Jermuk, Armenia
June 9-18

Stepan Avagyan Memorial International RR 17 Category Tournament ։ Round 4


Round 4. The Tournament Splits in Half!


Stability is a sign of mastery. For the third time in four starting rounds, the Stepan Avagyan Memorial saw two decisive games. These allowed Tabatabaei and Martirosyan to catch up with Sevian and join the chase after Erigaisi. The latter two drew their game.


The personal encounter between Samvel and Arjun was eagerly awaited. Last year’s winner against the Elo favorite and current tournament leader, who has solidified his position as the world’s 4th ranked player in Jermuk. Sevian opted for a fierce battle – a sharp line in the Ragozin Defense, where White plays across the board, exploiting the relative disconnection of the opponent’s pieces. Another crucial element was the relative weakness of the black king: white squares and the open “h” file ready for invasion. The only inconvenience for an effective attack was the lack of material and the well-known intentions of the attacking side. In short, threatening doesn’t mean succeeding, which the Indian chess player clearly demonstrated.


Having made 25 moves and spent an hour and a half in thought, Sevian and Erigaisi decided not to engage in a direct confrontation, preferring to find other battles for their energy. Draw.


On the other hand, Tabatabaei managed to find a vulnerability in Bluebaum’s solid opening setup. The Catalan is still a terra incognita, where inquisitive explorers can find positions offering White more than just total exchanges and draws, but also advantages. Amin forced his opponent to give up an exchange, then extra pawns, and finally a piece. However, in severe time trouble, he made mistakes, and his advantage evaporated. But Matthias, thinking the worst was over, played the equal endgame so carelessly (several times the German could have given perpetual check!) that he allowed White to create a passed pawn, which ultimately decided the outcome. Persistence has often brought success to Tabatabaei – just last year, the Iranian continued to play on inertia in a hopeless position against Yakubboev and received an unexpected gift from his opponent, allowing him to turn the tournament around!


In the Martirosyan – Petrosyan game, there were no major dramas or "blunders of the century." It was a slow maneuvering struggle, leading White to a small but stable advantage. With a bit more attention, Manuel would have saved half a point, but he first failed to seize the opportunity given by his opponent and then made a fatal mistake in the rook endgame.


The remaining games were not particularly interesting. In both, White held a small advantage, but it was insufficient for a win. Not everyone can put on a spectacular performance.


Interestingly, after the fourth round, the tournament table split exactly in half: five participants in the plus and five in the minus! Not a single player has 50% of the points.


Stepan Avagyan Memorial. Round 4. Martirosyan – Petrosyan – 1-0, Tabatabaei – Bluebaum – 1-0, Sevian – Erigaisi, Sargsyan – Deac, Hovhannisyan – Murzin – draws. Standings after Round 4. 1. Erigaisi – 3; 2-5. Deac, Sevian, Tabatabaei, Martirosyan – 2,5; 6-9. Petrosyan, Bluebaum, Sargsyan, Hovhannisyan – 1,5; 10. Murzin – 1.

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