Final match: Volokitin wins!

Andrei Volokitin became the winner of Donostia chess festival. In the final match he defeated Viktor Laznichka with 2:0 score. The match was very tough and pressure became so high that Czech player just simply forgot about time in one of the games where he played with Black. The rook ending was equal and few moves earlier Andrei Volokitin proposed a draw which was declined by Viktor Laznichka. After the accident with time Czech Grand Master was not able to concentrate on the other game any more and blundered an exchange few moves later. Andrei Voliktin grabs 20000 euro and big motorbike.
In the B-group two leaders Antoaneta Stefanova and Vera Gonzalez-Quevedo Reynaldo made a quick draw which suited their tournament position. Few more players, who were half a point behind, managed to win in the last round and joined the group of the prize-winners. As a result Sergey Fedorchuk became a winner of the C-group.

Round 6 report

On the 4th of January two semifinal matches were played in A-group – Leinier Dominguez faced Andrei Volokitin and Alexander Moiseenko played against Viktor Laznichka.. The first game of the match Volokitin-Dominguez was drawn. Cuban player got quite comfortable position with Black in the second one but after few mistakes Dominguez had to defend worse rook endgame. Andrei Volokitin played precisely and won the game and the match,

In the first classical game Alexander Moiseenko, who had white, sacrificed a piece but made a mistake in a complicated position. As a result he had to give up the second piece for some contra play but the compensation was not enough. Even so Moiseenko managed to equalize a score by winning the second classical game. The match was decided in rapid.  Viktor Laznichka won comfortably with white and managed to fix the general victory by giving perpetual check in the second game.

Andrei Volokitin and Viktor Laznichka will meet in the final tomorrow on the 5th of January.

Players who were eliminated from the B-group continue playing in normal open tournament (C-group). Former World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova, who defeated IM Mikel Huerga Leache, shares the first place together with Vera Gonzalez-Quevedo Reynaldo. 10 players share the third place half a point behind. The last round of C-group will be held on 5th of January.


Viktor Laznichka shared his emotions after the match with Alexander Moiseenko:


I think the first classical game, where my opponent sacrificed a piece, was completely winning for me. He might have some compensation but I think it’s not enough. I didn’t see how he can even equalize a position. I think I’m at least better. So my opponent could have better chose Bf4, Bg3 but still my position seemed to me slightly better. The second game was just incredible! It was totally equal but I saw I was winning with black and I’ve got nervous a little bit. I started to play for a draw, changed some pieces but its nonsense of course – I should have continued to play normal chess.

Q. What did you feel before the rapid? How did you manage to calm down after those tough games?I just knew that I was completely idiot and I had to play again! (Laughing) I knew I had to perform well. Of course I was angry but with such a mood you can resign immediately. I should have recovered fast. In rapid I’ve got comfortable edge with white and initiative, so it was quite easy to win after f5. In the game with black pieces I had a better position all the time. Even so I’ve got a bit nervous again because the situation reminded me the previous classical games. Fortunately I managed to make a draw in this game.

Q. What do you think about new Basque system?

It’s fun to play here and I like the idea. I don’t need to count elo points, so I can just simply play chess. I think preparation doesn’t play that crucial role here if we compare with normal chess. So I think this format fits my style.

Round 5 report

The fifth round of Donostia Chess Festival was welcomed with a sunny weather on, however all the matches of A and B tournament were quite tense. Rating favorites Vugar Gashimov and Ruslan Ponomariov were defeated by Viktor Laznichka and Andrei Volokitin in classical time and had to leave the tournament. Leinier Dominguez Perez and Julio Granda Zuniga made two draws but Cuban player proved to be stronger in rapid and defeated his opponent with 2:0 score. Alexander Moiseenko and Etienne Bacrot played a very tough match. Opponents made two draws in the games with classical control, exchanged the punches in rapid games, made two more draws in blitz games and had to play Armageddon.

Armageddon match consists of two blitz games, played simultaneously. During the drawing of lots Alexander Moiseenko chose black pieces and 5 minutes in both games. Etienne Bacrot had 6 minutes and white pieces in both game but had to score 1.5 points in the match in order to win. The first game was drawn quite fast and Moiseenko, who needed to make a half a point, managed to mate his opponent in the second game.  As a result two Ukrainian participants Alexander Moiseenko and Andrey Volokitin will play against Viktor Laznicka and Leinier Dominguez Perez  in semi-final.

The last round was held in B-group today. Four out five matches were finished in classic – Loek Van Wely, Ivan Cheparinov, Tigran Gharamian, Christian Bauer won their matches, while Antoaneta Stefanova and Andrei Shchekachev drew both games and had to play tie-breaks. Former World Champion lost the match with 1.5:0.5 score in rapid.

Andrei Volokitin about his match with Ruslan Ponomariov:  “The match was very tough and both games were complicated, In the first game I sacrificed a pawn but my opponent didn’t defend very well  and I’ve got a very big advantage. In the second game suddenly  I  managed to make a draw . I think Ruslan could have played stronger, I think he played too fast in one moment.  Basque system is very interesting and not typical. It has right to exist.  I like to play chess in general, so I feel comfortable to play so many games. The more the better!”

Round 4 report

After New Year’s Eve all players were ready to uncompromising battles again. In the A-group only three matches were decided in classical games. Julia Granda Zuniga defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with 2:0 score, Alexander Moiseenko won against Kamil Miton with 1.5;0,5 score and Etienne Bacrot took an upper hand on his compatriot Sebastian Maze. Three other matches were decided on rapid games: Andrey Volokitin won against Arkadij Naiditsch, Viktor Laznicka defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The closest battle by rating was Dominguez – Fressinet. A very tough match was finished in favor of Cuban player (video will follow soon). In the matches Gashimov – Landa, Ponomariov – Feller opponents exchanged the punches in rapid games and were ready to check who will be stronger in simultaneous blitz. The nervous systems of rating favorites Vugar Gashimov and Ruslan Ponomariov proved to be stronger today and both of them won their blitz matches with 2:0 score. After the fourth round 8 participants of A-group, who succeeded to win today, will keep on playing in quarterfinals.

Only 10 participants left in B-group after the fourth round.  All of them will play the last decisive matches on 3rd of January. Players who lost today were redirected to C-group. One of the top-players of B-group Sergey Fedorchuk unexpectedly lost against Alejandro Hoffman, who caught him in the opening, with 2:0 score.

Players continue sharing their thoughts about a new format of the event and their matches.

Julia Granda Zuniga:

“It was a very tough match today because it’s very-very difficult to play simultaneously two games against such a strong player. I didn’t prepare for my games and I received very bad positions in the openings, especially in the game with white pieces. His position was almost winning but my opponent didn’t play precisely, so I kept the position. In the second game I was slightly better but he took some risk and after that I’ve got some edge. At that moment his time advantage was very big – I had only 5 minutes left in both games and he had one hour in each one. He offered draws in both games but I refused to accept it thinking that my only chance to win can be in with normal control because Shakhriyar plays in rapid and blitz even stronger. Tournament goes well for me So far, I didn’t expect such result. The funny thing is when I play tennis I use both hands usually. Here I use one hand to make moves and another one to write in score sheets. I’m satisfied with my result so I hope there will be more tournaments like that in future.”

Loek Van Wely:

“Once I participated in the tournament where we played on six boards at the same time and it was more like simul. Some theoretical battles could even happen on some boards. It was much more important to play quickly there and put time pressure on your opponent. Still it’s also kind of tricky to play on two boards. I believe its better not to play fast here. You should not be destructed by your opponent who makes moves on the other board as well. Although, if there is an obvious move on the other board you can make the move quickly but in general it’s better to keep on thinking about your position. The only situation when it’s possible to switch all the time is when you have time trouble. In any case it’s not so simple somehow to play here.  I lost to Sebastian Maze in the previous round. We had two very tough games in normal time control and in rapid it was even worse. It’s possible to play on “autopilot” but in those games it was difficult to calculate all the variations. I was better in one rapid game but I had to play accurately which was not easy to do with that time control. You look to one board then to another one and somehow you don’t see clearly any more. I believe people will like this format and we are going to see more tournaments with Basque system. In my opinion it’s a fairer format. There is a chance to play against the same opponent with both colors. In open tournament you play with black against weaker opponent and he is happy to make a draw with you for example while you have to win. I don’t know why weaker players doing it but many of them just happy to make a draw with stronger opponent and they don’t want to fight. Playing here I don’t care about this problem because I also have my game with white pieces. If my opponent wants to make a draw with white I’ll be happy to make a draw but he is still going to suffer in another game (laughing).  I also believe it’s good for chess because your opponent always have to show something if he wants to win.

B-group: round 3 report

The players who have been knocked out from A-group joined the players from B-group and had to play the third round of B-tournament on 31st of December. Few GMs who lost their chances to stay in A-group cancelled their participation. Top seed of B-tournament GM Loek Van Wely had a rest day because of odd number of participants. Third round didn’t bring too many surprises – most of rating favourites took an upper hand on their opponents. The intense struggle was in the match Sarhan Gashimov-Sergey Fedorchuk. Azeri player made two draws and even had chances to finish the match on his favour as in the second classical game he had promising position with an exchange up.  The match was decided on tie-breaks – Sergey Fedorchuk was stronger in rapid and won the match with 1.5:0.5 score. Alejandro Hoffman won against Nicolas Brunner in rapid. French players Fabien Libiszewsky and Axel Delorme made two quick draws in classical games and let the match to be decided on tie-breaks. The match was decided only in Armageddon as all previous rapid and blitz matches were drawn. Armageddon games also consist of two blitz games, played simultaneously. Fabien Libiszewsky had Black pieces and 5 minutes in both games against his compatriot Axel Delorme who had White pieces and 6 minutes and had to score 1.5 points in the match in order to win. Alex Delorme lost the first game on time and immediately resigned in the second one as the match was already lost.  Both players showed a very exciting performance which will be possible to check online soon.

Players who lost their matches today will be redirected to C-tournament.

The next rounds of A, B and C tournaments will be held on 2nd of January 2012 at 3 p.m.

Happy New Year!