27 February 2017

Life in Cosmos

The “Aeroflot Open” midline in the review of Eteri Kublashvili.

While the Middle Eastern competition is nearing its logical conclusion, the flame of our native "Aeroflot” tournament is only about to flare up. With four rounds over, the event staged in “Cosmos” hotel has at last received its sole leader, Evgeny Najer, who is also the event’s latest winner.

All in all, it’s a sheer pleasure revisiting “Aeroflot Open” with its familiar faces, conversations and scenery. Here is Baadur Jobava in stylish sunglasses paying a visit to the buffet for a cup of coffee, although not wearing an orange tie this time around; being deep in thought is a refreshed and cheerful Denis Khismatullin; walking around are Anton Korobov and Rauf Mamedov; rooting for one another are the Indians, desperately fighting are the Chinese, while putting the stronger sex up against problems are the female players. 
The multitude of famous players who came to Moscow is such that it defies coverage in any individual article. Let those who find themselves outside my viewfinder’s scope forgive me.

Always friendly and ready to come to rescue is a team of arbiters headed by Andrzej Filipowicz. The games are watched with interest by the tournament director Alexander Bakh.

There have also turned up many new faces that have until recently been part of the children tournaments, such as Ilya Makoveev, Volodar Murzin, Bibisara Assaubayeva, not to mention Andrei Esipenko and Aleksandra  Maltsevskaya, and who are at present seen taking great pleasure in wrecking their senior rivals’ nerves. 

Sometimes you may encounter a person you might have been long out of touch with, such as Evgeny Atarov, gradually returning to the world of chess.

However, there is almost no avoiding dirty tricks in the opens. This time the arbiters detected and quickly neutralized communication exchanged via signals sent from one device and received by another. Hail to McLaren! 

As far as pure chess is concerned, it feels like the participants’ fatigue starts to tell especially since the lineup has come to be incredibly tough with no easy games whatsoever. Therefore, one has no choice but go all out. The quantity of draws among leaders was fewer in round four than in previous rounds. Many beautiful and rapid victories have been scored as well a certain number of blunders committed.

A fresh leader Evgeny Najer played as Black as if he were White against Matthias Bluebaum, namely, the former seized the initiative and developed a dangerous attack against the opponent's king, crowning it by a nice shot.

Bluebaum – Najer


22…h4! 23. g4? Qd6 24. Rfc1 Qh2+ 25. Kf1 

25...Bg3! 26. g5

26. fxg3 Nxg4! or 26…e3! with irrefutable threats

26…Bxf2! 27. Kxf2 e3+, and the German player gave up a few moves afterwards.

A trademark thrashing of the rating favorite Yu Yangyi was executed as Black by Denis Khismatullin, who probably had his opponent taken by surprise by opting for a rare line of the Sicilian Defense. Black castled long and launched game at both flanks while paying special attention to the kingside with the opponent’s monarch stuck there.

Yu Yangyi – Khismatullin 

Blue air’s crispness far ahead
Is a pity to criss-cross
I wish you by my side in my Phantom
Heading for a tough and lengthy zip across
The Eastern sky

Just as in the above verse from one of Chizh’s songs, Khismatullin was probably confident about the future when playing 24...Bd6 followed by 25. h3 Qc7 26. Rd1 Nd7 27. Qf3 Nxf6 28. gxf6 dxe4.

White’s king is way too exposed and, once Black had his position consolidated, further resistance became totally meaningless. Yu Yangyi resigned on move 36.

Thus, the main tournament has Evgeny Najer in the lead with 3.5 points. Half a point behind are the Russians Maxim Matlakov, Ernesto Inarkiev, Daniil Dubov, Vladimir Fedoseev, Denis Khismatullin, Igor Lysyj, Ilya Smirin (Israel), Baadur Jobava (Georgia), Narayanan Sunilduth Lyna, Srinath Narayanan (both from India), Gata Kamsky (United States), Rauf Mamedov (Azerbaijan), Emilio Cordova (Peru), Eduardo Iturrizaga (Venezuela) and Vladislav Kovalev (Belarus).

The B-Tournament has Semen Elistratov, Valeriy Kazakovskiy, Daniil Lintchevski and Lin Chen with 3.5 points.

The C-tournament has German Bazeev, Vera Nebolsina, Elmira Mirzoeva and Kirill Kuznetzov with an unblemished score.

With the most exciting part of the event still ahead of us, don't forget about the traditional chess competition of March 2, which, as usual, is simply bound to gather a line-up of star players.