Nepomniachtchi wins Aeroflot blitz after 'failing clock incident'
Ian Nepomniachtchi won the super strong blitz tournament held on Thursday in Moscow as part of the Aeroflot Chess Festival. The Russian grandmaster was leading by a full point with two rounds to go, but these were the double rounds against runner-up Peter Svidler. The first was won by Svidler, who lost the second game, in the final round, on time. But not before the DGT clock behaved somewhat peculiarly.
Ian Nepomniachtchi clinches the Aeroflot blitz title
Many Moscow chess players left their lovers on Valentine's Day to compete in a massive blitz event which had a prize fund of US $50,000. It was a Swiss event which lasted 9 double rounds with 3 minutes and 2 seconds increment on the clock. There were 275 participants and, as you can expect in the Russian capital, there was a huge number of titled players: 107 GMs and 33 IMs. Unfortunately the games were not broadcast online and probably not saved digitally either.
After four rounds there was a surprising leader: Alexandra Kosteniuk had beaten all of her opponents with a 2-0 score. She then lost 2-0 to Ian Nepomniachtchi, who took over the lead. When he beat Alexander Grischuk 2-0 in rounds 13 and 14 it became clear that he was really on fire.
Update: here's one of these games, won very quickly by Nepomniachtchi, filmed by Eugene Potemkin:
"Nepo" then held Sergey Karjakin to a draw twice, after which he was one point ahead of Peter Svidler, his opponent in the last two rounds!
In the first game (round 17) Svidler won with White, but in the second the grandmaster from St. Petersburg got under some pressure. Time pressure, that is! You can see the final phase of this game in the Chess.TV video from 18:20:01. We have reconstructed the following game fragment:
Inspired by Chess-news, we created a number of screen grabs of the video mentioned above, to point out something peculiar.
Nepomiachtchi and Svidler playing. The clock has 0:52 left for White, 0:04 (!) for Black.
Remember that each move adds 2 seconds to the clock.
0:26 versus 0:04, before Svidler will perform ...Rb7-b2.
After ...Rb7-b2 Nepomniachtchi has played Qa2-g8 and Svidler now has one second left.
Svidler starts the move Rb2-b1+ while the clock is still showing 0:01.
After performing Rb2-b1+ Svidler presses the clock...
...which shows 0:02 for him. This is strange, but might just be possible. However...
...after the rooks are traded, Svidler's clock now shows 0:01. This is clearly impossible, because the clock certainly cannot calculate from -0:01!
Nepomniachtchi plays Kg1-h2 and Svidler answers with Qb1-h7...
...when his clock finally shows 0.00.
...and the players aren't really sure what happened.
(To be honest, it's not clear whether they were talking about the clock here.)
We contacted DGT, the manufacturer of the chess clock, and a spokesperson confirmed that it should be impossible for a clock to show 0:01 at this time control. They plan to do more research.
Nepomniachtchi finished on a splendid 15.5/18 score, one point more than Svidler. Alexander Grischuk came third with half a point less. Anton Korobov finished shared 4th together with Sergey Karjakin, Boris Savchenko, Ernesto Inarkiev and Rauf Mamedov. Two young talents did well: Ilya Nyzhnyk and Alexander Ipatov both finished on 13/18. Kosteniuk eventually finished as the best female player with 11/18.
Aeroflot 2013 | Blitz | Final standings (top 50)
|40||GM||Levin Evgeny A.||RUS||2533||11.5||190.0||110.75|
(Full final standings here)
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