Photo: Peter Doggers

Mikhalevski wins Open

Open group round 9

Photo: Peter Doggers

After beating Beliavsky, Victor Mikhalevski was always high up in the ranks of the Open. But before the last round he was only one of three leaders. When his friend Michael Roiz quickly drew with Beliavsky, Mikhalevski was almost there, since he himself won quickly against Sopiko Guramishvili. It just wasn’t her day today.
Guramishvili - Mikhalevski

With this move White has a bad score. 12.f4 is more often played.
12...Be7 13.Rfd1 0–0 14.b3? 

This more or less forces the coming piece sacrifice, as 15.Bxf6 Nxf6 16.Na2 c3 is a sorry sight.
15.bxc4 bxc3 16.Bf3 Nxe5 17.dxe5 Nd7
White didn’t get her piece back, and three moves later she resigned.
After this Mikhalevski had to wait long for events to unfold on board 3. Andrey Vovk had a small plus all the time, and right before the planned time of the prize giving the tension ran high.
Vovk - Romanishin

31.b3 Bxf6 32.Nxf6 Nxa3!?
Allows the knight to be trapped, but of course it isn’t that simple!
33.Rc3+ Kb7 34.Nd5 Rc8!? 35.Rxc8 Kxc8 36.Kb2 

36...Rxc2+?! 37.Kxa3 Rxf2 38.Kb4 Rxh2 39.Rf1 Rd2 40.Nc3 Rd4+ 41.Ka5 Rd3!
41...Rxg4 42.Rxf7 gives White better winning chances.
42.Rc1 Kb7 43.g5 d5 44.Rc2 Ka7 45.Ne2 Kb7
It’s still quite dangerous for Black, for example: 45...Rxb3 46.Rc7+ Kb8 47.Kb6 Rb4 48.Rxf7 Kc8 49.Rf4.
46.Rc3 Rd2 47.Nf4 d4 48.Rc5 d3 49.Kb4 Rd1 50.Rd5 d2 51.Ne2 Kc6 

Good winning chances were offered by the following subtle find of Houdini: 52.Rd3!! a5+ 53.Kc3 a4 54.b4 and now on the game move 54...Rb1 White suddenly has 55.Nd4+ (55.Rxd2 Rb3+ 56.Kc2 Rxb4) 55...Kb6 56.Rxd2, saving the pawn on b4.
52...a5+ 53.Kc3 a4 54.b4 Rb1 55.Kxd2
Now White even loses after 55.Nd4+?? Kc7.
And Vovk didn’t manage to win this anymore.
That made Mikhalevski the sole winner of the Open tournament. Our congratulations to this sympathetic grandmaster!