Reports | December 23, 2010 19:38

First Russian title for Nepomniachtchi

First Russian title for NepomniachtchiIan Nepomniachtchi won his first Russian Championship on Wednesday in Moscow. The grandmaster from Bryansk emerged as the winner after a tiebreak with Sergey Karjakin in which he drew the Armageddon game with the black pieces.

General info

The Superfinal of the 63rd Russian Chess Championship for men was held in Moscow at the Central Chess Club, from 10 to 22 December. Alexander Grischuk (2771), Sergei Karjakin (2760), Dmitry Jakovenko (2726), Peter Svidler (2722), Ian Nepomniachtchi (2722), Vladimir Malakhov (2720), Nikita Vitiugov (2709), Evgeny Tomashevsky (2699), Igor Kurnosov (2676), Vadim Zvjaginsev (2676), Denis Khismatullin (2659) and Vladimir Potkin (2646) played. The time control was 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to end of the game with 30 second increment.

Rounds 10-11 & tiebreak

First Russian title for NepomniachtchiThe 63rd Russian Championship Superfinal saw a dramatic finish on Wednesday. Sergei Karjakin, who seemed destined to win his first title, lost in the last round and then also went down in the tiebreak against Ian Nepomniachtchi.

The former Ukrainian had grabbed sole lead in round 10 by beating Evgeny Tomashevsky in a Ruy Lopez, while Nepomniachtchi had drawn with Alexander Grischuk. In the last Nepomniachtchi drew again, with the white pieces against Vitiugov, and so Karjakin only needed a draw too against Malakhov.

However, in a sharp Nimzo-Indian Karjakin reached a difficult ending with Black. He tried his luck with a piece sacrifice, hoping for a fortress on the kingside, but Malakhov demonstrated that it was just winning for White. This meant that Karjakin and Nepomniachtchi had ended on shared first place.

Russian Championship 2010 | Round 11 (final) standings

London Chess Classic 2010 | Pairings

And so after the last round had finished Karjakin and Nepomniachtchi set down at the chess board again for a playoff. In the first game Karjakin had some advantage with White in a Najdorf but it was probably never enough to win. In the second he also had the better chances and then in the Armageddon game (6 minutes for White vs 5 for Black who had draw odds) Karjakin was completely winning after the opening - if he had played 18.Rg1, Nepomniachtchi would have had to resign within a few moves. In the game Nepomniachtchi eventually managed to hold the draw, and win the title.

Here's a video of the Armageddon game shot by Eugene Potemkin - quite shaky unfortunately, but OK.


Games rounds 10-11 & playoff

Game viewer by ChessTempo


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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.


NBC's picture

I doubt that Nepomniachtchi has the experience to deal with the top dogs yet, but he's certainly one of the most exciting young players around.

bhabatosh's picture

sad to see Karjakin did not win. he was luckless at the end.
Loosing in last game that too with Malakhov ( with all respect ) and then eventually
virtually playing better in all rapid/blitz game he could not win ............

But good for chess that Nepomniachtchi won, this clearly a signal he is within the top elites now for sure if there was any doubt . We have one more chess star now.

Rini Luyks's picture

(video) "quite shaky unfortunately" sounds a bit harsh.
I imagine the atmosphere at the time of the Armageddon game and think Mr. Potemkin did a good job

Peter Doggers's picture

We should be grateful to Mr. Potemkin to provide the material in the first place. However, I stopped watching after half a minute as it made me dizzy. Guess I wanted to react on Chessbase’s hilarious comment “(…) and the quality is very good, with both the board and clocks completely recognizable”.

The chess world is used to better video quality by now. It’s especially unfortunate after the great video coverage of the Tal Memorial that the organizers couldn’t just put a camera with a tripod there, to save such an important game for humanity.

VladimirOo's picture

Since Chessbase does not have any feedback, they can allow themselves to say anything they want. Until the readers meet Chessvibes!

biggy, delft's picture

won't be a surprise if he wins TATA-A!!!

S's picture

I wonder what kind of sad people are going through every post, giving thumbs down indiscriminately without the guts to post anything themselves.

Auen1's picture

karjakin beat nepomniachtchi head to head. he should have one by way of some form of tie-breaker.

CAL|Daniel's picture

"Alexander Grischuk (2771) defends his title against " Should it really say still Grischk is defending his title when he has already failed to do so?

adam's picture

Congratulations Ian!! ACE chess

e4e6's picture

I wonder if Karjakin could play on.

It`s a draw but, as the clocks may tell and Black might make a mistake.

What are the rules here? Let say Black has 10 seconds and White has this position, he can flag his opponent easily, as he has no chance to win except this. And it is completely OK for me that Black is the one who has to defend precisely! I think, Karjakin made a fair play here, he could just win by trying... (This is just armageddon right? So what i say makes sense to me)

Nia Nora's picture

Nice performens by Karjakin and Nepomniachitschi
... but I remenber they gave Smyslov, Geller ea. in the good old chess times some secounds more on the clock to find the real champion.

Rini Luyks's picture

@peter doggers (quality video): i agree, also earlier videos in this tournament were poor.
And what to say about the noise made by cars passing by during the Armageddon game??, my goodness, couldn't they find a better room to play?

S's picture

Yesterday there was a match for the student championship of Russia - apparently it went under the radar of all english chess sites so far- and funnily enough it turned out to be some sort of mirror of the playoff at the Russian championship.

The match was again between Karjakin and Nepomniachi, who again tied in two rapid games and were still even after 4 blitz games.
And then there was, of course, the Armageddon.. This time Nepomniachi won the draw and chose to play with white (just like Karjakin did before). This game ended in a draw, and thus Karjakin was proclaimed champion.

The two players seem to be on friendly terms so maybe they just decided to split the spoils and give the public a good show playing the maximum number of games.
These games can be found on the playchess server, but so far no english coverage.

One question remains-are they really students?

S's picture

p.s. by analogy with the Russian ch. the armageddon game in this 2nd match was drawn after white spoiled a winning advantage.

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