A New Sheherazade, or 1,001 Dubais

We left the situation on the Persian Gulf with five players in pole position going into the last round. Only one of these could emerge fully satisfied, but...Boris did not have a good day, being clearly caught in the opening and ending up in a position that was painful to look at. The white moves were obvious and almost played themselves. 

Jones - Savchenko

21.f4 Raf8 22.Rad1 b5? 23.Nxe5 – There was no need to kick the knight, it wanted to go here anyway! 23… dxe5 24.d6 Qxd6 25.Rxd6 White won (1:0). It is a shame to stumble one step from victory, but what a battle! Boris has again underlined his reputation as a fearless fighter, who does not know the meaning of compromise: +7 -2 =0! – a living rebuke to pragmatism! And a good visiting card to show organisers - with such a player in the tournament, things will never be dull. 

The Armenian GM ended just half a point behind the winner on Bucholz. Vladimir won easily in the last round: 

Pantasulia - Akopian

He could get a comfortable position with 16.Rxe4 Nxe4 17.Qxd4 etc. But why not take the exchange?.  16.Bxe4 Qf6 17.Qc2 – Maybe he should have preferred 17.Rab1?  17…Ba4 18.b3 Bxa1 19.bxa4 Re8 20.Re2 Rxe4 21.Rxe4 Nxe4 22.Qxe4 Bd4 23.Qxb7 Qe6 – and Black went on to take all the enemy pawns on the queenside. (0:1). 

The vice-world champion of 1999 pointed out that he has always enjoyed playing in the Emirates. This is understandable, as playing conditions are good, prizes (and sometimes appearance fees) are high and other factors (climate, food, etc) are all good. These things apply to all the other players, of course,  but it was Akopian who tied for first. Maybe it is just his lucky city?  

The world junior champion played a "tasty"game

Howell - Antipov

28…f5 29.Re1 fxe4 30.fxe4 Qf6 31.Kg1 Bxb5 32.Qc3 Nxe4 

33.Qb2 Nxg3 34.Rdd1 Ne2 35.Kh1 Ba4 – Here Misha slipped a little,; if you believe Stockfish, he should exchange queens first and only then play Ba4. But human play, with its errors and inaccuracies, is more interesting! 36.Qxf6 gxf6 37.Rd3 Nf4 38.Rg3 Kf7 39.Rf1 Nxg2 40.Kxg2 Re2 41.Kf3 Re5 42.Rfg1 Rxd5 43.Rg7 Ke6 44.Rxc7 Rb8 45.Re1 Re5 46.Bd2 Rb3 47.Rc3 Rb2 48.Rd3 Bc6 49.Kf2 f5 – As 20 moves ago, the f-pawn enters the battle.

It only took 7 more moves for the pawn to land on its desired square f1. Black won. (0:1). Alas, David suffered with White at the end of the tournament - first Akopian and then Antipov…

Mikhail Antipov's new image. Artist or scientific worker?  

Queen Antoanetta …

The 1,001st night of Scheherazade was the first night of Stavanger. And Sir Gawain scored a new success, which as well as a solid cash sum means he takes away from the Gulf many positive emotions. Two tournaments wins in a row, and what tournaments! No comment!

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