Here you can see the Tallinn Open 2019 news.
Here you can see all the games played in the tournament.
Among other things which make TO so special, I appreciate to a great extent its cozy Christmas atmosphere and the availability of pianos. The system of running the competition is quite up to the challenges. Division into A and B tournaments, as well as the Italian modification to the Swiss-system ensured the highest possible level of the opponents, all the way through keeping me on toes. I guess it was for the first time that I played with T10 rule (Taraguchi-10). I was fascinated by the tactical flexibility in the opening stage offered by the rule, as compared with S8 (Soosyrv-8). Meanwhile, an impression that 1 hour thinking time is not enough to play a solid game grew strong in me, the impression which was shared by the other participants. I chose 2 games to comment:
Round A5 Hõbemägi – Sushkov 1:0
By that time point, my ambitious challenger was handicapped by 0 in the first round (which he had to skip) and a funny loss against Katsev. But his tournament situation was far from being hopeless. In view of his opening theory repertoire which still has a large potential to expand, Martin opened with d4. I chose to play white with the 5 move he offered afterwards. I thought this could be a good opportunity to test the three as 6 move. This is rarely played nowadays, but the attacking plan of black is far from being obvious. My later analyses confirmed that 9 -> 10 would lead to a desperate situation for white if black knows what to do. The 9 move in our game gives more chances to white. After having put the key defense 12 the situation seemed quite secure. Martin chose to smartly balance the position with his series 13-19. And then, fearing not the white activity in the down part, he kept initiative with 25.
Of course, I had better played 26->38 etc. It took too much time (which was already lacking) to calculate the white’s attack – which, I saw it, would bring no win, but perhaps would help somehow.
After 35 though, made in cool blood, it is clear the attack brings no help. There was too little time left, I still had to defend the upper flank. 42? I should have played 42->k11, I was afraid of 43->h1 in this case which is actually not dangerous. But it’s still okay. 44?? The last mistake. I thought if I played 44->i13, a delusion came across my mind that it’s losing after 45->i11, while actually pair 4-40 comes helpful at defense.
All in all, Martin exhibited confidence and fighting spirit which made an impression. His plan was to beat me in our second game, and then in the third one. I had good luck to escape this infernal chain of events.
Round A2 Sushkov – Topkin 1:0
A great thing about this tournament – I took revenge on Topkin for all the humiliations of the last year.
Before the game I got a piece of advice from an unidentified well-wisher concerning opening tactics against Topkin. The well-wisher recommended playing positions which are not possible with S8 but are possible with T10. This is what happened in our both games with Georg-Romet, and it worked perfectly well.
In the present game I put 4 move which has 8 winning 5, whereas there are only a few nicely playable 5 moves. Then I offered one of them, which might be quite strong for black, though.
Topkin chose white and made a natural 6. What 6 would I make if I played white? Most probably, I would play out the three 6->9. The thing is, it‘s bad for black to stop it in the middle, but both options
to block it from the sides are much better. In our game, the black steadily build up a potential for the future until 12 move, inviting to launch an attack. Nowadays I think 16->i5 would be the best answer
to this 15, hence 15->i5 might be a more precise realization of the attack. However, the time was pressing and we could not always do the most effective moves. The blacks‘ position is stronger and they won in the end. This was my strong claim for the winner‘s title, because Georg-Romet was holding it from the last year.