exd3 Bxd3 The white king will stay in the center for the rest of the game. 15. Nxb5 Bb4+ 16. Nc3 Not 16. Bd2?? Qe4+. 16... O-O 17. Rg1 What else? 17... Ne4 18. Bd2 Rd8

Pantsulaia-Polgar

Players like Anderssen of Morphy wouldn't have done it differently. 19. Rc1 Nxc3 20. bxc3 Ba3 Winning back some material. 21. Be3 Bxc1 22. Bxc1 Rb8 23. Nd2 Qd5 24. Qa4 a5 25. Qd1 White can't do a thing... 25... h6 ...so Black even has time for this. 26. Qf3?!

Pantsulaia-Polgar

26... Rb1! 27. Kd1 e4
Not bad, but 27... Qd7! would have decided the game immediately. 28. Qf4 Ra1! 29. Qb8+ Kh7 30. g4 Qd7 31. Qe5 e3 This is just to cover the b1-h7 diagonal with the bishop, avoiding any perpetual by White starting with Qf5+. 32. fxe3 Qa4+ 33. Ke1 Rxc1+ 34. Kf2 Rxg1 0-1

Sebastien Feller, who appealed against his suspension by the Disciplinary Commission of the French Chess Federation, is doing quite well on home ground. The Frenchman is one of the 19 GMs on 5.5/7, with draws against GMs Romanishin, Kabanov and Parligras and wins against FM Fejzullahu and GMs Jansa, Kozul and Papin. We recommend Chess in Translation's first and second post with Sergey Shipov's "letters from France" - the third letter addresses the question 'How can you play against Feller?'

A strong player like Feller (because he certainly is, whether he really cheated or not) doesn't need computer assistance to find the following tactics.

Feller-Papin Aix les Bains 2011 Feller-Papin

18. Nxf7! Bxh2+ (18... Kxf7 19.Qf3+ and 20. Bxb7) 19. Kxh2 Qc7+ 20. Kg1 Bxe4

Feller-Papin

21. Nxh6+! Kh7 22. Nf7 Kg6 23. Nd6 Qxd6 24. Qg4+ Kh7 25. dxc5 Qe7 26. Qxe4+ 1-0

Selection of games rounds 5-7



Game viewer by ChessTempo


European Individual Championship 2011 | Aix les Bains | Round 7 Standings (Top 100)
Rk Name Ti FED Rtg Pts TB1 TB2 TB3
1 Potkin Vladimir GM RUS 2653 6.0 2964 24.0 32.5
2 Vallejo Pons Francisco GM ESP 2707 5.5 2936 21.5 31.0
3 Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter GM ROU 2673 5.5 2829 23.0 32.5
4 Volokitin Andrei GM UKR 2677 5.5 2816 22.5 31.5
5 Ragger Markus GM AUT 2614 5.5 2808 21.0 29.0
6 Khismatullin Denis GM RUS 2662 5.5 2806 21.0 30.0
7 Cheparinov Ivan GM BUL 2664 5.5 2794 20.5 29.5
8 Zhigalko Sergei GM BLR 2680 5.5 2785 20.0 28.5
9 Feller Sebastien GM FRA 2657 5.5 2781 20.0 29.0
10 Khairullin Ildar GM RUS 2634 5.5 2780 21.0 29.0
11 Iordachescu Viorel GM MDA 2626 5.5 2771 21.0 30.0
12 Vitiugov Nikita GM RUS 2720 5.5 2762 21.5 30.0
13 Lupulescu Constantin GM ROU 2626 5.5 2751 20.5 29.0
14 Parligras Mircea-Emilian GM ROU 2598 5.5 2738 24.0 33.0
15 Moiseenko Alexander GM UKR 2673 5.5 2729 22.0 31.0
16 Wojtaszek Radoslaw GM POL 2711 5.5 2722 20.5 29.0
17 Kobalia Mikhail GM RUS 2672 5.5 2718 22.5 30.5
18 Mamedov Rauf GM AZE 2667 5.5 2701 21.5 29.5
19 Hammer Jon Ludvig GM NOR 2606 5.5 2695 20.5 28.5
20 Korobov Anton GM UKR 2647 5.5 2673 21.0 29.0
21 Polgar Judit GM HUN 2686 5.0 2792 19.0 27.5
22 Wirig Anthony IM FRA 2480 5.0 2790 24.5 31.5
23 Inarkiev Ernesto GM RUS 2674 5.0 2781 21.5 29.5
24 Guseinov Gadir GM AZE 2584 5.0 2771 24.0 32.0
25 Smeets Jan GM NED 2660 5.0 2769 20.0 28.5
26 Navara David GM CZE 2722 5.0 2745 21.0 29.5
27 Savchenko Boris GM RUS 2616 5.0 2741 20.5 29.0
28 Sutovsky Emil GM ISR 2692 5.0 2734 22.5 31.5
29 Naiditsch Arkadij GM GER 2684 5.0 2728 19.0 26.5
30 Romanov Evgeny GM RUS 2624 5.0 2724 18.5 26.5
31 Zvjaginsev Vadim GM RUS 2663 5.0 2719 18.0 26.0
32 Nepomniachtchi Ian GM RUS 2729 5.0 2710 21.0 30.0
33 Dreev Aleksey GM RUS 2697 5.0 2708 22.0 31.0
34 Anisimov Pavel IM RUS 2532 5.0 2687 20.0 27.0
35 Svidler Peter GM RUS 2730 5.0 2686 21.5 30.0
36 Lenic Luka GM SLO 2623 5.0 2686 19.0 26.0
37 Fridman Daniel GM GER 2661 5.0 2678 19.5 27.0
38 Ivanisevic Ivan GM SRB 2617 5.0 2665 20.0 28.0
39 Gabrielian Artur GM RUS 2532 5.0 2662 20.5 29.0
40 Gharamian Tigran GM FRA 2650 5.0 2660 20.5 28.5
41 Safarli Eltaj GM AZE 2628 5.0 2645 20.0 28.0
42 L'ami Erwin GM NED 2623 5.0 2640 19.0 27.0
43 Jobava Baadur GM GEO 2707 5.0 2624 21.0 28.0
44 Mcshane Luke J GM ENG 2683 5.0 2606 21.0 29.0
45 Jakovenko Dmitry GM RUS 2718 5.0 2570 19.5 26.5
46 Terrieux Kevin IM FRA 2422 4.5 2775 21.5 29.5
47 Riazantsev Alexander GM RUS 2679 4.5 2769 19.5 28.0
48 Grachev Boris GM RUS 2675 4.5 2728 21.5 31.0
49 Mastrovasilis Dimitrios GM GRE 2584 4.5 2691 22.5 31.0
50 Bologan Viktor GM MDA 2671 4.5 2690 19.5 27.0
51 Fressinet Laurent GM FRA 2693 4.5 2686 19.0 26.5
52 Hracek Zbynek GM CZE 2631 4.5 2675 20.5 29.5
53 Mikhalevski Victor GM ISR 2584 4.5 2675 20.5 28.5
54 Doros Radu-Marian ROU 2278 4.5 2669 18.0 24.0
55 Caruana Fabiano GM ITA 2716 4.5 2661 19.5 27.5
56 Motylev Alexander GM RUS 2677 4.5 2653 21.0 29.0
57 Cornette Matthieu GM FRA 2548 4.5 2653 21.0 28.5
58 Zhigalko Andrey GM BLR 2571 4.5 2652 24.5 33.0
59 Zherebukh Yaroslav GM UKR 2560 4.5 2652 22.0 29.5
60 Palac Mladen GM CRO 2586 4.5 2652 20.5 29.0
61 Kovchan Alexander GM UKR 2563 4.5 2646 23.5 31.0
62 Maze Sebastien GM FRA 2559 4.5 2641 22.0 30.5
63 Ter-Sahakyan Samvel GM ARM 2575 4.5 2637 23.0 31.5
64 Rogozenco Dorian GM ROU 2553 4.5 2637 20.5 28.0
65 Nielsen Peter Heine GM DEN 2670 4.5 2634 21.0 29.5
66 Halkias Stelios GM GRE 2579 4.5 2634 20.5 28.5
67 Pridorozhni Aleksei GM RUS 2542 4.5 2633 22.5 30.5
68 Sargissian Gabriel GM ARM 2676 4.5 2630 19.5 27.5
69 Papin Vasily GM RUS 2569 4.5 2625 22.0 30.0
70 Beliavsky Alexander G GM SLO 2619 4.5 2624 20.5 29.5
71 Esen Baris GM TUR 2528 4.5 2623 21.5 29.0
72 Gustafsson Jan GM GER 2647 4.5 2619 21.0 28.0
73 Tregubov Pavel V GM RUS 2598 4.5 2614 20.0 28.5
74 Sanikidze Tornike GM GEO 2542 4.5 2609 19.5 28.0
75 Saric Ivan GM CRO 2626 4.5 2604 20.0 28.5
76 Kulaots Kaido GM EST 2601 4.5 2604 17.5 25.5
77 Zakhartsov Viacheslav V GM RUS 2608 4.5 2601 18.5 25.5
78 Georgiev Kiril GM BUL 2666 4.5 2592 18.5 26.0
79 Sedlak Nikola GM SRB 2556 4.5 2590 17.5 25.5
80 Smirnov Artem IM RUS 2425 4.5 2589 22.0 30.0
81 Raznikov Danny FM ISR 2384 4.5 2586 18.5 26.5
82 Shimanov Aleksandr GM RUS 2550 4.5 2585 18.0 25.5
83 Pashikian Arman GM ARM 2642 4.5 2583 19.0 26.5
84 Smirin Ilia GM ISR 2658 4.5 2582 18.5 26.0
85 Akopian Vladimir GM ARM 2675 4.5 2578 20.0 28.0
86 Manea Alexandru IM ROU 2392 4.5 2572 18.5 25.5
87 Nevednichy Vladislav GM ROU 2534 4.5 2571 19.0 27.0
88 Vuckovic Bojan GM SRB 2626 4.5 2566 20.0 28.5
89 Laznicka Viktor GM CZE 2688 4.5 2566 20.0 28.5
90 Markos Jan GM SVK 2546 4.5 2564 18.5 26.0
91 Brkic Ante GM CRO 2592 4.5 2562 21.0 29.5
92 Pelletier Yannick GM SUI 2593 4.5 2562 21.0 28.5
93 Manolache Marius GM ROU 2546 4.5 2562 18.0 25.0
94 Mamedov Nidjat GM AZE 2583 4.5 2555 18.0 26.0
95 Papaioannou Ioannis GM GRE 2605 4.5 2552 17.0 25.5
96 Salgado Lopez Ivan GM ESP 2630 4.5 2551 18.0 26.0
97 Macieja Bartlomiej GM POL 2619 4.5 2529 20.0 28.0
98 Matlakov Maxim GM RUS 2625 4.5 2524 18.0 25.5
99 Alsina Leal Daniel GM ESP 2538 4.5 2518 20.5 28.0
100 Jones Gawain C B GM ENG 2578 4.5 2517 23.0 31.5



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