Reports | April 16, 2013 11:24

Aleksandr Rakhmanov surprises at 15th Dubai Open

Aleksandr Rakhmanov won the 15th Dubai Open on Monday. The 23-year-old Russian grandmaster scored 7.5/9 in a very strong field. Eight players tied for second place, including WGM Ju Wenjun of China, who scored a GM norm.

Rakhmanov & Kuzubov shake hands at the start of round 9 | Photos by Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh courtesy of Dubai Chess

The 15th Dubai Open Chess Championship took place from 6 to 16th April 2013 at the Dubai Chess Club in the United Arab Emirates. A record 194 players from 34 countries were competing in this very strong open tournament, which had 38 GMs, 6 WGMs, 26 IMs, 6 WIMs, 13 FMs and 5 WFMs competing.

At stake was the Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup and a total of $50,000 in cash prizes. The tournament was a 9-round Swiss with a double round on Saturday to allow for a blitz tournament on Friday with $4,000 at stake in cash prizes.

Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup

The surprising winner of the main event was Aleksandr Rakhmanov, a 23-year-old Russian grandmaster who was only the 19th seeded player. Above him on the starting list were more known players: Vladimir Akopian, Viktor Laznicka, Romain Edouard, Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Gabriel Sargissian, Tigran Petrosian, Andrei  Istratescu, Ivan Sokolov, Bassem Amin, Mikheil Mchedlishvili, Wen Yang, Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Yuriy Kuzubov, Jaan Ehlvest, Mircea-Emilian Parligras, Viorel Iordachescu, Sergey Volkov and Abhijeet Gupta.

So how did he do it? Well, a 5/5 start definitely helped! After three lesser players, Rakhmanov beat Surya Ganguly with Black in spectacular fashion:

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In the next round he lulled his opponent into relaxing:

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Good chess is also about defending and so holding your Black game against the top seed of the tournament (Akopian) was an excellent next step. A quick draw in round 7 against Volkov was followed by a good win in the penultimate round:

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Rakhmanov beat Laznicka with Black in round 9

Rakhmanov was leading by half a point and what do you do in such a situation, as a modern chess professional? You make sure that you won't lose the last game, to secure at least a share of the first price. The Russian GM drew in a Slav Exchange against Yuriy Kuzubov. And then, as boards 2, 3 and 4 ended in draws as well, he finished sole first anyway.

Not the biggest talent in Russia, Rakhmanov does have a few achievements in his career. He scored third places in 2007 at the Russian Championship U18, the European Championship U18 and the World Championship U18! He also won the Russia Cup in 2009 and 2010 and finished second at the Alekhine Memorial in 2011, all held in Voronezh.

GMs Sergey Volkov, Yuriy Kuzubov, Viktor Laznicka, Jaan Ehlvest, Andrei Istratescu, Peter Michalik and Ivan Sokolov finished shared second in Dubai together with WGM Ju Wenjun, who scored a GM norm. We believe she should have enough norms by now to apply for the title!

Below are two games by Ju Wenjun, one in the style of Mikhail Tal and one in the style of Richard Réti! :-)

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Dubai Open 2013 | Final standings (top 30)

Rk. Title Name FED Rtg RtgI Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 GM Rakhmanov Aleksandr RUS 2591 2591 7,5 20611 0 55,5
2 GM Volkov Sergey RUS 2593 2593 7 20561 0 54,5
3 WGM Ju Wenjun CHN 2521 2521 7 20284 0 54,5
4 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2619 2619 7 20144 0 51,5
5 GM Laznicka Viktor CZE 2674 2674 7 20111 0 55,5
6 GM Ehlvest Jaan USA 2611 2611 7 20089 0 53
7 GM Istratescu Andrei FRA 2648 2648 7 20009 0 53,5
8 GM Michalik Peter SVK 2535 2535 7 19439 0 47,5
9 GM Sokolov Ivan NED 2643 2643 7 19287 0 49,5
10 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2704 2704 6,5 20512 0 56,5
11 IM Ghosh Diptayan IND 2451 2451 6,5 20389 0 53
12 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2668 2668 6,5 20229 0 51,5
13 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2666 2666 6,5 20210 0 53,5
14 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar IND 2623 2623 6,5 20131 0 53,5
15 GM Oleksienko Mikhailo UKR 2554 2554 6,5 20060 0 50
16 GM Pantsulaia Levan GEO 2556 2556 6,5 19989 0 49
17 GM Lalith Babu M.R. IND 2565 2565 6,5 19836 0 51
18 IM Debashis Das IND 2477 2477 6,5 19796 0 48,5
19 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2591 2591 6,5 19621 0 48,5
20 GM Darini Pouria IRI 2505 2505 6 20452 0 52
21 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2670 2670 6 20198 0 54
22 IM Khotenashvili Bela GEO 2492 2492 6 20097 0 51
23 GM Jumabayev Rinat KAZ 2549 2549 6 19897 0 50,5
24 GM Amin Bassem EGY 2641 2641 6 19841 0 51
25 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2530 2530 6 19691 0 47,5
26 GM Burmakin Vladimir RUS 2580 2580 6 19685 0 50
27 IM Vishnu Prasanna. V IND 2470 2470 6 19652 0 48,5
28 GM Carlsson Pontus SWE 2520 2520 6 19601 0 46
29 GM Adhiban B. IND 2555 2555 6 19567 0 49
30 GM Kotsur Pavel KAZ 2552 2552 6 19529 0 48,5

(Full final standings here.)

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, 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.

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