Inarkiev wins Russian Championship Higher League
On Saturday Ernesto Inarkiev won the Russian Championship Higher League in Yekaterinenburg. The 27-year-old Russian grandmaster edged out Ian Nepomniachtchi on tiebreak after both players finished on 6.5/9. Alexander Motylev, Alex Goganov and Anton Shomoev were the other three players who qualified for the Russian Championship Super Final which will be held in October.
Ernesto Inarkiev | Photos courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation
The 66th Russian Championship Higher League took place June 20th-29th at the business center “President” in Yekaterinburg, Russia. There was a general group and a women's section; both were 9-round Swisses. And both were strong and tough, as draw offers before move 40 were not allowed.
As always, the "Higher League" was a qualifier event for the "Super Final" and so the players were fighting for five tickets to the "real" Russian Championship. However, this year there was something else in store for the winner: a ticket to the prestigious 2014 Tal Memorial.
This was a nice gesture of the Russian Chess Federation, but also an attempt to make the final rounds of the Higher League somewhat more interesting. When it's about finishing among the top five, some strategic draws here and there can spoil the fun at the top boards.
However, there must have been a few awkward moments among the federation officials when after seven rounds, Anton Shomoev was topping the standings! The fairly unknown grandmaster is rated 2565, about 200 points less than the average participant of the Tal Memorial. In round 6, Shomoev won against one of the five 2700 participants with Black:
And then he also defeated Ernesto Inarkiev, again with the black pieces:
In the penultimate round a draw followed against another outsider: IM Aleksey Goganov (2562). Only in the final round it went wrong for Shomoev.
The tournament was won by Inarkiev, who recovered from his loss against Shomoev with the following win:
Nepomniachtchi's last-round win got him next to Inarkiev. The latter had the highest Buchholz score and was declared the winner, and so we know one participant of the 2014 Tal Memorial. Shomoev and Goganov were the two surprising qualifiers for the Super Final; the fifth name was Alexander Motylev. Four of the 2700 players didn't manage: Nikita Vitiugov, Evgeny Alekseev, Dmitry Jakovenko and Alexander Riazantsev.
Russian Championship Higher League 2013 | Final standings (top 30)
|13||27||Dvoirys, Semen I.||GM||2533||5.5||36.5||22.0||2541|
The women's section was won by Anastasia Bodnaruk. She finished clear first with 7.5/9 and qualified for the Women's Super Final together with Alina Kashlinskaya, Alexander Goryachkina, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya and Baira Kovanova.
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