In the third round of A-tournament 32 players were fighting for the right to stay in A-group. All players who lost their matches today were redirected to B-tournament and will play the third round in B-group tomorrow morning on 31st of December. 16 players, including all GMs rated over 2700, continue their participation in the A-group till the end of the tournament. Four matches were decided on tie-breaks (rapid chess) today: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sebastian Maze, Sebastien Feller, Kamil Milton defeated Fabian Libiszewski, Loek Van Wely, Sergey Fedorchuk, Tigran Gharamian accordingly and proceed playing in A-tournament. All 16 players from A-group had already guaranteed their first tournament prizes in New Year.
The top players continue sharing their impressions about the tournament and games.
GM Etienne Bacrot: Yesterday it was quite easy match because I played against opponent with 1700 elo. Today the match was complicated. At the end I’ve got two slightly better positions and had more time but before it was unclear. I was trying to play fast today but let’s see what will be in the next matches. I didn’t have any special preparation for this tournament because I didn’t have time. I think it’s not a bad idea to play here – one game can be boring but with two games we’ll have some fun (laughing). It’s also nice to have New Year Eve here.
GM Alexander Moiseenko: The system of the tournament is unusual but interesting. It’s difficult to adapt to those matches because on the one hand you have time to think deeply on positions but on the other hand your attention switches to another game. I think one game becomes more important in one moment. Probably I will face the clearest experiment in time troubles or during the blitz match but until now I didn’t have that possibility and won both matches quietly. It happened to me twice that I started to write moves in different score sheets but in general I don’t feel confused during the games.
In the first match against Darovin Komljenovic I’ve got a comfortable position with Black and a slightly better position with White. Normally I would try to play for victory in such position with Black pieces. Even so when the position, where I had White pieces, became winning I preferred to secure the drawish result in the second game in order to fix the general victory in the match.
The practice shows that weaker players rarely get extra chances playing unusual chess against strong opponents. I think that the top-rated players will show good results here as well because this Basque system doesn’t look too different compare to “normal” one. I can not say that I came here because of the new system. The main reason to participate in the event was an impressive prize fund of course (laughing)! I don’t think that so many strong players will come only because they like the new system. Still I don’t regret to have chance to check that format. I can also say only good words about the tournament organization.