The Aeroflot Open concluded with a surprising but well-earned victory for Belarusian grandmaster Vladislav Kovalev with 7.5/9. Along with the $22,000 first-place prize, he now earns a spot in the Dortmund Super Tournament later this year. The event had many interesting occurrences. Only two of the beginning top 10 players finished in the top 10, with the top seed, Vladimir Fedoseev, finishing 46th and second-seeded Vidit Santosh Gujrathi ending up in 35th. The Iranian contingent of four ended up with two new grandmasters, 14-year-old Alireza Firouzja and 17-year-old M. Amin Tabatabaei.
Today’s game features young Tabatabaei and Fedoseev, which was chaos from the get-go. Fedoseev seems to have the reputation for enjoying unusual positions and for not being a very solid player. This game supports both of these thoughts. Tabatabaei responded very well to the Russian’s unsound provocations, but just when he could secure a winning advantage, he got cute and then was forced to basically sue Fedoseev for peace with a perpetual check, which to Fedoseev’s great regret he turned down and then went on to lose badly.
2018 Aeroflot Open, Moscow, Russia
Fedoseev (2724) - Tabatabaei (2577)
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h6 5.g4 Be4 6.f3 Bh7 7.e6 Qd6 or 7...fxe6 Is the other choice here. 8.Bd3 Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Qd6 10.f4 Nd7 11.Nf3 c5 12.Ne5 Nxe5 13.fxe5 Qb6 14.c3 Kd7 15.Na3 cxd4 16.cxd4 Rc8 17.Rh2 Nf6 when White should win Seyb v Barthel, 1993 1-0, 28 8.exf7+ Kxf7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 9...Qg3+ really doesn’t help Black much: 10.Kf1 Nd7 11.Bxh7 Rxh7 12.Qd3 Ngf6 13.Be3 e6 14.Nd2 c5 15.Ne2 Qc7 16.Kg2 c4 17.Qc3 Bd6 10.Qxd3 Nd7 11.h5 [11.f4; or 11.Ne2 e5 12.Nbc3 exd4 13.Nxd4 Re8+ 14.Be3 Ne5 15.Qf5+ Nf6 16.0–0–0 g6 17.Qf4 Nc4 18.Bd2 Qb4 19.Nb3 11...e5! Opening lines against the White king 12.f4?! Far too provocative Better was 12.Ne2 12...exd4 13.Qf5+ Ngf6 14.g5?! 14.Nd2 Re8+ 15.Kf1 Qe6 16.Qxe6+ Rxe6 17.Rh4 c5 18.Ndf3 Ne4 is good for Black but White can play for a while 14...hxg5 15.fxg5 Qg3+ 16.Kf1 Re8 17.Nf3 Re2? Too Cute. Better and virtually winning on the spot is: 18.Nxe5+ (18.gxf6 Qxf3+ 19.Qxf3 Nxf3 20.Kf2 Ne5 21.fxg7 Bxg7 22.Bf4 Bh6 23.Rh4 Bxf4 24.Rxf4+ Ke6 25.Nd2 d3 26.Re1 dxc2 27.Nf3 c1Q 28.Rxc1 Nd3+) 18...Rxe5 19.Qf2 Qg4 20.Bf4 Ne4 21.Qh4 Qf3+ 22.Kg1 Qd1+ 23.Kg2 Qe2+ 24.Kg1 d3 25.b4 Bxb4 26.g6+ Ke8 27.Rh3 Bc5+ 18.Kxe2 Qg2+ 19.Kd3 Qf2 19...Qxh1 20.gxf6 Qf1+ 21.Kd2 Qf2+ 22.Kd1 Qf1+ equal 20.Nxd4 Nc5+ 21.Kc3 Nce4+ 22.Kd3 Nc5+ 23.Kc3 Nce4+ 24.Kb3 Really tempting fate. White should just bite the bullet and take the draw (three-fold repetition) with 24.Kd3. 24...Qxd4 25.c3 Qd3 26.Qf1?? 26.g6+ is necessary when after 26…Ke7 (26...Ke8 27.Qc8+ Ke7 28.Re1; 26...Kg8 27.Qe6#) 27.Qf1 Nc5+ 28.Ka3 Rxh5 29.Qxd3 Nxd3 (no discovered check which is the reason for g6+) 30.Rxh5 Nxh5 31.Bg5+ Ke6+ 32.Kb3 equal 26...Nc5+ 27.Ka3 Rxh5! 28.Rg1 28.Qxd3 Nxd3+ 29.Kb3 Rxh1 28...Qc2 Threatening Qa4 mate. 29.b4 a5! 30.gxf6 axb4+ 30…g6! and the engines claim mate in either 15 or 23 moves! 31.cxb4 Qa4+ 32.Kb2 Qxb4+ 33.Kc2 Qa4+ or 33...Qe4+ 34.Kd1 Qa4+ 35.Ke2 Rh2+ 36.Rg2 Qc4+ 37.Kf2 (37.Ke1 Qxc1+)37...Ne4+ 38.Kg1 Rh1+ 39.Kxh1 Qxf1+ 40.Kh2 Bd6+ 41.Kh3 Nf2+ 42.Kh4 Qxg2 34.Kb2 Qd4+ Though a rook ahead, White can't avoid mate. 35.Kc2 Qe4+ 36.Kd1 or 36.Kb2 Na4+ 37.Kb3 Rh3+ 38.Rg3 Rxg3+ 39.Be3 Rxe3+ 40.Qd3 Qc4# 36...Rf5 37.Qg2 Qa4+ 38.Ke2 38.Qc2 Qd4+ 39.Bd2 Qxg1+ 38...Qc2+ 39.Nd2 Re5+ 40.Kf2 Ne4+ Acknowledging the hopelessness of his situation, White resigned: 41.Kf3 Qd3+ 42.Kg4 (42.Kf4 g5+ 43.Kg4 Nxf6#) 42...Nxf6+ 43.Kh4 Rh5#; 0–1