Yerevan, Armenia
8-16 January

Andranik Margaryan Memorial. Tournament "A". 9th round


Grebnev takes the win! Just half a step ahead of the quartet of competitors...


After the tumultuous events of the penultimate round, the final 9th round was quite peaceful, although there was a struggle on every board. Alexey Grebnev secured first place with a draw against Ohanyan, and Emin waited to see which of the four pursuers would join him on the second step. They turned out to be Arsen Davtyan, who defeated his direct competitor Shahinyan, and Benik Agasarov, who tormented the exhausted Ivanov at the end of the tournament.


The most interesting game of the round took place between the youngest and the oldest participants of the tournament... Agasarov, filled with ambitious intentions after yesterday's defeat, while Ivanov never refused a desire to fight until the last move. Black seized a pawn in the Catalan, and white, in response, carelessly deprived themselves of an important dark-squared bishop. However, after the firefight in the center, Benik "greedily" grabbed another white pawn and almost immediately found himself in a critical situation. Sergey elegantly positioned himself in the center, but what's next?

Here, one is tempted to "throw" the pieces towards the king: 20.Ng5 or 20.Nf4, but surprisingly, the most stringent move is 20.Ne3!, and it's not so easy for Black to untangle the knot of their pieces. Ivanov played straightforwardly – 20.Qxc4, and the black pieces managed to break free from the pressure, and then lure them into a trap.

After the questionable 26.Re4?, a lovely geometry unfolded: 26...Rb1! 27.Qd6 Qb8!? 28.Rxc4 Qxd6! 29.Rxb1 Qd3, and the grandmaster was left without the queen – only with the rook and bishop. Despite this, their encounter was expected to end in a draw, but in the endgame, Sergey weakened significantly, miscalculated in tactics, and couldn't hold on.


On the other hand, victory came relatively easily for Davtyan. Shahinyan played a "combat" opening in the style of the Old Indian Defense but didn't even attempt to create a serious counterplay. Arsen stabilized the center, had the opportunity to calmly advance the pawns, opened the "g" file, and drove the black king into an open field.


So, a quick and inevitable end in this game was ensured!


Movahed delighted with another transformation in the endgame. As has happened several times in this tournament, the Iranian struggled in the opening, miraculously escaped in the middlegame, where Shuvalova's well-coordinated forces had a chance to finish the job with a direct attack. However, as soon as most pieces left the board, an entirely new game began, where the evaluation of the position changed dramatically literally after every move. Polina would find a path to victory, only to let it slip away immediately; Sina alternated conceptual moves with outright oversights. And at the moment when it seemed that the Russian would finally win, she, already on a falling flag, made a whole series of suicidal moves, leading to a sudden checkmate.


Finally, the cherry on top was the epic battle between Babujian and Sorensen, in which luck favored the home player: Levon's first and only victory allowed him to catch up with the disappointed Swede at the last moment.


So, it's time to summarize the 14th Andranik Margaryan Memorial.


The main surprise was that the coveted grandmaster norm eluded all participants! Despite formally achieving a score of 6.5 points, Grebnev, due to his significantly higher rating than all opponents (2535), had to show a result no less than "+5," but even he couldn't reach it (blame the draw with Movahed?).


Others were even further from the required mark. In terms of play in Yerevan, Agasarov undoubtedly deserved it, fighting like a lion in every round, and also Davtyan, playing many solid, substantive games. If they maintain this momentum, the grandmaster title will undoubtedly be within their grasp. And soon!


Well, thank you all, and until the next meetings on the chess fields of Armenia.


Andranik Margaryan Memorial. Final standings. Tournament "A". 1. Grebnev – 6.5; 2-5. Ohanyan, Davtyan, Agasarov, and Movahed – 6; 6. Shahinyan – 5; 7. Shuvalova – 3; 8. Ivanov – 2.5; 9-10. Sorensen and Babujian – 2. Tournament "B". 1-2. Gasparyan and Hayrapetyan – 6.5; 3-4. Sahakyan and Putrenko – 6; 5-6. Zakaryan and Pashikyan – 4.5; 7. Rostomyan – 4; 8. Lomsadze – 3; 9. Ambratsumyan – 2.5; 10. Kaiyrbekov – 1.5.



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