The International chess festival Aeroflot Open, traditionally supported by PJSC Aeroflot – Russian Airlines, was officially opened in the Kosmos Hotel, Moscow, on February 19.
The opening ceremony was led by the RCF Executive Director Mark Glukhovsky, the Executive Director of the festival Alexander Bakh, and the Chief Arbiter of the event IA Andrzej Filipowicz.
Mark Glukhovsky: “Aeroflot Open is one of the strongest open tournaments in the world. Only two players of the World Top 10, Kramnik and Anand, haven’t participated in the Aeroflot Open. Almost all chess players of the Top 10 including the world champion Magnus Carlsen and participants of the forthcoming Candidates Tournament took part in it at least once. But these top grandmasters didn’t manage to win the tournament, at best they shared the 1st place, which means that the event has always been really strong and unpredictable. I would like to thank Aeroflot for supporting the tournament for many years”.
Alexander Bakh also expressed his gratitude to the main sponsor and to his team, which has always organized the event on such a high level. “I am very glad that we’ve managed to hold a tournament with a classical time control for so many years. This time a record-breaking delegation from India arrived in Moscow – 83 participants! I am very pleased to see that the tournament is so popular in the world”, says the Executive Director of the festival.
Andrzej Filipowicz reminded the players about the regulations and carried the drawing of lots. The top seed of the main tournament Vladimir Fedoseev drew a black pawn, giving all players with odd numbers Black in the first round.
As usual, the competition consists of three groups according to the rating of the participants – А (2549 and more), B (2299-2550) и C (2300 and less).
The main tournament is headed by such well-known chess players as the winner of Aeroflot Open 2017 Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia, 2724), winner of Tata Steel Challengers 2018 Santosh Gujrathi Vidit (India, 2723), Russian champion 2012 Dmitry Andreikin (Russia, 2712), European blitz champion 2015 Rauf Mamedov (Azerbaijan, 2709), European champion 2017 Maxim Matlakov (Russia, 2709), winner of the Russian Championship Higher League 2015 Vladislav Artemiev (Russia, 2697), European champion 2016 Ernesto Inarkiev (Russia, 2684), European champion 2015, winner of Aeroflot Open 2016 Evgeniy Najer (Russia, 2683) and many other chess stars.
In general, more than 90 players from 24 countries will take part in the A tournament. The winner of the main tournament will qualify to the super tournament in Dortmund (July 12-23, 2018).
Participants will play 9 rounds according to the Swiss system. Playing days: February 20-28. Games start at 3 p.m. (Moscow time).
The festival has a guaranteed prize fund amounting to EUR 120,000 euro. Special prizes for seniors, women, and juniors (amounting to 2500 euro) will be set as well; a participant can be rewarded only with one (the highest) prize.
The organizers are Aeroflot, the Russian Chess Federation, and the Association of Chess Federations.
Many unexpected results happened in round 1 of the A tournament of Aeroflot Open 2018. The games on three first boards – Vavulin-Fedoseev, Vidit-Narayanan, and Esipenko-Andreikin – ended in draws. Moreover, Andreikin did his best to avoid serious difficulties in his game with Esipenko.
The major sensations of the first round were the loss of Rauf Mamedov to a young Manuel Petrosyan and a victory of a 15-year-old Kirill Shevchenko over Gata Kamsky.