Maccabiah chess games in Jerusalem Print
Thursday, 13 July 2017 08:57

Dan hotel
Dan Hotel Jerusalem

At the magnificent Dan Hotel on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, the chess competitions of the 20th Maccabiah ended last Friday. Every four years since 1932, Israel has hosted the Maccabiah Games, considered one of the world’s largest sports events. The 20th edition, concluded last Tuesday, was the largest in the history of the event. Over 10,000 athletes from over 80 countries competed in over 3,000 competitions in 46 sports.
Chess was introduced to the Maccabiah in the second 1935 edition but then, due to the rise of the Nazism and the Second World War it was not before 1950 that the Maccabiah games were resumed. Chess games, however, were back to the programme only in 1977. Ever since it has become an integral part of the big sport event seeing quite a few of the world’s top Jewish players such as Hermann Pilnik, Julio Bolbochan, Yuri Averbach, Jon Spielman, Jonathan Mestel, Judith Polgar, Boris Gelfand, Pavel Eljanov, Alexander Khalifman, Alexander Beliavsky, Jan Nepomiachtchi and Daniel Friedman to name a few alongside the Israeli top. For the last 3 decades the chief organizer of the chess events in the Maccabiah has been Moshe Slav.
The Israeli capital hosted the games for the second time in a row. The dynamic manager of the local chess scene IA Alon Cohen-Revivo acted as the chief arbiter of the entire festival. This year’s programme included 7 categories: 4 invitational groups - 2 Grandmaster and 2 Master tournaments alongside an open, youth and blitz competitions.

Macc Georg Meier and the medal
GM Georg Meier receiving the gold medal from Organizer Moshe Slav and Chief Arbiter Alon Cohen

The Grandmaster group saw clear superiority of the German GM Georg Meier, who dominated the field on 7.5 points out of nine games, taking the gold medal with a whole point ahead of the runner up, the Ukrainian GM Alexander Moisieenko 6.5 and the tireless Lithuanian GM Eduard Rozentalis 5.5. The French-Israeli IM Gabriel Bataglini-Flom, who stunningly beat GMs Moisieenko, Smirin and Dvoirys, was pretty close to the desired GM norm, but scored just a single point in the last 3 rounds and had to settle for a respectable fourth place (together with the disappointed GM Ilya Smirin), yet with neither a medal nor a norm. The rest of the field: Alex Huzman 4.5, GM Semen Dvoirys (RUS) and IM Eyal Deutsch 3 each, David Klein (Netherlands) and FM Yair Farkhov 2.5 each.

Macc Tal Baron
GM Tal Baron

Solid and confident performance gave the gold medal in the second GM group to the Israeli GM Tal Baron on 7 / 9 undefeated. The silver went to former world female champion (and the current European one), Ukrainian GM Anna Oshenina on 6 while young IM Alon Mindlin who was a serious candidate for the desired GM norm lost his final round game to 15 years old IM Ariel Ehrenberg. His fine 5.5 points score still earned him the bronze medal as well as a nice collection of five GM scalps! He was followed by the French IM Anthony Bellaiche (France) and former Israel champion GM Victor Mikhalevski on 5 each, GMs Yakov Zilberman and Gennady Ginsburg (Germany) 4 each, IM Ariel Erenberg and FM Sa'ar Drori 3 each, and GM Maxim Novik (Russia) 2.5.

Here is a nice decisive combination from the 8th round in this group:

Baron-Drori  Macc

Baron, Tal (2547) - Drori, Saar (2359)
Maccabiah20 Dan Hotel (8.8), 13.07.2017
26.Bg5! fxg5 27.Nxg5 Bg7 28.Nf7+ Kh7 29.Bxg6+! 1–0

This group saw in round 7 what might be considered as the blunder of the event at least in its Grandmaster level:

Novik-  Mikhalevski  Macc

Novik, Maxim (2482) - Mikhalevski, Victor (2540)
Maccabiah20 Dan Hotel (7.6), 12.07.2017
31... Ne4! 32. Bxe8 Qg4+ 33.Kf1 Qh3+ 34.Ke1 Qh4+ 35.Ke2 Qg4+ 36.Ke1 Qh4+ 37.Kf1?? Qf2#

The current Maccabiah format, which also included two Master tournaments, provided an opportunity for talented young players to meet older masters, gain experience and, if lucky enough, to score a Master norm. Unfortunately, none of the candidates in all four invitational groups managed to do so, although some of them were very pretty close to fulfilling the dream.

Michael Pasman  9
IM Michael Pasman

Master group A saw a convincing "comeback" by veteran IM Michael Pasman, who for quite long had been away of the competitive scene. A strenuous 3 / 3 start followed by a single loss in the fourth round and a dizzying finish of 4 from 5 led him right to a well deserved gold medal. With 7 points he was a point ahead of the surprising youngster Shaked Tifferet who, with 6 points, was on the verge of achieving his first IM norm, finally settling for a silver medal and a large bag of Elo points. Third was the Israeli-Russian section, FM Gleb Kagansky on 5.5 and the bronze.

Macc Roman Bar
IM Roman Bar

In IM group B IM Roman Bar was unstoppable on 7 points before the last round. His first and only defeat in the final round could not deprive him from a well deserved gold medal. At the same time it led his opponent IM Alex Kaspi, a veteran of 7 Maccabiah editions, right to the silver medal with 6.5 points after otherwise a rather mediocre competition. A similar score gave the Israeli-Russian David Kudishevich the bronze medal.

Here is the decisive game:

Bar, Roman (2471) - Kaspi, Alexander (2435)
Maccabiah 20 Dan Hotel (9.18), 14.07.2017
1. e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.0–0 Ngf6 5.Re1 a6 6.Bd3 e5 7.c3 Be7 8.Bc2 0–0 9.d4 Re8 10.a4 b6 11.Nbd2 cxd4 12.cxd4 exd4 13.Nxd4 Bb7 14.Nf5 Bf8 15.b3 [15.Nc4!?] 15...g6 16.Ng3 d5 17.Bb2 h5!? 18. exd5 Rxe1+ 19.Qxe1 Bxd5 20.Nge4 Bg7 21.Rc1 Qf8 22.Nxf6+ Nxf6 23.Bd3 Re8 24.Qd1 Ng4! 25.Bxg7 Qxg7 26.Nf1?

Bar- Kaspi  Maccabia  IM 2

26...Nxf2! 27.Qd2 [27.Kxf2 Qd4+ 28.Kg3 h4+ 29.Kh3 Be6+ 30.g4 hxg3+ 31.Kxg3 Qg1+ 32.Kf4 Qf2+ 33.Qf3 g5+–+] 27...Nh3+! 28. gxh3 [28.Kh1 Qd4!–+] 28...Qd4+ 29.Qf2 Qxd3 30.Re1 Rxe1 31.Qxe1 Qd4+ 32.Ne3 Bxb3 0–1

Macc Moshe Gal and the medal
Judge Moshe Gal winner of the open tournament

The open section (98 participants ) was dominated by the retired justice Moshe Gal, a retired justice (former general manager of the Israeli courts) on 8/9 ahead of 13 years old Yoav Milikov 7 (both undefeated). Third was 21 years old girl Ady Federovsky on 7 too. The Open Youth Competition (20 players) was won by American Joseph Zlatsan on 6.5 /7.

The chairman of the Maccabiah Chess Committee, Moshe Slav led the organizing work; International Judge Alon Cohen, was the tournament director, with the help of arbiters Yoel Levy, Moshe Dermer, Ami Kaiser, Philip Zisman and Idan Lavi and of Shaul Weinstein, who was in charge of the official website and live transmissions. The chairman of the appeal committee was international judge Shlomo Kandelshine. The youth competition in Haifa was organized by Nesher Club headed by Vladimir Weinstein and IM Andrey Gurbanov. Ritvo family-Dorit, Gadi and the sons Dan and Oz have documented the events with countless beautiful photographs including the ones in this article. All results, tables, games and reports may be seen on the official website: 

Macc Afek  Milikov
Your author with the young and talented Milikow brothers: Yoav, 13 (Silver medal in the open!), Elie and Shira

Meier & Baron are sole leaders
The chess games in the 20th Maccabiah have reached their decisive stage when after 6 rounds both grandmaster groups see a sole leader, and still with a close and open race. At the top group German GM Georg Meier is undefeated at the lead on 4.5/ 6. He has already played both top seed Moiseenko and Smirin, drawing both games. He could do even better against the Israeli:

Meier, Georg (2644) - Smirin, Ilia (2644)
Maccabiah20 Dan Hotel (5.2), 10.07.2017
1 Meier - Smirin

41. Qh8+? [The 41st move syndrome? Correct was 41.Qg8! Qb6 (Or 41...g5 42.Qe6+ Kg7 43.Qxf5 Qb6 44.Qxg5+ Kf7 45.Qf5+ Kg7 46.Qd7+ Kf6 47.Qe6+ Kg7 48.Qe7+ Kg8 49.h4+-) 42.Qf8+ Ke5 43.Qg7+ Kf4 44.Qxg6 Ke5 45.Qg7+ Kf4 46.Qg3#] 41...Kf7 42.Qh7+ Kf6 43.Qd7? [For the second time 43.Qg8! was the missed opportunity.] 43...Qb6 44.Qe6+ ½–½

Meyer was half a point ahead of the highly successful runner- up, the French-Israeli Gabriel Battaglini – Flom whom he beat in round 4. The latter is still on the run for both the top honours as well as for the desirable grandmaster norm. The standings following round 6: GM G. Meier (GER) 4.5; IM G. Flom (FRA) 4; GMs E. Rozentalis (LTU) & GM A. Moiseenko (UKR) 3.5 each; GMs I. Smirin (ISR) & S. Dvoirys (RUS) 3 each; IM E. Deutsch (ISR) & GM A. Huzman (ISR) 2.5 each; FM Y. Parkhov (ISR) 2; GM D. Klein (NED) 1.5. Dutch GM David Klein is not really used to see the entire field ahead of him. Here is one of the reasons:

Klein, David (2508) - Parkhov, Yair (2407)
Maccabiah20 Dan Hotel (4.1), 09.07.2017
2 Klein- Parkhov

41...Bxg3! 42. Kxg3 [Not 42.Re2 Rxe2 43.Qxe2 Rb8!µ] 42...Re8! 43. Qxe8? [Missing the counter blow 43.Rxf7+! Qxf7 44.Qxe8 Qxe8 45.Rxe8 Rxd3+ 46.Kg2 Rd2= with equality] 43...Rxd3+ 44.Kg2 Qf3+ 45.Kg1 Qxb7 46.Qe5+ Kh7 47.Qe4 Qxe4 48.Rxe4 Rd1+ 49.Kg2 Kg7 50.Kf3 [Or 50.Re5 d3 51.Re4 Rb1 52.Rd4 Rxb2 53.Kf3 f6 54.Rxa4 g5µ] 50...Rd2 Black has obtained a superior rook ending which he converted on move though not without difficulties. 0–1

In Grandmaster group B Israeli GM Tal Baron is undefeated at the lead with 4.5 points. The runners up are the young IM Alon Mindlin and the European ladies’ champion Ukrainian GM Anna Ushenina on 4, just half a point behind. IM group A saw a joint lead of IM Michael Pasman and FM Shaked Tifferet (both Israel) on 4.5 each. Israeli IM Roman Bar was the sole leader of IM group B with 5 points ahead of IM David Kudischewitsch (RUS) 4.5 and IM Alexander Kaspi (Israel) 4.

Here is an elegant conclusion from IM group A:

Veinberg, Nimrod (2381) - Bitensky, Igor (2358)
Maccabiah20 Dan Hotel (5.14), 10.07.2017
3 Vainberg- Bitensky

32...Rxe3+! 33. Qxe3 gxf4+ 34.Qxf4 Qe1+ 35.Qf2 Be5+ 36.Kxh4 Qxf2+ 37.Kh5 Qe3 38.h4 Qxd3 0–1

98 players take part in the open section which was dominated by two Jerusalem players: Moshe Gal and Netanel Levi on 5.5 / 6 each. In the youth section in Nesher, nearby Haifa, 20 players from USA, Germany an Israel, Uruguay and Burundi take part. After 4 round Joseph Zeltsan is the sole leader with 3.5.

Sharansky’s simul

Our special guest on Tuesday was Natan Sharansky, the famous human rights activist and refusnik in the USSR during the seventies and eighties who spent 9 years in Soviet prisons and has made a rich political career in Israel starting from the nineties. Sharansky, since 2009 the chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, was a chess prodigy and played in various local and national Soviet tournaments. He claims that Chess helped him to keep his sanity in solitary confinement as he used to play in his cell, without a chess set, thousands of games against himself and always won…

Yesterday he volunteered to give a simultaneous exhibition against 20 participants in the Maccabiah open competition. At the opening ceremony he was excited to meet two special guests: IM David Kudishevich with whom he had played at the time in youth championships in Belarus and Mr. Itzchak Lat from Berlin, the head of the German chess delegation here. Back on February 11, 1986 Mr. Lat attended the release of Saransk in a deal of spies’ exchanges that took place on Glienicke Bridge between East and West Berlin.

David Kudishevich Sharansky Moshe Slav
from left: IM David Kudishevich, Natan Sharansky and the Maccabiah organizer Moshe Slav

In the simul yesterday, that lasted some 3 hours and attracted quite a few viewers, Saransky won 17 games and drew 3, against Jacob Berman (South Africa), Michael Volodarsky and Dan Zrihan.

Sharansky Simultan general
Sharansky simul AB

All games, results and live games may be seen here:

Blitz in the Maccabiah

37 players took part in the blitz championship of the 20th Maccabiah. The gold medal winner was GM Alexander Moiseenko (Ukraine) with 9 points in 11 rounds ahead of GM Georg Meier (Germany) 8 points and a silver medal) 8 and the surprising player in the event WIM Svetlana Bezgodova (Russia) 7.5 points and the bronze medal. She left the prize of best woman to Anna-Maja Kazarian (Netherlands) who scored 6.5 points. IM Gabriel Bataglini - Flom (France) and GM Alex Khuzman (Israel) also scored 7.5 points each.

MaccabiahBlitz winners
The blitz medal winners

Maccab- George Mayer
Macc Roman Bar
Macc Tal Baron

Photos: Ritvo photography
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