Reports | April 15, 2012 14:15

Russian Team Ch: All set for a thrilling finish

Svidler vs Morozevich in round 5

What a difference two days make! Economist’s 100% record now lies in tatters after they lost to their closest rivals in rounds 5 and 6, leaving them out of the hunt for gold medals. Instead Peter Svidler’s St. Petersburg lead by a point, with only ShSM-64 and Tomsk-400 still capable of denying them the title. In the women’s event favourites Ladya have been crowned winners with a round to spare.

Svidler - Morozevich in Round 5 | Photos courtesy of Dmitry Kryakvin (more here)

Event Russian Team Championship | PGN via TWIC
Dates April 9-15, 2012
Location Loo, Sochi, Russia
System 7-round Swiss, teams
Players

The strongest participants are Caruana (2767), Karjakin (2766), Morozevich (2765), Svidler (2744), Tomashevsky (2736), Wang Hao (2733), Dominguez (2730), Jakovenko (2729), Ponomariov (2727),Leko (2720), Nepomniachtchi (2718), Giri (2717), Riazantsev (2710), Vitiugov (2709), Moiseenko (2706), Grachev (2705), Malakhov (2705), Eljanov (2704), Movsesian (2702 and Shirov (2701)

Rate of play 90 minutes for 40 moves + 30 minutes to finish the game + 30 seconds increment from move 1

Day Five

If Economist-SGSEU had beaten the St. Petersburg Chess Federation in Round 5 it’s unlikely they could have been stopped, but instead they fell to a narrow defeat:

3   St. Petersburg Chess Fed. 3.5 - 2.5 Economist-SGSEU, Saratov   2
1 2744 Svidler, Peter 0.5 - 0.5 Morozevich, Alexander 2765 1
2 2709 Vitiugov, Nikita 0.5 - 0.5 Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2736 2
3 2730 Dominguez Perez, Leinier 0.5 - 0.5 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2718 3
4 2702 Movsesian, Sergei 1 - 0 Eljanov, Pavel 2704 4
6 2683 Zvjaginsev, Vadim 0.5 - 0.5 Moiseenko, Alexander 2706 5
7 2632 Matlakov, Maxim 0.5 - 0.5 Andreikin, Dmitry 2689 6

Sergei Movsesian, so often the hero for the Armenian team, scored the critical win, following up a sharp trick in the early middlegame with excellent technique to convert his slight edge:

PGN string

Dmitry Kryakvin captioned his photo: "Alexander, this is a lucky pen!" The hand belongs to Economist team captain Alexey Vetrov

It’s impossible, however, to avoid mentioning Peter Svidler’s draw with Alexander Morozevich on the top board, which featured a staggering exchange of blows. The 17…Kd7! countercheck and Svidler’s quiet 19.0-0-0!! are worth the price of admission alone:

PGN string

However, GM Sergey Zagrebelny, who commented on the game live for ChessPro, expressed some lingering doubts about whether the players had really been playing at the board:

I've got mixed emotions, and I don’t even know how to “sum up” what we’ve witnessed. Questions, questions… Above all, naturally, to the players. How far did Svidler’s knowledge stretch? And Morozevich’s? Alas, we’re a long way away and we can’t ask. If we ignore the home preparation then we saw extremely spectacular chess today: forks, pins, discovered checks, tactical shots – simply a feast for those who like their dishes served spicy! And the unexpected 19.0-0-0!! But still, what was really going on? I’ll leave that question hanging in the air…

Another curiosity, as pointed out by Dmitry Kryakvin in his blog at the Russian Chess Federation website, was that the game ended in a position where the tournament rules (no draw offers before move 40) would have required the players to play on. Instead it seems to have been agreed that it was senseless to ruin a masterpiece with some additional shuffling of pieces.

The day’s other real battle came between Ugra and Tomsk-400, and again it was settled by a single game:

5   Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk 2.5 - 3.5 Tomsk - 400   4
1 2729 Jakovenko, Dmitry 0 - 1 Karjakin, Sergey 2766 1
2 2701 Shirov, Alexei 0.5 - 0.5 Ponomariov, Ruslan 2727 2
3 2698 Dreev, Aleksey 0.5 - 0.5 Inarkiev, Ernesto 2695 3
4 2705 Malakhov, Vladimir 0.5 - 0.5 Motylev, Alexander 2683 4
5 2686 Rublevsky, Sergei 0.5 - 0.5 Bologan, Viktor 2687 5
6 2679 Korobov, Anton 0.5 - 0.5 Kurnosov, Igor 2657 8

Dmitry Jakovenko had already had a rollercoaster tournament, losing to Alexander Morozevich but beating Peter Svidler. In Round 5 he lost a long and tough game to another member of the Russian team, Sergey Karjakin, who has the best results on Board 1:

PGN string

Elsewhere ShSM-64 were compensated  for their loss to Economist the day before with a match against the much weaker University, who they duly dispatched 5:1, including wins for Fabiano Caruana and Peter Leko on the top boards.

ACP President Emil Sutovsky

The dark horses Navigator and the Chigorin Chess Club (entering the round in joint second place) had a chance to stake a real claim for tournament victory, but could only draw against each other. Emil Sutovsky’s win against Evgeny Romanov was highly entertaining, if not exactly flawless!

PGN string

Evgeny Potemkin continues to film the event. In the following video you can see him on his way to the playing hall and greeting various players before the round begins:

He also seems to have spent much of the day following a cat that strayed into the playing hall. It was clearly a chess fan, as it eventually took up a position underneath the table of one of the day's most eventful matches, the 3:3 draw between Navigator and Chigorin Chess Club (screenshot from another video):

Reinforcements for the Chigorin Chess Club on, or rather under, Board 4

Day Six

While it's been a tough schedule for the men each women's team had a day off - here ShSM-RGSU enjoy the sunshine (Alina Kashlinskaya, Anastasia Savina and Alexandra Kosteniuk) | photo: Eldar Mukhametov

Economist’s woes continued, as their hopes of tournament victory were destroyed by another narrow loss, this time to fierce rivals Tomsk-400:

2   Economist-SGSEU, Saratov 2.5 - 3.5 Tomsk - 400   4
1 2765 Morozevich, Alexander 0.5 - 0.5 Karjakin, Sergey 2766 1
2 2736 Tomashevsky, Evgeny 0.5 - 0.5 Ponomariov, Ruslan 2727 2
3 2718 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 1 - 0 Inarkiev, Ernesto 2695 3
4 2704 Eljanov, Pavel 0 - 1 Bologan, Viktor 2687 5
5 2706 Moiseenko, Alexander 0.5 - 0.5 Areshchenko, Alexander 2688 7
6 2689 Andreikin, Dmitry 0 - 1 Kurnosov, Igor 2657 8

It’s perhaps worth starting with Economist’s one success story. Ian Nepomniachtchi had started the tournament with a bang (see our Rounds 1&2 report), but then had a sequence of four solid draws. He woke up in Round 6 to put in a powerful performance against Ernesto Inarkiev, whose counterplay was never quite enough:

PGN string

Dmitry Andreikin had been a key player behind Economist’s earlier wins, but he eventually lost a tough ending against Igor Kurnosov, while Pavel Eljanov had another day to forget, failing to get out of the opening against Viorel Bologan:

PGN string

ShSM-64's luck of the draw continued, as they were paired against 8th seeds the Chigorin Chess Club and pulled off a perfect 6:0 victory. There were also six decisive games in the match between Navigator and St. Petersburg, but it was all much more exciting!

9   Navigator, Moscow 2.0 - 4.0 St. Petersburg Chess Fed.   3
1 2700 Sutovsky, Emil 0 - 1 Svidler, Peter 2744 1
2 2703 Sasikiran, Krishnan 1 - 0 Vitiugov, Nikita 2709 2
3 2536 Dubov, Daniil 1 - 0 Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2730 3
5 2451 Moskalenko, Alexander 0 - 1 Movsesian, Sergei 2702 4
6 2441 Demidov, Mikhail 0 - 1 Efimenko, Zahar 2695 5
7 2424 Mesropov, Konstantin 0 - 1 Zvjaginsev, Vadim 2683 6

As we saw in the game from the previous round, Emil Sutovsky isn’t a man for playing solid, predictable chess. Peter Svidler has also been in bellicose form, so we could expect fireworks, and the players didn’t disappoint:

PGN string

In terms of the match St. Petersburg exploited their superiority on the lower boards perfectly, but it wasn’t one-way traffic. Krishnan Sasikiran impressively diffused his opponent’s over-ambitious attack, while Daniil Dubov scored a win which must be one of the highlights of his short career. The 15-year-old talent got the better of the opening and then converted in style just when it seemed Dominguez had weathered the storm:

PGN string

Going into Sunday’s final round the standings at the top are:

Place SNo. Team Fed. Local Match Points Total vs+ Wins B.1
1 3 St. Petersburg Chess Fed. RUS 2711 10.0 22.5 12;8;4;2;9; 5 3.5
2 1 ShSM-64, Moscow RUS 2725 9.0 25.0 10;6;7;8; 4 4.5
3 4 Tomsk - 400 RUS 2708 9.0 23.0 13;7;5;2; 4 4.5
4 2 Economist-SGSEU, Saratov RUS 2720 8.0 21.0 11;5;9;1; 4 3.5
5 6 Polytechnik, Nizhniy Tagil RUS 2583 8.0 20.5 14;13;11;10; 4 2.5
6 5 Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2700 7.0 21.0 15;3;12; 3 3.0
7 9 Navigator, Moscow RUS 2551 7.0 20.5 18;10;6; 3 3.0
8 7 University, Belorechensk RUS 2570 7.0 20.0 16;17;11; 3 3.5
9 8 Chigorin Chess Club, St. Petersburg RUS 2553 7.0 16.5 17;14;15; 3 2.0

It couldn’t be set up better, as St. Petersburg will take on ShSM-64 (Svidler – Caruana, Dominguez – Wang Hao, Movsesian – Leko…). It looks as though both teams need to win, as Tomsk-400 play the much weaker Polytechnik and are likely to win by a heavy margin. Economist also finally have an easier match, and therefore good chances of taking a medal.

It was a very convincing victory for Ladya, featuring Nadezhda Kosintseva, Valentina Gunina, Natalia Zhukova, Daria Charochkina and, not in the photo, Alisa Galliamova

With so much top men’s chess to cover it’s been hard to devote much time to the women’s event, which has also been something of a disappointment. Many of last year’s top teams are absent, and victory for favourites Ladya has never looked in doubt. The only team to hold them to a draw, second seeds Ugra, have a bye in the final round (it might have been worth following the example of last year’s London Chess Classic, where the pairings were altered so the bottom seed would be the one to miss the final round). The standings with a round to go are:

Place SNo. Team Fed. Local Match Points Total vs+ Wins B.1
1 1 Ladya, Kazan RUS 2493 9.0 14.5 2;3;5;6; 4 4.0
2 4 Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2393 8.0 15.0 5;7;2; 3 2.0
3 3 ShSM-RGSU, Moscow RUS 2392 6.0 11.5 7;4; 2 3.5
4 6 Chigorin Chess Club, St. Petersburg RUS 2321 5.0 9.5 5; 1 0.5
5 7 Udmurtia, Izhevsk RUS 2206 3.0 8.0 2; 1 4.0
6 2 Yamal, YNAO RUS 2328 3.0 8.0 5; 1 1.5
7 5 Polytechnik, Nizhniy Tagil RUS 2139 2.0 5.5 7; 1 2.5

The remaining intrigue is whether last year’s winners ShSM-RGSU can beat the much weaker Polytechnik (rated 2268 - 1920) by a sufficient margin to take silver. At least 3.5:0.5 (or possibly 4:0?) seems to be required.

You can follow all the action from the final day of the Russia Team Championship live at the RCF website

Colin McGourty's picture
Author: Colin McGourty
Chess.com

Comments

Septimus's picture

Is this the continuation in case of Qxa8 in Svidler-Moro?

Qxb8?? Bg5+ and then the kingside is destroyed?I don't see a forced mate though. Can somebody show me the most forcing line?

Bert de Bruut's picture

There seems to bo no forced mate, but a line like 13 Qxa3 Bf6+ (apparently 13... Bg5+ is less good: 14 Be3 Qa5+ 15 Nd2 Bxe3 16 fxe3 Rxe3+ 17 Be2 and white seems to hold whilst remaining some material up) 14 Be3 (risky looks 14 Be2 Rxe2+! 15 Kxe2 Ba6+ 16 Ke1 Qe8+) 14... Qb6 15 Qd5 Qxb2 16 Rd1 Bb7 and according to the engines Black has full compensation for the rook.

Aun1's picture

so much for tomsk-400 winning by a heavy margin.

stevefraser's picture

A great report, video and games. Much thanks.

Latest articles