Sochi R2: Aronian, Cheparinov & Kamsky win

0 | Chess Event Coverage
It was a strange sight, at five minutes past three: only half of the players were sitting behind their boards. Fortunately everybody arrived in the end (last was Jakovenko, 12 minutes late) to create a good round, with wins by Aronian, Cheparinov & Kamsky.

It was a bit of a coincidence, because during lunch, I was having a discussion with Peter Svidler about the rule for arriving late at chess tournaments. As you may know, during the Olympiad in Dresden, it is not allowed to arrive later at the board than... the moment the round starts. Not half an hour, not fifteen minutes, not a minute is allowed.

A draconic measure, and ridiculous to implement for the first time during such a huge event as an Olympiad, was Svidler's opinion. "It's just impossible with all those players in busses, with the traffic in such a big city and all..." I agree with him, just like I agree that one hour is not really necessary either.

However, my first reaction was to argue in favour of Dresden's rule, because it's simply unacceptable when photographers are not able to take pictures. Many top players (and arbiters!) underestimate the power of publicity, I'm afraid. Later on, we settled the agreement that at least such measures should be implemented step by step, and so half an hour in Dresden and e.g. fifteen minutes at tournaments afterwards would be fine I guess.

And so it was funny to see all those empty chess boards at 15:05 hrs, but it couldn't have been the case that the players were avoiding the photographers, since there almost aren't any! It must have been some last-minute preparation that kept them away. Jakovenko-Radjabov was the last game to start, and naturally also the last to finish. ;-)

Round 2 results Kamsky - Ivanchuk 1-0 Aronian - Navara 1-0 Karjakin - Wang Yue ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Al-Modiahki - Grischuk ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Jakovenko - Radjabov ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Gashimov - Gelfand ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Svidler - Cheparinov ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?


After Ilyumzhinov and Karpov had left (did I mention that Anatoly Yevgenyevich was playing blitz for hours during the first round, with Emil Sutovsky?), the atmosphere during the second round was as quiet as the during the first, although enough excitement was to be found in the games themselves. The first player to appear in the press room was Gata Kamsky, who had all the reason to smile: he had just outplayed the great Ivanchuk, leaving the Ukrainian no chance at all.

Karjakin-Wang Yue wasn't very exciting; Karjakin decided to repeat his opening, but not the rest of his play against the same opponent at the first GP in Baku, which meant he didn't lose a drawn ending, but drew it. Then Aronian and Navara arrived; it looked like the Armenian had won his game right out of the opening (even GM Shipov thought so) but in reality Black is probably doing fine after 23...Qd6.

Svidler, who was one of the players arriving on time actually, clearly played under his normal level. Cheparinov surprised him by playing the Berlin Wall - something Svidler must know a few things about, as he worked with Kramnik a lot. He did reach a small plus out of the opening but after a big mistake it was suddenly over.

Al-Modiahki gained some confidence by comfortably drawing Grischuk, even after enjoying some initiative for a while in a French Winawer. The Petroff in Gashimov-Gelfand was a rare one, but the result was not a surprise. Jakovenko-Radjabov was the most interesting draw of the day; another fine performance by Radjabov in a King's Indian which probably should have delivered him a full point, but around the first time control he let it slip away.

All photos ?Ǭ© Mark Gluhovsky. Below you'll find the games of the second round (with commentary by GM Sergey Shipov and myself), followed by videos by Robert Fontaine and G?ɬ©rard Demuydt of Europe-Echecs.


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