15.09.2005 Golden Blitz Tournament

On the second day of the event Ruslan Ponomariov and Evgeny Bareev quickly advanced to the final – the latter confidently outplayed the ACP Board member Pavel Tregubov, and the former cleverly exploited mistakes of Vlad Tkachiev. The crowd was a bit confused about one of the games in Tregubov-Bareev match: pieces began to fall off the board with very few seconds for both players left on a clock (even the kings disappeared from monitors!), and then the arbiter Igor Bolotinsky announced that Bareev won. This was maybe the only puzzling moment in a whole two-day chess TV-show, which otherwise ran smoothly despite natural lack of experience - this was a first chess "reality show" ever!

In the women's final Alexandra Kosteniuk demonstrated her sharpness in blitz as well as excellent opening preparation. After winning the first game with White, she uncovered a powerful novelty in the Petroff's defense, which immediately gave her a dominating position. Almira fought bravely, but having deficit in both time and material, it is difficult to turn the tables. 2-0, and Alexandra Kosteniuk wins the first Golden Blitz trophy!

Evgeny Bareev is 17 years older than Ruslan Ponomariov, so the Ukrainian has an obvious advantage in blitz. Some experts said that 10-year difference in age must be compensated by one minute on a clock! Maybe the fact that Bareev realized his inferiority in the flagging component of blitz influenced the outcome of the match: having obtained an excellent position with an extra pawn in the game one, he kept playing very fast, increasing his time lead, and blundered a pawn. The game ended in a draw.

In the second game Ruslan selected the King's Indian, and outplayed his skilled opponent in a complex position. Maybe this was the best Ponomariov's effort of the whole event. Evgeny tried to confuse his opponent with a ghost of attack, but the former FIDE champion led the game to a logical conclusion.

However, the show wasn't finished yet, as Alexandra and Almira challenged the winners of the men's tournament! The rules of the bonus game stated that both team members make their moves one after another, and only when it remains less than a minute, one of the players steps off. The ladies tried to develop the kingside initiative, spending more time than their fearful opponents, but did not manage to break through Black's defense. The men in turn advanced on the queenside, but a timely piece sacrifice by Alexandra Kosteniuk in a 1-minute zone led the game to a draw by perpetual check. Applause to all four! This was a true culmination of the TV-show, broadcasted live on Tuesday and Wednesday on NTV+ Online satellite channel on Russia and many former Soviet Union republics.

K.Kiknadze is waiting for his turn
while M.Makarytcheva interviews A.Roshal
Good friends Almira and Alexandra before their match

The second game
Alexandra Kosteniuk: "Black immediately
obtains a winning position!"

Honored trainers of Russia Anatoly Bykhovsky
and Mark Dvoretsky
Joel Lautier with a cup for Alexandra

Men's final, game 1: Bareev has extra pawn
and extra time
However, it ended in a draw

Men's final, game 2: Ponomariov quickly got
an overwhelming position in the King's Indian
Prize-giving ceremony

A bonus 2-vs-2 match
It is getting complicated...

The four winners face to face
Ruslan and Alexandra

Our hard-working commentators Joel Lautier (ACP)
and Sergey Makarytchev (NTV+)
Nigel Short, Leonid Brezhnev and Svetlana Matveeva


This article is published with permission of Association of Chess Professionals

   Main  About  Articles In Sections  Best Games Of The Month  Reviews  Portrait of Chessplayer  Interviews  Closed World  News Archive  Guestbook