Jermuk, Armenia
June 9-18

Stepan Avagyan Memorial International RR 17 Category Tournament ։ Round 5


Round 5: No One Went Beyond Equality


The participants in Jermuk enjoyed the perfectly balanced split of the tournament so much that they decided... not to change anything. Unanimously, they finished all five games of the 5th round in draws. Erigaisi remains in the lead, followed by Tabatabaei, Sevian, Dyach, and Martirosyan, with no one at 50%!

This is a first for this year and generally a rarity for the Avagyan Memorial. Perhaps the fresh mountain air influenced the players. Or maybe it was the visit to the tournament by Serzh Sargsyan, the long-time political leader of Armenia and president of the country's chess federation.

In any case, none of the fifth-round games had anything extraordinary happen. The closest to a victory that day was probably the tournament leader. Playing with white, the Indian tested Martirosyan, who aimed for a draw from the very beginning. An unusual setup didn’t faze Haik, and he wasn’t afraid to sacrifice an exchange on move 22. He accurately calculated that this would present White with a challenging task: to win the endgame of "rook against the bishop" with pawns on one flank. Erigaisi struggled with this puzzle for 30 moves but couldn’t find the correct solution. Was there even one? That remains unclear.

The game between Bluebaum and Sevian was tactical from start to finish. The Germans constantly posed questions, and the Americans found worthy responses. At one point, it seemed like White might have a chance to win, but it turned out to be just an illusion: another original response from Black maintained equality. The draw was agreed upon, and the players spent more time analyzing the game than playing it!

For the first time, Murzin tried to show something substantial, but all his attempts to gain an advantage with White against Sargsyan ran into the opponent's opening preparation. By move 16, it was Black who was choosing the course of the game. Despite some initiative, Black had no more than a comfortable equality, and after prolonged thinking, they agreed to a draw on move 33.

Dyach and Tabatabaei delighted with a tactical skirmish. From the computer's perspective, the game didn’t exist at all, and all of White’s temporary extra pawns were worthless. The game between Petrosyan and Ovanesyan turned out to be frankly boring, even from a human perspective, with both players quickly running into an impenetrable wall. There was nothing to be done but agree to a draw.

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

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