Isle of Man International 2017

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  • #61
    Re: Isle of Man International 2017

    Isle of Man International 2017

    October 23, 2017

    Kostya Kavutskiy is an American IM residing in California, rated 2390. He has an entertaining piece about the Isle of Man tourney and his participation in it.

    An excerpt:

    Those who followed the tournament probably heard about most of the drama, starting with the ‘random pairings’ used for the first round, then the continuation of Hou Yifan’s pairing controversy from the Gibraltar Masters, then the stunning upset of GM James Tarjan over Vladimir Kramnik! And of course while all this was happening, Magnus, seconded only by his new romance, was delivering an open tournament performance of a lifetime, clocking in at 2903!

    My tournament progressed like a yoyo, one that’s familiar to many class players, where you play way up then way down and so on and so forth — in Round 1, I faced GM Falko Bindrich of Germany, losing the thread of the game in the middlegame and eventually going down in a difficult rook endgame.

    After a win in Round 2, I earned the chance to play another GM, and indeed in Round 3, I got paired with the legendary GM Ivan Sokolov! I had just spent 2 weeks watching him do the official commentary for the Tbilisi World Cup, so it was quite surreal to be in front of him at a chess board. Unfortunately, I lost the game rather quickly, but he was quite gracious when we discussed the game afterwards, so my mood was still mostly positive.

    A win in Round 4 gave me another crack at a strong player in Round 5: IM Nihal Sarin, one of two currently exciting prodiges from India, the other being Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu (or ‘double Anand’ for short, as famously dubbed by GM Simon Williams). I was quite happy to have won the game, but I could have easily spoiled it in the final moments:

    Winning this game meant I had broken free of the proverbial ‘yoyo’ and, with +1 in such an event, was set to face an even stronger player. As it turned out, I ended up paired with none other than…Kramnik himself!

    Being the lowest rated player in my score group, I was paired “down” against the highest rated player with half a point less. It’s pretty safe to say I was thrilled, floored even. Kramnik has been a personal idol for years, and an absolute legend in his own right. It was a definite honor to play against him. it was a bit of an honor to get ground down in an endgame against Kramnik! 1–0

    I wasn’t upset about the loss at all as I learned a great deal, but it was a bit disappointing that he left quickly after the game. All in all, still the highlight of my trip! I bounced back quickly with a clean win over IM Martin Zumsande of Germany, which got me paired with GM Rasmus Svane (another German!) in Round 8. I prepared well for the game, but tried a little too hard to win in a drawn endgame and ended up blundering and losing. This was definitely a shame, as another half-point would have secured a fantastic tournament.

    In Round 9, I ended up losing again, this time to IM Aman Hambleton of Canada. And I wasn’t too upset about this one either, as it was an especially complicated game, which could have gone any number of ways.

    Thus, I finished my tournament with just 4/9, gaining just a few rating points. Overall, I felt fantastic about the experience, I got to play so many strong players and learned a great deal from all of my encounters.


    • #62
      Re: Isle of Man International 2017

      I met Kostya at a Spice Cup (2013?) and had a couple of conversations with him. At that time he had had a couple of disappointments in chess and wasnt sure about his progress. Good to see he has persevered and looks like he will eventually get the GM title.