He beat direct competitor Vugar Gashimov in round 8
Alexander Motylev pushed his earlier co-leader Vugar Gashimov aside in a direct 8th round encounter to take sole possession of the top of the 10th International Poikovsky chess tournament. Gashimov defended with ultra-solid Petroff, also Motylev’s opening of choice in earlier match versus Emil Sutovsky, but later he lost patience from long maneuvering and forced a sharp Rook-ending. It proved, however, that Motylev calculated with precision and scored a crucial win that brings him in position where a last round draw will be sufficient to claim the tournament. His opponent will be Viktor Bologan, while Gashimov is paired against Zahar Efimenko.
Thursday’s round brought an unexpected lecture in Rook endgames for the interested audience. In addition to aforementioned Motylev-Gashimov, that type of ending also appeared in Inarkiev-Rublevsky and Naiditsch-Bologan, where both games passed the 100-moves mark. Inarkiev was hoping to reach a position where his King would get in between Black’s connected pawns, thus effectively blocking them from further advancing. Rublevsky was cautious enough never to allow that option and gradually pushed forward until Inarkiev finally gave up.
Alexander Motylev and Viktor Bologan
Arkadij Naiditsch appeared to be in a more fitting position to grab a draw. Bologan had better pawns, compared to Rublevsky, but White King slipped in and held them immobile. 102. Rf2+? might have been a decisive mistake which allowed Black King to break the blockade and come closer to the pawns. 102. Rd2!?, maintaining the control over the d-file looks like more adequate solution. Perhaps Naiditsch was already in deep time trouble.
Round 8 results:
GM Arkadij Naiditsch (GER 2700) – GM Viktor Bologan (MDA 2690) 0-1
GM Ernesto Inarkiev (RUS 2676) – GM Sergei Rublevsky (RUS 2702) 0-1
GM Alexander Motylev (RUS 2677) – GM Vugar Gashimov (AZE 2730) 1-0
GM Zahar Efimenko (UKR 2682) – GM Alexei Shirov (ESP 2745) draw
GM Emil Sutovsky (ISR 2660) – GM Alexander Onischuk (USA 2684) draw
Round 8 standings:
1. GM Alexander Motylev (RUS 2677) – 6.5
2. GM Vugar Gashimov (AZE 2730) – 5.5
3-4. GM Ernesto Inarkiev (RUS 2676) and GM Emil Sutovsky (ISR 2660) – 4.5
5-6. GM Alexander Onischuk (USA 2684) and GM Viktor Bologan (MDA 2690) – 4.0
7-8. GM Arkadij Naiditsch (GER 2700) and GM Sergei Rublevsky (RUS 2702) – 3.5
9. GM Zahar Efimenko (UKR 2682) – 2.5
10. GM Alexei Shirov (ESP 2745) – 1.5