Americans in Aeroflot
February 10, 2010
Americans Grandmasters storming the super-strong Aeroflot Open (February 9-18) include Gata Kamsky, Alexander Shabalov and Jaan Ehlvest. The A section is open only to players with FIDE ratings over 2549. Shabalov and Ehlvest were therefore both paired up in the first round, surely an unusual circumstance for them! Unfortunately, Shabalov lost to the third seed, Alexander Motylev.

Meanwhile, Kamsky drew to GM Sanan Sjugirov and Ehlvest drew with GM Arkadij Naiditsch. The official website is hit or miss at the time of writing, with some pages loading and others overloaded but has much information, including key round 1 battles.  

GM Melikset Khachiyan who won the "A2" section last year (for players between 2549-2400), is giving the same section another go. UTD graduate Drasko Boskovic (officially playing for Serbia) is also playing in this section, and will be looking for his third GM norm. Since games in the "A2" section are not posted online, Khachiyan sent us his first round draw, "I think I'm still jet-lagged." He points at 16.Qa4 as the wrong plan- "I need to build forces on the kingside with 16.Nf2. Then in time trouble I blundered with 29.Ra1 and had a lost position, but luckily my opponent also missed his chances."