Reports | August 13, 2012 17:23

Andreikin & Pogonina are the new Russian Champions

Dmitry Andreikin & Natalija Pogonina

The Russian Championship Superfinal was won on Monday by Dmitry Andreikin, who finished first in a rapid tie-break that was necessary to determine the winner. On Sunday, together with Evgeny Alekseev, Dmitry Jakovenko, Sergey Karjakin, Vladimir Potkin and Peter Svidler, Andreikin had finished shared first in the round-robin. In the women's group Natalija Pogonina won her first title, finishing a point ahead of last year's winner Valentina Gunina and Nadezhda Kosintseva.

Russian Champions Dmitry Andreikin & Natalija Pogonina | All photos © Russian Chess Federation

Event Russian Championship Superfinal | PGN: Men | Women | Men tie-break
Dates August 3-12, 2012
Location Moscow, Russia
System 10-player round robin for both the men's women's sections
Players MenAlekseev, Andreikin, Dubov, Jakovenko, Grischuk, Karjakin, Potkin, Sjugirov, Svidler, Vitiugov
Women: Charochkina, Galliamova, Girya, Gunina, Kovanova, N. Kosintseva, T. Kosintseva, Ovod, Pogonina, Ubiennykh
Rate of play 40 moves in 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 1
Extra No draw offers before move 40.

With two rounds to go, chances were small that the men's section of the Russian Championship Superfinal would have a sole leader after the final round. As we noted last Saturday, more than half of the field was in shared first place before round 8, and things didn't change when all games in that round ended in draws. One of these draws was the following, in which the reigning champ escaped:

PGN string

And so with one round to go there were still six leaders: Alexander Grischuk, Sergey Karjakin, Dmitry Jakovenko, Dmitry Andreikin, Evgeny Alekseev and Alexander Potkin were all on 4.5/8, half a point ahead of Svidler.

On Sunday again four out of five games ended peacefully. The grandmaster from St. Petersburg was the only winner, and by doing so he replaced his opponent in shared first place.

PGN string

Grischuk and Svidler after their game

Russian Championship Superfinal | Final standings


Next on the agenda was a rapid tie-break, but with six players tied for first this would take a while and so it was decided to postpone it to Monday morning. Meawhile, Natalija Pogonina didn't need a tie-break to clinch her first Russian title. The 26-year-old WGM (2448), who was born in 1985 on Bobby Fischer's birthday, scored 6.5/9 which was a point more than Valentina Gunina and Nadezhda Kosintseva.

Pogonina with the winner's trophy, in between Gunina (l.) and N. Kosintseva

We already showed Pogonina's win against the 2011 winner in our previous report. Here's another key game, against Tatiana Kosintseva:

PGN string

Russian Championship Superfinal (women) | Final standings


And so six players had to stay a bit longer at the Radisson Slavinskaya hotel and get ready for the rapid tie-break on Monday morning. It was a single round robin, so five rounds, at 15 minutes plus 10 seconds increment. Dmitry Andreikin, who is known for his speed chess qualities, emerged as the winner with 4/5, half a point more than Sergey Karjakin. Here are all rapid games for replay:

PGN file

Dmitry Andreikin, the 2012 Russian Champion

Russian Championship Superfinal | Tie-break | Final standings



Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


strana's picture

Congratulations to Andreikin, tho most talented russian player since Grischuk, and Pogonina!!
Andrekin just needs to study more opening theory, if so, he will crush Carlsen still easier than he did in the world blitz.

Morley's picture

Blitz isn't a good indicator for overall strength, first off. Secondly, Carlsen is +2-1=1 against Andreikin in blitz anyways.

Anonymous's picture

So? That's not an argument. Andreikin is defenitely more creative and agressive than Carlsen in style. But he still looks a bit one sided so I don't think he is a threat to the elite yet.

Morley's picture

I wasn't making an argument, just stating facts. Andreikin is indeed aggresive and creative, and I am glad he won over some of these more boring players.

Thomas's picture

I remember one precedent where six players were tied before the final round: Corus 2009. But now it wasn't "deja vu" for Karjakin - then he finished in clear first place, now he couldn't beat tailender Sjugirov with the white pieces in the final round.

Karjakin might well hate tiebreaks: Whenever they 'matter' he finishes second (Bazna 2011 behind Carlsen, Poikovsky 2011 behind Bacrot, Dortmund 2012 behind Caruana). When they don't matter but a rapid tiebreak happens, he is first on Sonneborn-Berger (already at the Russian Championship 2010 when he lost the tiebreak match against Nepomniachtchi).

Finally, funny that rapid managed what classical time control couldn't - neatly separating the top six.

columbo's picture

Already said it a few times : I just love the way Andreikin plays ... CONGRATULATIONS ! Let's hope he gets invited to very strong tournaments

Solomon Francis's picture

Anyone know if there are any videos on the playoff?

Blarnfest's picture

It wasn't the most exciting tournament of the year (on the men's front anyways), but congrats to the winners! Looking forward to seeing Grischuk again at the London Grand Prix in September. Up until his last round loss to Svidler, he was playing really excellent chess, and was better going into the middle game in virtually every round. He let quite a few winnable positions slip through his fingers.

Anonymous's picture

That doesn't bode well for London. They better invite a more efficient player from Russia.

buggles's picture

I have only ever seen the Kosintseva sisters score draws against each other. If there was some kind of agreement between them to draw it would not be sporting or fair to the other competitors.

columbo's picture

Are you fair and sporting by being suspicious ?

Ed Dean's picture

It's not a matter for suspicion; they don't hide the fact that they will play only draws against one another, and are instead very open about it. It's not too big a deal really; I mean, if players want a draw they'll have it one way or the other. The sisters discuss the matter here:

MW's picture

To some degree it isn't fair to other players they should get an extra rest day each tournament and one less opponent to have to prepare against etc. But what can you do?

Thomas's picture

Yep they have an extra rest day, but on the other hand (self-inflicted and regardless of the tournament situation) they have one opportunity less to fight for the full point. By now, it might be considered suspicious if they suddenly played a real game and the one who needs the point more urgently wins.

Anyway, the only thing organizers can do is not inviting both of them to the same event. But this doesn't work when both qualify as for Russian championship, FIDE Grand Prix events, etc. .

columbo's picture

very sad indeed !

Anonymous's picture

colombo shows his lack of knowledge once again. The sisters often play the same drawing line. Indeed it's no secret

MJul's picture

IMO it's sporting and fair. With my brother we played some tournaments where we had to face each other. It didn't matter if one of us was the favourite we just draw because we couldn't (and still can't) fight between us in tournaments (not the same in home-games where the artistic part is what matters).

So, even if we are not professionals; I can imagine it's similar for them.

Theo's picture

Pogonina is awesome!

Kelso's picture

What a nightmare for Alekseev!

Zeblakob's picture

I mention an error: Carslen is not in the standing table.

Tom Servo's picture

My God, what a boring event. And after all that, a rapid tournament that lasts a few hours decides the winner of a classical tournament that lasted weeks. Classical chess is a joke. If you want to know who the best rapid player is, have a rapid tournament. It is illogical to have rapid or blitz games determine the winner of a classical chess tournament. If there is no way viable way to find a winner by playing classical games, just declare classical chess dead and move on.

Thomas's picture

Football (soccer) sometimes also doesn't have a winner after 90 and 120 minutes. If a winner is needed, they then move on to penalty shootouts. Does this mean that "classical football" is dead?

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