Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory


Just like in 2019, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi won the Levitov Chess Week in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. While the Russian grandmaster scored 3/4 on the final day, GM Peter Svidler couldn’t keep the pace and eventually tied for second with GM Levon Aronian.

The two-horse race continued on Tuesday, with the two Russian grandmasters both scoring a win. Svidler defeated the luckless GM Vladimir Kramnik, who ended in a disappointing last place after scoring just one win in 18 rounds.

For the first 11 moves, the players followed one of their online games from 2020. Soon, inaccurate play forced Kramnik to weaken his kingside, and he never recovered:

Peter Svidler commentary
Peter Svidler joined the commentary booth for a while—a return to his natural habitat. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Levitov Chess Week.

Meanwhile, Nepomniachtchi beat GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. These two players, along with Kramnik, played in the AI Cup the evening before and also needed to play on Tuesday evening, thereby missing the closing ceremony dinner of the tournament where they are.

Also in this game, king safety is the theme:

Ian Nepomniachtchi Levitov 2023
A nice finish to the game by Ian Nepomniachtchi. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Levitov Chess Week.

Nepomniachtchi was looking strong there, but in the next round he suffered an unexpected loss, inflicted by GM Daniil Dubov. Nepomniachtchi’s remarkable fourth move against a sideline of the London is a good example of modern chess: a (very) early h-pawn push that is fully supported by the engine. Only later it went (horribly) wrong for him, as GM Rafael Leitao shows:

Daniil Dubov Levitov 2023
A great game by Dubov. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Levitov Chess Week.

Svidler, however, suffered a loss as well. He went down in an endgame against GM Boris Gelfand, and his collapse was complete when he ended with two more losses, which allowed Aronian to catch up with him in the final round. 

Nepomniachtchi had the better finish with two straight wins, so the margin was two full points in the end. He deservedly won the 40,000-euro first prize.

In the penultimate round, GM Alexander Grischuk was playing on increment in a difficult endgame and, therefore, couldn’t hold it:

Nepomniachtchi Grischuk Levitov
Nepomniachtchi vs. Grischuk. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Levitov Chess Week.

Ilya Levitov and his wife, Adele, often visit Amsterdam and have expressed the hope to continue organizing the tournament, which is for them more about the artistic and social aspects of chess than the sporting element.

In the tournament brochure, Levitov says: “I want my tournament to resemble the Verbier classical music festival, where once a year the best musicians spend a wonderful few weeks among friends. I hope that Amsterdam and the Levitov Chess Week will become a meeting place for people who are united in their love of our game.”

There was no better example of this than Aronian playing lots of blitz games with GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic after the tournament was over, with both kibitzing while playing to the amusement of the bystanders. 

Ljubojevic Aronian
Ljubojevic and Aronian enjoying some wins and some blitz chess. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Levitov Chess Week.

Final Standings

2023 Levitov Chess Week Final Standings

All Games Day 4

The 2023 Levitov Chess Week took place September 22-26, 2023, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It was a 10-player, double round-robin. The time control was 10 minutes for the whole game plus a five-second increment. The prize fund was 130,000 euros, with a first prize of 40,000 euros.

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