Yerevan, Armenia
8-16 January

Andranik Margaryan Memorial. Tournament "A". 2nd round


Beauty requires sacrifices... of points!


After a lively start where all five games ended decisively, the second round surprisingly ended with all five games drawn, with two of them almost mirroring each other move for move. The leaders and outsiders remain the same!


The games Babujian – Grebnev and Davtyan – Ohanyan were played at neighboring tables, but other players only noticed something strange happening in them an hour later. Alexey, playing with the black pieces, quickly and precisely executed a plan against the Catalan, and after 14...Ba6, the position completely dried up. While white had minimal spatial advantage, and their fianchettoed bishop gained freedom, they simply had nothing to attack. Levon attempted to spice up the situation but quickly realized he had no chances for victory and settled for a draw. Much to the surprise of everyone, the same scenario played out half an hour late on the adjacent board. The games ended only on move 21, which did not affect the content or the result: a draw, and on the same 33rd move. The only differences were the clock readings. For Grebnev, at the time of signing the peace, he had a whole hour and 16 minutes left, Babujian had 16 minutes, Ohanyan had 13 minutes, and Davtyan had only 9.


Once again, Sergey Ivanov fell victim to his inclination towards beauty. Having reached a promising position, instead of choosing a practical solution that would give him a decent advantage, he decided to make an impressive but erroneous move:


After the simple 19.Bxg4 Qxg4 20.Qd3! g6 21.h3 Qh4, it wouldn't be so easy for Black to fend off the attack on the king, where all of the opponent's pieces would be involved. However, after the creative move 19.Ne4?!! Bxf5 20.Rxf5 Qxf5 21.Nf6+ Qxf6! 22.gxf6 Nxf6, alas, White lacked resources to break through the defense.


Shahinyan missed numerous chances for victory, completely outplaying his Iranian counterpart in the middlegame. Black fully controlled both the center and was ready to attack Movahed's weaknesses on both flanks... David won a pawn but failed to consider the attacking possibilities for White, which he immediately paid for: ignoring the wedge of White pawns proved impossible, and at some point, they could have caused a complete paralysis of Black's pieces. Lack of time prevented Sina from choosing the right plan, and a timely sacrifice of material resolved the crisis, with further simplifications becoming inevitable.


A real comedy of errors occurred between Shuvalova and Agasarov. Black played strongly through the center, won a pawn, and achieved an almost winning position, but they first missed an opportunity to ease the tension, and then allowed White to use their "last chance" with 31.h6!

But after the suicidal 32...g6? Polina, with only 9 minutes left, failed to find the typical move 32.Nh5! (the knight is untouchable due to a checkmate in two moves) 32...Qc6 33.Nf6+ Kh8 34.Rad1 c4 35.Rd2, and White, dominating the space, could almost effortlessly increase the pressure, competing for a win.


Memorial A. Margaryan. Standings after the 2nd round: 1-5. Grebnev, Movahed, Agasarov, Shahinyan, and Ohanyan – 1.5; 6-10. Ivanov, Shuvalova, Davtyan, Babujian, and Sorensen – 0.5.

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