The Qualifying Rapid Tournament of the Aeroflot Open finished today. The 32 players that will participate on the Knockout Rapid Tournament on Friday are already known.

The traditional Aeroflot Open started immediately after the International Chess Festival Moscow Open-2013, from 11-18 February in Moscow, Russia.

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The day started with six players having a perfect score. Only one of them was able to win his first 2 games, Azerbaijani GM Rauf Mamedov.

Mamedov’s first victory was against GM Shekhar Gangluywith the white pieces. It took 72 moves to break the resistance of the Indian. The game finished in a position where  white has mate in two despite the fact that his opponent will soon promote his a-pawn to a queen.

The second win had a totally different nature. The Azerbaijani played a sharp Sicilian Defense to defeat GM Anton Korobov with a direct attack against his king. Black kept his king in the center in order to organize a strong kingside attack with the help of a rook on the g-file. Korobov resigned on move 30 when Black not only had won an exchange but also maintained very strong attacking chances.

Then the “draw-fest” began.

The seventh round finished with draws on the first 8 boards, thus keeping exactly the same leaders at the very top, Rauf Mamedov and Sanan Sjugirov. At the same time, the chasing pack grew extensively; 20 players were one point behind the leader.

One of the flaws of the system used this year presented itself in the very beginning of the 8th round. Since there were 32 spots to qualify and most of the players are professionals who are trying to at least earn some money from qualifying, they started to do what was best for themselves: making quick draws.

10 out of 16 games finished in draws that lasted less than 5 minutes. Some of the players had the decency to at least play eight moves, but some of them just shook hands after three moves were played. For example: Efimenko – Kashgaleyev, Chadaev – Guseinov, Smirnov – Reshetnikov, etc.

This incident came as a surprise for the chess world because one of the ideas behind creating a rapid tournament instead of a classical one was to increase the entertainment value for the spectators.

The only exception was GM Gata Kamsky, who proved why he has stayed so long on the elite by beating the tournament leader Rauf Mamedov in 30 moves. The only decisive game on the top boards came precisely in the first one. Bravo Gata!

The last round saw the same scenario as the round before. All the top boards finished with quick draws, and this time not even Gata Kamsky looked for a victory, given that his qualification was absolutely certain with the half point.

At the start of the round, three players shared the first place with 6.5 points: Kamsky, Sjugirov and Mamedov. Behind them, a large group of 27 players shared the 4th-30th places with 6 points. All games played by these players finished in a quick draw of 15 moves or less.

The only “unfortunate” player of this pack who had to face a rival willing to fight was GM Mikhail Mozharov, who lost against the Indian GM Abhijeet Gupta.

After these two disappointing rounds, the result was that 4 players stood out with a 7 points score and 29 tied with 6.5. The unlucky player that was eliminated was Russian IM Andrey Gorovets.

Among the qualified players, only one of them is not a Grandmaster: IM Alexey Reshetnikov. It’s also worth to point out that 18 out of the 32 are Russians, as was expected given the amount of participants from the organizing country.

The International “camp” will be represented, among others, by two American players, Kamsky and Dlugy; one Indian representative, Abhijeet Gupta; one Turkish, Junior World Champion Alexander Ipatov; one Venezuelan, Eduardo Iturrizaga; one Vietnamese, Le Quang Liem, etc.

Final Standings:

1 GM Kamsky Gata USA 2760 7.0
2 GM Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2633 7.0
3 GM Mamedov Rauf AZE 2651 7.0
4 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2612 7.0
5 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2733 6.5
6 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2678 6.5
7 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2628 6.5
8 GM Efimenko Zahar UKR 2670 6.5
9 GM Le Quang Liem VIE 2686 6.5
10 GM Kokarev Dmitry RUS 2637 6.5
11 GM Guseinov Gadir AZE 2623 6.5
12 GM Bukavshin Ivan RUS 2551 6.5
13 GM Ponkratov Pavel RUS 2608 6.5
14 GM Popov Ivan RUS 2634 6.5
15 GM Iturrizaga Eduardo VEN 2646 6.5
16 GM Ipatov Alexander TUR 2569 6.5
17 GM Smirnov Pavel RUS 2619 6.5
18 GM Chadaev Nikolai RUS 2590 6.5
19 GM Zvjaginsev Vadim RUS 2662 6.5
20 GM Shimanov Aleksandr RUS 2630 6.5
21 GM Tukhaev Adam UKR 2634 6.5
22 GM Volkov Sergey RUS 2582 6.5
23 GM Shomoev Anton RUS 2543 6.5
24 IM Reshetnikov Alexey RUS 2499 6.5
25 GM Vorobiov Evgeny E. RUS 2568 6.5
26 GM Frolyanov Dmitry RUS 2591 6.5
27 GM Kazhgaleyev Murtas KAZ 2586 6.5
28 GM Maletin Pavel RUS 2585 6.5
29 GM Dubov Daniil RUS 2578 6.5
30 GM Svetushkin Dmitry MDA 2612 6.5
31 GM Dlugy Maxim USA 2543 6.5
32 GM Lintchevski Daniil RUS 2563 6.5
Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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