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5 December 2017

Last Time to Vanishing Regulations?

Dmitry Kryakvin’s followup report on the Rapid Grand Prix final 

All in all, the tournament progresses naturally without any emergencies along the way. Even rook and bishop versus rook positions, subject to the 50-move rule, have not arisen so far. Meanwhile, the body of arbiters is up and running anyway. The thing is, the intelligence service has come by important information, and our arbiters were actively discussing the arbitration news of the bourgeois countries.

The council of arbiters

The readers are perhaps aware of the existence of the FIDE Rules Commission. This body represents the worthy of worthiest. Evil tongues claim, though, that the strongest chess player’s rating among them does not exceed the level of 1850. The Commission is on the vigilant lookout for saving chess players and arbiters from monotonous life.

What an unrelieved boredom it would be to play by universal regulations and for many years at that! Let us keep in mind that mass media is on the constant hunt for something to hook at from the world of chess, be it scandals or investigations. It is for this purpose that the best human minds of this commission initiate revolutions all the time. Thus, now a pawn should queen this way, the next day it’s different. Now it takes one hand, then both; there might come a day when doing so will take your leg, or your tongue. After all, even Steinitz, Capablanca, Botvinnik, Fisher, Karpov and Kasparov were not experts on the problem of pawn-queening, promoting them without any system, justified in terms of dialectical materialism. On the other hand, the commission head Ashot Vardapetyan and his colleagues are the custodians of the unique knowledge as to how a pawn should properly turn into a queen.

So, intelligence reports that nowadays the commission seems to be inclined towards giving chessplayers a bit of respite. Beginning with January 1, 2018, claiming a victory in blitz and rapid for the first illegal move is canceled. On the other hand, it means more work for arbiters in terms of having to add penalty minutes to the clocks (as is customary in classical chess). It means that this “rapid” December, i.e the Grand Prix final, the rapid section of the "Nutcracker" and the Saudi Arabia event, are the last to be played to the vanishing regulations. If anything, I have faith in the Committee men. They are great people. They will undoubtedly come up with another set of inspirational ideas.

However, let us go back to the tournament itself. On day two, Dmitry Bocharov slowed down a bit, and then even went down to our dear chess filibuster Pavel Ponkratov, who rushed to catch up the leaders at the end of day one. This hiccup has been to the benefit of Maxim Chigaev, Dmitry Jakovenko and Dmitry Kokarev. Strictly speaking, a struggle, especially the morning one, was not without errors. Below are two obvious examples.

Yudin – Nevostrujev

Round 6

White is up a rook, which promises an easy conversion after a simple 40.Nf3. Sergey, however, rushed his king to the queenside...

40.Kd3?? e4+, winning a queen.  

Going down like that surely comes as a terrible psychological blow! Yudin was long absent from the playhall. Round seven was already underway, but the native of Novosibirsk would not show up. Minutes passed, until it was minute seven of the game. Thoughts like maybe he decided to quit would creep into your mind. But no, Sergey returned to make a confident draw with Frolyanov despite the time deficit. Moreover, he completely shuffled the overall standings towards the end of the day, inflicting a second wound to Bocharov. This is a Siberian willpower in action!

Sergey Yudin was back seven minutes after the round start

A similar terrible event happened in the following game.

Khanin – Chigaev

Round 7

Easily winning is 42.Ke2 exd3+ 43.Kxd3, upon which White can choose between playing for a checkmate by posting the rook to d1 or simply trading queens on e6. Good old heroes, however, are known to always go in roundabout ways: 42.Kxe4?? Qf4#. Even Max, an optimist by nature, admitted that something supernatural had happened in this game.

Semen Khanin

A fair Caissa gave Semen an opportunity to come back. It happened in a duel with a brave filibuster, driving his brigantine at full speed to catch up with the top three.

Ponkratov - Khanin

Round 10


Being up two pawns is a key to White’s victory, but Pavel quickly placed his rook on c7, and it was clearly visible even to the audience how the Chelyabinsk grandmaster quickly realized the irrevocable nature of his blunder...   


Suggesting itself is 27...Bh3! 28.Rxc5 (28.Rb1 Rxb1 29.Nxb1 Rd1) 28...Rxf1+ 29.Nxf1 Rd1 with an inevitable checkmate, but Khanin grants amnesty to his opponent instead.   

 27…Be6?? 28.h4 – and the victory was claimed by the senior in title.  

Not all favorites enjoyed a relatively smooth ride. Thus, Igor Lysyj proved himself a real gentleman and made draws with Tanya Maletina and Sasha Maltsevskaya. 

Pavel Ponkratov and Igor Lysyj (this is neither a public offer nor an advertisement of shirt manufacturers)

Dmitry Jakovenko outclassed his opponents to score four victories and join the pack of leaders. However, it was Maletina who could have put up a serious resistance to the rating favorite.

Jakovenko – Maletina

Round 8

White is compensated for a minor material disadvantage, but good-looking for Black was 23...Bb4 24.Qc4 Qa5 with any result possible since Tatiana’s pieces are well-coordinated.   

After 23... g5?! 24.bxc6 bxc6 25.Qc4 Rc8 26.Ne4 Nd5? Jakovenko came up with a tough 27.Nc5! Rh6   

Bad is 27...Nxe3 28.Nxe6+ fxe6 29.Rxe3.  

28.Nxe6+ fxe6 29.Bg4, and Black’s multiple weaknesses spelled her doom.

Following the FIDE Grand Prix, Dmitry Jakovenko gets the ball rolling in its Russian version

Kokarev had an unblemished score on day two, his asset being a victory over Maltsevskaya, whereas Chigaev caught a wave of luck and found himself on a par with the triumphant of Mallorca.

Smirnov – Chigaev

Round 9


“Discretion is the better part of valour!”  - was taught by Kozma Prutkov. Accordingly, 32.Rxd8 Rxd8 33.Nd5! Kg8 34.Re4 would have allowed White taking a pawn under most favorable circumstances. Being pressed for time, Smirnov instinctively grabs a pawn immediately, which is enough for his young opponent to tear Smirnov’s position to pieces.   

32.Qxd3+? g6 33.Rxd8 Qxg4+ 34.Kf1 Rxd8 35.h3 Qf3 36.Qe4?!   

White is saved by a sophisticated 36.Qxf3 Nxf3 37.Ba5!, intending 37…Rd4 38.Nd5 Nxe1 39.Nxf6+ Kg7 40.Bxe1, and the f6-knight is immune because of the deadly pin that follows. With Pavel’s last seconds on the clock melting, Chigaev’s performance was flawless.  

36...Bg5 37.Bc1? Bxf4 38.Bxf4 Qxh3+ 39.Qg2 Qd3+ 40.Kg1 Nf3+ White resigns.

Maksim Chigaev outscored others at prequalification stages and demonstrates decent performance in the final  

With ten rounds behind, the overall standings is as follows: 1-2. Jakovenko, Chigaev with 8 out of 10; 3. Ponkratov – 7.5; 4. Kokarev – 7; 5. Bocharov – 6.5; 6. Tsydypov – 6; 7. Pridorozhni – 5.5; 8 -10. Frolyanov, Yudin, Lysyj - 5, 11. Smirnov – 4.5; 12. Khanin – 3.5; 13. Potapov – 3; 14. Nevostrujev – 2.5; 15 -16. Maltsevskaya, Maletina - with 1.5 points.  

With leading players forming a tight pack, we are in for a tense finish. By the way, on day two a young Zhamsaran Tsydypov got into leading positions, although the top five standings remained unchanged. It is definitely going to be a hot final day! 

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