Yerevan, Armenia
8-16 January

Memorial A.Margaryan. Tournament A. 4th round


Memorial A.Margaryan. Tournament "A". 4th round

In the clash of leaders trickery triumphed!


One of the most vibrant rounds, where, like on the first day, all games could have ended decisively. However, we settled for three. David Shahinyan missed the chance to solidify his leadership by defeating his direct competitor, Benfik Agasarov. He endured in this game for a long time, but at the moment when it was necessary to pause and accurately assess the situation, he hurried and let the young opponent slip away.


The leaders' game made everyone, both players and their fans, especially those watching with an engine, extremely nervous. They clutched their heads at moments when the computer's evaluation of the position swiftly went up and down! David, playing with the white pieces, lethargically unfolded the opening, allowing his 15-year-old opponent to seize the center and the crucial d4 square, occupied successively by black pieces. Eventually, a potentially dangerous passed pawn emerged. A desperate struggle ensued around its possible advancement.


Objectively, the advantage still belonged to black, but the difference in the players' experience played a role. David began surreptitiously preparing a diversion on the flank, and Benik, without seeing a concrete plan for the initiative, reacted too harshly to threats against the c5 bishop (20...a4?), immediately facing a central blow - 21.f4!


The dormant center of the white pieces unexpectedly came to life, the bishops gained strength, and the importance of the black pawn's role diminished. Such a swift turn of events clearly disturbed the young master, and after 28.Bd3, he suddenly opted for a suicidal sacrifice of quality – 28...Nxd3?, counting on either the opponent's force majeure or the weakness of the king.


And here Shahinyan started to waver. The position was entirely safe for him - having more than half an hour on the clock, he believed Agasarov and returned the material.

After the simple 30.b4! Bf8 (the pawn is untouchable) 31.Rxd4 Qc6 32.Bc3 Ra8! 33.b5!, the game should have quickly concluded. However, David immediately captured the pawn – 30.Rxd4?, and after 30...Bxd4 31.Rxd4, he saw the unexpected 31...Qxd4!! It turned out that after 32.Bxb4 Rxd4 33.Qa8+ Kg7 34.Qxb7 c5!, the black pieces, by placing the knight on e6, established a fortress that one rook couldn't breach. 


Shahinyan chose not to test the opponent's strength further. A draw.


Shuvalova secured her first victory in the tournament. She patiently and methodically pressed Sorensen from the king, following the best traditions of the "Spanish torture." The Swede failed to create a clear counterplay neither in the center nor on the queen's side, and in the end, the white pawn avalanche swept everything in its path.


Grebnev once again demonstrated the reliability of his opening preparation, playing as black against the "Catalan." David Davtyan, who played creatively, attempted to pose problems, but Alexey's straightforward structure with the bishop on b5 and the weak pawn on c6 stood firm. The Russian played quickly and confidently, spending just over half an hour for the entire game. After the fourth round, Grebnev has "+1" with three black games, two of which were against grandmasters. He needs to step up to achieve the coveted grandmaster norm. As for Davtyan, who continues to showcase vivid creative play, he has "-1." He needs to strive for a result that matches his colorful chess. Five attempts lie ahead.


The game between Movahed and Ohanyan turned out to have a strange pattern. It was difficult for a long time to understand which of the opponents was playing for a win, but... Emin's couple of rash moves revealed that all of White's pieces were attacking the king abandoned to fate, and there was simply no one to defend him. Unfortunately, Sina couldn't find the correct plan, and the black king, forsaking everything, managed to slip away. But this was only the beginning: in time trouble, opponents made quite a few mistakes, but the final one favored Ohanyan. The key factors were his king's secure position and Movahed's passed pawn, determining the outcome of the battle.


Not the first failure occurred with Babujian – he continues to bear the "trainer's cross." It happens when instead of choosing a simple and clear solution, you opt for one you can explain to students. These same motifs hinder Ivanov from showcasing the best chess, plus, of course, unfitness. If Sergey constantly falls victim to the allure of beauty, Levon violates the obvious truths. He either panics in the opening moves, leaving the king without pawn cover, or rushes to consume enemy pawns, forgetting about development. After the greedy 14.Qxc7?, the St. Petersburg player could have immediately gone for the opponent's king, but for unclear reasons, delayed the invasion of heavy pieces into the "gourmet row" and only managed to win due to new mistakes by the opponent. He could have finished the game first but ended up leaving the tournament hall last, hardly giving Babujian a chance for salvation.


Memorial A.Margaryan. Standings after the 4th round: 1-2. Agasarov and Shahinyan – 3 point of 4; 3-4. Grebnev, Movahed – 2.5; 5-7. Ohanyan, Ivanov, Shuvalova – 2; 8. Davtyan – 1.5; 9. Sorensen – 1; 10. Babujian – 0.5.


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