Peter Svidler and Andrey Belozerov become September’s laureates
This month there were just 11 candidate games. One cannot rule out the possibility that all the players were hit by creative depression, but there is also another possibility: the columnist become a bit fed up of brilliances, and his approach became more critical. Let us take, for example, Efimenko-Sarakauskas game. It received words of praise from experts and took a decent place after the voting, while I hadn’t been sure whether to include it into the selection, as the Black’s play from 11th to 15th move seemed too cooperative.
The coming months will show whether it will be necessary to change the interlocutor (using Tal’s sentence), and now let us proceed to our habitual routine of announcing the results.
The following players joined the jury: Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Michal Krasenkow, Sergey Shipov, Emil Sutovsky, Nikita Vitiugov, Vladimir Potkin and Vladimir Barsky.
Peter Svidler, who had received an order for his game against Topalov in February, became the laureate again. A swift attack conducted in the rapid game against Magnus Carlsen received first place from Sutovsky, shared first from Barsky, two second and a third place. Nikita Vitiugov (I’ll be quoting him further on) says the following: ‘It is a real pleasure to observe such examples of Peter Svidler’s creative work – starting at some point, harmony is singing in every move.’
Peter seems doomed to surpass his opponents by narrowest of margins. In February he shared the laurels with Aronian, and now we should proclaim Andrey Belozerov as a co-winner. His victory over Alexander Galkin lost a tiny bit to Svidler-Carlsen in the voting, at the same time receiving 3 first places (Potkin, Vitiugov and Shipov) and 2 third ones.
‘An inspired game by the Tomsk player! First a piece, then a rook, and both sacrifices seem objectively sound.’ (Vitiugov)
‘Galkin is known to be an excellent defender, and if he suffered a loss, then the game is indeed outstanding…’ (Potkin)
Efimenko-Sarakauskas landed on the third spot (first place by Kovalevskaya, shared first by Barsky and one third place).
‘A good game demonstrating that material sometimes is irrelevant in positions with long pawn chains.’
The game Grigoriants-Khismatullin was described by Nikita as follows: ‘An excellent example of windfall-tree play by the future participant of the Superfinal.’ In protocol it got two second places and a third one, which resulted in final 4th position.
Pelletier-Giorgadze and Grabarchik-Navara got equal amount of points. The former received one second and one third place, and, curiously, five 5th places, which clearly justifies the overall 5th.
Intuitive sacrifice without immediate gains is one of the most complex chess tools. The game is aesthetically pleasing. Personally for me it is interesting because I worried about similar idea in a similar position against Asrian – and it turns out I was right.’
Krasenkow and Kosteniuk placed Grabarchik-Navara on the first place. I suspect other expertrs were disappointed by White’s weak play after accepting a stunning queen sacrifice.
Let me stop here. Usually I name ten best games, but this should be kept proportional. Almost all the remaining encounters enjoyed only local successes.
Ivan Smykovskij covered games of the Tomsk Higher League, so I’ll try to highlight the remaining games soon. See you then.