By Jennifer Shahade
July 30, 2006
GM Jaan Ehlvest topped the field in Curacao to take home the trophy, 1500$ and the satisfaction of what he calls "being paid to be on holiday."
1. Jaan Ehlvest-7.5/9
2. Robert Ris-7/9 (IM norm)
3-4- IM Anna Zatonskih and GM Jan Werle- 6.5/9
5-9 Alexander Shabalov, Emory Tate, Rusudan Goletiani, Bernard Bannick and Han Schut -6/9
Here is Jaan's beautiful 7th round victory against GM Gennady Sagalchik:
In round 9, Ehlvest clinched first place with a draw against Bannick, who he outrated by 400 points. The highest stakes game of the final round was between Alexander Shabalov and Anna Zatonskih. Alexander needed to win to salvage a bad tournament in which he lost to three lower rated players. But Anna had even more to play for: A win would secure her first GM norm!
According to Shabalov, Anna had a strategically winning endgame but she had trouble with the final execution. She stumbled majorly by allowing 73...Nxb3+!, a crushing tactic from Alex's suddenly roused knight. With this oversight, into the waves went her first GM norm. "Next time," Anna insisted.
The Curacao International is planned for 2007 at approximately the same dates. "We already have a nice roster of top professionals," said organizer Fabio Mensing, who is hoping to attract more amateur players from the United States. The party atmosphere can get the better of even champions, so it might just be your best chance to beat a Grandmaster.
The top three finishers from Curacao: FM Robert Ris, GM Jaan Ehlvest and IM Anna Zatonskih.
Anna Zatonskih missed her GM norm, but still tied for third place.
A sunset dip by the sea
GM Jaan Werle from Holland tied for third place.
Tournament winner Jaan Ehlvest has a soft spot for birds.
1999 Blind Champion Henry Olynik
GM Alexander Shabalov. The mighty Curucao sun requires triple protection.