Tiviakov and Haslinger winners in Hoogeveen

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Univé Chess TournamentAfter two more draws in the last round, Sergei Tiviakov became the winner of the 17th Univé Chess Tournament. Today Tivi's opponent Anish Giri defended a slightly worse ending and stayed unbeaten; Ivanchuk and Polgar drew in less than an hour. In the open group Stewart Haslinger took clear first.

The 17th Univé Chess Tournament, formerly known as Essent Tournament but sponsored by insurance company Univé this year, took place October 16-24 in Hoogeveen, The Netherlands. As always the Crown Group was a 4-player, double round-robin with this year Vassily Ivanchuk (2756), Judit Polgar (2687), Sergei Tiviakov (2670) and Anish Giri (2552) playing for a € 10,000 prize fund. The time control was 40 moves in 1.5 hours + 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from the start.

Round 6

To everyone's surprise Vassily Ivanchuk entered the press room within an hour after the round had started, and with a modest smile he said: "draw". He had played the Petroff Defence and as so often, White, in this case Judit Polgar, got absolutely nothing out of the opening. This was an explanation, but not a justification for the quick draw; it didn't feel right that in a tournament of only six rounds, two top players shook hands that quickly. However, it was understandable that Ivanchuk, who missed several chances earlier in the tournament, didn't feel like going all the way with Black in the last round.

Univé Chess Tournament

Ivanchuk playing the Petroff against Polgar



The early peace treaty made Sergei Tiviakov decide to offer a draw as well, despite the fact that he was slightly better against Anish Giri. To his surprise, Giri declined! Indeed Black was fine after the opening, but after the inaccurate 23...bxc3 White's bishop pair and more active pieces started to tell, and it became clear that only Tiviakov could play for a win.

"I started to play badly," Giri said afterwards, "and I missed 47.g5+, there I thought about resigning for a moment." But there was the escape 48...g6, which miraculously holds Black's position together. And so the 15-year-old drew all of his games, which is a wonderful result for a first test at top level.

Plus one was enough for Tiviakov to win outright, earning € 4000 and a glass chess set. Both Ivanchuk and Polgar will feel disappointed; against the former Tiviakov had a lost position in both games while the latter blundered in a reasonable position. But that's how it is; in the end only the tournament table is what matters.

Univé Chess Tournament

Tiviakov and Giri: the 11th and last draw of the tournament



Univé Chess Tournament 2009 | Crown Group | Final Standings
Univé Chess Tournament 2009
Univé Chess Tournament 2009 | Crown Group | Schedule & Results
Univé Chess Tournament 2009


In the open group Stewart Haslinger was under pressure for the whole game against Petar Genov, but the Bulgarian couldn't win a rook ending with 5 against 4 and so Haslinger won the tournament finishing a full point ahead of the rest, as Nijboer had quickly drawn with Friedel. The Dutchman lacked the energy to try and go for the theoretical chance to finish shared first.

Univé Chess Tournament

Board 1, round 9, Univé Open: Genov-Haslinger, with Nijboer at the board next to them



Univé Chess Tournament

Stewart Haslinger, clear first place in the open



Remarkably, no norms were scored this year. IM Israel Caspi did well with a 2521 performance and he's on for a tough schedule: together with GM Yehuda Gruenfeld he'll take a train to Amsterdam, a bus to Paris and then tomorrow morning a flight to Corsica, where he'll play the big open that starts... tomorrow afternoon!

Dutch IM Li Riemersma played his first tournament in twelve years, and showed that he can still do it, finishing on a 2410 performance rating. Hopefully he'll decide to play more tournaments. GM Jesse Kraai's tourmament ended disappointingly, with a 2372 performance. The rating prize went to Amsterdam player Ron Hoffmann (2107) who performed at 2388.

Univé Chess Tournament 2009 | Open Group | Final Standings (top 30)
Univé Chess Tournament 2009


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