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TAG | Mikhail Kobalia

The winner, GM Mikhail Kobalia (RUS)

Runner-up: GM Manuel Leon Hoyos (MEX)

In a dramatic last round, Mikhail Kobalia started with a sudden win over Loek van Wely. That meant that he was certain of a shared win if Hoyos weren’t able to win over India’s Chanda Sandipan. Despite pressing in a long game, Hoyos didn’t manage more than a draw, and they shared the 1st-2nd money prize, both on 7,5points. As it turned out Kobalia won on tie-breaks. Trailing on 7 points were Sandipan, van Wely, B. Socko, Petrov and Turner.

Last year’s winner Monika Socko got the prize for best female, while Frode O. O. Urkedal and Heikki Westerinen got the prizes for best junior and best senior, respectively.

Full results .

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Before the last round

Loek van Wely (Photo: Bjørn Berg Johansen)

Loek Wan Wely is leading ACC before the last round. The rating favorite GM Loek Van Wely has thus far lived up to the expectations and leads the tournament with 7 points. He is followed by GM Manuel Leon Hoyos on the same score, but lower tie-breaks. Young Hoyos is only 21 years old and must be regarded as tournament surprise. He has lost only one game and won the rest.

Trailing the leaders by 1/2 point are GMs Sandipan, B. Socko and Kobalia. The winner of the tournament is among these five.

Talking about Loek; he has really played an international chess tournament and met players from nine different countries, playing on the first board 7 of the 9 rounds.

Norm chances

of Norway has achieved his IM title since he in this tournament has passed 2400 as well as making his fifth(!) norm.
, Finland needs a draw for an IM norm.
from the Netherlands has achieved his third norm, and can even get his first GM norm with a win!
, Ireland needs a draw against Frode Elsness to achieve a GM norm.
, Norge becomes IM if he wins against Dr. Holger Riedel.

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GM Mikhail Kobalia

GM Mikhail Kobalia is one of the great pre-favorites in this year’s ACC, and with his rating of 2648 it’s expected of the 32-year-old Russian to get into the top 3. He became GM at a young age 13 years ago and has been stable above 2600 the last ten years.

His major achievements include victory in the European U-16 in 1994, 1st in Biel Open Masters in 2005 and shared 1st prize the Monarch Assurance Isle of Man 2007. GM Kobalia are not afraid to play for a win with the black pieces, and in the opening he has a preference for the Sicilian Kan and Taimanov.

He beat newly talented Fabiano Caruana with black in the Russian team championships and has also beat strong white players like Sergey Karjakin.

Finally we can also mention that he is an excellent blitz player with several top positions.We expect a little black magic from GM Kobalia in his Arctic Chess debut.


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