International RSSU Chess Cup

Moscow Open 2020

Russian Chess Cup 2020 Stage

January 23 – February 3


Sergei Lobanov: I decided to play in tournament six days before its beginning

February 4, 2020
Sergei Lobanov: I decided to play in tournament six days before its beginning

The winner of the National Cup stage of Moscow Open Sergei Lobanov talked about his success in a conversation with the commentators of the official website of the tournament Eldar Mukhametov and Alina Bivol. 

- Sergei, congratulations! Tell us how the tournament was unfolding for you.
- Thank you! At the beginning not bad, I was going three out of three, but then I had three draws against the players with the rating by 150-200 points less than mine. Then I thought that something was going wrong. Then I was lucky in two games, one of them I could lose. The opponent should have checkmated but in time-trouble he made a big mistake and I got an important point. The second key game was against Klementi Sichev. He played a lateral line in Spanish opening 5…Ka5. I was looking through it just two-three minutes before the game, I had to calculate at the table if I was to lose a piece. I knew that everything was supposed to be fine but spent about 20 minutes to double check the variations. After the 15th move I had only two minutes left before the end of the game, and the opponent had one hour and twenty minutes and a winning position (laughing). After that Klementi started thinking a lot, and I decided that it was my chance! I started replying to his moves very quickly, and it allowed me to save time, and it turned out that he started making small mistakes, and I was playing accurately and won.

- What can you say about the duel of the last round?
- It was quite a funny game. My opponent (Manuel Petrosyan – editor’s note) quite literally at the second move surprised me with the order of moves and confused me. I had to play Queen’s gambit where I almost knew nothing. But the opponent confused himself and at some point played quite sharply. I managed to find refutation and achieved a crucial advantage.

- How did you prepare for the tournament, did anyone help you?
- Nobody helped me, I was preparing on my own. To be honest, I took the decision to play at the tournament 6 days before its beginning (laughing). That is why I was just practicing chess a bit more than usual.

- Have you had any large success of this type in your career before?
-In 2018 I became a champion of Saint Petersburg but in terms of the participant list it is not comparable with this tournament. In children’s chess I won the Olympiad under 16 as a member of the National team in 2017; I took the third prize at the World Junior Championship. And of course I was in top three at the Russian youth championships in different age categories. 

- The victory in Moscow Open gives you big chances to enter the National Cup final. Are you planning to play in other preliminary stages?
- Last year I wanted to play in the National Cup final. In order to do it I went to the tournament in Chelyabinsk to be able to get the points. I think this year it will be easier (laughing). It’s most likely that I will be participating in Chigorin’s memorial that will be held in Saint Petersburg.

- You have two Grandmaster norms, where are you planning to obtain the last one?
- I would like to play in Aeroflot Open but so far I don’t know if I will be allowed to play in the Tournament A since I don’t fit in rating. I hope that after the victory in Moscow Open I will be included. There will be big chances to obtain the norm there. Unfortunately I was not able to obtain the norm here - I failed to play with the sufficient number of Grandmasters.

- What are you hobbies apart from chess?
- As for sports I enjoy football and table tennis. Sometimes I play computer games, read.

- Do you play computer games professionally like Yan Nepomniaschi?
- I cannot say that exactly like that (laughing). Although I also play Dota, I have 5000 MMR rating. But now I spend much less time on this.

- To conclude, what are your emotions after the victory?
- Of course very bright. I think it is the best tournament in my career so far.

- Thank you for the conversation.