Details about the events at Aeroflot Open

letter by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Following the chess media, I noticed that there are a lot of things about the game with GM Kurnosov that are still unclear and I would like to bring some clarification. After the end, I once again carefully reviewed the games with GM Kurnosov played up to round 6 and afterwards as well. As a result there are facts. In the second round in the game Onischuk – Kurnosov, Onischuk applied a novelty on move 13 and after this move until the end of the game (27 moves total), Kurnosov makes moves strictly from hte first line of Rybka and wins in a beautiful style.

Two rounds after he again has black and again it is a Gruenfeld in the Moiseenko – Kurnosov game. Moiseenko makes a novelty on move 12 and again until move 25 Kurnosov plays the first line of Rybka. But in this game he could not win as Moiseenko had a very simple position without risks. But I also think that the latest position of the black could play to win…

In the 6 th round, against me Kurnosov plays again and wins playing on the first line of Rybka. In all the three games, very few moves were made on the second line of Rybka. In my game and Onischuk’s game we sacrificed pawns, and in such positions the computer needs several moves to build good defence and wins thanks to counterattack.

Thus, in the 8th round after Kurnosov was under close scrutiny of judges and chess fans, he played at a very low level and suffered a defeat. And it seems to me that this is clear indication that Kurnosov used a computer program, leaving the tournament hall practically after every move and having such confidence in himself declining a draw offer at move 14 against me in a practically equal position.

I hope that all of these details will be analyzed and understood by all chess fans I have no doubt that in the future, organizers of tournaments will take into account such nuances, that affect negatively the image of chess.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov,

March 2009

Ed. note: The article is translation of the Russian version sent by GM Mamedyarov to Here is the chronology so far:

GM Mamedyarov quits Aeroflot, writes open letter

GM Kurnosov replies to Mamedyarov and chess fans

ECU President Boris Kutin Protests Over Calendar Clash

Letter to FIDE President Kirsan llyumzhinov

FIDE President

Mr Kirsan llyumzhinov

9 Siggrou Avenue

11743 Athens, Greece

27 February 2009

Dear Mr President,

First of all accept my apology being absent for the second time in my more than ten years
capacity of member of the Board (that time I was in the hospital). I cannot be with you due to
my obligations in Europe. Exactly at the same time is the opening ceremony of European
Women’s Championship in St. Petersburg

More important (and more painful) is the clash with the very first FIDE Grand Prix tournament
for women
. There are only a few woman/s strong tournaments per year and the two
strongest ones should be played at the same time?

I was told that at the closing ceremony of the very first Ataturk memorial last year it was
announced that the tournament would keep the day around 8 March. Is this correct to
Belgrade organizers who already organize the WGM tournament for almost 50 years and
many times that the tournament was absolutely the strongest in the world?

But this is not my main point. Even Belgrade’s traditional tournament is a private one, it is not
an official FIDE event. In our case we have two extremely important FIDE events (European
Championship is a qualification for the World Championship) at the same time. We have
announced our date at the Dresden Olympiad and FIDE decided to go with Women’s Grand
Prix without a single phone call to us.

Unfortunately this is not the end of the story. The Second Woman’s Grand Prix will be in
Nanjing, China, exactly at the same time of the European Club Cup. You know very well this
event is the second strongest team event, immediately after the Olympiad, with more than
200 GMs from all continents. For many clubs (especially top ones) this will cause big
damage. For sure for some players will be in breach of contract. Really I have no comment,
remembering the situation in last October, having a clash with World Mind Games and
European Club Cup.

Dear Mr. President, in such way we are loosing our credibility – both, FIDE and ECU.

And one, not so important story, but still important for me: in beginning of February I called
our office, asking if the date of PB is already known. I got the answer that Mr. Raycsanyi is
still hoping to organize the meeting in Budapest, but chances are not too good. In such
situation I offered my help and asked for FIDE demands. The answer in written form was
very shortly: 25 rooms with full board and 25.000 Euro for the tickets. In a very short time I
did not get any confirmation from Croatia (City of Rijeka). I was not surprised hearing a few
days after that Board will be in Istanbul, but I was very surprised that the host covers just
accommodation. How is this possible Mr. President?

With best wishes for good work and best regards,

Boris Kutin

Continental President for Europe

Letter From Grandmaster Igor Kurnosov

response to the letter published by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (sent to

Grandmaster Igor Kurnosov sent a letter to the popular chess portal as a response to the letter published by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov:

“Dear colleagues and chess fans! In response to the letter circulated in the press by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, I have to clarify the situation. I suggest you take a look at the game Mamedyarov-Kurnosov from round six of the Aeroflot Open, together with my brief comments. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 f5 10. h4 fxe4 11.h5 gxh5 – A well-known theoretical position, which I believe, favors black. Here my opponent made a move that was new to me – 12.d5 Ne5 13.Bh6 Nec4. I have also considered Rf7, but I did not like that, after taking Rh5, the Knight loses tempo [13 ... Rf7?! 14.Bxg7 Rxg7 15.Rxh5] 14.Qg5 Rf7. The only move 15.Bxc4. This seemed questionable to me, even though objectively it is not bad. 15 … Nxc4. After the 40-minute thought on the previous move, my opponent offered a draw. But I felt that I had serious advantage and didn’t see the grounds to accept the draw.

16.Rd4? – I thought that Qd6 would give me strong initiative. It turned out that Nb2 led to decisive advantage, but this move I had not considered. Imagine what would be the story had I previously analysed this variation at home!? 16 … Qd6?! 17.Bxg7 Rxg7 – The only move! 18.Qxh5 Qf4 + – Also unique, the checkmate was threatening and the Knight was in danger. Now I invite all qualified chess players to set this position and withing three minutes find the next three simple moves for Black! I believe most if will be forced! 19.Kb1 Bf5 20.fxe4 Bg4 21.Nge2? loses immediately! [21.Qh6 Qf2] 21 … Qd2! 0-1.

Black is in winning position. Here the opponent stopped the clock and, without shaking my hand or signing the formular, reached out to the arbiter’s table. The rest of the story you already know… I believe that all players, regardless of title or rating, should respect themselves and their colleagues, instead of blaming them on computer assistance without reason. At the same time playing relatively weak!

Mamedyarov’s claim that I took the coat and went to the toilet after each move, does not correspond to reality. On the first 12 moves, which we played relatively fast, I did get up from the table. When my opponent thought for 40 minutes on the move 15, I went twice to the smoking area which is only 2 meters from the hall entrance, and always full of players, arbiters, there was also a guard. And on few occasions I went to wash my face with cold water, but I never talked to anybody while doing so. The arbiters had no pretensions towards me, either before or after the protest.

Thereat, I simply did what I always do. While opponent thinks, it is much easier for me to contemplate about the position while walking and not looking at the board. As far as I know, most players do the same. Unfortunately, all this negativity affected my play later in the tournament … I would also like to thank all those who supported me on the Internet or in private conversation!

I would suggest:

1. Organizers of major tournaments to equip the entrance of the playing area with metal detectors and other means which would exclude the possibility of assistance, and would eliminate all baseless accusations and insults, which affect the image of the player.

2. International chess organizations to develop a set of rules that would execute serious sanctions for those who use assistance, as well as for those who unjustly accuse the others of receiving the aid!

GM Igor Kurnosov, 28.02.2009 “

Ed. note: Having published the statements of both players, we will stop discussing this matter until (if) the chess governing bodies take a stand on the issue. also brings links to the articles published in Azerbaijan media and we will direct your attention once again to the warning given by IM Alisa Maric.