Bahrain 2009 daily reports
|ARCAPITA INTERNATIONAL CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP
Manama, Bahrain. 24 January – 2 February 2009
More Reports from Bahrain
|Round 1: Rated against Unrated
By GM Mikhail Golubev
First of all, I should express my gratitude to organisers of the Arcapita International Chess Championship for the invitation to play here. A British colleague suggested that the informal name of my round reports could be ‘A Ukrainian in Bahrain’. True to say, majority of my compatriots know next to nothing about this small, modern country, The Kingdom of Bahrain. But, the chess-players (as probably also the F1 fans) are among those who definitely have heard about Bahrain! Such a big event as Kramnik vs Computer 2002 match was held here.
For the development of chess, quite crucial also is the organisation of tournaments for, say, the ordinary international players. The Bahrain Chess Club is only three years old, has no permanent venue, and no governmental budget support. Nevertheless, the International Open is organised here already for a second time. Thanks to efforts of the new tournament’s sponsor, the Arcapita Bank, this year’s event is much stronger than the previous one. Among 93 players from 20 countries there are 45 foreign players, including 14 International Grandmasters. And I even met here two more Grandmasters: the old friends of mine Alex Raetsky (Russia) and Sarkhan Guliev (Azerbaijan) are not playing but came as coaches with their pupils from UAE.
A top seed is the 2000 European Champion Pavel Tregubov, a Russian Grandmaster who is living in Paris for many years. In 2008, Tregubov won a strong rapid chess tournament in my hometown Odessa, where such world chess stars as GMs Karpov, Ponomariov, Korchnoi and Gelfand participated.
The second by rating is GM Vadim Malakhatko, who represented Ukraine in the past, and, playing on the national team, became a winner of the 2001 World Team Championship. Now Malakhatko is playing for Belgium, as well as his wife, International Master Anna Zozulia who is also participating in the Open.
GM Ahmed Adly from Egypt is the third strongest participant by rating. In 2007, he won the Under 20 World Championship in Yerevan, Armenia.
The tournament was officially opened in its beautiful venue, the Alumni Club, on Saturday. A highly impressive ceremony was attended by Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr. Hassan Fakhro and Mr. Atif Abdulmalik, CEO of Arcapita. The symbolic first moves were made by Tregubov and the Egyptian Grandmaster Basem Amin.
I noticed that, strictly speaking, the tournament is taking place in the capital of Bahrain, Manama. But, as the country as small, and the capital occupies much of its space, people tend to say just ‘Bahrain’, rather than ‘Manama’. Results and games will be published at the official site http://www.bahrainchessclub.com and also at the chess-results.com server. The English language newspaper Gulf Daily News – The voice of Bahrain (www.gulf-daily-news.com) is also covering the tournament.
In the first round, the rated players played against the unrated on all boards (!), with predictable results, and, basically, no upsets. Most of favourites have won their games rather easily. Still, there was a tense fight in number of games, such as the encounter between IM Sarwat, Walaaa (EGY) and Jelisilda, Lou (PHI) on the 24th board. Both sides have had their chances in their battle.
Sarwat,W (2388) – Jelisilda,L [B53]
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama BAH (1), 24.01.2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6 bxc6
[More usual is 6…Bxc6]
[The best plan for Black is, probably, 7…e5 and then …Nf6, …Be7, …0-0.]
8.Qd3! Be6 N 9.0-0 h6?! 10.Nd4
[Simpler was 10.b3! and Black has serious problems with a development.]
10…Bd7 11.Nc3 Nf6 12.Re1
[An interesting alternative was 12.e5 dxe5 13.Nf3]
12…e5! 13.Nb3 Be7 14.c5 Qc7
[Avoiding 14…dxc5 15.Qg3!?]
Now White decides the game nicely.
|Round 2: The First Upsets
By GM Mikhail Golubev
In the second round of the Arcapita International Chess Championship, Grandmasters started to lose points. GM Amir Bagheri of Iran drew with Abdulla Al-Marzouqi of UAE. While another UAE player, FM Alhuwar Jasem, managed to take half a point in the game against the Swiss GM Yannick Pelletier. It was a big sensation: Pelletier is very experienced fighter who often faced the world’s top players in Biel, Switzerland and at other tournaments. A victory of GM Essam El Gindy from Egypt was one of the tactical highlights of the round. Majority of favourites won their games and in the next, third round many players with international titles will face each other. In a way, a real fight would begin.
FM Alhuwar Jasem (UAE, 2270) – GM Yannick Pelletier (SUI, 2560)
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (2), 25.01.2009
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 Bf5 4.d3 e6 5.0-0 Be7 6.c4 c6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Qb3 Qc8 9.Nd4 Bg6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.e4 Na6 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bh4 Re8 14.Rfe1 Nc5 15.Qc2 Bh7 16.f4 Qd8 17.Rad1 Qb6 18.Kh1 Rad8 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.e5 Be7 21.f5? Nd7! 22.Qa4 Bc5 23.e6 Bxd4 24.exd7 Rf8 25.Ne2 Bf6 26.Qg4 Rxd7 27.Nf4 Qxb2 28.d4 Rd6 29.Nh5 Qc2 30.Rf1 Qxa2 31.Qf4 Rfd8 32.Rde1 Qa3 33.Rf3 Qb4 34.Rfe3 Rf8 35.Re8
In the previous fight Black gradually outplayed his opponent and won three pawns, one after another. However, White’s pieces are very active, and Black must play precisely.
|Round 3: GMs versus IMs
By GM Mikhail Golubev
In the third round of the of the Arcapita International Chess Championship, Grandmasters played against International Masters on the boards from 2 to 12. Grandmasters won seven of these games, drew three and lost one: Indian IM Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury defeated GM Ahmed Adly of Egypt. The game between the Luthuanian GM Aloyzas Kveinys and the French IM Samy Shoker lasted 96 moves: Kveinys won in the queens ending. My game versus Pavel Tregubov was the first meeting between two GMs in the tournament, it gives a reason to annotate it today. Now, eight players are on 3/3. Top pairings for the 4th Round are: GM Amin vs GM S.Kasparov, GM Filippov vs GM Golubev, GM Moradiabadi vs GM Iotov, IM Roy Chowdhury vs GM Kveinys. Eight more players have 2.5 points each. Among those who have 2 points there are eight Bahraini players.
GM Mikhail Golubev (UKR, 2487) – GM Pavel Tregubov (RUS, 2647) [B48]
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (3), 26.01.2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bd3 Qc7 8.0-0 b5
[Black has several major options. In 1994 Pavel played 8…Nxd4 9.Bxd4 Bc5 against me. Since 1994, the difference between our ratings changed dramatically!]
9.Nxc6 Qxc6 10.a3 Bb7 11.Qe2 Be7 12.f4 0-0 13.Bd4!?
Anatoly Karpov’s coach IM Mikhail Podgaets and I analysed this move in 1997.
13…Bc5 14.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 15.Kh1
|Round 4: Filippov and Iotov share the lead
By GM Mikhail Golubev
Before the 4th round of the Arcapita International Chess Championship there were eight players with perfect scores. And after this round, only two leaders remains: Grandmasters Anton Filippov of Uzbekistan (my Sicilian Dragon failed in a game against him; or rather it was my memory what failed completely!), and Valentin Iotov of Bulgaria. Coincidentally, their January ratings are the same: 2556 points. Iotov will have White in the top game of the next, 5th round. There could have been even three leaders, but GM Sergey Kasparov spoiled the excellent winning chances in a game versus GM Essam El Gindy. Six players are on 3,5 points now.
GM Anton Filippov (UZB, 2556) – GM Mikhail Golubev (UKR, 2487) [B76]
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (4), 27.01.2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Nxc3 13.Qxc3 Bh6+ 14.Be3 Bxe3+ 15.Qxe3 Qb6 16.Qxe7 Be6 17.Qa3 Rad8 18.Bd3 Rd5 19.Rhe1 Ra5 20.Qc3 Rxa2 21.b3
Now I went astray:
[Confidently following the game between GMs Kasimdzhanov and Alterman from the 1990s. And forgetting that the correct continuation is 21…Ra5 where 22.Rxe6 fxe6 23.Bc4 is parried by 23…Re8 24.Rd7 Qg1+.]
22.Qxa5 Rxa5 23.Kb2 Rh5 24.h3 a5
Here Filippov came up with a new, interesting move:
Black sacrificed the exchange, and now he controls the f5 square firmly. After the game Iotov opined that here correct was 19.f4, with approximate equality.
|Round 5: Malakhatko joins leaders
By GM Mikhail Golubev
In the 5th round of the Arcapita International Chess Championship, the game between leaders, GMs Valentin Iotov and Anton Filippov, ended in a draw. Iotov was slightly better after the opening, but afterwards he did not manage to achieve any progress.
The second seed, GM Vadim Malakhatko, used the opportunity to join leaders. He defeated IM Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury. In their game Malakhatko was White, and after 1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e3! Nf6 5.d4 cxd4 6.exd4 d6?! (relatively better though not especially easy for Black is 6…d5) 7.d5 Saptarshi got an already unpleasant position, where Black scores less than 15% in practice. The rest of the game can be called a good technical performance by White! (1-0, 34).
No one has a perfect score anymore. Malakhatko, Filippov and Iotov are leading with 4,5 points. 9 players are on 4 points, (including myself – I won, not quite deservedly, a game versus IM Dinesh Sharma). Top pairings for the 6th round: Filippov vs Malakhatko, Tregubov (4) vs Iotov.
Among the local Bahraini players, a country’s champion Ali Al Sulaiti (2136), Ali Al-Ghasra (2133) and FM Ayyad Husain Abdulgalil (2111) have the best scores: 3 points each.
January, 29 is a (long-awaited by many) free day at the tournament. A massive cultural programme is scheduled.
FM Moklis Adnani (MAR, 2326) – GM Ahmed Adly (EGY, 2568) [B90]
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (5), 28.01.2009
One of the tournament’s rating favourites, Adly, was on Wednesday on the verge of defeat in the amazing tactical game.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.h3!?
The 11th world champion Robert Fischer scored several wins by using this move. And such stars of the 21st century as Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin also have had some successes with it.
6…e5 7.Nde2 b5 8.g4 Bb7 9.Bg2 h6
[More common is 9…b4.]
10.Ng3 g6 11.0-0 Nbd7 12.a4
[Instead, 12.Be3 was played before. There Black may try 12…Nb6!?.]
12…b4 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Rc8?
[A tempting move: Black targets the c2 pawn. But, perhaps, it would have been better to develop the bishop by 14…Bg7!.]
|Round 6: Malakhatko leads solely
By GM Mikhail Golubev
On a free day, January 29th, players were invited to a Gala Dinner in the Bahrain National Museum. It was an outstanding event, which deserves a separate report with photos! And the 6th round was played on January 30th. A tense top board game between GMs Anton Filippov and Vadim Malakhatko was decided in the complicated ending in the mutual time trouble. Filippov missed his chance on the move 36, and Malakhatko eventually won, missing along the way a nice quick tactical win. Malakhatko is a sole leader now, because on the second board GM Valentin Iotov, having Black, drew against GM Pavel Tregubov in a well played by both sides game. Round 7 top pairings: Malakhatko (5,5) v Moradiabadi (5), Iotov (5) v Amin (5).
IM Mohamed Ezat (EGY, 2421) – GM Aloyzas Kveinys (LTU, 2522)
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (6), 30.01.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.Nc3 b6 6.e3 Bb7 7.Bd3 0-0
[A more usual plan is 7…d6, followed by …Nbd7, e5.]
8.0-0 d5 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Ne5 Bd6
[Safer is 10…Nbd7 as in Piket-Anand, Monaco 1999.]
11.f4 c5 12.Rf3!?
[In Del Rio-Vehi Bach, Spanish Team Championship 2000 White attacked by 12.Be1 Nc6 13.Bh4 Be7 14.Rf3.]
|Round 7: Draws on the top boards
By GM Mikhail Golubev
In the Round 7, two most important games, Malakhatko (5.5) v Moradiabadi (5) and Iotov (5) v Amin (5) ended peacefully. Three players in the 4.5 points group managed to win their games: Roy Chowdhury, Ibrahimov, and Adly. In the game Kveinys v Tregubov White had a somewhat worse position after the opening, but in the end it was Kveinys who spoiled the winning chances by allowing a threefold repetition. Round 8 top pairings: Amin (5.5) v Malakhatko (6), Adly (5.5) v Iotov (5.5), Moradiabadi (5.5) v Ibrahimov (5.5).
IM Roy Chowdhury S (IND, 2444) – GM Anton Filippov (UZB, 2556) [C55]
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (7), 31.01.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Bb3 d6 7.c3 h6 8.Nbd2 Nh7 9.Nc4 Ng5 10.Nxg5 Bxg5 11.f4 exf4 12.Bxf4 Bxf4 13.Rxf4 Qg5 14.Qf3 Be6 15.d4 Ne7 16.h4 Qb5 17.d5 Bd7 18.Rf1 Qc5+ 19.Kh1 f6
Black already played in the mode 30 seconds per move, while White still had several minutes in reserve.
|Round 8: Malakhatko or Iotov?
By GM Mikhail Golubev
There were many decisive games on the top boards in the penultimate 8th round of the Arcapita International Championship. GMs Vadim Malakhatko and Valentin Iotov both won with Black, and the fate of the first place will be decided in their encounter of the final round. Indeed, Malakhatko’s chances are higher: he has half a point more than Iotov, and he also will play against Valentin with a white pieces. But everything is possible, you never know. At this tournament, any draw agreements before the 30th move are forbidden. (A repetition of moves is the only exception). So, perhaps there will be an interesting fight for the gold! I drew with Malakhatko’s spouse, IM Anna Zozulia, who, as well as Vadim, is originally from Ukraine and now plays for Belgium. I think that I played well… but only the first 44 moves. What to say? 🙂
The final Round 9 will begin at 17:00 local time, and will be followed by a closing ceremony. Round 9 top pairings: Malakhatko (7) v Iotov (6.5), Ibrahimov (6) v Roy Chowdhury (6), Jojua (6) v El Gindy (6), Bagheri (6) v Moradiabadi (6).
Ali Al Sulaiti (BAH, 2136) – Kulood Essa (UAE, 1829)
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (8), 01.02.2009
The position is drawn. Earlier, I missed a win on the 45th move. And, to make things worse, almost spoiled another half a point here.
|Round 9: Malakhatko is the winner!
By GM Mikhail Golubev
The key game of the final round, Malakhatko-Iotov, ended peacefully and without much trouble for either side. This result meant that Vadim Malakhatko is winner of the Arcapita International Chess Championship 2009! Having half a point less, Iotov took the second place. Grandmaster from Iran, Elshan Moradiabadi in the last round defeated his compatriot GM Amir Bagheri and took the third place.
Malakhatko won many international tournaments, and his highest success so far probably was the winning of the World Team Championship in 2001, when he played on the Ukrainian national team. Strangely enough, Vadim and I did not meet between the Ukrainian Championship 2001 and Bahrain 2009. (Yes, he plays for Belgium now. But it does not mean that he is a rare guest in Ukraine. While I played in the Belgium some 10 league games, and also two tournaments, between 2002 and 2004).
I have only to congratulate Malakhatko with a new success – and to congratulate all organisers and sponsors from the Arcapita Bank with an extremely successful event, which was liked by everyone. Atypically for the Swiss system competitions, approximately half of participants were foreigners (from 19 countries). As many as 14 GMs competed. At the closing ceremony it was announced that the next year’s event will be even stronger.
Special thanks to the tournament venue, Alumni Club-Al Adliya, Isa Bin Salman Cultural Hall. In his speech at the closing ceremony, the tournament’s top rated player GM Pavel Tregubov said that it is one of the very best playing halls he ever seen.
Indian IM Roy Chowdhury, who drew with GM Rasul Ibrahimov in the final round, scored his second Grandmaster Norm. Another GM norm was scored in Bahrain by the Georgian IM Davit Jojua, but he has all the required norms already – and only needs to reach the 2500 rating mark to get the title. FM Moklis Adnani from Morocco, who scored 6 points, made an IM norm.
In conclusion, as a daily annotator, I will add that Adnani vs Adly (draw) was perhaps the most interesting game that I saw at this fantastic Manama tournament.
1. GM Malakhatko (BEL) – 7,5 out of 9,
2-3. GMs Iotov (BLG) and Moradiabadi (IRI) – 7,
4-10. GM Amin (EGY), IM Roy Chowdhury (IND), GM Filippov (UZB), GM Ibrahimov (AZE), IM Jojua (GEO), GM El Gindy (EGY) and GM Adly (EGY) – 6.5 points, etc.
The current champion of Bahrain, Ali Al Sulaiti, occupied the highest place among the Bahraini players.
GM Mikhail Golubev (UKR, 2487) – GM Ahmed Adly (EGY, 2568)
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (9), 02.02.2009
Despite my loss to a former U-20 world champion in the final round, I think that it was a curious game.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.0-0 Bb7 9.Re1 Nbd7 10.Bg5 h6
This line is quite risky for Black.
11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.a4!? b4 13.Nd5 Qa5
[A novelty. Back in 1993 I analysed 13…exd5 14.exd5+ Kd7 15.a5 or 15.c3 with an attack. After 13…Be7!? the attempt 14.Nxe7 Qxe7 15.Nf5 exf5 16.exf5 is parried by 16…Be4 17.f3 d5! 18.Bxd5? Qc5+. So, White can try 14.Nxb4.]
Simpler was to trade knights of f6, and White is better strategically.