22 May 2017

You are golden, Pavel!

The Russian Rapid Grand Prix leg in Korolev in the review of Dmitry Kryakvin 

While the epoch-making events related to qualification into the upcoming Candidates Tournament are underway, the chess life in Russia knows no standstill. Summer is on the horizon with its classical and rapid chess marathons, prefaced by the Rapid Grand Prix leg in the Moscow satellite city Korolev. The event has gathered a very decent lineup, although the organizers still came up short of two grand players from the list posted on chess-results: Alexander Morozevich came late and showed up on the closing ceremony only, while Ildar Khairullin came to know about his alleged participation from the RCF website news ribbon. Seems like the enemy hacker groups' meddling is not to be ruled out. On the other hand, participating in the tournament was the Serbian grandmaster Aleksandar Indjich, a new trainee of Morozevich's.

As tradition has it with competitions taking place in the Moscow region, the event has been carried out to the highest organizational level, with all rounds starting on time, no mishaps taking place and the team of organizers, headed by Ruslan Udalkin, having taken care of creating as much comfort for the participants as possible. Extremely vivid was the opening itself, which featured cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Novitsky addressing the audience straight from board of the International Space Station. By the way, the festival setting is remarkable with various missiles and space mechanisms on display all around. We welcome those of you who are interested for the 2018 event!

Space greetings to the tournament participants!

There also took place a concert, hosted by a very bright, inspired woman who addressed the crowd of checkers players and praised the music of our recently deceased contemporary Sergei Prokofiev. Hearing this recently deceased news gave me such panic attacks that I was about to rush as fast as I could to correct the composer's personal data posted on the RCF's Person of the Day ribbon, but neighbors reassured me that a great chess fan indeed passed away same year as Stalin.

The arbiter team was left almost jobless, save for a minor incident on day two. Playing the legendary grandmaster Evgeni Vasiukov, Evgeniya Sukhareva suddenly appealed to the arbiter, claiming that the opponent had made an impossible move by promoting a pawn to the ultimate row, pressing the clock button, and then even replacing the pawn with a queen of the wrong color. The arbiter started questioning Evgeni Andreevich, who stated not recalling anything in the hectic time pressure, but that he would not remember pressing the clock button. According to the regulations, the arbiter's decision in this "word versus word" case was that the game should be resumed. The game "resumption" was a technical conversion of advantage by the Russian chess patriarch.

What is your story? And yours?

But we do have witnesses! They do not count according to the regulations!


As for the tournament, Dmitry Kokarev was the first to break ahead, but then came Dmitry Frolianov's turn, who was a birthday boy at that. The Togliatti grandmaster was leading the race with excellent performance and best additional tiebreakers, but in anticipation of the decisive round the situation was heated up by... the software of Yuri Grachev, the chief tournament secretary. Contrary to all expectations, the leader was pitted against the tournament cameraman, who had less points and ELO rating among those who were supposed to be "picked up". 

Frolyanov, who used to literally annihilate his opponents until this very moment, was obviously amazed by a similar program choice and decided to initiate the opening simplifications, which was immediately exploited by Pavel Ponkratov, the most "unearthly" chess player of the Russian open competitions. Pavel outplayed Morozevich's trainee to win the tournament. Having received the cup and the medal, the winner took his charming companion and went off on a foreign tour; if I were in his shoes, I would have arranged a small banquet for Yury, however! 

By the way, when I approached Grachev with inquiries about the reasons that might have prompted the engine's coming up with a drawing of lots like this, an old friend of mine parried it mightily with, "Well, it had the lots drawing done its own way, hadn't it? Why bother me?" He then gave me such a stare as if it were nothing irregular about the SwissM spitting out similar pairings on a weekly basis in Rybinsk.

Yury is right, you need to take it easy! See you next tournament!