Myanmar Open – Belous and Short joint winners

In the end Englishman Nigel Short and Russian Vladimir Belous were declared joint champions of the Zaw Win Lay Myanmar International Open when both finished equal on points and the tie-break calculation showed two different results when done manually from the official Swiss Manager computer program!

But it was the three rounds after the rest day that changed everything with the results from rounds seven and eight throwing up upset and upset and until the dust finally settled at the end of the long day it was anyone’s guess as to who would eventually emerge the winner.

Belous, Short prize

The third seeded Belous has drawn his games in rounds three, four and five to drop slightly off the leaderboard while Short crashed to a loss in the six round afternoon game of a testing three consecutive days of double rounds against India’s M.R. Venkatesh and it looked like the top seeded Sergei Tiviakov’s win over journeyman Serbian Grandmaster Stefan Djuric to take sole lead put him in the driving seat.

But the Dutch national team stalwart collapsed in unrecognizable fashion in rounds seven and eight after the rest day to completely drop out of contention, afterward admitting to me that he had not only underestimated his opponents and pushed too hard instead of accepting draws but perhaps the rest day should have not been spent seeing even more of Yangon!

After beating Tiviakov, the unfancied Arun Prasad who had played steadily and well throughout was the leader going into the last round and a draw would have been enough to become champion and he initially looked good in his game against Belous, almost certainly winning at one point but he was also visibly nervous throughout, pacing a great deal at the start and at the critical moment his level of play dropped and the Russian player as he had done so very resourcefully in so many of his earlier games, took his chance with open hands.

Arun Prasad

Arun Prasad

The following are the main standings and all the prize winners:

1-2. Short, Belous 7.5/9;
3-7. Nguyen Duc Hoa, Arun Prasad, Venkatesh, Vishnu Prasanna, Tiviakov 7/9;
8-11. Jahongir Vakhidov, Zaw Oo, Fominyh, Djuric 6.5/9;
12-25. Nay Oo Kyaw Tun, Gong, Longsee Uaychai, Myint Han, Wynn Zaw Htun, Lee, Aung Aung Aung Myo Hliang, Zeyar, Htut Htut Than, Saeheng Boonsueb, Kyaw Lin Niang, Tn Tun zaw, Thu Han Soe, Myo Kyaw Hliang 6/9.

IM Nay Oo Kyaw Tun

IM Nay Oo Kyaw Tun

But let’s not forget the Myanmar International Open was renamed the GM Zaw Win Lay Memorial Myanmar International Open Chess Championship due to the sudden and untimely demise of their only Grandmaster who had been in ill health, as evidenced by the name change and the donation of entry fees together with additional sponsorship going the family of the late Zaw Win Lay, a very humble person who burst on the international scene with some stunning performances in 2000 and since then had been a role model for an entire generation of Myanmar players.

The following is his fine effort against Jaan Ehlvest who at one time was ranked No. 3 in the world, and this came after he had drawn FIDE World Champions Anatoly Karpov and Alexander Khalifman in previous rounds.

Zaw Win Lay-Jaan Ehlvest
Round 9, Japfa Classic, Bali, Indonesia
22 April 2000

1.e4 g6 2.d4 d6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be2 Nd7 6.O-O Qc7 7.Be3 Ngf6 8.h3 O-O 9.Qd2 b5 10.a3 Bb7 11.Nh2 a6 12.Ng4 c5 13.f3 Nh5 14.Rfe1 Nb6 15.Bf2 Kh8 16.Rad1 Rad8 17.Bf1 Bc8 18.Qe3 cxd4 19.Rxd4 Be6 20.e5 Nc8 21.f4 dxe5 22.Rxd8 Rxd8 23.fxe5 Rd7 24.a4 bxa4 25.Bxa6 a3 26.Nb5 Qc6 27.Bxc8 Qxc8 28.Nxa3 Qb7 29.c4 h6 30.b3 g5 31.Nb5 Nf4 32.Qe4 Qxe4 33.Rxe4 h5 34.Nh2 Bf5 35.Re1 Nd3 36.Rd1 Nxf2 37.Rxd7 Nxh3+ 38.gxh3 Bxd7 39.Nf3 Kg8 40.e6 Bxe6 41.Nxg5 Bd7 42.h4 f5 43.Nc7 Bd4+ 44.Kf1 e5 45.Nd5 Kg7 46.b4 f4 47.Ke2 Bg4+ 48.Kf1 f3 49.c5 Kg6 50.c6 f2 51.b5 Kh6 52.Nf6 Bd1 53.Nfe4 Ba4 54.Nf7+ Kg6 55.Nfd6 Bb6 56.Nxf2 Kf6 57.c7 Bxc7 58.Ne8+ Ke7 59.Nxc7 Kd7 60.b6 Kc6 61.Nd5 Bb3 62.Nd3 1-0

Gong vs Tiviakov

My personal thanks to Maung Maung Lwin for inviting me to Yangon for the second time, this time to serve as Chief Arbiter in a very memorable event and I was very honoured to have the opportunity to join in a celebration of the life of their greatest ever player.

Report by IA Peter Long

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