Thursday, 1 June 2017

EICC in Minsk

     The European Individual Chess Championship is in progress these days in Minsk.

GM Constantin Lupulescu
     At some point, I considered participating myself, but my schedule will be very tight this summer and I thought such a serious tournament would take too much energy and preparation. Otherwise, this has been my favorite tournament to play for some years in a row, as it is the strongest Open in Europe and a player like me never gets to play vs such strong opponents in every round.
     Romania is represented by GM Constantin Lupulescu (2/2p), GM Bogdan Deac (1,5/2p) , GM Mircea Parligras (1p/2) and IM Mihnea Costachi (1p/2).
     The toughest battles are still ahead....
     I liked yesterday's game of GM Lupulescu vs IM Moskalenko, as it was a perfect demonstration of  how the pair of bishops dominates the board! You can see it yourself in the diagrams below:
Black to move
     Black decided to take 18...Bxc3, giving  white the advantage of having the pair of bishops. While I can understand that something went wrong for black in the opening stage and the positions is already unpleasant, I believe that this move is definitely not the way to continue the fight.

White to move
      White is clearly better and goes on in creating another weakness in black's position 33.h5, followed by 34. h6. While it's not engine's first choice, for the human understanding it looks like the most logical way to make the advantage decisive.

GM Dmitry Svetushkin

     GM Dimtry Svetushkin of Moldova also played a high quality game to make a draw with black vs the N.3 favorite of the tournament- GM Dmitry Jakovenko. It was a Spanish, Anti-Marshall System, where black solved all his opening problems and I think was even somewhat better in the final position, where the draw was agreed. You can judge yourself:

White to move

     Black has just played 11... Nd8!- following his idea which began with his 10th move - Qd7, to play "c5" and then to prepare slowly "d5", taking control in the center. He illustrated it perfectly in the game:

Black to move
     This is the position where the draw was agreed. Black has achieved all of his goals, taking control in the center, getting some space advantage and placing all of his pieces harmoniously. I guess that the endgame after the queen exchange should be more pleasant for black to play.

Here are the pairings for today's round: R3 

     I wish all the Romanian and Moldavian players participating good luck in today's 3rd Round and I hope to see some interesting fights!