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St Petersburg v Belfast match report

On Friday 18 August 2017, twelve players from Belfast travelled to Russia for an exciting week long chess trip. Located in the North East of Saint Petersburg, the Kalininsky Sports School hosted the international chess match, an event that was planned over the past 8 months by Mikhail Pavlov (1795) and Brendan Jamison (1747). The staff and coaches at Kalininsky were extremely warm and friendly and they presented a fun-filled week of chess activities for Team Belfast.

 

 

This report is kindly provided by Brendan Jamison. A full report and more photos can be found at : http://chessni.co.uk/international.html

 

The opening ceremony saw a number of short speeches from the sports minister, the Director of the school and several key members of staff. Mikhail and Brendan spoke of their excitement at the first ever match between Belfast and Saint Petersburg and how the city itself is one of the most beautiful places in the world. They also highlighted the importance of the international friendships that can develop and their shared vision for continued strong links into the future. Hopefully Belfast will be able to find a way to host a group of players from Saint Petersburg in 2018.

The match was split into four classical rounds of chess, one per morning from Sunday to Wednesday. The afternoons were dedicated to other chess activities, ranging from a GM Simul, a rapidplay tournament and a blitz. The match was played at two locations, the first at the chess school, the second at a chess summer camp in the forest of Roshchino village on the outskirts of the city.

 

On top of the chess programming, Mikhail and Brendan also arranged visits for Team Belfast to become immersed in the cultural life of the city. Highlights included trips to the opulent Winter Palace/Hermitage Museum, a breath-taking a cappela concert at the Philharmonic Hall, a tour of the Shermetev Palace/Museum of Music, a canal cruise and a Europa League football match which saw Zenit Saint Petersburg win 2-0 against FC Utrecht from The Netherlands.

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Sunday 20 August 2017:

 

Round 1 saw an award-winning performance by Board 1 Mikhail Pavlov (1795) who defeated Dmitry Fraiman (2307) in just 21 moves following an intelligent combination of sacrificial chess. Other notable wins came from Ross Harris (1682) over Sergey Lyazhkov (1844), Daniil Zelenchuk (1514) defeated Sergey Senin (1345) and Adrian Dornford-Smith claimed victory over Alina Kapustina (1117). Meanwhile, Mark Newman (1679) drew with Andrey Novitsky (1544) and Dmitry Zelenchuk (1391) picked up half a point against Anastasia Vershinina (1476). After an extremely close opening round, congratulations were offered to the super strong Russian team who secured 6 wins bringing their total to 7 points in round 1, leaving Team Belfast with 5 points after the first day.

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The afternoon was devoted to a 17 player simultaneous with WGM Dina Belenkaya (2334). She was allocated 80 minutes on the clock to each participant’s 40 minutes. Team Belfast delivered some excellent results which included wins by Barney McGahan (1090) and Daniil Zelenchuk (1514), draws by Dexter Harris (907) and Brendan Jamison (1747) and the last man standing award went to Ross Harris (1682) for an impressive one-on-one GM battle at the end! The final score saw Dina scoop a spectacular 14 points, with Team Belfast walking away with 3 points!

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Monday 21 August 2017:

 

The mini-bus collected the team on Monday morning and travelled 90 minutes North West of the city to a forest summer camp beside the village of Roshchino. Round 2 introduced a 90 year old FIDE Master onto Board 1, FM Alexsandr Rutman (2038) who has only dropped a few hundred rating points from his peak FIDE rating in the 2400s! This inspirational legend proved too sharp to defeat and sadly Mikhail was unable to defend his ferocious attacks. However, other members of Team Belfast managed to pick up points against their Saint Petersburg rivals. Ross Harris (1682) took his first win with Black against Dmitry Golovanskikh (1523), Mark Newman (1679) defeated Mikhail Solovyov (1392), Daniil Zelenchuk (1514) beat Dmitrii Zhivotovskii (1289) and two draws were picked up by John Bradley (1663) against Anzhelika Petrova (1463) and Edward Khanzharov (1413) against Artem Pakhomov (1233). In total, Team Belfast scooped 4 points, with Team Saint Petersburg walking away with 8 points from Round 2.

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The afternoon saw a fun 5 round swiss rapidplay tournament with each of the 38 players enjoying 15 minutes on the clock. Not surprisingly, FM Alexsandr Rutman (2038) won the summer camp championship with 4.5/5. However, joint second place was shared between 5 players, of whom two were from Belfast, Brendan Jamison (1747) and Daniil Zelenchuk (1414), both scoring 4/5. The tie-breaks left Brendan as the winner of the gold cup with his 3 wins and two draws.

 

Tuesday 22 August 2017:

 

Round 3 in the forest camp was the toughest yet for Team Belfast. Only father and son duo Daniil and Dmitry were able to secure wins and Ross, Mark and Adrian picked up draws. It was an emphatic victory for Team Saint Petersburg who scooped a total of 8.5/12. Thankfully the afternoon was gentler on the nerves as players raced to the playing room for a 9 round blitz tournament with 38 players. The event was won by Filip Rudovskii (1680) with 8/9 while Daniil Zelenchuk (1514) was awarded the second place cup for 7.5/9 and FM Alexsandr Rutman (2038) came third with 6.5/9. Other notable scores by Belfast players included Brendan Jamison (1747) and John Bradley (1663), both finishing on 6/9, just half a point behind the top 3.

 

Wednesday 23 August 2017:

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Returning to the Kalininsky Chess School for round 4, team captain Brendan Jamison made small switches to the board order in a last ditch attempt to win the final round! Placing Mark Newman (1679) as White on Board 2 against Ilya Tarasov (2132), Jamison slipped to Board 4 to defeat Sergey Lyazhkov (1844), but on Board 3 Ross Harris (1682) had to endure the fearsome FM Alexsandr Rutman (2038). Meanwhile on Board 1, Dmitry Fraiman (2307) was determined to punish Mikhail Pavlov (1795) for defeating him in round 1! With such strength at top and bottom of the boards, Team Saint Petersburg looked completely unstoppable! But a hero emerged on Board 12 when 8 year old Adam Fitzsimons (798) defeated M. Andreev (===). Then on board 6, Daniil Zelenchuk (1514) beat Mikhail Ivanov (1439) to chalk up the perfect score of 4/4 in his classical games. John Bradley (1663) drew with Andrey Novitsky (1544) on board 5 and Dmitry Zelenchuk (1391) claimed a strong win over Anastasia Vershinina (1476). In the end, Team Belfast had improved their points since the day before, this time ending on 4.5/12. Congratulations to Saint Petersburg for winning the match with a total of 31 points to Belfast’s 17. Hopefully on the return leg, we can mount a stronger challenge when the Russians travel to Northern Ireland.

 

In conclusion, the trip was filled with so much fun and laughter. Everyone enjoyed the magical buzz from all the mental gymnastics of such high-standard chess, coaching and development for the future. Without doubt, the entire group had one of the best weeks of their lives and our sincere thanks to the kindness of our Russian friends for making us feel so valued and so welcome, in particuar to WGM Dina Belenkaya (2334) and chess coach Sergey Kotsuba. Their abundance of positive energy made everyone love every moment of the experience!
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INTERNATIONAL AWARDS

BEST GAME AWARD IN SAINT PETERSBURG V BELFAST CLASSIC MATCH

Presented to Mikhail Pavlov (1795) for his Round 1 victory over Dmitry Fraiman (2323) in the classic time control match of Saint Petersburg v Belfast.

TEAM BELFAST: HIGHEST SCORING PLAYERS IN SAINT PETERSBURG CLASSIC MATCH

1st Daniil Zelenchuk (4/4)

Joint 2nd Ross Harris and Dmitry Zelenchuk (2.5/4)

3rd Mark Newman (2/4)

TOP PERFORMANCE BY A JUNIOR CLASS PLAYER (under 1400) IN SAINT PETERSBURG V BELFAST CLASSIC MATCH

Adrian Dornford-Smith

TOP PERFORMANCE BY A CHILD PLAYER IN SAINT PETERSBURG V BELFAST CLASSIC MATCH

Adam Fitzsimons, awarded for his Round 4 win

GM DEFEATER

Barney McGahan (1090) for his victory over WGM Dina Belenkaya (2334) in a 17 player simultaneous

Daniil Zelenchuk (1514) for his victory over WGM Dina Belenkaya (2334) in a 17 player simultaneous

SPECIAL MERIT FOR HIGH LEVEL PERFORMANCE AGAINST A GRAND MASTER

Dexter Harris (907) for securing a draw against WGM Dina Belenkaya (2334) in a 17 player simultaneous

Brendan Jamison (1747) for securing a draw against WGM Dina Belenkaya (2334) in a 17 player simultaneous

LAST MAN STANDING AWARD AGAINST A GM

Ross Harris (1682) for the longest game against WGM Dina Belenkaya (2334) in a 17 player simultaneous

ROSHCHINO SUMMER CAMP SWISS RAPIDPLAY WITH BELFAST AND KALININSKY DISTRICT  PLAYERS

Joint 2nd: Brendan Jamison (4/5)

Joint 2nd: Daniil Zelenchuk (4/5)

ROSHCHINO SUMMER CAMP SWISS BLITZ WITH BELFAST AND KALININSKY DISTRICT  PLAYERS

2nd Place: Daniil Zelenchuk (7.5/9) Overall highest score by a Team Belfast player

2nd highest score by Team Belfast players: Brendan Jamison (6/9) and John Bradley (6/9)

SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT AWARD

Edward Doak, awarded for his inspirational dedication to learning a new opening (French Defence) through disciplined study and coaching sessions each night of the week.

SPECIAL JUNIOR SUPERVISOR AWARD

Brian Fitzsimons, for his supervision and co-ordination of the child players, his enthusiastic play as a reserve player and for his excellent photographic documentation of the Saint Petersburg chess trip.

The team wish to give a huge thanks to all the organisers - to Mikail Pavlov and Brendan Jamison - for providing a brilliant opportunity to play the fantastic game of chess against brilliant Russian players and in a brilliantly beautiful city of St Petersburg - we came home with memories that we treasure - a very big thanks - to the Russian Chess School - thankyou.

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