GM Peter Svidler wins Bunratty Masters 2008


The N5 in the FIDE arting list, GM Peter Svidler, won convincingly the Bunratty Masters 2008. He Finished top of the table with 5,5/6 and his only draw was against GM Alex Baburin, who took the second place with 5,5. Four players shared the third – GM Nicholas Pert, FM Alex Lopez, FM Innson Thorf Bjorn, and FM Ingvar.

The tournament was a six round swiss event, with time control 1h and 30 mins. For his victory GM Peter Svidler won 1000 eur.

Report by Gerry Graham

There were five grandmasters playing this year with seven international masters and a few Fide masters to complete the titled player’s line-up. The first round results threw up the usual few surprises like Martin Crichton holding Iceland’s Jon Gunnarsson IM to a draw as well as Sam Osborne sharing the point with Mark Heidebfeld IM but the result of the round was Stephen Short beating Ireland first international master Mark Orr on the clock. Peter Svidler had little trouble against Brendan Lyons, the rating gulf of over 600 points being a little too much to overcome.

Round two gave Philip Short a crack at Peter, and what a crack he gave it – Peter admitted during the post mortem that he had only a very small advantage until very near the end when Philip’s time was getting low. See what you think. Gawain Jones was held to a draw on board two by another Icelandic player, Gunnar Bjornsson while Stephen Short (Cork) was continuing his run by holding yet another strong Icelandic player, Bjorn Thorfinnsson FM to a draw. There was talk of Peter Svidler maybe having to play another “Short” game before the end of the event!!

By round three the titled players were clashing and the first all GM game was between Peter Svidler and Simon Williams. This game did not go too well for Simon, as you can see.

On board two, Alex Lopez held Alex Baburin to a draw while Nick Pert and Sam Collins beat Mark Quinn and Lawrence Cooper respectively. Stephen Short suffered his first defeat in the event at the hand of the Icelandic FM Ingvar Johannesson but Philip got revenge for him by beating fellow Icelandic Kristinn Einarsson in the following entertaining game. Philip was in trouble in this game but when Kristinn, unfamiliar with our time control, got into time pressure, a complete reversal of fortunes occurred. In fairness to Philip, he had even less time than Kristiann but he handled the pressure much better.

In round 4 it was Nick Pert’s turn to face Peter Svidler and he looked to be doing very well until the late middlegame when Peter won a pawn nicely and used it very efficiently to gain the full point and reach 4/4. No one has ever reached 4/4 in the Bunratty Masters before, but then again, we never had a 2700+ player before either.

Alexander Baburin on board two reached 3½4 by beating Ingvar Johannesson FM while the other Alex (Lopez) was also reaching the same score by beating Jon Gunnarsson IM. The third player to achieve 3½ was Sam Collins and that was at the expense of Gavin Wall. This left a fifth round pairing of:

1. Peter Svidler GM (4) – Alexander Baburin GM (3½)

2. Alex Lopez FM (3½) – Sam Collins IM (3½)

3. Simon Williams GM (3) – Gawain Jones GM (3)

4. Bjorn Thorfinnsson FM (3) – Nicholas Pert GM (3)

While a draw was recorded on board 4, board 3 was a very different matter. Simon certainly got the better opening, looked like he should have been winning but, it got very complex and somewhere in the melea, Gawain gained the upper hand and scored his first ever victory over Simon. The games will be on the Bunratty web site soon and this game is worth a look, I won’t show it here now but you can get it yourself from the Bunratty site.

Alex Lopez continued his fine run in this year’s Bunratty by beating Sam Collins while on the top board the point was shared. Final round pairings worked out as follows:

1. Alex Lopez FM (4½) – Peter Svidler GM (4½)

2. Alexander Baburin GM (4) – Gawain Jones GM (4)

3. Nicholas Pert GM (3½) – Lawrence Cooper IM (3½)

Nick Pert beat Lawrence Cooper on board 3 while Alex overcame Gawain to reach 5/6, normally more than enough to win this event. However, on board 1 Alex Lopez continued his fine form by producing his best game of the event against Peter Svidler. After the game, a throng of spectators watched the players go through the game and Peter, very sporting admitted that Alex deserved more from the game and, probably, but for the time control, may well have got it. It was a really fine game by Alex, rich in tactics and ideas and it shows what promise the young Cork man has.

Masters: 1 Peter Svidler, 2 Alexander Baburin, 3-4 Nick Pert, Bjorn Thorfinnsson, Thor Johannesson. Best Irish player: Alex Lopez. Grading prize: Jan Heinrich.

Official site

The Irish Chess Union