January 07, 2011 0:32

Gashimov wins on tie-break in Reggio Emilia

Gashimov wins on tie-break in Reggio EmiliaVugar Gashimov won the 53rd Torneo di Capodanno in Reggio Emilia. The grandmaster from Azerbaijan edged out Paco Vallejo from Spain on tiebreak. The two both won in round 8 and then drew quickly in the final round, with Gashimov having the highest Sonneborn-Berger score.

General info

The 53rd Torneo di Capodanno took place December 28 - January 6 in Reggio Emilia, Italy. It was a 10-player, single round-robin with Vallejo Pons, Short, Ivanchuk, Caruana, Onischuk, Movsesian, Navara, Godena, Gashimov, and Morozevich playing.

Rounds 8-9

What a great tournament this year's edition in Reggio Emilia has been! Some good chess was to be expected, with players like Gashimov, Ivanchuk, Morozevich and Short among its participants, and the chess fans were not disappointed at all.

After seven rounds Gashimov and Vallejo were leading the pack, and both of them won in the penultimate round. Vallejo did so quite convincingly, crushing Onischuk in a sharp Scotch - another game that will add to the popularity of the opening that was revived by Kasparov in the 1990s.

Reggio Emilia 2010
Do you see what Vallejo had planned against Onischuk's last defensive move 26...Be7?

Vugar Gashimov needed some luck to keep up with Vallejo's pace. Against a very creative David Navara he got under tremendous pressure, and the Azeri GM needed some tactical tricks to stay in the game. He managed to create threats against his opponent's king, which eventually became too much for the Czech.

Reggio Emilia 2010
With 42...Be7 Black probably reaches a winning advantage. Instead, Navara found another interesting idea: 42...Qd5 43.Be3 Rxe3!?

...to continue with 44...Qd4 after 44.Qxe3, but here Gashimov came up with the strong move 44.Rxf7! and despite finding some splendid defensive moves, Navara eventually couldn't copy with the many threats as a result of his sudden exposed monarch.

In the same round Short took a poisoned pawn on c5 which, well, let's put it this way, didn't solve his long-term problem of an unsafe king. Ivanchuk showed no mercy. Morozevich slowly but surely outplayed Godena from a quiet opening.

The poor Italian 'simply waits that the tournament end soon', as the round report on the official website put it, but in the last round he was the last one playing... This time Godena managed to hold a difficult ending against compatriot Caruana.

As written above, in that last round both Gashimov and Vallejo drew quickly (in fact both needed just 17 moves), against Onischuk and Movsesian respectively. Navara finished off with a good win against Short, while Ivanchuk defeated Morozevich.

The latter played on till mate with king against bishop and knight, allowing Ivanchuk to show textbook mating strategy (with the knight making a 'W' shape between moves 57 and 65 - it's worth remembering that!).

Reggio Emilia 2010
Position after 50.Kxe6 - Ivanchuk mated his opponent 22 moves later.

The first tie-break rule was Sonneborn-Berger, which add the scores of every opponent the player beats and half of the score of every opponent the player draws. Based on this tie-break Vugar Gashimov was declared the winner of the 53rd tournament in Reggio Emilia.

This result is interesting in the light of the current discussion under Arne's column about '(un)deserved victories' and 'luck in chess'. On Facebook both players already posted about their good tournament. Gashimov dedicated the victory to his father, and Vallejo showed a good sport: "I guess Vugar was pretty lucky against me and especially winning yesterday against Navara from a lost position, but hey, congratulations, and luck... is for he who seeks it!"

Reggio Emilia 2010 | Round 9 (final) standings

Reggio Emilia 2010 | Round 9 standings

Games rounds 8-9

Game viewer by ChessTempo


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Thomas's picture

He keeps it in reserve for the Amber event, as it may be more suitable for rapid and blindfold?
But the closest equivalent in terms of non-mainstream and slightly dodgy was his Modern/Pirc against Vallejo, in a way the decisive game of the tournament won by Gashimov with the black pieces.

Excalibur's picture

Very happy for Gashimov especially after the olympiad debacle.Very exciting this lived up to its expectations.Lets hope the star-studded corus is as exciting as this was!

Peter Doggers's picture

True, from the start it was mate in 25 according to the tablebase.

Castro's picture

In fact, a faster mate would only be posible if Moro had gone directely to the "right" corner! Appart from that, it was an almost-help-mate, so many were the mistakes.

Zeblakob's picture

What happens to Gashimov's Benoni????

Felix's picture

I think the best defence is to walk to the center first (which wasn't possible in that game) and then to walk to the middle of the edge of the board. As soon as you allow your opponent to get to the well known position starting in the wrong corner, it's too easy :)

But I assume Ivanchuk knows that basic mating scheme, so...

Castro's picture

Ivanchuk delivers B+N mate in exactely the same fashion I do, but I, having discovered the method by my own, as a child, never thought about the interesting W-shape of the N moves! (And so, in fact, it is not necessary to remember, but it can indeed be "worthy" for some people).
By the way, Morozevich didn't defend well (meaning "put the stiffiest resistence").

S's picture

I find Movsesians shared third somehow unbecoming, looking at his games.

Brian Wall's picture

Where is Azmaiparashvili when you need him?

S's picture

Did he hit Movsesian as well??!

sava's picture

“I guess Vugar was pretty lucky against me and especially winning yesterday against Navara from a lost position".. such a sore loser.. I really had respect for Vallejo before I saw hia facebook coment..

Why he thinks that Gash got lucky against him? He was just outplayed. It was a good example of a game when a stronger player just beats a weaker one. Fair and square.

Was not Vallejo himself lucky in his win against Godena in round 1 were Godena blundered a piece in one move?

And Gash was actually quite unlucky with Short and with Moro.

Vallejo should be proud to play and share first place in a tournament with the likes of Ivanchuk, Moro, Gashimov, and Short not say that Gashimov was lucky to catch up with him.

Thomas's picture

A typical example of how a quote sounds different if you omit half of it ... .

As you mention Gashimov's other games:
- With roles reversed, would Short-Gashimov also be an example of "a stronger player beating a weaker one"? In other words: if the nominally stronger player (not that 30-50 Elo points is such a big gap) wins from an even or losing position it's because he's stronger; if the weaker player wins he's lucky!??
- I think a player can be lucky because the opponent blunders, which is beyond his own control. But he can never be unlucky, because his own blunders are his own responsibility.

Anyway, congratulations to both players for their deserved shared first place - tiebreak is IMO a secondary detail.

sava's picture

This is exactly why I think - saying things like that 'the opponent got lucky to beat me" smells very bad. Especially, if the game was without any blunders, time trrouble, finger fehlers, cell phone ringing etc..

I am not sure what kind of context would make such behaviour look better..

Thomas's picture

Then why did you write that "Gash was actually quite unlucky ..."? :)

Once again, you omitted the end of Vallejo's quote ("luck ... is for he who seeks it!"). Actually Vallejo-Gashimov was decided by a mistake, maybe a blunder or fingerfehler: 46.Ne3? Bc5! followed by -Be3: lost, 46.Nb2! holds the draw because the black king cannot move forward and the rook is tied to defending the pawn on a2. On his blog, Jan Gustafsson (Vallejo's friend and Bundesliga teammate) quotes the Spaniard: "As usual, I played Ne3 a tempo and then saw immediately that it loses."

One round later, it was also understandable that, after his own convincing victory, Vallejo didn't appreciate that Navara completely ruined his winning position against Gashimov ... .

sava's picture

1. I do not see how the end of the quote softens up the bit that stinks.

2. if you call Ne3 a blunder, then every single game is won because of a blunder, and anyone who wins a game, gets lucky to do so. Every single opponent of Vallejo made "blunders" like Ne3 before losing their games.

3. Loser's irritation is often understood. But, regardless, when smn finishes second and publicly states that the winner (whatever some people think of tie-breaks) was lucky to beat him, such person sounds like a sore loser to me. IMO it is a very \bad sportsmanship to go public with such lame excuses.

Septimus's picture

Short Ivanchuk was totally crazy! I've never seen this kind of madness before. Right from the start dxc6 ,f6 and the g8 Knight jumping all over the place. Is this in known theory? Could short have developed more normally and used Black's loss of tempo?

Thomas's picture

At least 4.-dc6: is common theory, considered stronger than taking with the b-pawn (the idea is to get maximum control over d4). You might enjoy another top-level game in the same variation where black violated many beginner's rules and got away with it:
Ponomariov-Kramnik 0-1, Linares 2003

As to your second post, look at the tournament table :) : Short won three games in Reggio, all of them were also rather crazy (even the one against Godena).

Septimus's picture

Wow, never expected Kramnik to go nuts! Thanks for the link. But what about the g8 Knight jumping all over the board? Any analysis available for this game? Short is fantastic. 100% entertainment.

Thomas's picture

It is interesting that Ponomariov (often considered a positional, solid, boring player) and Kramnik played many such games over the years, with mixed results. I also remember their spectacular draw from Corus 2005, which I had watched onsite back then.

Back to Reggio: Chessbase seems to be the only site with game analyses, but they focused on the leaders - so it's mostly Vallejo and Gashimov, and Short in the early rounds (if anyone forgot, he started with 2/2.

Back to Short-Ivanchuk: The tournament site mentions 25.Bc5: (capturing a poisoned pawn) as decisive mistake "and the severe punishment came quickly". But before that, despite being already one pawn up, Short's position looked strange - Ng1 and Rh1 aren't the most happy pieces on this planet. Regarding knight manoevring: the position was relatively closed - as I noted, 4.-dc6: prevents white from breaking the center open with c3 and d4. And Short also violated beginner's rules (7.g4, 8.g5, 9.gf6:). Maybe both players thought: "If you don't develop your pieces, I don't need to develop mine. If you don't castle quickly, I won't castle either ..."

Rini Luyks's picture

In this part of Europe there are quite a few "aficionados" of Latin Queen of Chess Martha Fierro (http://www.marticafierro.com/), who were very happy with the video-interview after the first round with Caruana and (especially) Ivanchuk, hiding his face in the presence of so much beauty :).
Unfortunately that was all: no more videos...
So I had this short exchange of e-mails with the tournament organization:

" Fri, 7 Jan 2011 22:22:45 +0100 [21:22:45 WET]
De: Circolo Scacchistico Ippogrifo
Para: marinusluyks@sapo.pt
Responder a: tornei@ippogrifoscacchi.it
Assunto: R: no videos!

Thank you for the constructive criticism into consideration for future editions.

Giuseppe Ferraroni

-----Messaggio originale-----
Da: marinusluyks@sapo.pt [mailto:marinusluyks@sapo.pt]
Inviato: giovedì 6 gennaio 2011 23.20
A: tornei@ippogrifoscacchi.it
Oggetto: no videos!

Dear Sirs,

Reggio Emilia 2010/2011 was a great tournament, but very disappointing was the fact that on the tournament-site only after the first round there was a video with charming interviews by Martha Fierro. After that: only photographs!!??
What is this?? What a pity! Porca miseria!!
Yours sincerely,

Marinus Luyks,
Lisboa - Portugal"

My fault ofcourse, that I mentioned the question only at the end of the tournament...

Septimus's picture

Just for the record. Has Short lost every single game since London?

Thomas's picture

I guess we disagree ... :) . I hesitated to call Ne3 a "blunder", but it's obvious that this single move made the difference between an easy draw and a forced loss. Obvious at least in hindsight, maybe not when you quickly and casually play through the game - and in this particular case the "passive" Nb2 was better than the "active" Ne3.

I don't think that "every single opponent of Vallejo made blunders":
- Godena obviously blundered, but was worse throughout most of the game - the very reason he ended up in timetrouble, leaving aside that he ALWAYS had clock problems .... .
- Navara declined an early repetition with white, because he overlooked or underestimated Vallejo's subsequent exchange sacrifice.
- Short and Onischuk were simply outplayed, their losses didn't result from one wrong move but from wrong plans.

What remains is Vallejo's quote where at least Peter Doggers shares my interpretation ("Vallejo showed a good sport").

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