Monday, July 30, 2007

Tidbits

Some information that wouldn't fit anywhere else:

At the press conference, Nigel was sitting at a long table along with the organizers and Pascal. Pascal and Nigel were both sitting in front of chessboards with full sets of pieces. Nigel adjusted the pieces in much the same way he would if he were about to begin a game.

Sergey Tiviakov told me that his best game was against Short, because Nigel didn't make any big mistakes in that game. He agreed that his game with Elyanov was exciting, but thought that it was full of mistakes. He also said that he was disappointed with his finish, and that he just did not have enough energy left after playing such interesting chess to see him through to the end.

Emil Sutovsky said that while he arrived in Montreal four days before the Tournament, the he was still jet lagged for his first two games, but that he had no excuses for his 3rd loss in a row (against Ivanchuk)

Gata Kamsky said he was bothered by all the controversy with Short and was disappointed with his finish.

I had a great deal of contact with Vassily Ivanchuk. He was extremely interested in what was happening in the women's event, and wanted print outs each day of their games.

Midway through the tournament, Short switched from playing under the English flag to the Union Jack, at his request.

By bizarre coincidence, a convention for people who liked to dress up as animals (they call themselves 'anthropets') was happening at the hotel at the same time as the tournament. Quite often during the games, people dressed as wolves, bats, and rabbits, could be seen just wandering around the hall.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Its over! Ivanchuk and Cramling are Champions

Round 9 saw Vassily Ivanchuk defeat Harikrishna with the white pieces in a Petroff. Sutovsky informed me that Ivanchuk refused a draw offer from Harikrishna at some point during the game. This may be Ivanchuk's best year, with vicroties at Aerosvit and the Third Pivdenny Bank rapid chess tournament in Odessa, and now the category 16 Montreal International.

Nigel Short ushered a King's Gambit against Bluvshtien, and after some fireworks (including a Queen sac) was forced to tip his king. The game with Bluvshtein marks the end of of a disastrous tournament for Short, who finished in dead last by a full point with 2 out of 9. For an explanation of Short's miserable performance check out his interview at Chessbase

Pia Cramling clinched sole first place with a last round victory over Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant. For her efforts, in addition to the first prize check, Pia will receive a diamond encrusted watch from Galazzo jewelers.

The closing ceremony featured kind words by Vassily Ivanchuk, who said he was extremely happy with the organization of the event, and thought that it was great for chess that the Women's Grand Prix and the Quebec Open were played along side the International. He also said that he would accept an invitation to play next year.

Round 9 games from the International here

Round 7 games from the Women's Grand Prix Finale here

Monroi


FQE



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Montreal International 2007 Champion, Vassily Ivanchuk

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Women's Grand-Prix Finale Champion, Pia Cramling


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Interviews





I conducted a series of interviews with the participants of the Women's Grand Prix Finale.

Round 8

With Ivanchuk defeating Miton and Harikrishna defeating Tiviakov, Ivanchuk now leads alone going into the final day at the International. Chucky, with a half point lead over Sergey and Harikrishna, has white against Harikrishna in round 9. Meanwhile, Tiviakov has white against the lowest rated player in the event, Canadian Pascal Charbonneau. So, a draw for Ivanchuk will guarantee him at least a share of first place.

Nigel Short scored his first victory in Round 8. Short had the black side of a Queen's Gambit Declined(D37) against Ukrainian Pavel Elyanov. Elyanov got into severe time pressure somewhere between move 30 and 40, and lost the thread of a complicated ending.

Replay the game here
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Ivanchuk demolished Miton with a sacrificial attack when Miton forgot to protect his king.

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Here, Ivanchuk played 25. Bxh2, and Kamil was forced to return the material with interest several moves later to avoid getting mated.

Replay the game here
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Sutovsky won 'on class' against Bluvshtein. An instructive rook and pawn endgame.

Replay the game here
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Harikrishna again displayed his endgame might, winning in 77 moves over Tiviakov.

Replay the game here
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Charbonneau held on to draw against Kamsky. Charbonneau forced a series of exchanges to reach a theoretically draw minor piece ending.

Replay the game here
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Pascal and Gata before their round 8 draw

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An important game: Harikrishna v Tiviakov

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Iweta Rajlich

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Irina Krush

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All images copyright Robin Lindsay 2007.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Women's Grand-Prix Finale Standings

Standings after round 5:

1-3. Houska, Jovanka m ENG 2401 3.5
1-3. Cramling, Pia g SWE 2533 3.5
1-3. Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan m GEO 2418 3.5
4. Javakhishvili, Lela m GEO 2460 3.0
5-6. Krush, Irina m USA 2479 2.5
5-6. Rajlich, Iweta m POL 2406 2.5
7. Foisor, Cristina Adela m ROM 2372 1.5
8. Roy, Myriam CAN 1925 0.0

Round 7

The layers of drama surrounding the Nigel Short v Gata Kamsky encounter (a draw) at the International made it interesting for the spectators to say the least. Kamsky showed up several minutes late for the game, and Short simply stood at the other end of the room, refusing to acknowledge his opponent. Kamsky then took several more minutes to make his first move, at which point Short returned to the board. The game featured the truly ancient Ponziani's Opening, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3!? which is rarely seen at the top level these days. Short's motivation for playing this line remain a mystery. During the game both players were rooted to the board, rarely getting up to stretch their legs or to see what was happening in the other games. Obviously, both players were extremely motivated not to lose.

Nigel Short v Gata Kamsky

Replay the game here
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Sergey Tiviakov continues to display the best chess in Montreal with another fine attacking game, this time against Polish national Kamil Miton. Sergey goes into the penultimate round 1/2 point ahead of Vassily Ivanchuk, who is in sole second place.

Replay the game here
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Mutual blunders were exchanged in Harikrishna v Charbonneau, and both players agreed that a draw was thus a fair result.

Replay the game here
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Sutovsky and Elaynov didn't want to fight and agreed a draw on move 17.

Replay the game here
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After winning a pawn right of the opening, Ivanchuk ground down Bluvshtein in a Q and pawn ending.

Replay the game here
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Seems perfectly innocent

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Short getting ready

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

No Handshake!



Nigel Short and Gata Kamsky fail to shake hands before their round 7 game at the Montreal International. Another curiosity, the game began 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3!?

Was this specifically prepared for Gata?

Controvery at Quebec Open

Round 6 of the Quebec Open Championship was a controversial one. The game: Anastasovski, Nikola v John Yoos was at the centre of attention. Richard Berube, executive director of Fédération Québécoise des Echecs, and a member of the appeals commitee that was formed to address the situation, explained the sequence of events as he understood them.

Richard Berube: A phone rang during the game. We believed at the time that the phone belonged to Mr. Anastasovski, and in front of severel witnessess he ran out of the room. But, afterward we could not find a phone on his person, and Mr. Anastasovski denied having one. The arbiter decided that the game must go on, and the game was continued under protest by Mr. Yoos, and Mr. Yoos won. However, the phone was discovered at the front desk of the hotel, it was in an envelope under the name of Nikola Anastasovski. An appeals committee was formed, and the recomendation of the appeals committee was to expell Mr. Anastasovski from the tournament. However, head arbiter Yves Casaubon, decided not to expell Mr. Anastasovski.

Mr. Anastasovski has since withdrawn from the tournament.

Round 6

Nigel Short's woes continued with another loss, this time to Canadian GM Pascal Charbonneau. That makes Nigel a distant last as we head into the final leg of the International. For a player of his class to score 1/2 from six games is unprecedented in the modern era. Explanations vary - he had a toothache for the first two rounds and was in pain and loopy from medications. Then, he "was shell shocked from having started with naught out of two" as I overheard him say during his post mortem with Sutovsky after round four. Some are suggesting that the mere presence of Gata Kamsky is unnerving Short. Whatever the explanation, the chess disaster of the modern era is unfolding before our eyes in Montreal.

Bluvshtein v Tiviakov saw the Canadian hope use up oodles of time in the opening (an hour for moves 10-14) which left him little time for the rest of the game. At move 25 he had just 90 seconds(with a 30 second increment) on his clock to make the final 15 moves before time control. Needless to say, he blundered, and resigned before move 30.

Replay the game here
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Kamsky v Sutovsky was a quick draw. However, it did look like there was little left to play for.

Replay the game here
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Miton v Harikrishna was also drawn quickly, and looked worthy of playing out.

Replay the game
here
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The heat must have been getting to the players, because the all Ukrainian matchup, Elyanov v Ivanchuk, was also drawn with a board full of pieces.

Replay the game here
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Charbonneau v Short was a long and difficult struggle, ending with a victory for Pascal on move 68. Charbonneau unleashed some tactics right out of the opening (Scotch C45) which left Short with a miserable pawn structure and down a pawn. Charbonneau nonetheless had to switch to defense, and for a while it looked like Short had just enough activity to hold the draw.

Replay the game here
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Nigel Short goes down again. This time to Pascal Charbonneau

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Gata Kamsky is due to play Short in round 7

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Interview with Pia Cramling

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Swedish GM, Pia Cramling, granted me an interview after her round 6 victory over WGM Cristina Adela Foisor.

Q: Could you tell me about today's game?

I got a nice initiative. She played very quickly but then made a big mistake with 23. ... Qa7, because after I take on d6, my position is just overwhelming. She had to take on c5 probably. Then I will play 24. Ne5, and then a4 and Re3, with an attack. She didn't want me to enter with the knight, and this is why she didn't want to take on c5. (replay)

Q: What is your opinion of Myriam Roy?

I think she is very young. She is very good for her age. It is very important that she has someone who helps her. For her, it doesn't matter what the result is, the main thing is that she learns from all the games, and she analyzes the game with someone. She also has to work and to enjoy playing chess.

Q: How important is it for chess to have women's only events?

I think its important still because only 5% of players are women. When I was playing 20 years ago it was about 2%. We have to give benefits to women players, to help the young players. Women players should be encouraged to play in mixed events, but then we have this extra, which also has a social element, which is important for women. It is also important to have this grand prix, because while the ACP has a grand prix open to everyone, the difference between the top men and the women players is so great, except for Judit Polgar.

Q: So the goal of women's events is to popularize women's chess, so one day you won't have to have women's events anymore?

Yes. This is my opinion. If 40% of all the players were women, then we wouldn't need them. I think there should be much more women in all parts of chess, in organization, in the clubs, as trainers, and that's why this is so nice, because the women organizers here are organizing with their hearts, and I think we are all happy to be here.

Q: Is this your first time playing chess in Canada?

No. Its my fifth time. I was in Vancouver twice and I was in Toronto twice. The first time was in 81 and I played in a women's event and then in an open, and I had to speak English. It was very good for my English, becuase I was alone for a month, and I had to get around some how. Also, in 2003 I was invited to play in Toronto and Guelph.

Q: Does your daughter play chess?

Yes. She knows the rules.

Q: She does not play competitively?

She is only 5!

Q: Do you wish for your daughter to play competitively?

I would like her to play because I think children benefit from chess. But I also think its very good to do lots of things.

Q: What do you think of Montreal?

I like it very much. I liked how when we are on top of the mountain I could see how green the city was. I am from Stolkhom, which is also green, but Montreal is even more so.

Q: You are due to play Irina Krush tomorrow, is that game going to be important for the overall standings?

I think every game is important, so not especially so.

This interview is property of Robin Lindsay, all rights reserved. Please contact Robin Lindsay at rockrobinoff@gmail.com if you wish to reprint this interview.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Interview with Pentala Harikrishna

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Harikrishna, sponsored by The Sun Group, was kind enough to grant me an interview after his Round 6 draw with Kamil Miton. Harikrishna's comments are in italics.

Q: You played an interesting ending against Sutovsky in the first round. When did this Zugzwang idea occur to you?

I was calculating the idea before he played Re6. I was very happy to see it because it is the only way white is winning in this position. (replay)

Q: You also played a nice ending against Bluvshtein, do you have any thoughts on that?

He made a few mistakes in the middlegame, but the endgame was very nice and complicated as well. (replay)

Q: Did you have to be brave to allow black two queens for several moves?

There were very few queen moves for black as my knight was supporting most of the squares and my king was quite safe, so I had just to calculate a few moves – nothing special.

Q: Is this your first trip to Canada?

Yes.

Q: What do you think about Montreal?

I haven’t had much time to go around but its quite nice here and I am very happy to be here.

Q: India is becoming a very strong chess playing nation, you have yourself, Sasikiran, Anand, Humpy. Would you say there is a style that Indian players share?

Nothing in particular as such. I think every player is different. The styles of Sasikiran and myself and Humpy are completely different. Indians don’t play positionaly or tactically it depends on the player and his choice.


Q: In the second round you played Nigel Short. What does it feel like to play your former coach?

In fact, before I took coaching from him he defeated me twice, and after I took coaching from him he defeated me again twice. So I had to be careful for this game. I think it was equal (Short v Harikrishna 0-1 rd 2 Montreal International, click to replay), he just missed Ne4.

Q: Is he okay after Qg4?

I was seeing this variation, and I think white is going into a slightly worse endgame but should be holding.

This interview is property of Robin Lindsay, all rights reserved. Please contact Robin Lindsay at rockrobinoff@gmail.com if you wish to reprint this interview.

Round 5 Short Draws!

'Short Draws!' may sound like a less than sensational headline, but until round 5, points on the scoreboard for the English grandmaster had been the rarest of commodities at the Montreal International.

Sutovsky v Short was a Marshall gambit ("I haven't played the Marshall in 15 years" said Short during a very good natured postmortem), where black equalized comfortably. The players seemed to agree that in this position:

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bxc3 was a better try than Sutovsky's Rxc3, after which black has no problems.

Replay the game here
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Ivanchuk v Kamsky was a Marshall gambit as well, and followed Sutovsky and Short for some way. The peace was signed in a very drawish rook and bishops of opposite colours ending.

Replay the game here
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Tiviakov v Elyanov was another Ruy Lopez (Anderssen C77) which saw Elyanov resign in a hopeless position with only seconds on his clock. Tiviakov, who is playing very inspired chess this tournament, sacrificed a piece for two dangerous mobile and connected passed pawns in the centre. Game of the tournament in my opinion.

Replay the game here
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Harikrishna v Bluvshtein was a very long game, where Harikrishna permitted Bluvshtein two queens to his one for several moves in an ending. However, careful analysis (care of grandmaster Fritz) shows that Pentala was never in any danger of losing. An interesting and brave game from the Indian.

Replay the game here
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Miton v Charbonneau was a terrific middle game tussle with mutal sacrifices. Miton came out on top after the dust cleared.

Replay the game here
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Tied for the lead: Vassily Ivanchuk

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Kamsky and Ivanchuk after their game

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Tiviakov tears Elyanov apart in an inspired game

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Leading alone in the Women's Grand-Prix:
Jovanka Houska of England

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All images copyright Robin Lindsay 2007.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Round 4

A new trio of leaders has emerged at the Montreal International. Ivanchuk, Kamsky, and Elyanov, all won their games and are on 3/4. Sutovsky also won, getting him on the scoreboard, which leaves Nigel Short all alone in the cellar with zero(!) points from four games.

Charbonneau v Sutovsky was a Scotch game (C45). In this interesting position:

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White is down two exchanges for a pawn, but might be almost okay after 27. Bxb7 Rae8 28. Bc3. Instead, Charbonneau played Nh5? and went down quickly after: 27. ... Nxf5 28.gxf5 Rad8 29.c4 Rxd5 30.cxd5 Rxf5 31.Bxc7 Rxh5 32.d6 Bf4 0-1

Replay the game here
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Ivanchuk launched himself into a tie for the lead with his win over the struggling Nigel Short. A French Tarrasch (C07), Short seemed to be defending almost from the outset, and resigned two moves after Chucky's second queen appeared on the board.

Replay the game here
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Kamsky v Tiviakov was a Queens Indian where white omits c2-c4 (A47). Kamsky's victory placed him at the top of leaderboard, and knocked Tiviakov out of a tie for first in doing so.

Replay the game here
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A game that could have been played 100 years ago, Bluvshtein v Miton was a Queen's Gambit Cambridge Springs variation(D52). Another solid draw for Canadian Mark Bluvshtein, who is resting comfortably at +1.

Replay the game here
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Another important encounter was Elyanov v Harikrishna. Another Slav(D19) brought Elyanov to the top of the leaderboard, and HariKrishna down into a tie for second with Tiviakov.

Replay the game here
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Moments before the Charbonneau v Sutovsky game

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A critical encounter, Kamsky v Tiviakov

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GM Pia Cramling

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Video Impressions

Some video impressions from the start of round 4.





Sunday, July 22, 2007

Round 3

Round 3 was a double shocker as both Emil Sutovsky and Nigel Short both lost again. That makes three duck eggs in a row for the Israeli and the Englishman.

First to finish was the Harikrisna v Kamsky game. Pentala played the rare 6. Bd2 in an a6 slav (D15), which didn't seem to faze Kamsky at first. However, he spent 15 minutes on 7. ... dxc4 and a further 30 minutes on 10. ... Nd7. However, after Kamsky blitzed out a few more moves, the peace was nonetheless signed on move 15.

Replay the game here
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Ivanchuk ground down the hapless Sutovsky in a marathon game. Sutovsky never seemed to get enough compensation for a pawn shed in the opening (a Gruenfeld with 4.Bg5 D80) and was forced to shed another pawn and then a piece late into the endgame.

Replay the game here
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Tiviakov handed Short his third loss in a row. Short may be out of form, but this was nonetheless a fine attacking game by Tiviakov, who tore black apart in a Ruy Lopez(Worrall Attack C86), sacrificing two pawns along the way.

Replay the game here
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Bluvshtein is just a half point off the pace after his victory over fellow Canadian Pascal Charbonneau. A Kings Indian(E98), both players thought during the postmortem that the other was worse at some point, but nonetheless agreed that Pascal's 25. ... Bh6 was "crazy" and led to a quick loss.

Replay the game here
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Miton v Elyanov was a fighting draw that went the duration before the player's agreed to share the point.

Replay the game here
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Coleaders Sergey Tiviakov and Pentala Harikrishna

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Nigel Short is having no luck this tournament

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FQE select Myriam Roy had the daunting task of facing the legendary Pia Cramling in the first round of the Women's Grand Prix Finale

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Fresh from her victory at the US women's championship, Irina Krush

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Take this (the Personal Chess Manager by Monroi)

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Combine it with this

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And you get this, real time broadcast for the benefit of live spectators and on those on the internet.

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All images copyright Robin Lindsay 2007.


Women's Grand Prix Finale

The participants of the Monroi International Women's Chess Grand-Prix Finale are now in Montreal, and will begin their tournament today(Sunday). An 8 player, single round robin, this is the exciting culmination of seven months of qualifying tournaments. In addition to the $15 000 prize fund, a diamond encrusted watch is up for grabs.

Most of the participants enjoyed a guided tour of Montreal, and then a day at the spa on Saturday.

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WGMs Houska, Javakhishvili, and Rajlich

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WGM Arakhamia-Grant, FQE invite Myriam Roy, GM Cramling, WGM Foisnor

More info here

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Round 2

The first to finish, Charbonneau v Ivanchuk, was another short draw with the black pieces for the Ukrainian super GM.

Charbonneau v. Ivanchuk
Montreal International rd 2. July 21st 2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5 c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Be2 h6 9.Nf3 e4 10.Ne5 Bc5 11.O-O O-O 12.Kh1 Re8 13.f4 exf3 14.Nxf3 Ng4 15.d4 Bd6 16.h3 Bg3 17.Kg1 Qe7 1/2-1/2

Short v Harikrishna saw the English grandmaster blunder rather horribly right out of the opening:

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Short played 19. g4? and lost immediately to 19. ... Ne4. However, after 19. Qg4 white is fine.

At one point during the game Short had to be escorted to his hotel room to take pain medications for a tooth malady. Word is that he has a dental appointment on the free day.

Short v Harikrishna Montreal International rd 2. July 21st 2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d3 Nf6 6.d4 d5 7.Bd3 Bd6 8.O-O O-O 9.h3 h6 10.Nc3 c6 11.Re1 Re8 12.Rxe8 Nxe8 13.Ne5 Nd7 14.Bf4 Nf8 15.Qh5 Be6 16.Re1 f6 17.Ng6 Bf7 18.Bxd6 Nxd6 19.g4 Ne4 0-1

Another solid effort by Canadian Mark Bluvshtein, who perhaps had the better of the draw against last year's winner Pavel Elyanov.


Elyanov v Bluvshtein
Montreal International rd 2. July 21st 2007.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Nd2 Bg7 8.e4 O-O 9.Be2 Re8 10.O-O Nbd7 11.a4 Ne5 12.Re1 g5 13.Nf1 h6 14.Ng3 Ng6 15.f3 a6 16.Bd2 Nf4 17.Bf1 N6h5 18.Be3 Nxg3 19.hxg3 Nh5 20.Bf2 Bd7 21.g4 Nf4 22.Qc2 Be5 23.g3 Ng6 24.Kg2 Qf6 25.Be2 b5 26.Rh1 bxa4 27.Nxa4 Reb8 28.Nc3 Rb6 29.Ra2 Bc8 30.Na4 Rb7 31.Bc4 Bd7 32.b3 Bb5 33.Rd1 Bxc4 34.Qxc4 Rb4 35.Qc2 Rab8 36.Rd3 Bd4 37.Bxd4 cxd4 38.Nb2 Ne5 39.Ra3 Kg7 40.Qd1 Nxd3 41.Nxd3 R4b7 42.Qc2 Qd8 43.Nb2 Qb6 44.Nc4 Qb4 45.e5 dxe5 46.Qf5 Qe1 47.Nd6 Qe2 48.Kh3 Rc7 49.Ra2 Qf1 50.Kh2 Kg8 51.Qf6 Rbc8 52.Rd2 Rc1 53.Qxf7 Kh8 54.Qf6 Kh7 55.Qf5 Kh8 56.Qxe5 Kh7 57.Qe7 Kg8 58.Qf7 Kh8 59.Qf6 1/2-1/2

Kamsky v Miton saw Kamsky grind Miton in an ending where Miton perhaps went astray somewhere near the time control. In any case, it was a difficult ending (2 rooks and 2 pawns versus R+N+4 pawns)

Kamsky v. Miton Montreal International rd 2. July 21st 2007

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 O-O 9.O-O a6 10.a4 Nc6 11.Bg5 Be7 12.Re1 Bd7 13.Qe2 Nd5 14.Bxd5 Bxg5 15.Be4 Bf6 16.Rad1 Re8 17.Ne5 Qe7 18.Nxd7 Qxd7 19.d5 Nd4 20.Qg4 g6 21.Bb1 Nf5 22.dxe6 Rxe6 23.Ne4 Bd4 24.Ba2 Re7 25.Ng5 Qxa4 26.Qh3 h6 27.Bxf7 Rxf7 28.Nxf7 Kxf7 29.g4 Nd6 30.Qf3 Kg7 31.Qf4 Bxf2 32.Qxf2 Qxg4 33.Qg3 Qxg3 34.hxg3 Nf5 35.g4 Nh4 36.Re6 Kf7 37.Rb6 Nf3 38.Kg2 Ne5 39.Kg3 Rb8 40.Rd5 Nc6 41.Rd6 Ne7 42.Rd7 h5 43.g5 1-0

Sutovsky v. Tiviakov went the duration as well, with Tiviakov launching an irresitiable mating attack, beginning with a piece sacrifice and Sutovsky futilely returning the piece and resigning when he ran out of checks.

Sutovsky v. Tiviakov Montreal International rd 2. July 21st 2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.O-O Bd7 5.Re1 Nf6 6.c3 a6 7.Bf1 Bg4 8.d3 e6 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Be7 11.Qd1 O-O 12.a4 Rb8 13.g3 b5 14.axb5 axb5 15.Bg2 b4 16.Bf4 Nd7 17.Be3 Nb6 18.Nd2 Qd7 19.Qc2 Rfc8 20.c4 Bf6 21.Nb3 Nd4 22.Bxd4 Bxd4 23.Nxd4 cxd4 24.Qb3 Qe7 25.e5 Nd7 26.Ra7 Qd8 27.exd6 Nc5 28.Qd1 Qb6 29.Ra1 Qxd6 30.f4 Re8 31.Qf3 Rbc8 32.Kh2 g6 33.Ra5 Kg7 34.Rb5 b3 35.Qe2 Re7 36.Bf1 f6 37.Qd2 e5 38.Bg2 Rce8 39.Qb4 exf4 40.Rxe7 Rxe7 41.Rxc5 fxg3 42.Kh1 Ra7 43.Be4 f5 44.Bc6 Ra1 45.Kg2 Qf4 46.Rxf5 Qxf5 47.Qe7 Qf7 48.Qe5 Qf6 49.Qc7 Kh6 0-1

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Round 2 begins

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Short and Harikrishna are having opposite tournaments

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Ivanchuk and Charbonneau after the game. Note Chucky's interesting jacket!

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The Quebec Open, featuring 14 Grandmasters, is running alongside the International.

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Congrats to Irina Krush, newly crowned US Women's Champion.

Please contact Rockrobinoff@gmail.com if you wish to use any images for your site. Larger versions are available.

All images copyright Robin Lindsay 2007.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Press Conference

Before the beginning of the second round, Grandmasters Nigel Short and Pascal Charbonneau, along with several of the organizers, gave a press conference.

Question for Nigel Short:

How does this tournament compare to tournaments you normally play?

Nigel Short:

It’s a strong event. I am less obsessed with categories and numbers than some people. I am much more interested if the players are interesting, combative, players, and whether they are interesting personalities. For me that is what makes a good tournament.
The numbers go up, a dollar today is not worth what it was 20 years ago. There is inflation in chess. Though make no misunderstanding, this is a strong event. For me Vassily Ivanchuk is the man to beat. He is the man in form. Although anybody else has a chance.

Q for Nigel Short:

What did you learn from your match with Kasparov?

Nigel Short:

That Kasparov was a stronger player than I was (laughter). It was a long time ago, I played a lot of matches in my time. Nothing really compares with that match because, first of all, it was a match for the world championship, and it was such a high profile event. Followed all over the world. It’s all in the past, and I worked very hard for it, and it was perhaps a closer match than the score suggests. I was up against a much stronger force. Anyway, Kasparov is playing a different sort of chess game these days, against Mr. Putin (laughter). I think it is a game that Gary will find much more difficult. At any time Putin can put some extra pieces on the board, whenever he feels his position isn’t strong enough.

Q for Nigel Short:

You played a bitter match against Gata Kamsky in the early 90s. You are due to play him (Gata) on Thursday. What are your feelings about this?

Nigel Short:

What can I say? I have been playing chess for a very long time. My match against Gata Kamsky was by far the most unpleasant experience I ever had in my career. In essence Gata Kamsky won this match by cheating. His father threatened to kill me during the match. It was a very ugly incident. It had to be reported to the police. He (Rustam Kamsky) had to be pulled off me actually. So, quite frankly, I would rather not see him (Gata) But its not up to me, the organizers decide who is to participate. This is not my business. Gata Kamsky, if you talk to him now, I am sure you will find him to be a polite person. But its like someone who was part of a gangster group, and he would very much like to forget about these unpleasant parts of his past when he went everywhere with his father – who is nothing more than a thug. In other sports if you had a situation where a member of a delegation threatened to kill one of the players, and don’t forget Rustam Kamsky was a boxer, and, as far as I understand, had been in prison for such offenses, you would have an automatic disqualification, but for various reasons that didn’t happen. I am sure Gata Kamsky would like to forget about the influences of his father, but he benefited from it at the time. If I win this game it will give me more satisfaction than anything else.

Q for Pascal Charbonneau:

You haven’t been playing much lately. Are you planning on increasing your chess activities?

Pascal Charbonneau:

For personal reasons this has been a tough year for me. But I do intend to continue to play and to continue to improve, and not stagnate at the level that I am at now. I believe there is a lot of room for improvement. There are some things that I do well, and some things I haven’t don’t well in the past that I want to fix, mainly technical opening preparation.

Q for Pascal Charbonneau:

Is this the strongest event you have ever played in?

Yes definitely. I did get to play a lot of strong players in the past. In things like chess Olympiads. But if the Olympiad is a big can of juice, then this is concentrate.

Q for Pascal Charbonneau:

Do you still consider yourself to be a chess professional?

I never considered myself to be a chess professional.. I think I am a chess lover, and a chess fanatic, maybe, but not a professional because that is not where I make my money.

The preceeding account of the press conference for the Montreal International Chess Tournament is the property of Robin Lindsay, all rights reserved. Please contact Robin Lindsay at Rockrobinoff@gmail.com if you wish to reprint this account in whole or in part.

Opening Ceremony and Round One

The opening ceremony of the Montreal International was short and to the point. After a brief introduction in French and English from organizer Andre Langlois, and an explanation of the rules to the players by chief arbiter Yves Casaubon, the games began (note that games will start at 5pm local time, as per request of the players, from Sunday onward).

First to finish was Tiviakov-Ivanchuk. A 3.Bb5 sicilian, the players decided to share the point at move 22. The final position:

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looked worthy of playing out, but the chess fans were delighted nonetheless by the chance to witness the fascinating post mortum afterwards.

Tiviakov v Ivanchuk. Montreal International rd. 1. July 19th 2007.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5 Nd7 4.d4 Ngf6 5.O-O cxd4 6.Qxd4 a6 7.Bxd7 Bxd7 8.c4 g6 9.Nc3 Bg7 10.Re1 O-O 11.Qd3 Be6 12.Bd2 Nd7 13.b3 b5 14.cxb5 Nc5 15.Qe2 axb5 16.Qxb5 Ra3 17.e5 Qa8 18.Rac1 Rb8 19.Qf1 Bf5 20.Re3 dxe5 21.Qc4 Nd3 22.Rxd3 1/2-1/2

Miton v Short was a pretty smooth victory for Kamil. A Bogo Indian, Kamil showed black's isolated d pawn to be more of a liability than a weapon, and ground down short in 49 moves.

Miton v Short Montreal International rd. 1. July 19th 2007.

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 Bb4 4.Bd2 Bxd2 5.Qxd2 O-O 6.g3 d5 7.Bg2 Nbd7 8.O-O Re8 9.Qc2 c6 10.Nbd2 e5 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Rxe5 14.Nf3 Bf5 15.Qb3 Re7 16.Rfd1 Rc8 17.Nd4 Bg6 18.Bh3 Rc5 19.Qa3 Qb6 20.Rac1 Rec7 21.Rxc5 Rxc5 22.Qb3 Qc7 23.Qe3 h6 24.Bf5 Bxf5 25.Nxf5 Kh7 26.Qd3 g6 27.Ne3 Qe5 28.Qd4 Qxd4 29.Rxd4 a5 30.Kg2 Rb5 31.b3 Kg7 32.g4 Rc5 33.h4 g5 34.h5 b5 35.f3 b4 36.Kf2 Kf8 37.Rd2 Kg7 38.Nf5 Kh7 39.Ne3 Kg7 40.Rd3 Rc1 41.Nxd5 Rc2 42.Ne3 Rxa2 43.Nf5 Kh7 44.Rd6 Ne8 45.Rxh6 Kg8 46.Rc6 Ng7 47.Nh6 Kf8 48.Rc8 Ke7 49.Ng8 1-0


Bluvshtein v Kamsky was an a6 slav, and looked like a game that white was playing not to lose - fair enough given the 200 point rating gap. The players played on till the draw was in little doubt, with the pawn structure symmetrical and the queens about to come off.

Bluvshtein v Kamsky Montreal International rd. 1. July 19th 2007

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.a4 g6 6.e3 Bg7 7.Be2 O-O 8.O-O Be6 9.b3 Bg4 10.Ba3 Re8 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Bxf3 e6 13.g3 a5 14.Bg2 Na6 15.Qd2 Bf8 16.Bb2 Qb6 17.Rab1 Red8 18.Ba1 Nb4 19.Qe2 Rd7 20.Kh2 Bg7 21.Na2 Nxa2 22.Qxa2 h5 23.Qc2 Qc7 24.Kg1 Ne8 25.f4 b6 26.Rbc1 Qd8 27.g4 hxg4 28.hxg4 Nd6 29.cxd5 cxd5 30.Bb2 Rc8 31.Qd3 Rdc7 32.Rxc7 Rxc7 33.g5 Qc8 34.Rf2 Bf8 35.Bf3 Nf5 36.Bd1 Bb4 37.Re2 Qf8 38.Rc2 Rxc2 39.Bxc2 Ba3 40.Qd2 Nh4 41.Bxa3 Qxa3 42.Kf2 Qb2 43.Qd1 Nf5 44.Qb1 1/2-1/2


Harikrishna v Sutovsky was a Gruenfeld, and an impressive victory for the Indian. The final position:

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is quite cute, given that in this bare king and pawn end game white is a pawn down with no passers, but black is helpless.

Harikrishna v Sutovsky
Montreal International rd. 1. July 19th 2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 O-O 10.O-O Na5 11.Bd3 b6 12.Rc1 e5 13.dxc5 Be6 14.c4 bxc5 15.Bxc5 Bh6 16.f4 Re8 17.f5 Qc7 18.Bf2 Bxc4 19.Bxc4 Nxc4 20.Nc3 Nb2 21.Nd5 Qxc1 22.Nf6 Kg7 23.Nxe8 Rxe8 24.f6 Kg8 25.Qxc1 Bxc1 26.Rxc1 Nd3 27.Rc3 Nxf2 28.Kxf2 h5 29.Rc6 Re6 30.Rxe6 fxe6 31.g4 hxg4 32.Kg3 Kf7 33.Kxg4 Kxf6 34.Kh4 a5 35.a4 Ke7 36.Kg5 Kf7 37.Kh6 Kf6 38.h4 Kf7 39.Kh7 Kf6 40.Kg8 1-0

Last years winner, Pavel Elyanov won against local favourite Pascal Charbonneau.

Elyanov v. Charbonneau Montreal International rd. 1. July 19th 2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Be7 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.Nf3 O-O 8.h3 a6 9.g4 Re8 10.Be3 Nf8 11.g5 N6d7 12.h4 f6 13.Qd2 fxg5 14.hxg5 Ng6 15.O-O-O Ndf8 16.Rdg1 Bd7 17.Ne2 b5 18.Ng3 Rb8 19.Nf5 bxc4 20.Bxc4 Bb5 21.Bb3 Qd7 22.Qc3 c4 23.Bc2 Bd8 24.Qa3 Bc7 25.Nh2 a5 26.Ng4 Ba6 27.Ba4 Bb5 28.Bc2 Ba6 29.Bd2 c3 30.Qxc3 Rec8 31.Qc6 Be2 32.Kb1 Qd8 33.Rh3 a4 34.Qxa4 Ra8 35.Qb3 Bb6 36.Bd3 Bxg4 37.Rxg4 Rab8 38.Bb5 Bxf2 39.a4 Ne7 40.Qf3 Bd4 41.Ba5 Bb6 42.Bc3 Neg6 43.Rh1 Bc5 44.b4 Ba7 45.Bc6 Qa5 46.Rg2 Bc5 47.Bb5 Bxb4 48.Bxb4 Qxb4 49.Rb2 Qc5 50.Qe3 Qc7 51.Rc1 Qd8 52.Qa7 Rxc1 53.Kxc1 Rc8 54.Rc2 1-0

Some pictures from the opening ceremony and the beginning of the round 1:

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Gata Kamsky and Sergey Tiviakov are all smiles before round 1

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Ivanchuk trying to get concentrated

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foreground: Pavel Elyanov and Pascal Charbonneau
background: Kamil Miton and Nigel Short

Please contact Rockrobinoff@gmail.com if you wish to use any images for your site. Larger versions are available.

All images copyright Robin Lindsay 2007.




Thursday, July 19, 2007

Begin!

The opening ceremony and first round are today! Each days games will begin at 6pm, which means these guys could well be playing into the wee hours of the morning.

Pairings

Pairings are available here

Time Controls:

40 moves/90 minutes + 30 minutes/ko with 30s incrementation.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Schedule (updated)

Cérémonie d'ouverture : Jeudi le 19 juillet à 17h30
Ronde 1 : Jeudi 19 juillet 2007 18h
Ronde 2 : Vendredi 20 juillet 18h
Ronde 3 : Dimanche 22 juillet 17h
Ronde 4 : Lundi 23 juillet 17h
Ronde 5 : Mardi 24 juillet 17h
Ronde 6 : Mercredi 25 juillet 17h
Ronde 7 : Jeudi 26 juillet 17h
Ronde 8 : Vendredi 27 juillet 17h
Ronde 9 : Samedi 28 juillet 2007 17h
Tournoi blitz : Dimanche 29 juillet 2007
Cérémonie de clôture : Dimanche 29 juillet

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Cast

The Montreal International Chess Festival runs from July 19 - July 29th. I have no information about time controls, simuls and other side events. Given that the tournament runs ten days, and there are ten players participating, we can infer that there will be no rest days (assuming there is an opening ceremony) or one rest day (if there is no opening ceremony).

I will provide round reports and photos.

CATEGORY 17

1. Vassily Ivanchuk 2729 UKR

2. Gata Kamsky 2705 USA

3. Nigel Short 2691 ENG

4. Pavel Elyanov 2686 UKR

5. Sergey Tiviakov 2663 NED

6. Kamil Miton 2653 POL

7. Pentala Harikrishna 2650 IND

8. Emil Sutovsky 2648 ISR

9. Mark Bluvshtein 2520 CAN

10. Pascal Charbonneau 2502 CAN