Othello news


15 April 2024
Written by Alexandr Melnikov

St. Petersburg remains one of the leading Othello centers in Russia. This conclusion can be drawn from the St. Petersburg Open that took place last Saturday. For various reasons, strong players from other cities were unable to take part in the competition - the only exception was Maxim Dorodnykh, who came from Moscow. But a very good list of participants was formed from local players. It turned out to be an interesting high-level tournament! 

Before the start, Ivan Gutorov, well known in the world of Othello for playing online games under the nickname “vanogut,” was considered the clear favorite. Ivan confirmed his status - he took first place with a result of 7 wins in 7 games. 

Last fall, Gutorov took second place at the 2023 Russian Championship, and after that he won three OTB tournaments in a row. Thanks to these successes, Gutorov took first place in the Russian qualification list, which is based on the results of the 2023/2024 season. 

It was expected that Gutorov's main rival in the tournament would be Alexey Dubov (an experienced player, participant in the WOC-2013 in Stockholm) and Anton Sanotskiy (former head of the Russian Othello). But they took 3rd and 5th places respectively. Both of them were sensationally beaten and overtaken by Victoria Li. 

51: Black to play

Victoria Li result and performance were a pleasant surprise at the tournament. Previously, Victoria participated in an OTB tournament only once and that was 12 years ago! But she was practicing Othello online (оn a well-known Polish website) and decided to try her hand at the OTB game again. And she did great, even though Victoria clearly lacked practice: she was confused by the need to press the clock and fill out protocols.
 Maybe this is what prevented her from beating Ivan Gutorov. 
At the end of the game, Victoria, who played black, had an excellent chance of winning. In the position on the diagram, the winning line was not complicated: 51.a1 52.b1 53.c7. But Victoria played 51.с7 right away and after answering 52.g2 it turned out that White was already winning. 

“I could have played Victoria more thoughtfully, but overall I am pleased with the quality of my play at the tournament. Showed a stable level,” tournament winner Ivan Gutorov commented on the results. 

In general, the tournament was held in a friendly atmosphere and, as always, some of the players at the end went to the bar and for a walk around St. Petersburg. There will be something to remember!

Full results and some games can be viewed on the tournament page