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Shirov Leads Poikovsky after 7

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With two rounds to play in Siberia, Alexei Shirov is the clear leader of the Karpov Poikovsky tournament with a +3 score. In Tuesday's 7th round he beat Volokitin on the black side of the Sveshnikov line he lost with against Anand in Linares this year. Shirov improved with 20..f4 and Volokitin got into trouble with an unprovoked king sashay to c2. Black liquidated into a superior four-rook endgame and won on what looks like a time forfeit on move 38. The black f-pawn is hard to stop but surely it's worth seeing Black's winning method before resigning. 38..Rf7 39.e5 is tricky enough to try.

With the win Shirov pulled away from Jakovenko and Rublevsky. I haven't had much time to look at the games, but there are several spectacular attacking efforts. Ernesto Inarkiev is making a bid to become the Kieseritzky of the day, making it habit of losing more than his fair share of wild games. His being knocked out by Aronian's queen sac at the last World Cup comes to mind. But you have to like his spirit. Anyone who can win three games and still finish last, as he did in the Baku GP, is a real fighter. This time he was blasted off the board by a Shirov rook sac in round five. Wang Hao played a very attractive rook sac of his own against Rublevsky in the same round but got a bagel for his efforts. Queening on move 27 should have led to a drawn endgame. Earlier, 18.fxe6 might have been a better way to sac the knight, although White was still doing well. 22.R1f5 is hard to meet. But despite this setback the latest young Chinese player to appear in a world-class round-robin in the past few months is still doing well with a +1 score, along with Gashimov.

Bologan is on -1 without a win, a very strange line for the Moldovan wild-man. Four players are struggling on -2 (2.5/7): Sutovsky, Inarkiev, Volokitin, and my homeboy Alexander Onischuk. We could still have some action at the top in the final rounds. Shirov faces Rublevsky and Gashimov while Jakovenko plays tail-enders Onischuk and Inarkiev. Good fighting spirit throughout, as predicted. A few short draws here and there, but the average number of moves to split the point is an impressive 39. That's just three moves fewer than MTel, where they have anti-short-draw rules. For comparison, at this year's crazy Linares it was 36. At Aerosvit and Dortmund, 30.


heh, entered few seconds ago, there was nothing. few seconds later, entered again by mistake and found an update! not everyday we got so lucky...
man, I love your statistics! that 39 moves for draw was really nice.
And I always like to see a nice, fought tourneys with lots of draws (around 60% till round 7). that shows beauty chess isnt all about wins and losses, draw is in our game bag as well!

Gashimov continues to impress. I wonder how many more potential super GMs are lurking in the background waiting for their big chance. Sorry to see Shirov lose but twas an interesting game. Rublevsky seems mighty tenacious in defence too. Great tournament overall.

Indeed, Gashimov's win was impressive. He also seems to be going up all the time (maybe not by results, but by play, which seems better even that at the Grand Prix). I'm also curious about the Chinese players: they are adapting pretty well to play in high category tournaments, something that was a problem for several strong western players. They are sometimes winning and almost never finishing bad.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 16, 2008 1:04 AM.

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