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Wojtaszek Wins Dortmund After Last-Round Fireworks

Wojtaszek Wins Dortmund After Last-Round Fireworks

For years he was in the background, working as a second for Vishy Anand. Today Radoslaw Wojtaszek proved how strong a player he is himself, winning his first super tournament in Dortmund, after what was the Sparkassen Chess Meeting's most spectacular round. 

Wojtaszek with his wife IM Alina Kashlinskaya and Polish arbiter Andrzej Filipowicz. | Photo: Sparkassen Chess on Twitter

A tournament full of fighting draws finished with an enormous amount of bloodshed. Two decisive games in one round was the maximum so far, and three rounds saw only draws, but today all four games ended decisively—doubling the total to eight out of 28.

Fedoseev was the first to score. This put the pressure on Wojtaszek, who delivered when it mattered. Kramnik finally won a game, finished on 50 percent and kept his rating above 2800. Reigning champ MVL also scored his first win in this final round.

2017 Sparkassen Chess Meeting | Round 7 Results

Fed Name Rtg Pts Result Pts Fed Name Rtg
Vladimir Kramnik 2812 1 - 0 3 Matthias Bluebaum 2642
Vladimir Fedoseev 2726 3 1 - 0 3 Wang Yue 2699
Dmitry Andreikin 2712 3 0 - 1 3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2791
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2736 1 - 0 3 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 2683

As this year's Aeroflot Open qualifier, Vladimir Fedoseev cannot be unhappy with a plus one score, right? Well, afterward he did say: "I'm not satisfied, because a second place is never good."

Fedoseev started and finished his tournament with a win. Today the Russian GM needed little effort to bring down Wang Yue. Already on move six the Chinese GM went for a questionable move (6...Be6 in the Giuoco Piano), which so far had only been played by players rated below 2500.

"I just played the move without thinking too much about it," said Wang Yue.

Having the doubled e-pawns and also allowing White to expand on the queenside was too much, and Fedoseev perfectly demonstrated why. Knights on the rim can be very dim.

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A surprisingly easy win for Fedoseev vs Wang Yue. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

With Fedoseev having scored two wins at that point, Radoslaw Wojtaszek really needed to win his game; otherwise he would be bitten by the second tiebreak rule: number of wins.

Whereas he missed a big chance yesterday, today the Polish grandmaster scored a very smooth win vs Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, and made it unnecessary to look at those tiebreak rules.

In a sideline of the Nimzo-Indian Nisipeanu gave up the bishop pair for little positional compensation, but he was still doing quite alright after the opening. (After all, none other than Magnus Carlsen has played this as well.)

However, one inaccuracy (20...Rad8, "very stupid" according to Nisipeanu) meant that he was too late for a setup with ...Nd7 and ...f6, because Wojtaszek played f5-f6! himself.

Wojtaszek-Nisipeanu after 22.f6! 

"It helped that Wang Yue's position against Fedoseev was lost. I had to take a risk, because I knew I had to win," said Wojtaszek about this moment.

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Nisipeanu and Wojtaszek before the start of their game. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Wojtaszek was about to get a dangerous attack, when Nisipeanu decided to give back the pawn and trade his queen for two rooks. However, the white bishop pair only became stronger.

Giving up one rook for a bishop didn't help Nisipeanu, who had to throw in the towel just after the time control.

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Wojtaszek arrived in Dortmund for the first time, and
will leave as the winner. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Wojtaszek had some open tournament victories on his resume, and the World Under 18 Championship (back in 2004), but he was still waiting for his first "big one." Obviously this is related to the fact that, starting from 2007, he spent years in the background, working as one of Vishy Anand's seconds. 

A few years ago that cooperation ended, and for Wojtaszek it was time to focus on his own career again. After some occasional successes (such as being the only player to beat Magnus Carlsen in the 2015 Wijk aan Zee tournament), Dortmund 2017 is his biggest achievement so far.

Wojtaszek on Facebook, showing the impressive list
of former winners, to which his name will be added.

"This is the biggest success of my career," said Wojtaszek. "However, I am also satisfied and happy because my play was also quite good in Dortmund. Only against Andreikin I was in trouble. Last night I slept for only four hours because I was so nervous for the last round."

Congratulations on Twitter from Anand's new second, who is also from Poland.

Besides Fedoseev, one more player finished on plus one. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, last year's winner in Dortmund, finally scored a win after starting with six draws.

Dmitry Andreikin was clearly the most creative Dortmund participant in the opening phase, and also forced the Frenchman to think from an early stage. Against 1.e4 c5 2.b3 Vachier-Lagrave first followed a line once played by Carlsen, and then, after 7.h4!?, he thought for eight minutes and came up with a novelty.

Here Vachier-Lagrave played 7...d5!?N 8.exd6
0-0!? 9.dxe7 Re8, going for speedy development.

Just a couple of moves later it became clear that MVL had evaluated the position correctly, and his compensation was there. Andreikin decided to give up an exchange for three pawns, but he wasn't comfortable yet because of his weakened kings's position. 

Missing an important threat, Andreikin was suddenly lost. He had some experience in this tournament with two passed pawns against a rook, but this time it didn't save him.

"I did not want to make a draw because I do not see a difference between defeat and a half point," said Andreikin.

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MVL was satistied with his second half in Dortmund, which he
finished with an excellent win. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

A minus score was Vladimir Kramnik unworthy, and today he did everything he could to avoid it. First, he played 17 moves of preparation in the Réti, and then Matthias Bluebaum had to deal with not one, but two exchange sacrifices!

"I thought I'd be better off in the middlegame, with chances on the kingside," said Kramnik about his first sacrifice. 

Bluebaum initially played all the right defensive moves, but that took him almost all of his time. In horrendous time trouble he saw a perpetual that was not a perpetual.

"This was the first game where I walked right into preparation, so it was very difficult to play," said Bluebaum.

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Kramnik's will to win paid off today. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

2017 Sparkassen Chess Meeting | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2736 2825 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.5/7
2 Fedoseev,Vladimir 2726 2774 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1 4.0/7 13.75
3 Vachier Lagrave,Maxime 2791 2766 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 4.0/7 13.50
4 Kramnik,Vladimir 2812 2713 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 3.5/7
5 Bluebaum,Matthias 2642 2687 ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 3.0/7 11.25
6 Andreikin,Dmitry 2712 2678 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/7 10.50
7 Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter 2683 2682 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/7 10.25
8 Wang Yue 2699 2679 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 3.0/7 9.75

The 45th Sparkassen Chess Meeting took place July 15-23 in the Orchesterzentrum NRW in Dortmund, Germany. The time control was 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to end the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1.


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