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Josh Friedel Blogs from Moscow Print E-mail
By IM Josh Friedel   
February 8, 2008
IM Josh Friedel from the Moscow Open. Photo Gerald Morton
Hey all, Josh Friedel here blogging from Moscow.  I’m one of four Americans playing in the super-strong Moscow Open taking place from February 2nd to the 10th.  Playing in section A are GM Gregory Kaidanov, IM David Pruess, and myself.  IM Irina Krush is playing in the women’s only c section.  

 I just finished beating a young Azeri fairly quickly, so instead of the other days where I barely had time to eat and get to bed, I figured I’d write a little bit about the tournament.  Unfortunately, none of us are having great tournaments.  After 6 rounds Gregory has 3.5 after a tough lost last night, David has a very disappointing 2, and after winning my 7th game I now have 4.  Irina is doing the best, with 4.5, and has yet to lose a game.  However, being 5th seed that isn’t all that unexpected, and she seems to be disappointed with her play as well.  Even so, it has been a great experience overall, for me at least.  Let’s see if I can give even a vague conception of how strong this tournament is.  I haven’t been playing spectacularly, going into this last round with a 50% score out of six rounds, yet I still had as many points as a few 2600+ GMs!  You look at the +1 group, and it includes many more including GM Vladimir Akopian, the #1 seed clocking in at 2700. 

As far as Moscow is concerned, I can actually say I’m pleasantly surprised.  Despite everyone’s warning to the contrary, it took a mere 45 minutes to get through customs, not the two hours my friends were claiming.  Also, I heard the temperatures regularly fell to 10 or 15 below 0, when in fact it only averages about five below.  I mean why did I even bother bringing a jacket?  Seriously though, the city is nice, the hotel is bearable, and the food has been very good.  The playing conditions are also quite decent.  They have a strange custom with jackets though.  They really don’t like you to take them in the restaurant, and in fact I even got chased down the hall because I forgot to check my coat.  David is very defiant of the coat check rule, and they don’t even bother asking him anymore.  Also, the maids are much more persistent here I find than other places.  Most mornings I get woken up at around 10 or 10:30 by her, and my sleepy pleas of “pozzhe, pozholujsta!” (later, please!) go unnoticed.  

OK well that’s enough out of me.  I’d ask the others for some games, but considering I don’t want to get my head blown off, I’ll just give you some of my own.  Nothing too spectacular, but hopefully you can enjoy them.  After this David and I continue on to play in the Aeroflot A2 section, while Irina and Gregory head back home.  Hopefully I’ll have better news there.  Not to count out Irina, who still is very much in the hunt for first if she can pull off a couple wins.  Until then, Dos  vidanja!    



And here is the game I just won, against Abasov. (A 2380 rated 13-year-old from Azeirbajan. )