Reports | September 17, 2012 10:38

Cheparinov leads Black Sea tournament after round 6

Ivan Cheparinov

With four rounds to play Ivan Cheparinov is in sole first place at the Black Sea Countries tournament in Burgas, Bulgaria. The Bulgarian grandmaster scored 4.5/6, half a point more than Alexander Areshchenko (Ukraine) and Vladimir Malakhov (Russia). 

Ivan Cheparinov | All photos thanks to Chief Arbiter Vladimir Sakotic, more here

Event Black Sea Countries | PGN via TWIC
Dates September 12-19, 2012
Location Burgas, Bulgaria
System 6-player double round robin
Players Baadur Jobava, Alexander Areshchenko, Vladimir Malakhov, Ivan Cheparinov, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Suat Atalik
Rate of play

90 minutes for the whole game + 30 seconds per move

Extra No draw offers before move 40

The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas and various straits. The Bosphorus Strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the Strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean. These waters separate eastern Europe and western Asia. The Black Sea is also connected to the Sea of Azov by the Strait of Kerch.

The Black Sea has an area of 436,400 km2 (168,500 sq mi) (not including the Sea of Azov), a maximum depth of 2,212 m (7,257 ft), and a volume of 547,000 km3 (131,200 cu mi). The Black Sea forms in an east-west trending elliptical depression which lies between Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. It is constrained by the Pontic Mountains to the south, the Caucasus Mountains to the east and features a wide shelf to the northwest. The longest east-west extent is about 1,175 km.

Source: Wikipedia

There are many different criteria for organizers to select the players for their tournament. In Burgas, Bulgaria the participants are from six different countries, all bordering the Black Sea! They are Baadur Jobava (2734, GEO), Alexander Areshchenko (2702, UKR), Vladimir Malakhov (2700, RUS), Ivan Cheparinov (2689, BUL), Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (2648, ROM) and Suat Atalik (2603, TUR).

Two of these players travelled from Istanbul, located about 200 km south west of Burgas. Cheparinov played the Olympiad for Bulgaria, while Atalik lives in Istanbul. Jobava had to withdraw from the Georgian Olympic squad at the last minute due to health issues, but apparently he's recovered now.

Atalik's participation draws attention of course, after all the turmoil in recent months. For a period of 15 months he cannot play in Turkey, and recently he was also banned by the Greek Chess Federation. Other federations seem less inclined to ban Atalik. At the FIDE General Assembly in Istanbul the Chairman of the FIDE Ethics Comission, Roberto Rivello, explained that if a player is suspened by federation for violating a national rule (not FIDE related), it makes no sense that the federation tries to enforce its ruling across borders.

The "Black Sea Countries tournament" is taking place at the Grand Hotel & SPA Primoretz in Burgas, Bulgaria. It's a 6-player double round robin and the players mentioned above together add up to a 2679 average rating. The rate of play is 90 minutes for the whole game and 30 additional seconds for every move. Draw offers before move 40 are not allowed.

In the first round there were two draws, and also the top clash between the two 2700s. Jobava was punished for his aggressive play on the kingside:

PGN string

The second round saw three interesting draws. Especially Cheparinov came close to a win after a thematic exchange sacrifice:

PGN string

The follow game from the third round ended in a draw, but not before some amazing fireworks, probably all cooked up during preparation:

PGN string

Atalik missed a thing or two in his game against Nisipeanu.

PGN string

Cheparinov is the leader after six rounds. The 25-year-old Bulgarian grandmaster has been especially lethal with the white pieces, beating Malakhov, Jobava and Atalik. (He drew his three black games.) In the third round Cheparinov played a nice attacking game against Malakhov:

PGN string

Ivan Cheparinov, the leader after 6 rounds

Malakhov is one of the two players trailing by half a point. He won two white games very quickly with a pawn on f6 and the black queen totally out of play. Here's what happened in round 4:

PGN string

And here's his game from round 6:

PGN string

Vladimir Malakhov

Black Seas Countries 2012 | Round 6 standings


The total prize fund is € 10, 000 with five prizes: € 2750, € 2500, € 2000, €1500, € 1250. Today rounds 7 and 8 will be played, tomorrow round 9 and on Wednesday round 10.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


chesshire cat's picture

I always found that Malakhov has a very enjoyable positional style. Hope he rises further in the chess world. Nice report btw.

Ed Dean's picture

I knew Malakhov's name but not much about him or his play. His games here make quite an impression.

Zeblakob's picture

Usually, Cheparinov games wiz black are very inspiring ...

Thomas's picture

The event is advertised as the final one of a "chain of tournaments of the Black Sea Countries" (the other 13 dots on the map?), but the previous ones apparently had weaker fields!?

The other three players also didn't/couldn't play the Olympiad: Areshchenko and Malakhov didn't make it on their national teams, while Nisipeanu (like Atalik) seems to have problems with his federation. As to whether Jobava recovered: his result may suggest otherwise but he was always an unstable player ... .

Anonymous's picture

Love to see these particular players - each one of them is a fighter.

hugh Jass's picture

Great to see the turk doing badly, couldnt happen to a better person, he is a horrible individual.

Amos's picture

Great tournament and great games! It has been a pleasure to follow this event.

Mike's picture

Atalik is having a nightmare tournament so-far I think this ban has had its toll on him. Its a shame because he is a vary strong player.

dave's picture

agreed! I guess, doing also live commentary and getting away from competitive chess also has a big impact on someone's strength!

Excalibur's picture

Malakhov's style is hardly "positional".

Excalibur's picture

Malakhov's style is hardly "positional".

Socrates's picture

7 zeros from Atalik. Probably working with very untalented Turkish students (as he told) weakened his play. Normally Atalik choses tournaments that he can have some succcess. This time he had to accept the invitation. So bad for his ego!

Thomas's picture

I first 'really' heard of Malakhov when he reached the semi-final of the 2009 World Cup: beating Svidler in the quarterfinal before losing against Ponomariov who then lost against a certain Boris Gelfand. Even this didn't lead to prestigious invitations though he made it on the (first) Russian team - doing rather well at the World Team Championship and not-so-well at the 2010 Olympiad. As "yet another strong Russian", he is mostly limited to Russian events, team competitions and Swiss opens.

As to Atalik: I wouldn't draw too strong conclusions from his result - he is the underdog and others may 'target' him. He doesn't have much (recent) experience playing at such a high level - being forced or not, he knew that this invitation would be challenging.
It might be overly sarcastic (though with a grain of truth?) to suggest that being banned by the Turkish and Greek federations also had advantages: his name is mentioned, and it may lead to more invitations in other countries.

kingFisher's picture

Dear Mr Doggers, the location is Burgas, Bulgaria not Istanbul, Turkey

Peter Doggers's picture

Ah, merci. At least the Google Map got it right.

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