(English) Round 2 report

The second round (which followed the first preliminary round) appeared to be not an easy one as most of the players faced the new “Basque system”, which allows participants to play two simultaneous games with different colors against the same opponents, for the first time in their lives.

After the second round only 32 players, who won their matches, continue their participation in A-group while the others keep on playing in B-group. Most of the rating favorites won their matches but some of them had to play the tie-breaks (two simultaneous games with 15 min+10 sec per move and in case of draw, two simultaneous blitz games with 5 min+3 sec and an Armageddon game in case of drawish result of previous matches) in order to pass. 3 matches were decided during blitz games: Felix Izeta defeated Eric Prie, Christian Bauer won against Sarhan Gashimov and Fabien Libiszewski was stronger in the match against Daniel Almeida Toledano.

On the second board Shakhriyar Mamedyarov took an upper hand on the local player IM Inigo Argandona Riveiro (2381 Elo). Even so the match went difficult for the player fromAzerbaijanas the first game, where he had white pieces, was drawn in 16 moves and the result of the second one was unclear till the end.  The third round will start at 3 p.m. local time. 32 players will fight for 16 places in A-group.  All players who lose will be redirected to Tournament B.

After the matches some players shared their impressions about their games and expressed their attitude to “Basque system”.

Former World Champion GM Antoaneta Stefanova:

“Actually it was quite funny to play two games against the same opponent. I can say that I enjoyed it. It went well from the beginning. I was playing fast and put some problems to my opponent. After the match my opponent Stefan Loeffler said that in both games he mixed moves in the variations. Still it’s difficult to make conclusions – only one round passed. I’ve never played the tournament like that before, so I expected to be more confused with all those actions – playing, writing moves in different score sheets, pushing buttons on clocks. Loek Van Wely told me he had played the tournament on the six boards against the same opponent. So since we have only two here it can not be so difficult. After playing blindfold games inChinanothing can scare me! As long as I can see the board I can play 10 games at the same time.”

GM Sergey Fedorchuk (Ukraine):

“I participate in such tournament for the first time. I think it’s a very unique tournament and nothing like that had ever happened before. I felt mixed-up at the beginning of the match. I lost the concentration but later on I found the rhythm. I was lucky to play with not a very strong opponent today because I’m afraid it would be more difficult for me. During the game I was confusing moves, score sheets…I was writing wrongs moves, correcting them and of course it distracted me. At least I pushed clocks correctly. I was playing very fast at the beginning thinking that my time will finish very soon but in fact 2 hours are enough even for two games. I believe it’s just new type of game just different one if we compare to “normal” chess. Some players can play better rapid chess; some of them play better blitz, so there will be some players who can play better with that format as well. Some poker players open many tables in computer screen. They play simultaneously everywhere and can control the situation.

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan)

I’m playing with such format for the first time. It was very difficult to play today but it was an interesting experience for me. In the first game I made a huge mistake. In fact I underestimated my opponent at the beginning. In the second game I had black pieces and had to change queens and play the endgame. I believe White had very good chances even in the end. In the most critical moment, when I played Ng1, my opponent could have chosen Rh7 Bh7 and Rg2. He threatens to take my knight on g1 and play Rg7 at the same moment. I have to play Nf3 Rg7 Kf6 Rh7 and during the game the final position of that variation looked drawish.

I had chance to follow the games of the other players and their matches seemed to be also tough. Vugar Gashimov won easily the first game but had hopeless position in the second one. I think that it doesn’t meter here if you play Black or White. Only if someone manages to make a draw with Black than he might have some advantage. I think it was a good idea to organize a tournament with such system especially during the holidays. Players can enjoy playing chess and have some rest here as well. I think this Basque system is very competitive. I like this format and that’s why I’m here. The idea was created by David Bronstein and if I’m not mistaken he was playing against Mikhail Tal crazy matches on eighth boards simultaneously. I don’t know if this format can be popular in the future but in my opinion to organize this event is already a big success!