It is a dream scenario for any organizer: to have two leaders facing each other in the final round and fight out, in a direct confrontation, who will be the winner and get the trophy. The two gladiators were Pavel Eljanov and Wesley So. They sat down at board one, played three moves and then… shook hands. (Maybe they decided that the Grünfeld is a draw after all?)
Eljanov,Pavel (2678) – So,Wesley (2684)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5
The game ended so quickly that some players hadn’t even entered the playing hall yet, like for instance board 2 player Gawain Jones. This way his opponent Anish Giri could follow the top game “live”, and like anyone else, the tournament’s top seed was disappointed that the players didn’t play “at least a few more moves”. Pavel Eljanov said he was planning to “play a little”, but when his opponent offered the draw, he saw no reason to decline.
This meant that six players had a chance to catch Eljanov and So in the standings. They were all paired against each other: Jones-Giri, Wei Yi-Cheparinov and Amin-Gajewski.
Only one of them managed to win his game: Bassem Amin. In his interview he told us that he had graduated a day before the tournament, and so he got himself a nice prize to celebrate! Eljanov, So and Amin shared 8250 Euros according to the Hort system (Eljanov had the best Bucholz and therefore received slightly more prize money).
Wei Yi and Cheparinov played a very spectacular draw. Unfortunately most of their moves were all theory!
Wei,Yi (2501) – Cheparinov,Ivan (2709)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.f3 Be6 9.Qd2 0–0 10.0–0–0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.g5 b4 13.Ne2 Ne8 14.f4 a5 15.f5 a4
16.Nbd4 exd4 17.Nxd4 b3 18.Kb1 bxc2+ 19.Nxc2 Bb3 20.axb3 axb3 21.Na3 Ne5 22.h4 Ra4 23.Rh3 Qa8 24.Qd5 Rxa3 25.bxa3 Qxa3
26.Rd2N As far as we can see, only this move is a novelty. 26.Qd2 Nf6 27.Bd4 Nfd7 28.Bxe5 Nxe5 29.Qb2 Qb4 30.Re3 Rb8 31.Rc1 Bf8 32.Rcc3 Qd4 33.Be2 d5 34.Rxb3 1/2–1/2 Szczepanski,Z (2566)-Riccio,E (2606)/ICCF email 2011 26…Nc7 27.Qb7 Qa5 28.Qb6 Qc3 29.Qd4 Qc6 30.f6 Rc8 31.fxe7 Nb5 32.e8Q+ Qxe8 33.Bxb5 Qxb5 34.Rhh2 Nc4 35.Rd1
And here Cheparinov decided to force a draw with 35…Na3+ 36.Kb2 Nc4+ 37.Kb1 Na3+ 38.Kb2 Nc4+ ½–½ Afterwards the Bulgarian lamented: “I didn’t know that he was going to go for this line. Everything is a draw there.”
Local hero Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson still had a chance to gain his third and final GM norm, but for that he needed to beat 2700 grandmaster David Navara. The Icelander didn’t come close, no, in fact he got crushed.
Gretarsson,Hjorvar Steinn (2509) – Navara,David (2710)
22…Rxg2+! 23.Kxg2 Bxh3+
White resigned. After taking on f1, Black will even have the move …c6–c5 winning more material.
The three players who finished on 8/10: Bassem Amin (Egypt), Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine), Wesley So (Philippines). You can find the full final standings here.