Nigel Short is the highest-rated player ever to take part in the Edmonton International in Canada. After a loss in the first round he bounced back to win his next three games in the 10-player round robin event. His first round tormentor, Victor Mikhalevski, is in the joint lead together with Anton Kovalyov, with three wins and a draw.
Edmonton is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta, and 2012 marks the 7th edition of the Edmonton International Chess Festival. The event aims to give local Canadian players a chance to achieve norms, and this year pulled off the coup of inviting one of the best known figures in world chess, Nigel Short.
Before the event began he gave a lecture for local chess fans:
Four-time US Champion Irina Krush also gave a simultaneous display (16 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses):
The event itself started with a bang, as Nigel Short lost his way in a sharp position against a previous winner of the event, Victor Mikhalevski (who like Boris Gelfand was born in Belarus and moved to Israel):
Mikhalevski has just taken a poisoned pawn on a7. The immediate 25…Qb2! is now winning for Short (26.Qxb7+ is mate-in-13... for Black!) – the follow-up plan is for Black to move his king out of any checks and then play …Be4! However, Short delayed one move with 25…h5? and after 26.h3! he didn’t have a tempo to evacuate his king. His last chance to hold the game came after 31.Kh1?! (31.Rf2!):
31…Ne3? (31…Be4!) 32.Qf2! sealed his fate.
Mikhalevski shares the lead on 10 points (the 3 points for a win scoring system is in use) with 20-year-old Anton Kovalyov (2619), who was born in Ukraine before moving to Argentina and eventually Canada, although he’s currently still registered for Argentina.
Kovalyov won in crushing style against local hope 13-year-old Richard Wang in Round 3, but the Alberta Champion has a win to his name after strangling Irina Krush with the black pieces:
25…Nxc3! 26.Nxb3 Ne2+ 27.Kg2 Rxb3 28.Ne1 Nb4 and Krush, perhaps no longer able to look at the miserable position of her pieces, resigned.
The schedule for the event is punishing, with two classical games played on three of the playing days:
The 11am local start time should be e.g. 6pm in London and 7pm in Paris, and the games can be followed on the excellent website: homepage, live games, photos by Ali Razzaq and Vlad Rekhson (as used above)
Bumpy start for Nigel Short in Canada