Mikhail Markov Cheated to Qualify For the World Cup, - GM Anton Filippov Says

Время публикации: 21.07.2013 22:21 | Последнее обновление: 21.07.2013 22:22

An interview in which GM Anton Filippov of Uzbekistan (2643) tells about the player from Kyrgyzstan Mikhail Markov (2305) was published on Whychess. These two players qualified for the World Cup (which will take place in Tromso, Norway in August) in the zonal tournament. 

"The first hint on Markov being really able to claim for the qualifying place emerged when he played against Dzhurabek Khamrakulov," Filippov said. "Dzhurabek had a better position which could quickly finish in his favor. However, Markov somehow managed to get out of that and outplay Dzhurabek in his time trouble winning a pawn; later he confidently squeezed out a win in the queen endgame. I faced Markov in the next round. This is what seemed strange to me while playing against him: when you play a game you usually feel some pressure, excitement, you feel some brainwork. At some point I understood there was nothing like that from his side!

He was literally "tabula rasa"! And here's something more: he played a variant which he has never played before. Of course I was preparing prior to the game and I never expected something like that - he usually plays Paulson variation. I remember we played rapid in Almaty and he played Paulson, so I mainly prepared to that. Unexpectedly, he came up with Petrov's defence. [...] I played a new variant and he replied quite quickly but not with the strongest moves. When the position became critical, he suddenly found the strongest decision which made me to think something was wrong here: he chooses a strange variation and at some point I find myself already forced to defend. [...] There happened another interesting thing in the endgame: my rival took his king, which meant now he had the only move to make, but suddenly it turned out he had no idea of what to do! He put his king back, remember he had the ONLY move to make. I don't really know how to explain that, because I think that when you take your king and it turns out you have the only choice, you just do it even if it brings you to a loss. This made me to think that maybe something like a "transmission failure" happened there. At the crucial moment, however, he didn't make the move I expected, so I relaxed. I thought that maybe I was wrong and he was just playing beyond his limits...

The most striking game took place between Markov and Murtas [Kazhgaleyev]. He [Markov - CN] again plays the variation he never used to play before, makes some strange move and then solves all the problems AMAZINGLY quickly. He gets a comfortable advantage, according to Murtas's assessment the position was worse. [...] So, he plays quickly and confidently without having any problems in the openings against GMs, he gets better positions by playing absolutely new variants for him.

All this stayed more or less unnoticed until the 8th round. In this round Markov was facing Atabayev Maksat of Turkmenistan and his play at some point made me really excited, because it was a play of a GREAT positional master, who was putting up pressure in a masterly fashion.                    

I enjoyed every move he made. Here he puts the "heat on", keeps the pressure... Strangely enough the endgame they proceeded to was most likely to finish in a draw. We left for a supper and suddenly this thought crossed my mind that the Kyrgyz player shows a brilliant play in this tournament. It's hard to blame someone having no valid proof, but only indirect evidence. When we got back from supper we were informed that Markov won. The chief arbiter (Husan Turdialiev - Whychess) approached me asking what I think of Markov's performance in this competition. I was honest and said that I had some doubts, but yet I wasn't sure if he is really cheating."

Filippov also noted that some of Kyrgyz players were deliberately losing their games against Markov's opponents in order to rise up his Buchholz score:

"I haven't seen anything like that in my entire career! And all that can be calculated and controlled. So many players being involved in this... That is "unfair play." People demonstratively lose and say that they will do anything only to help their compatriot to qualify for the World Cup. That was a "corporate" deed organized for supporting the Kyrgyz player."

In Round 1 of the World Cup Mikhail Markov will play against Levon Aronian.


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