The Aeroflot ended with a repeat victory for defending champion Le Quang Liem. The Vietnamese GM retained by a hairsbreadth to qualify again for the Dortmund super-tournament where he finished second in 2010. Ivan Cheparinov, who shared the lead after beating Le in the penultimate round, lost in the last round. Le (+5,-1,=3 and TPR of 2809) edged out Nikita Vitiugov and Evgeny Tomashevsky on tie-breaks after all three finished on 6.5/9.
The last 12 months have been a bit of the roller-coaster for Le who did very well as Dortmund and reasonably at Corus B but dropped 0/4 in the Asian Teams. Alexander Khalifman said “In February and March 2010 I worked a little with Le Quang Liem, and I will say honestly that sometimes my eyes popped out. He is a very talented boy (maybe not a Carlsen, but definitely out of the ordinary). But at the moment all he does is calculate and calculate. He calculates very well, by the way.”
There are rumours this may be the last Aeroflot. The airline is under new management and may not renew sponsorship. Sadly, it is confirmed that another great festival, the Chess Classic at Mainz is also cancelled due to lack of sponsorship. Mainz always punched above its (considerable) weight introducing innovations like the C-960 open and providing a superb experience for pros and amateurs alike.
This is actually a terrible year with Linares hanging fire and the Sofia MTel in doubt. Of course, the world title match itself in 2012 has a question mark hanging over it, after London pulled out. Fide VP Ilya Levitov says about the title match: “Everything is in some kind of limbo. There will be a new bidding process, and the venue may depend on who becomes challenger. If it is Aronian, then Armenia; if it is an Azeri player they will want it in Azerbaijan. Bulgaria will want to stage the match if VeselinTopalov wins, and if Kramnik or Grischuk win then we (Russia) will consider.”
The diagram, WHITE TO PLAY, (Liem Vs Kamsky, Aeroflot 2011) illustrated the winner’s calculating prowess.
Black has played provocatively, dropping back in development and leaving his king centred. White found 16.Bxc6+ bxc6 17.Qxc6+ Nd7 18.Nxg6. There’s a draw with 18.Nxd7 Rc8 19.Nf6+ etc. but white isn't exactly looking to split the point. 18...hxg6. The queen “sacrifice” with 18. Rc8 19. Nxe7 Rxc6 20. Nxc6 Qf6 21. Rfe1+ Kf8 22. Bd2! g5 23. Rac1 h6 24. Ne7 Qa6 25. Rc6! seems to be winning. Now white just recovers the piece.
19.Rfe1 0–0 20.Bc7 Nb8 21.Bxd8 Nxc6 22.Bxe7 Nxe7 23.Rxe7 Rfd8 24.Rd1 a3 25.b3 Rac8 26.Kf1 Rd5 27.Rd2 (1–0).
The ending is totally winning.
Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player