2018 Aeroflot Open

Font Size
Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

2018 Aeroflot Open “A”
Moscow, Russia
Feb. 20-28, 2018

Final Top Standings

1. GM Vladislav Kovalev BLR 2641, 7.0/9

2-3. GM SP Sethuraman IND 2646, GM Dmitry Gordievsky RUS 2630, 6.5/9

4-10. GM Xu Xiangyu CHN 2545, GM Tigran L. Petrosian ARM 2589, GM Vladislav Artemiev RUS 2697, GM Igor Lysyj RUS 2618, GM Gabriel Sargissian ARM 2677, GM Anton Korobov UKR 2664, GM Rauf Mamedov AZE 2709, 6.0/9

11-19. GM David Paravyan RUS 2603, GM Gata Kamsky USA 2677, GM Kirill Alekseenko RUS 2609, GM Alexander Khalifman RUS 2614, GM Viktor Bologan MDA 2600, GM Maxim Matlakov RUS 2709, IM M. Amin Tabatabaei IRI 2577, GM Sandro Mareco ARG 2632, GM Vadim Zvjaginsev RUS 2629, GM Rinat Jumabayev KAZ 2614, 5.5/9

Total Number of Participants: 92 players

Time Control: 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves followed by 15 minutes play-to-finish with 30 seconds added to your clock after every move starting move 1.

Last Tuesday, I was talking about the advances in chess in Iran but ran out of space. As most of you know chess in Iran was banned by Ayatollah Khomeini when he took power in 1979 and it was only after he passed away in 1989 that chess started making a comeback.

Now, a bunch of Iranian 17-year-old (GM Maghsoodloo, IM Tabatabaei, IM Glolami) and 14-year-old (for example IM Alireza Firoozja) have started to make inroads in world chess.

In the recently concluded Aeroflot Open IM Mohammad Amin Tabatabaei, although only seeded no. 46 with a rating of 2577, put up quite a surprising challenge. He started off by losing to India’s 3rd highest rated woman chessplayer IM Eesha Karavade, then he scored 5.5 out of 6 to tie for first with Kovalev before the penultimate round before losing his last 2 games to finish out of the money.

Tabatabaei’s 5.5/6 streak included wins over Fedoseev and Krishnan Sasikiran. Here is the game I wanted to show you last Tuesday but had to cut out — his takedown of the number 1 seed Vladimir Fedoseev.

Fedoseev, Vladimir (2724) — Tabatabaei, M. Amin (2577) [B12]
15th Aeroflot Open 2018 Moscow (6),

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h6 5.g4 Be4

Black has two possible plans here, either to move to bishop to d7 or h7. If he chooses the latter, as in this case, it is important that the bishop go to e4 first, inducing 6.f3. That way the square f3 is taken away from the white knight. If the bishop goes straight to h7 here is what might happen: 5…Bh7 6.e6! Qd6 7.exf7+ Kxf7 8.Nf3 Nd7 9.g5 Bf5 10.Bd3 e6 11.Nc3 Ne7 12.gxh6 gxh6 13.Be3 Black’s king is exposed — White definitely has the better chances here.

6.f3 Bh7 7.e6 Qd6

Weaker is 7…fxe6 8.Bd3 Bxd3 9.Qxd3 e5 10.dxe5 e6 11.Ne2 Ne7 12.Nf4 Nd7! 13.Qe2 (13.Nxe6?! Nxe5 14.Nxd8 Nxd3+ 15.cxd3 Rxd8 it is Black who is better here) 13…Kf7 14.Be3 c5 (14…Nxe5? 15.Bd4 Nc4 16.Qxe6+) 15.Na3 Nxe5 16.0–0–0 White’s attacking chances is worth more than the pawn he gave up.

8.exf7+ Kxf7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Nd7 11.h5

A new move. Actually, White has close to a 100% score with 11.Ne2 let me show you a representative game: 11…e5 12.Be3 Ngf6 (12…Re8 putting pressure down the e-file might be better. After 13.Nbc3 exd4 14.Bxd4 Ne5 15.Qf5+ Qf6 game is equal) 13.Nbc3 Qe6 14.0–0–0 c5 (perhaps 14…Re8 is better) 15.g5! hxg5 16.hxg5 Rxh1 17.Rxh1 Ne8 18.dxe5 d4 19.Nf4 Nxe5 20.Qh7 Qd7 21.Ncd5 dxe3 22.g6+ Nxg6 23.Qxg6+ Kg8 24.Rh5 Be7 25.Qe4 Bf6 26.Qc4 Qf7 27.Ng6! Qxg6 28.Ne7+ Kf8 29.Nxg6# 1–0 (29) Malinovsky,K (2396)-Bures,J (2381) Czechia 2013. So why didn’t Fedoseev go for this? I am not sure — maybe he thought 11.h5 was even stronger?

11…e5 12.f4

It still looks like 12.Ne2 followed by Be3, Nbc3 and 0–0–0 is better.

12…exd4! 13.Qf5+ Ngf6 14.g5

Looks like Black is losing a piece? Not quite.

14…hxg5 15.fxg5 Qg3+

This is why at some point White needed to play Ne2.


No choice:

16.Kd1 Rxh5! 17.Rxh5 Qxg1+ 18.Kd2 Re8 White is the one who is mated;

16.Kd2 Rxh5 17.Rxh5 Qe3+ 18.Kd1 Qxg1+ 19.Kd2 Re8 we get the same position as in the previous variation. Black mates.


Targeting the e1 square.

17.Nf3 <D>



Flashy but the text only draws. Correct is the simple 17…Ne5! 18.Rh3 (18.Nxd4 Nf3! 19.Nxf3 Bc5 20.Rh2 Re1+ 21.Nxe1 Qg1+ 22.Ke2 Re8+ with forced mate) 18…Qg4 19.Qxg4 Nfxg4 20.g6+ Kg8 21.Kg2 Nf6 Black is winning. The g6 and h5 pawns will fall.

18.Kxe2 Qg2+ 19.Kd3 Qf2

Threatening …Nc5 mate.


White has his own mate threat on e6.

20…Nc5+ 21.Kc3 Nce4+ 22.Kd3 Nc5+ 23.Kc3 Nce4+ 24.Kb3

Instead of settling for a draw by repetition with 24.Kd3 Fedoseev tries for more.


With another mate threat of …Qc4. This is easily parried though.

25.c3 Qd3 26.Qf1?

The losing blunder. Fedoseev had to preface this move with 26.g6+ Ke7 first (blocking the f8 bishop) and then 27.Qf1 Nc5+ 28.Ka3 Rxh5 29.Qxd3 Nxd3 30.Rxh5 Nxh5 31.Nd2 both sides have chances.

26…Nc5+ 27.Ka3 Rxh5 28.Rg1

If White plays the same way as in the previous line then 28.Qxd3 Nxd3+ CHECK 29.b4 Rxh1 the white rook is gone.


With the idea of Qa4 mate.

29.b4 a5! 30.gxf6

[30.bxa5 Nd3#]

30…axb4+ 31.cxb4 Qa4+ 32.Kb2 Qxb4+ 33.Kc2 Qa4+ 34.Kb2 Qd4+ 35.Kc2 Qe4+ 36.Kd1 Rf5 37.Qg2 Qa4+ 38.Ke2 Qc2+ 39.Nd2 Re5+ 40.Kf2 Ne4+ 0–1

What a fight! You really can’t put down a great player without playing great yourself.

Oh! Remember the 15-year-old Esipenko, the World Under-16 Champion who massacred Karjakin so mightily in the World Rapid Championship last December?

Karjakin, Sergey (2760) — Esipenko, Andrey (2564) [B11]
WCh Rapid 2017 Riyadh (8.9),

1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 Nf6 6.d3 e6 7.Bd2 Qb6 8.0–0–0 d4 9.Ne2 c5 10.e5 Nd5 11.Nf4 Nb4 12.Kb1 Nd7 13.Qe4 Nc6 14.Nh5 0–0–0 15.f4 c4 16.dxc4 Ba3 17.Bc1 Nc5 18.Qf3 d3 19.cxd3 Na4 20.Rd2 Nd4 21.Qf2 Nc3+ 22.Ka1 Qb3 23.bxc3 Qxc3+ 24.Bb2 Bxb2+ 25.Rxb2 Qc1+ 26.Rb1 Nc2+ 27.Qxc2 Qxc2 28.g3 b5 29.cxb5 Rd4 0–1

Esipenko also played here in Aeroflot. He won only 1 game and lost 2 for 4/9 and 60th place. Not so impressive, but the following game is.

Esipenko, Andrey (2571) — Salomon, Johan (2503) [D38]
15th Aero
flot Open 2018 Moscow (6),

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qb3 c5 6.dxc5 Nc6 7.Bg5 Qa5 8.Bxf6 dxc4 9.Qxc4 gxf6 10.Rc1 Qxc5 11.Qh4 Ke7

Strangely enough, for such a sharp position, most games from this line end up as draws.

12.g3 Bxc3+ 13.bxc3

[13.Rxc3 Qb4 immediately forces the queens off the board]

13…b6 14.Bg2 Bb7

An attempt at an improvement over 14…Ba6 which appears to be vulnerable to Nf3–d2–e4. Here are two examples: 15.Nd2 Rac8 16.Ne4 Qf5 (16…Qe5 17.Rd1 Rhd8 18.Rxd8 Rxd8 19.f4 Qf5 20.g4 Qg6 21.Rf1 h5 22.f5 Qxg4 23.Qxf6+ Ke8 24.Rf2 Bc4 25.Ng5 Ne5 26.Bc6+ 1–0 (26) Thejkumar,M (2461)-Swayams,M (2460) Bhopal 2017) 17.g4 Qg6 18.f4 Nd4 19.Rd1 Nc2+ 20.Kf2 Rhd8 21.Bf3 h6 22.Ng3 Rxd1 23.Rxd1 Rc4 24.Nh5 Bb5 25.Qg3 Qg8 26.f5 e5 27.Nxf6 Kxf6 28.Rd6+ Kg7 29.Qh4 Qf8 30.Qxh6+ Kg8 31.Rg6+ 1–0 (31) Rapport,R (2701)-Gajewski,G (2650) Budapest 2014.

15.0–0 h5 16.Nd4 Rac8 17.Nb3 Qe5 18.Qa4 h4 19.Rfd1 hxg3 20.hxg3 Rc7?!

Hmm.. is it possible that this move is a mistake? It is quite a logical move, keeping an eye on d7 and b7.

21.Qa3+! Ke8 22.Rd6 Qh5?

Not 22…Qxe2? 23.Rcd1 Rc8 24.Rd7 followed by Bxc6.


Black has his own tricks. If 23.Kf1? Ne5

23…Rc8 24.Rd7 Ba8 25.e4 Rd8?

White will have the same response against 25…Rc7.

26.Qe7+! 1–0


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant, he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.