Volokitin 1st At Vidmar Memorial

Volokitin 1st At Vidmar Memorial

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jul 6, 2016, 2:47 AM |
7 | Chess Event Coverage

Andrei Volokitin won the Vidmar Memorial, a round robin held in Bled, Slovenia. The Ukrainian grandmaster finished on 7/9, half a point more than Arkadij Naiditsch.

The Netherlands had Max Euwe, Germany had Emanuel Lasker and Slovenia had Milan Vidmar (1885–1962). In those days chess was usually not a profession, and Vidmar had his own career as well. He was a doctor in mechanical engineering and worked at the University of Ljubljana. The Electric Power Research Institute there still bears his name.

But of course Vidmar was also an absolute top class player in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. He played for the top prizes among bigger names such as Capablanca, Alekhine and Rubinstein.

Vidmar was one of the players who was awarded the grandmaster title by FIDE in 1950 for being recognized as having been world class when at their peak. In the same year, Vidmar was the chief arbiter at the Olympiad in Dubrovnik; he was also the arbiter at the 1948 world championship tournament in Moscow.

Milan Vidmar (Photo Wikipedia).

That's more than enough for a memorial tournament, isn't it? Already for the 20th time, the Vidmar Memorial took place June 24-July 3 at the Grand Hotel Toplice in Bled in the northwest of Slovenia, the same city where the Olympiad was held in 2002.

The tournament was a 10-player round robin with some strong international grandmasters (e.g. Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Arkadij Naiditsch) and the top four of Slovenia: Luka Lenic, Alexander Beliavsky, Jure Borisek and Jure Skoberne.

Beliavsky is of course Slovenia's other big chess legend. Having played four Olympiads for the Soviet Union and one for Ukraine, he switched federations to Slovenia in 1994 and he has represented the country ever since. He's not only won the Vidmar Memorial four times, but he was also a four-time Soviet champion between 1974 and 1990.

Alexander Beliavsky. | Photo Ana Srebrnic.

However, this 20th edition was won by someone else: Andrei Volokitin. Now 30 years old, the Ukrainian grandmaster was once a highly promising youngster. He gained the GM title at the age of 15, but somehow he never managed to break through to the elite. His highest rating was 2725 in March 2013, which was good for 25th place in the FIDE rankings. His book Perfect Your Chess, co-written by Vladimir Grabinsky and published in 2007, got good reviews. It's an excellent collection of tactical puzzles on a very high level. 

Nine years later, Volokitin won the tournament without many tactical shots. He mostly ground down his opponents in endgames in fact. Here's how he reached 4/4, despite having played three games as Black:

The playing hall during the first round. | Photo Ana Srebrnic.

The most interesting game by the winner was the following, in the penultimate round. Another Grünfeld, but this one didn't go so well. Volokitin had his back against the wall but managed to avoid execution, and then even won the rook ending after an inexplicable mistake by his opponent.

Andrei Volokitin was in good shape in Bled.

20th Vidmar Memorial | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Volokitin,A 2624 2825 chesspawn.png ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 7.0/9
2 Naiditsch,A 2657 2769 ½ chesspawn.png 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 6.5/9
3 Nisipeanu,LD 2668 2722 ½ 1 chesspawn.png ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 6.0/9
4 Ivanisevic,I 2643 2683 0 ½ ½ chesspawn.png ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 5.5/9
5 Lenic,L 2624 2608 0 ½ ½ ½ chesspawn.png ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 4.5/9
6 Beliavsky,A 2603 2572 0 0 0 ½ ½ chesspawn.png ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/9
7 Sebenik,M 2530 2498 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ chesspawn.png 0 0 ½ 3.0/9 14.75
8 Skoberne,J 2572 2493 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 chesspawn.png 0 1 3.0/9 10.50
9 Kozul,Z 2594 2491 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 1 chesspawn.png ½ 3.0/9 9.50
10 Borisek,J 2576 2447 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ chesspawn.png 2.5/9

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