Bahrain 2009 daily reports


Manama, Bahrain. 24 January – 2 February 2009


Round Reports
My daily reports from the Arcapita International Chess Championship were used in the newspaper Gulf Daily News (, at the official tournament site ( and in Chess Today ( These reports are collected below.


More Reports from Bahrain
My other reports were published after the tournament end.
Photo reports:
at (English)
at (German)
at (Spanish)
at (Russian)
Also, some of the daily reports by the Bahrain Sport TV channel can be watched at

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 and also at the server. The English language newspaper Gulf Daily News – The voice of Bahrain ( 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]
7.c4 Qb6
[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!?]
15.cxd6 Qxd6


[White created an isolani pawn in the Black’s camp and after the careful 16.Qc2! he would have preserved a slight but lasting advantage.]
16…Nh5! 17.Qf3 Qg6! 18.h3 0-0 19.Be3 f5
Black has developed a counterplay, and the double edged fight begins.
20.Nc5 fxe4 21.Qxe4 Bf5 22.Qc4+ Kh8 23.Kh2 Nf6 24.Ne2 Nd5 25.Ng3 Nxe3 26.Rxe3 Bc8
[Spectacular, but not really promising is 26…Bxh3 27.gxh3 Rxf2+ 28.Kh1 Bxc5 29.Qxc5 Rd8 30.Rf1.]
27.Nge4 Rb8 28.b4 Rf4 29.Nd3 Ba6!? 30.Nxe5?!
[Preferable was the immediate 30.Qxa6 Rxe4 and now 31.Rg3]
30…Qf5! 31.Nf7+ Kh7 32.Qxa6 Rxe4 = 33.Qxa7?


[Black could have exploited the opponent’s mistake by 33…Rxe3 34.fxe3 (or 34.Qxb8 Qxf2 threatening with both 35…Qxf7 and 35…Rxh3+!) 34…Re8!, winning the knight]
The position is double edged again. And the next Black’s move was a big error.
34…Bd6+? 35.Nxd6 Qe5+ 36.Rg3! Qxa1


Now White decides the game nicely.
37.Nf5! +- Qe5 38.f4! 1-0

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.
[Capturing the fourth pawn by 35…Bxd4! might have looked frightening for Black, but it is hard to propose a good continuation of the White’s attack there while Black is threatening with 36…Bc3!.]
36.Nxf6+ gxf6 37.R8e7!
Suddenly, White obtained a serious compensation for the material deficit.
Not the best – the queen will be passive on d6.
38.Qg4+! Kh8 39.Qh5 Qb4 40.Qh4


[Black agrees with a draw by the repetition of moves. Instead, 40…Qd2 41.Qxf6+ Kg8 (planning …42…Qg5) would have been unsafe for him because of 42.R7e3 or 42.h4.]
41.Qg4+ Kh8 42.Qh4 Kg7 43.Qg4+ Kh8 0.5-0.5
GM Essam El Gindy (EGY, 2527) – CM Ali Al-Ghasra (BRN, 2133)
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (2), 25.01.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.0-0 Be7 6.c4 0-0 7.Nc3 d5 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 c5 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Rc1 Rc8 12.Bf5 cxd4 13.Nxd4 g6 14.Bh3 a6 15.Qe2 b5 16.a3 Rc7 17.Rfd1 Qb8 18.g3 Nb6 19.Nb1 Ne4 20.Nd2 Nc8? 21.Nxe4 dxe4


This sacrifice of the knight decides.
[Black refuses to accept the offer, but it does not change the outcome. After 22…gxf5 23.Bxf5 White’s attack is unstoppable: 23…f6 24.Qg4+ Kh8 25.Rxc7! Qxc7 26.Rd7 Qc2 27.Qh5]
23.Rxc7! Qxc7 24.Nxe7+
Black resigned because 25.Rd7 on the next move wins a piece for White. 1-0

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

[Podgaets and I looked only at 15…d6 16.e5 and 15…d5 16.e5 d4.]
[After 16.Qxh5 Nxh5 17.e5 Black could play 17…f6!?.My move was bit superficial: I wished to put a rook to f3 first, and only then to decide where to place a queen. But 16.Qd2 with the basic idea of 16…d5 17.Be2! Qg6 18.f5! is possibly preferable.]
[After 16…d5 I intended to play 17.exd5 which is not necessarily stronger than 17.e5 d4 18.Ne4 with exchanges and equality.]
[There was an even more exotic line: 17.Rg1 d5?! 18.e5 d4 19.exf6 dxc3 20.Rg3! Qxe2 21.Rxg7+ Kf8 and now 22.Bxh7 Bxg2+! 23.R1xg2 Qd1+ 24.Rg1 Qf3+ is a draw, but 22.Bxe2 favours White. Alas, after 17.Rg1 Black can play better: 17…e5 18.f5 d5 (where, as Tregubov pointed, 19.g4? favours Black). Or the move, which I would have anticipated: 17…Qc5!?.]
Unexpected. Now 18.Rh3 Qc5 is good for Black.
18.Qg1 f5 19.Re1 d5?!
Here, as well as on the previous move, I waited mainly for …Rac8.
20.Rh3! Qg6 21.e5! d4 22.Ne2 Ne3!?
[After 22…Rad8 23.Nxd4 curious is 23…Rxd4 24.Qxd4 Ne3 25.Rg3 Nxg2! (no, I did not see this), but White is better anyway: 26.Be4!? Nxe1 27.Bxb7 Qf7 28.Bxa6.]
23.Rg3 Qh6 24.Nxd4

[I agree with Tregubov that Black’s best chance was 24…Nd5 25.Bxf5! Nxf4!.]
25.Rxg2 Qxf4 26.Qe3 Qxe3 27.Rxe3 Rad8 28.c3
[Also good for White is 28.Nf3 f4 29.Re4.]
28…g5 29.Kg1 Bxg2 30.Kxg2
It is hard for Black to open lines for his rooks, while his e6 pawn is weak. White has a huge advantage.
30…Kf7 31.Bc2! a5 32.Bb3 b4 33.axb4 axb4 34.Nxf5 Rd2+ 35.Kg3 Rxb2 36.cxb4
[Black’s idea must have been 36.Nd6+ Ke7 37.Nxe8? Rxb3!.]
[Not 36…Rxb3? 37.Nd6+.]
37.Nd6 Rf8 38.Bxe6 Rxb4
[After 38…Rff2 I planned to play 39.Bf5+, but not 39.Bd5 h5 40.e6? h4+.]
39.Bd7 h5 40.Be8+
[Fortunately, I spotted that 40.e6?! h4+ 41.Kh3? loses a rook for White after 41…g4+! 42.Kxh4 Rh8+ 43.Kg3 Rh3+ 44.Kf2 Rb2+ 45.Re2 Rxh2+.]
40…Kh6 41.Bf7 Rg4+ 42.Kh3 Rh4+ 43.Kg2 Rg4+ 44.Rg3 Rf4 45.e6 Rb8 46.e7 Rb2+ 47.Kh1 Rf1+ 48.Rg1 Rff2


Black resigned because of 49…Kh7 50.Bg6+ Kxg6 51.e8Q+. 1-0

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:
And Black has big problems: not only there are weaknesses on the queenside, but also the h5 rook has no prospects. It cannot feel safely on c5 because of Kc3-d4… White won 35 moves later (1-0, 60).
GM Elshan Moradiabadi (IRI, 2505) – GM Valentin Iotov (BLG, 2556) [C18]
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (4), 27.01.2009
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 0-0 8.Bd3 f5 9.exf6 Rxf6 10.Qh5
[This is a relatively rare move. In the same Round 4 of the Arcapita Open a mainstream continuation 10.Bg5 Rf7 11.Qh5 g6 12.Qd1 Nbc6 13.Nf3 Qf8 14.0-0 c4 15.Be2 h6 16.Bc1 Bd7 was tested in the game Sharma-Pelletier (0.5-0.5, 36).]
10…h6 11.g4 c4 12.Be2 Nbc6 13.Nf3 Qa5 14.Bd2 Bd7 15.g5 Rf5 16.Qh3 h5
[Deviating from the game Short-Uhlmann, Thessaloniki Olympiad 1988 where 16…hxg5 was played.]
17.Nh4 g6! 18.Nxf5 Nxf5


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.
19.Rg1 e5! 20.Bxh5
[After 20.dxe5 Nxe5 Black would have developed a strong initiative. So, White decided to sacrifice a bishop for an attack.]
20…gxh5 21.g6
[If 21.Qxh5 Kg7!.]


[A big mistake. Good or bad, White’s last chance was 22.Qf3!.]
22…exd4 23.Qf3
[After 23.Rxb7 Re8+ Black wins easily. But Moradiabadi’s move does not help either.]
23…Re8+ 24.Kd1 d3! 25.Qh5 dxc2+ 26.Kxc2 Qa4+ 27.Kc1 Qxa3+ 28.Kd1 Re7 29.g7 Qa4+ 30.Kc1 Rxg7 31.Rxg7+ Nxg7 32.Qxd5+ Be6 33.Qb5 Qa3+ 34.Kd1 Bg4+ 35.Ke1 Qe7+ 36.Be3 Qe4! 37.Qxb7 Qd3 38.Qb2 Ne5 0-1

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!.]


[With the idea of 16.Kh1 Qc5!. I do not see how Black could have developed his forces comfortably: 15…exf4 16.Bxf4 Ne5, planning Bg7, is answered by 17.Qe1 Qb6+ 18.Be3 Qa5 19.Qf2!. Or 15…Qc7 16.Rf2 exf4 17.Bxf4 and 17…Ne5?!, again planning Bg7, is refuted tactically by 18.Bxe5 dxe5 19.d6!.]
16.Rf2 a5
[Also after 16…exf4 17.Bxf4 Bg7 18.a5! with the idea of 18…Qc7 19.Qe1+ and 20.Qxb4 White has a clear advantage.]
17.f5! Be7 18.fxg6 fxg6 19.Qd3 Rg8 20.Be3! Qa6 21.Qd2 Bh4
[Or 21…Nb6 22.b3!, restricting the black knight.]
22.Ne4! Rc4
[A desperation. 22…Bxf2+ 23.Bxf2! is terribly bad for Black who is unable to defend against both threats, 24.Qxh6 and 24.Bf1.]
23.Bf1! Rxe4
Black does not get a fully sufficient compensation for a queen, but there was nothing else to do.
24.Bxa6 Bxf2+ 25.Qxf2 Bxa6 26.Bxh6!? Rh8 27.g5 Ke7 28.Qa7 Bc4 29.Rd1 b3 30.cxb3 Bxb3 31.Bg7 Rxh3


[White played extremely well up until now. But here he missed a win: 32.Bf8+!! and then, e.g., 32…Ke8 33.Qa8+ Kf7 34.Rf1+ Rf4 35.Rxf4+ exf4 36.Bxd6.]
32…Ke8 33.Rc1 Rg4+! 34.Kf2


[Curious though definitely not stronger is 34…Bc2 where 35.Qa8+ Kf7 36.Qd8 Rh2+ 37.Kf3 Rh3+ is a draw because White cannot capture a rook: 38.Kxg4?? Bf5#. And really funny is 34…Rh2+ 35.Kf3 Bd1+!! 36.Rxd1 Rhg2 where White, as it seems, escapes by 37.Bxe5!! Nxe5+ 38.Ke3.]
[Or 35.Qa8+ Kf7 and only now 36.Rxc4!, but not 36.Qd8?? Rh2+ 37.Kf3 Be2+! 38.Ke3 Rg3+ 39.Kd2 Bc4+ 40.Ke1 Rg1#.]
35…Rxc4 36.Qa8+ Kf7 37.Qd8 Rc2+ 38.Kg1 Rg3+ 39.Kh1
[White has to agree with a repetition of moves, because after 39.Kf1?! Rf3+ 40.Ke1 Nxf6 41.gxf6 Rxf6 only Black may hope for a victory.]
39…Rh3+ 40.Kg1 Rg3+ 41.Kh1 Rh3+ 42.Kg1 Rg3+ 43.Kh1 Rh3+ 0,5-0,5

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.]


GM Kveinys underestimated this blow.
[13…Nxd5? loses quickly: 14.Bxh7+ Kxh7 15.Rh3+ Kg8 16.Qh5. After 13…Bxe5 the strongest is 14.fxe5! Nxd5 15.Bxh7+ and 15…Kxh7 loses on the spot: 16.Rh3+ Kg8 17.Qh5 f5 18.e6!.]
[Even better would have been 14.Nxf6+! where 14…gxf6 fails to 15.Bxh7+ Kxh7 16.Rh3+ Kg7 17.fxe5 fxe5 18.Qg4+ Kf6 19.e4!. Or 15.Rh3 with the idea of 15…Nxd3 16.Qg4+ Kh8 17.Qf5!.]
[Also after 14…Bxe5 15.Nxf6+! Bxf6 16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Rh3+ Kg8 18.Qh5 Bh4 19.Rxh4 f6 Black is a pawn down in the unpleasant for him position.]
15.Rxf6! Be7! 16.Rf2 Bh4?!
Black should have exchanged pawns on d4.
17.g3 Bg5 18.e4! Bb7 19.d5
Having a strong central pawns, White is technically winning. Only a miracle helped Kveinys to save half a point in this game…
19…Bxd2 20.Qxd2 Qe7 21.Qf4 Rae8 22.Bb5 Rd8 23.b3 Bc8 24.Kg2 h6 25.Rd1 Qg5 26.Qxg5 hxg5 27.Rdf1 Bg4 28.h4 gxh4 29.gxh4 Bh5 30.Kg3 Bg6 31.Kf4 Kh7 32.h5! Bxh5


[Missing 33.Kg5! with an easy victory.]
33…g6 34.Be2 f5 35.Kg5!? fxe4 36.Rxf8 Rxf8 37.Rxh5+
[Also good was 37.Bxh5 Rf5+ 38.Kg4 and if 38…Rxe5 39.Kf4!.]
37…gxh5 38.e6!?

[38…Rg8+ is answered by 39.Kxh5! Rd8 40.Kg5 Rxd5+ 41.Kf4!, winning. If 41…Kg7 42.e7 Kf7 43.Bc4.]
[A victory was still achievable: 39.e7 Rg8+ 40.Kxh4 Kg7 41.d6 Kf6 42.Bc4 Rh8+ 43.Kg4 and it is over.]
39…h3 40.Bg6+ Kg7 41.Bxe4 Rd8 42.e7 Rh8 43.d6 Kf7 44.Bd5+ Ke8 45.Bc6+ Kf7 46.Bd5+ Ke8 47.Bc6+ Kf7 48.Bd5+ Ke8

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


This breakthrough is related with the exchange sacrifice, but White manages to advance his pawn to e6.
[After 20…dxe5 21.Nxe5 White wins a piece.]
21.e6! Nxf4 22.Qxf4 Be8
[After 22…Bb5 23.Qf5 the main line is 23…Bxc4 24.Bc2 Rf7 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Rxf6!! and White wins. More stubborn is 23…Rfe8, but then 24.Rf4! is strong.]
23.Ne3 Bg6 24.Nf5
White’s attack seems to be unstoppable.
24…Rae8 25.Rf3 Bxf5 26.Qxf5 Re7 27.Bc2 g6
[Or 27…g5 28.hxg5 hxg5 29.Rh3! Qb5 30.Rh7 Qe8 31.Qh3, winning.]
28.Qxg6+ Rg7 29.Qxh6 f5 30.e7! Re8 31.Qe6+ Kh8 32.Rxf5 1-0
GM Rasul Ibrahimov (AZE, 2568) – IM Mohamed Ezat (EGY, 2421)
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (7), 31.01.2009


Black already played in the mode 30 seconds per move, while White still had several minutes in reserve.
[Ibrahimov hoped that his move wins. Instead, 75.g5 hxg5+ 76.Ke5! is hard to calculate.]
Otherwise Kf5 decides.
76.Rxc3 Kf7
Here White hardly has any other winning chances than to give away the f6 pawn.


[Having virtually no time left on his clock, IM Ezat missed the key defensive idea: 77…Kxf6 78.Rh7 Rd4+! and after 79.Kg3 Black plays 79…Rd6! where 80.Rxh6+ Kg5! 81.Rxd6 is stalemate and a draw. And if instead 79.Kf3, then 79…Kg5 80.Rg7+ Kh4! is possible.]
78.Rg7+ Kh8 79.Rg6 Kh7 80.f7 Rd7
[The best way to set the last trap was 80…Rd8, hoping for 81.Rg8?? (almost anything else wins easily) 81…Rd4+! 82.Ke5 Rd5+ with a draw.]
81.f8N+ 1-0

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

With a help of this tactical blow, the champion of Bahrain ensured the positive final result, scoring 5 points after 8 (of 9) rounds.
18…Kxf7 19.fxg5
with a decisive White’s advantage (1-0, 31).
GM Pavel Tregubov (RUS, 2645) – GM Amir Bagheri (IRI, 2486)
Arcapita Int Open Championship Manama (8), 01.02.2009


[44…d1Q? loses to 45.Rxd1 h1Q 46.Rxh1 Rxh1 47.b6.]
[A dramatic mistake. According to GM Tregubov, he missed winning chances at some earlier point of this tense game. But here he had to agree with a draw: 45.Rd1 Rh8! (not 45…Kxf4? 46.b6 Rg1 47.b7!!) and 46.Rh1 Rg8 repeats.]
45…Rg1! 46.b7
[After 46.c8Q Rc1+! decides.]
46…d1Q 47.c8Q Qd4+ 48.Kb3 Rxh1 49.Qxe6+ Kd2 0-1
IM Anna Zozulia (BEL, 2376) – GM Mikhail Golubev (UKR, 2487)
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.
51…Be6 52.Bxe6+ Kxe6 53.Kd3! Kf5!
[Luckily, there still was a way for Black to escape. Instead, 53…Kd5? loses to 54.g6 e4+ 55.Ke3 Ke6 56.Kxe4 Kf6 57.h5.]
54.Kc4 e4 55.Kxb4 e3 56.Kc3 Kf4 57.g6 Kf3! 58.g7 e2 59.g8Q e1Q+ 60.Kb2 Qxh4 0.5-0.5

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.
Final standings:
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.


[After 14…Nd7 I planned 15.Qh5 exd5 16.Bxd5 Bxd5 17.exd5+ Ne5 18.Rxe5+ dxe5 19.Qxe5+ Kd7 20.Qf5+ Kd6 21.Qf4+ and expected 14…0-0-0 with the idea of 15.Nxf6 gxf6 16.Qxf6 Qe5. But Adly accepted the sacrifice.]
15.Bxd5 Bxd5! 16.exd5+ Kd7 17.c4 Rc8
[I was concerned by 17…Qc5!? with the idea of 18.Nc6 a5!. Maybe I would play 18.Qh3+ Kc7 19.Nb3, trying to push c5.]
18.Nc6 Qc5


[It was better to attack by 19.Qh3+! Kc7 20.a5 where 20…Kb7? is wrong due to 21.Ra4.]
19…Rxc6! 20.dxc6+
Chances are approximately equal now. I expected that Adly would take on c6.
20…Kc7!? 21.Ra4?
[A bad move. I could have played, for example, 21.Qf4.]
21…d5 22.Qg3+
[Black is doing well also after 22.cxd5 Qxd5 23.Qe2 Qb5 24.Qe3 Bc5 25.Qg3+ Bd6 26.Qxg7 Rf8 27.Raa1 Qg5.]
22…Qd6 23.Qb3
[Only here had I noticed that 23.Rxb4 Qxg3 24.Rb7+ Kxc6 25.Rb6+ Kc7 26.hxg3 is just bad for White because of 26…Bc5!].
23…Ng4 24.g3
[Otherwise 24.Qh3 Qf4! or 24.Qf3 Qxh2+ 25.Kf1 Qh1+ 26.Ke2 Qh5.]
[My hope was for 24…Qf6 25.Re2 Bc5? 26.Rxb4! or 24…dxc4? 25.Qxc4 Ne5 26.Qxa6 Nf3+ 27.Kf1.]


[Instead of the unclear 25…Qxf2+?! 26.Qxf2 Nxf2 27.Kxf2 dxc4 Black returns to the position before White’s 22nd, but the g-pawn is on g3 now!]
26.cxd5 Qxd5 27.Qe2
[After 27.Qf4+ Bd6 28.Re7+? even 28…Kxc6 wins]
27…Qb5! 28.Qd1
[There is no much hope for White also after 28.Qxb5 axb5 29.Raa1 Bc5!? or 28.Qc2 b3!? 29.Qc4 Qxc4 30.Rxc4 Bd6.]
Unexpected and quite strong.
[Does not help 29.Qe2 Bc5 30.Rf1 (which I did not see) because of 30…Re8! 31.Qxa6 Re1 32.Qb7+ Kd6 33.Qb8+ Kxc6.]
29…Bc5 30.Ra2 Rd8 31.Qc1
White is lost one way or another.
31…Ne4 32.Qc4 Nd2! 33.Re7+ Bxe7 0-1


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