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Top ten of Moscow open 2008

VLADIMIR AKOPIAN / Armenia, 2700

There is one very famous story that in the mid 80-s during one of the sessions of his famous school, Botvinnik in the presence of “alive” Kasparov named Akopian a future World Champion. Although he added that only in case he continued to train as hard as at the age of 15. Volodya had quite enough talent: delicate positional thinking, bright feeling of harmony, ability to defend any, even the most complicated positions. As for industriousness, …he, as the majority of Armenian chess players, did not overload himself with work.
And also Akopian has a problem with champion ambitions – it is hard to imagine that Volodya aspires after the title blazing through everything in his path. However, in 1999 in Las Vegas he lacked just on step to reach the target, and the champion laurel came to Khalifman. But Akopian was not crushed with this story; he continued to alternate bright performances with long periods of inactivity, and was strongly entering the team of best players in the world.

Akopian,Vladimir (2693) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2777)
Corus Wijk aan Zee (1), 10.01.2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Bg7 10.h3 Ne5 11.f3 Nbc6 12.Bf2 Be6 13.Qd2 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Qa5 15.a3 0–0 16.h4 Ng6 17.hxg5 hxg5 18.b4 Qc7 19.Ne2 f6 20.Bb2 Bf7 21.Nd4 d5 22.exd5 Qe5+ 23.Be2 Qxd5 24.0–0–0 Rfc8 25.Bd3 Ne5 26.Be4 Qa2 27.Nf5 Nc4 28.Qc3 Rc7

29.Rh7!! Qxb2+ 30.Qxb2 Nxb2 31.Rxg7+ Kf8 32.Rh1 1–0


Nobody has ever aroused a question about the level of chess talent of the Grand Master from Moscow region; one would be considered ill-mannered. Malakhov is one of those self-made people! Almost without help of others – famous coaches, sponsors and support of the federations – he managed to raise high in chess hierarchy (rating over 2700; title of Vice-champion, and if to be fair, the European champion 2004) but he has remained, in fact, an amateur. Volodya did not even think to sacrifice life for it…
He was in the track of his parents – physicists: university – graduate school – scientific work. He played chess and trained in his free time. Nevertheless, Malakhov possesses quite a large arsenal including deep opening elaborations and innovative interpretation of middle game, and his “shot” – a magnificent end game technique. Vladimir is tireless and scientifically consistent. No player will be able to feel completely safe playing him!

Malakhov,Vladimir (2664) - Areshchenko,Alexander (2570)
Moscow Aeroflot op-A Moscow (6), 20.02.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0–0 Nf6 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.Rd1 Qg4 8.d3 Ne5 9.Nbd2 e6 10.h3 Qh5 11.d4 Nxf3+ 12.Nxf3 cxd4

13.e5!! dxe5 14.Qb5+ Nd7 15.Rxd4 Rd8 16.Rxd7 Rxd7 17.g4 1–0


A 22 year old student from Moscow is a flame on a chess board! The person that can breathe life into any, even the most boring position and make it as bright as a rainbow. In fact, it is hard to imagine that Inarkiev happened to have a boring position.
Chess youth and infanthood of Ernesto took place in Elista (he is originally from Kyrgizia) under protection of Ilyumzhinov where he worked with such a creative master of attack as Yurtaev for several years running. When he understood that he had got everything possible from a famous “Kyrgyz” , he entered the University of Dvoretskiy with whom he collaborates closely. Inarkiev’s game is getting stronger and more diversified: apart from phantasmagoria of compli-cations one can hear an anthem to the classics more often. Time will show how serious Ernesto’s claims. Now he is armed and very dangerous!

Inarkiev,Ernesto (2650) - Zhang Pengxiang (2649)
RUS-CHN Summit Men 4th Nizhniy Novgorod (5), 24.08.2007
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qa5 7.Bd2 Qa4 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Rb1 c4 10.Qc1 f6 11.h4 fxe5 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Ne7 14.h5 0–0 15.Be2 b6 16.0–0 Bb7 17.h6 Ng6 18.Bg4 Qc6 19.hxg7 Rf7 20.Bh3 Re8 21.Be3 d4 22.cxd4 Nh4 23.f3 Nxf3+ 24.Rxf3 Rxf3 25.gxf3 Qxf3

26.Kh2! Qe2+ 27.Kg3! c3 28.Kh4! Bd5 29.Bh6 Qf2+ 30.Kg5! Ba2 31.Ra1 Qxd4 32.Qf4 1–0


One of the most ingenious modern chess players, and analyzing his career, one have a constant feeling that he could have achieved much more. Zviagintsev had, and better to say, has eve-rything to achieve this. And excellent opening training (think at least about his “invention” 1.e4 c5 2.Na3!?), and a wonderful understanding of a position, and finished end game technique (Vadim was being trained by Dvorezkiy for many years not in vain, and he was also the best pupil of the last from times of Dolmatov and Yusupov). But…something was constantly missing.
Maybe decisiveness? How many times did Zvyagintsev played an all-or-nothing game when it was already late, and brilliantly won “deciding” games which have not unfortunately decided anything. Maybe energy? There were times when during the match it seemed as though he had been substituted, and a series of victories was followed by a series of defeats. Self-trust? It seems that he, as Petrosyan in his time, sees too much for his opponents and very often defends against threats that are unseen to them. Anyway, Zviagintsev can “shoot” at any moment and win the tournament with advantage.

Kortschnoj,Viktor (2635) - Zvjaginsev,Vadim (2645)
Julian Borowski-A 4th Essen (4), 19.05.2002
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Qb3 Nf6 5.Nf3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 b5 7.Qd3 Nbd7 8.e4 b4 9.Na4 Qa5 10.b3 c5 11.e5 Nd5 12.Bd2 Be7 13.Rc1 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Bb7 15.Qg3 0–0 16.Bh6 g6 17.Bxf8 Bxf8 18.Be2 Bh6 19.Rc2 Nf4 20.0–0 Bxg2 21.Qxg2 Nxg2 22.Nc6

22...Ne3!! 23.fxe3 Bxe3+ 24.Kg2 Qd5+ 25.Bf3 Qd3 26.Rb2 Qb5 27.Re1 Bg5 28.Rd1 Nb6 29.Nd4 Qe8 30.Nxb6 axb6 31.Bxa8 Qxa8+ 32.Nf3 Bf4 33.Kf2 Qe4 34.Re2 Qf5 35.h4 h6 36.Rg1 g5 37.hxg5 hxg5 38.Ree1 Kf8 39.Nd4 Qh3 40.Rg2 Qh4+ 41.Ke2 Bxe5 42.Nf3 Qe4+ 0–1

ARTYOM TIMOFEEV / Russia, 2664

During the last two months of 2007 a young Grand Master from Kazan had two exciting mo-ments. In November he flew up to the sky when he managed to win Russian Cup having outplayed Bareev, Malakhov, and Zvyagintsev in final one after another. December saw his fall, deeper could not be, at the super final of the Russian championship where in the beginning he sustained a defeat 5 times running and finished the last although managed to win several times.
Which Timofeev will one meet in Moscow in February? is a question that many are concerned about. In fact, “both” of them play the same chess: aggressively, tenaciously, not missing the op-portunity and watching like a hawk the chances of an opponent. But if the first one is able not only to keep but to pile on the pressure on the board, the second one suffers a defeat after the first confrontation. In fact, it is hardly possible that Artyom is going to give away points again!

Timofeev,Artyom (2521) - Bologan,Viktor (2655)
Europe-Tartarstan m Kazan (1), 15.08.2001
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Ng3 g6 15.a4 Bg7 16.Bd3 c6 17.b4 d5 18.Bg5 dxe4 19.Nxe4 exd4

20.Nd6! Rxe1+ 21.Qxe1 Qc7 22.Qe7 Rf8 23.Ne5 Bc8 24.Nxd7 Nxd7 25.Bc2 h6 26.Bh4 c5 27.Re1 d3 28.Bxd3 cxb4 29.axb5 Qxc3 30.Re3 Ne5 31.Bf1 Qa1 32.Bf6 Be6 33.Rxe5 b3 34.Rxe6 Bxf6 35.Rxf6 b2 36.Rxf7 b1Q 37.Qxf8# 1–0

SERGEY TIVYAKOV / Holland, 2649

Long time ago he was trained for conquering of the chess Olympus in elite chess schools of the USSR; he was a so to say role model for his neighbour C Kramnik but he broke his teeth off with the Holy Grail, and gave up the attempts to win the crown. But nevertheless he has become the world champion - in Swiss. It is hard to think of any other Grand Master of elite level who would criss-cross the world traveling from one tournament to another as much as Sergey. And no one else probably has played as many gamed as he has Ceven taking into account session games (it happened that he got 8,5 out of 9 and many times 8 out of 9 etc.). Sergey is really tireless and keeps on enjoying life.
Tivyakov represents a classical pure style, although without any innovations, but it is stable and reliable, and what is more important, an effective style. A lot though depends on physical and moral condition: it is hard to keep freshness of perception if you have to sit at the board almost every day. But if Sergey had at least a week of rest before the tournament, he will be the most dan-gerous opponent C self-collected and ruthless.

Tiviakov,Sergei (2655) - Van Wely,Loek (2585)
Groningen Groningen (9), 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.a4 Nc6 8.0–0 Be7 9.Be3 0–0 10.f4 Qc7 11.Kh1 Re8 12.Bf3 Bd7 13.Nb3 b6 14.g4 Bc8 15.g5 Nd7 16.Bg2 Bb7 17.Qh5 g6 18.Qh3 Nb4 19.f5 Nxc2 20.fxg6 fxg6

21.Rf7!! Nf8 22.Raf1 Qc4 23.Bd2 e5 24.Nd5 Bxd5 25.exd5 h5 26.gxh6 Kh8 27.Rg7 Nh7 28.Qe6 1–0

FARRUKH AMONATOV / Tajikistan , 2649

Last year for a winner of the first Moscow Open was significant in many instances. Amonatov decided for himself: now or never! On the model of Morozevich -98, he seized the hour, being not high rated, he was playing nonstop for almost half a year, and raising, at least for a bit, his rating with every new tournament – and he jumped from nowhere (2559)to the top 100 with 2649! At the same time Farrukh for the first time was selected to take part in the super final of the Russian Championship – and could give a real try to himself against Morozevich, Swidler, Grishuk..
One cannot say that he was completely satisfied with this try – he was obviously short of strength, and perspectives which were bright in the beginning resulted in the last but two position. But an ambitious citizen of Moscow keeps his chin up and is ready to take the assault of barricades. Amonatov has everything to achieve this – desire, energy, strength, and now also a valuable experience!

Amonatov,F (2637) - Timofeev,Arty (2637)
RUS-ch 60th Superfinal Moscow RUS (1), 18.12.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.0–0–0 0–0 10.Bb3 Nd7 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.f4 Nc5 13.f5 Ne5 14.g4 b5 15.a3 Rb8 16.g5 Re8 17.h4 b4 18.axb4 Nxb3 19.cxb3 Rxb4 20.f6 Bd8 21.h5 Bb7 22.fxg7 h6 23.gxh6 Kh7 24.Rhg1 Rg8 25.Qg2 Qe7 26.Nf3 Bb6 27.Ng5+ Kxh6 28.Nxf7+ Kh7

29.Qg6+! Nxg6 30.hxg6+ Kxg7 31.Bh6+ Kf6 32.Rdf1+ 1–0


Several years ago Miroshnichenko, 24-year old at the time, had a really ill luck. He brilliantly won the Ukrainian Championship 2003 but nevertheless was not included in the golden Olympic team that a year later defeated everybody in Kalvia. And Zhenya could definitely took a place together with Volokitin, Elyanov and Karyakin that was the one who substituted him in that team, - it is hardly possible that he was considerably below them in class. Subtle positional intuition combined with good tactical vision and clear opening position could have had a good outcome.
In fact, the Ukrainian does not complain anyway. Even though his affair with the national team was not a success but his high positions in strong open tournaments and significant Elo are quite enough. But to tell the truth, Miroshnichenko’s tournaments in Moscow have not been a success so far. It was in far 1995 when Malanyuk celebrated victory as well as in 2006 in Aeroflot-Open…

Miroshnichenko,Evgenij (2509) - Kalygin,Sergey V (2472)
Alushta2 Alushta (4), 18.10.2000
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.h3 e5 6.d3 f6 7.Be3 Nh6 8.a4 a5 9.Na3 Be6 10.Nd2 Qc7 11.Nac4 Nf7 12.Qe2 b6 13.0–0 g5 14.c3 Rd8 15.b4 axb4 16.cxb4 b5 17.axb5 cxb5 18.Na3 cxb4 19.Nxb5 Qb7 20.d4 Bd7 21.Ra5 Rb8 22.Na7 Be7 23.d5 b3 24.Rb1 Qc7 25.Rxb3 Rxb3 26.Nxb3 Qc3 27.Qa2 Qe1+ 28.Kh2 g4 29.Nc6 g3+ 30.fxg3 Qxe3 31.Nxe7 Kxe7 32.Qa3+ Ke8 33.Ra8+ Nd8 34.Qa5 Ke7

35.d6+! Kxd6 36.Ra7 Ke7 37.Nc5 Kf7 38.Nxd7 Kg6 39.Nxe5+ fxe5 40.Qa6+ Kg5 41.Rg7+ 1–0


Now not too many remember the chess school of Kramatorsk that brought up at first Ponomaryev and Karyakin but also a good half of young Ukrainian Grand Masters that constitute the backbone of the national team were pupils there. Areshcenko is one of them. For a long time Sasha was in the shade of his counterparts whose names were very famous in the world, but he did not abandon hopes to reach their level one wonderful day…
The clock stuck for him in 2005 when he first showed himself brilliantly at Aeroflot, and then he won the Ukrainian Championship which was followed by a victory on the Isle of Man. Despite raised bumps, Areshcenko still keeps to the aggressive style, in every game he tries to play on the edge, to drag an opponent out of the trench even if it is one of top ten players. Sasha is good at calculating variants and believes in his tactical foxery, and he who hesitates playing him is lost, and more and more people learn about this with every other day!

Areshchenko,Alexander (2640) - Johannessen,Leif Erlend (2537)
Bundesliga 0607 Germany (11.3), 25.02.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.0–0 a6 7.Bb3 Ba7 8.Nbd2 0–0 9.h3 h6 10.Re1 Nh5 11.Nf1 Qf6 12.Be3 Nf4 13.d4 Ne7 14.N1h2 Neg6 15.Kh1 c5 16.d5 Qd8 17.a4 f5 18.Bc2 fxe4 19.Bxe4 Bf5 20.Qc2 Qd7 21.c4 Bxe4 22.Qxe4 Qf5 23.Qxf5 Rxf5

24.Ra3!! e4 25.Nd2 Nd3 26.Rf1 Raf8 27.Nxe4 Nxb2 28.Nxd6 R5f6 29.Rb3 Rxd6 30.Rxb2 b6 31.Nf3 Rd7 32.Rfb1 Re8 33.a5 b5 34.cxb5 axb5 35.Rxb5 Rxd5 36.Rb7 Re7 37.a6 Rd6 38.Rxe7 Nxe7 39.Rb7 Nc6 40.Nd2 Rd3 41.Rc7 Rd6 42.g4 Re6 43.Kg2 g5 44.Nc4 Kf8 45.Na3 1–0


Everything happens contrary the circumstances in chess destiny of the resident of Yekaterin-burg: he “shoots” when hardly anyone expects it from him, and vise versa, fails to reach the sky at the moment when all the circumstances are in his favour. Well, we have to only be astonished at his decision to become a coach – first, to a second for Swidler and assistant to Kramnik at the match against Topalov, and later the mentor of men’s Russian National team at the “golden” Eu-ropean Champion in Crete. Though… maybe it was the best variant possible since Motylev that have not had big individual victories for a long time (in 2007 he had three accidents: in Bleda, Krasnoyarsk and Khanty-Mansiysk) has a better chance to apply his really encyclopedic know-ledge here.
It is probably hard to conquer the Olympus having such a mild character that is devoid of ag-gression and sports cruelty, although, he probably still has ambitious plans, and in a particular he will not be a pleasant gift to any opponent. Maybe, it is Moscow Open that will become a turning point in the destiny of Motylev?!

Inarkiev,Ernesto (2500) - Motylev,Alexander (2639)
Moscow Aeroflot op Moscow (5), 07.02.2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 0–0 8.f4 Nc6 9.Nb3 Be6 10.Bf3 a5 11.a4 Bc4 12.Qd2 Qc8 13.Nd4 Ng4 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Bg1 Rb8 16.b3 Ba6 17.Rb1 f5 18.exf5 Qxf5 19.h3 Nh6 20.Be3 e5 21.g4

21…exf4!! 22.gxf5 fxe3 23.Qxe3 Nxf5 24.Qe6+ Kh8 25.Ne2 Rbe8 26.Qxe8 Rxe8 27.c4 Nd4 28.Kf2 Nxf3 29.Kxf3 d5 30.Rbc1 d4 31.Rhd1 c5 32.Rd3 Bh6 33.Re1 Bb7+ 34.Kg3 Kg8 35.h4 Re5 36.Kf2 Be3+ 37.Kg3 g5 38.hxg5 Rxg5+ 39.Kh4 Re5 40.Kg3 h6 41.Ng1 Rg5+ 42.Kh2 Rh5+ 43.Kg3 Rg5+ 44.Kh2 Bf2 45.Rf1 Rg2+ 46.Kh3 Bxg1 47.b4 cxb4 48.c5 Be3 49.Rf6 Rg1 50.c6 Bc8+ 51.Kh2 Rc1 52.Rb3 Kg7 0–1

Evgeniy Atarov