A couple of days after the Croatian Chess Championship 2017 has finished, another prestigious Croatian chess event took place. The final of the Croatian Chess Cup 2017 was a team event in which 25 teams competed for the title of the Croatian Cup Champion… and 18 000 kn first prize (around 2500 euros).
Naturally, the existence of monetary prizes usually leads to participation of the strong players who own an official FIDE title. Croatian Chess Cup 2017 was no exception, as it gathered a total number of 22 Grandmasters, 20 International Masters and 20 Fide Masters.
Of course, apart from a number of titled players, there was also a number of weaker players who don’t get the opportunity to participate in such events that often.
The author of these lines had the privilege to belong to this group. In this article, I will take a look at the key chess moments of the tournament, but also try to express my own thoughts and feelings about a chess event of such a calibre.
Kramnik scores a win, Mamedyarov wins Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2nd year in a row
With the development of modern computers, it has become customary to state that chess is game for young people.
Former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik seems to be an exception to that rule. Because with his win in Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 9, he is ranked number three in the world, trailing Wesley So on the second place by mere 3 rating points.
His display of youth-like energy in Shamkir resulted with five decisive games in nine rounds. Although his tournament had it’s ups and downs, his final game against the poor Pavel Eljanov brought him the shared second place and +1 score at the end of the tournament.
In the elite chess tournaments the name of the Radoslaw Wojtaszek is not that often in the centre of events. Sure, he is often invited and participating, but for most people he is better known as Anand’s second than as elite competitor.
However, in round 8 he showed why Anand hired him as he displayed one of the best pieces of opening preparation I have seen recently.
In a sharp variation of the Grünfeld he introduced the idea of GM Gajewsky (who also worked for Anand). It would appear that the 16 Qh4! idea basically refutes the whole 14… Nb4 line (see the analysis of the game below for more details).