April 13, 2012 13:45

Russian Team Ch: Economist can afford to be generous

The venue in Sochi

After four rounds of the Russian Team Championship only Economist-SGSEU can still boast a 100% record, having beaten Navigator in Round 3 and last year’s winners and top seeds ShSM-64 in Round 4. That was despite Evgeny Tomashevsky “doing a Navara” by offering a draw after his opponent’s flag fell. Elsewhere the struggle was fierce, with spectacular attacks, disastrous blunders and a miraculous match-saving win for Aleksey Dreev.

The venue in Sochi | Photos courtesy of Eldar Mukhametov (more here)  

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

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 Three

We didn’t need to wait long for a showdown between the big guns at the Russian Championship, as all six teams with 2700-players in their ranks met in Round 3. There was stalemate at the top, with ShSM-64 and Tomsk-400 drawing all 6 games:

1   ShSM-64, Moscow 3.0 - 3.0 Tomsk - 400   4
1 2767 Caruana, Fabiano 0.5 - 0.5 Karjakin, Sergey 2766 1
2 2733 Wang, Hao 0.5 - 0.5 Ponomariov, Ruslan 2727 2
3 2720 Leko, Peter 0.5 - 0.5 Inarkiev, Ernesto 2695 3
4 2710 Riazantsev, Alexander 0.5 - 0.5 Bologan, Viktor 2687 5
5 2669 Potkin, Vladimir 0.5 - 0.5 Khismatullin, Denis 2656 6
6 2640 Najer, Evgeniy 0.5 - 0.5 Areshchenko, Alexander 2688 7

It was a close-run thing, however, as Tomsk-400’s Alexander Areshchenko was on the verge of beating Evgeny Najer in the last game to finish:

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Navigator’s bold decision to combine two experienced 2700 GMs with players who are young and hungry, but much lower rated, has proved a success so far, though they met their match in Round 4:

9   Navigator, Moscow 1.5 - 4.5 Economist-SGSEU, Saratov   2
1 2700 Sutovsky, Emil 0 - 1 Morozevich, Alexander 2765 1
2 2703 Sasikiran, Krishnan 0.5 - 0.5 Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2736 2
3 2536 Dubov, Daniil 0.5 - 0.5 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2718 3
4 2474 Mozharov, Mikhail 0.5 - 0.5 Eljanov, Pavel 2704 4
5 2451 Moskalenko, Alexander 0 - 1 Andreikin, Dmitry 2689 6
6 2441 Demidov, Mikhail 0 - 1 Alekseev, Evgeny 2673 7

Emil Sutovsky tarried with the development of his pieces and was brutally punished by Alexander Morozevich:

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Alexander Moskalenko had a tricky but balanced position against Dmitry Andreikin, until he made a disastrous pawn grab:

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Evgeny Tomashevsky - Krishnan Sasikiran

Perhaps the greatest talking point of the round, however, came at the end of Tomashevsky – Sasikiran. In the final position, after 77 moves, it appears simply to have been a logical draw with Black unable to make further progress:

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However, there was much more to it than that. GM Sergey Shipov explained at the Crestbook forum:

Today in the Tomashevsky – Sasikiran game we saw the second episode of the series "Chivalry".

The first, if you recall, was the famous Moiseenko – Navara game from the 2011 World Cup [where Navara offered a draw just before mating his opponent due to an earlier touch-move incident - CV].

So then, Sasikiran played better overall, was applying pressure and had a significant edge. The game went on for a long time, and in the end Black’s edge proved insufficient to win. In the final stages Sasikiran made a move and apparently didn’t press the clock very well – it continued to tick and his time continued to slip away. And he let his flag drop!

That’s when it all kicked off…  Sasikiran was totally dazed, in a state of shock. The guy simply couldn’t get up from the board. Tomashevsky, meanwhile, appears to have had guilty feelings.  He offered his opponent a belated draw and… met with a lack of understanding from his team. In general, they spent a long time arguing the ins and outs but ultimately the game was adjudged to have been a draw – the Saratov team won the match with something to spare, so the incident didn’t have a serious impact on the teams’ tournament situation.   

So that’s what happened. I can understand Evgeny… And I can understand his captain.

But I don’t understand the arbiters. They’re the ones who should have decided the issue, and it seems the only possible result, after the flag had fallen, was 1-0.

It’s perhaps worth noting that if teams are tied on match points after 7 rounds the game points will matter – so if it all comes down to half a point Tomashevsky might prefer to quietly slip out of the playing hall/country!

Dmitry Jakovenko did his chances of a place on the Russian Olympiad team no harm by dismantling Peter Svidler's ambitious attacking setup

The most exciting match of the round, however, saw European Champions St. Petersburg put to the sword by Ugra:

3   St. Petersburg Chess Fed. 2.0 - 4.0 Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk   5
1 2744 Svidler, Peter 0 - 1 Jakovenko, Dmitry 2729 1
2 2709 Vitiugov, Nikita 0.5 - 0.5 Shirov, Alexei 2701 2
3 2730 Dominguez Perez, Leinier 1 - 0 Dreev, Aleksey 2698 3
4 2702 Movsesian, Sergei 0 - 1 Malakhov, Vladimir 2705 4
5 2695 Efimenko, Zahar 0.5 - 0.5 Rublevsky, Sergei 2686 5
6 2683 Zvjaginsev, Vadim 0 - 1 Korobov, Anton 2679 6

Dmitry Jakovenko soon got over his loss to Morozevich the round before by winning an extraordinary game against Peter Svidler, who got a little carried away.  11.Bc7?! already seems to be asking for trouble, but that’s only the start of the contortions Svidler’s pieces end up in:

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Malakhov – Movsesian was if anything even more dramatic, though it would be a brave man who actually tried to analyse what was going on!

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Leinier-Dominguez Perez’s efforts in beating Aleksey Dreev ultimately made little difference, though his smooth conversion of a slight endgame edge did win him high praise from his team captain Vladimir Bykov (as reported by Dmitry Kryakvin):

Perez is a top-class guy! It’s just a pity he doesn’t understand a word of Russian.

Day Four

Round 4 saw the perfect match-ups at the top, with the first and second and third and fourth seeds paired against each other:

2   Economist-SGSEU, Saratov 3.5 - 2.5 ShSM-64, Moscow   1
1 2765 Morozevich, Alexander 0.5 - 0.5 Caruana, Fabiano 2767 1
2 2736 Tomashevsky, Evgeny 0.5 - 0.5 Wang, Hao 2733 2
3 2718 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 0.5 - 0.5 Leko, Peter 2720 3
4 2704 Eljanov, Pavel 0.5 - 0.5 Riazantsev, Alexander 2710 5
5 2706 Moiseenko, Alexander 0.5 - 0.5 Grachev, Boris 2705 6
6 2689 Andreikin, Dmitry 1 - 0 Potkin, Vladimir 2669 7
4   Tomsk - 400 2.5 - 3.5 St. Petersburg Chess Fed.   3
1 2766 Karjakin, Sergey 0.5 - 0.5 Svidler, Peter 2744 1
2 2727 Ponomariov, Ruslan 0.5 - 0.5 Vitiugov, Nikita 2709 2
3 2695 Inarkiev, Ernesto 0.5 - 0.5 Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2730 3
4 2683 Motylev, Alexander 0 - 1 Movsesian, Sergei 2702 4
5 2687 Bologan, Viktor 1 - 0 Efimenko, Zahar 2695 5
6 2656 Khismatullin, Denis 0 - 1 Matlakov, Maxim 2632 7

A curious situation soon developed, as Morozevich – Caruana and Karjakin – Svidler were identical up until move 19, with Caruana and Svidler both playing the somewhat dubious 18…Qa5?!

Not only the moves were coordinated! Men in green...

...followed men in black!

There were shades of the famous “Argentinian Tragedy” at the 1955 Interzonal, where three Argentinian players “unleashed” the same novelty against Keres, Geller and Spassky, only for the Soviet players all to refute it at the board.  Here Karjakin went first with the spectacular but less effective 20.Nb5?!, after which Svidler managed to exchange queens and achieve a relatively painless draw. The same couldn't be said about the other game...

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Wang Hao also spent 116 moves trying to convert an extra pawn against Evgeny Tomashevsky, causing chess journalist Ilya Odessky to write on Twitter:

Ah, I’m worried Zhenya Tomashevsky’s generosity yesterday is going to backfire on him. The sporting gods are fearsome.

If you can stand the tension you can watch the latter stages of those two games in the following video by Evgeny Potemkin. It gives a good idea of the emotions involved in a team event. At the start of the video Morozevich has just played 108.Kd3. Caruana's 115...Nc4? comes at 6:50, and Morozevich misses a win when he plays 116.Rd7+ at 7:25 (the filming is a bit erratic at that stage!). This video doesn't show the very end of that game, but don't miss the end of Wang Hao - Tomashevksy, with Wang Hao clearly upset and teammates congratulating Tomashevsky, at about 8:45:

In the end, however, the match came down to Dmitry Andreikin’s win against Vladimir Potkin on the bottom board:

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It was a tough day at the office for Vladimir Potkin

St. Petersburg recovered from their loss the day before to overcome Tomsk-400 3.5:2.5, though the result could have gone either way. Maxim Matlakov’s attack against Denis Khismatullin wasn’t entirely convincing, but fortune favoured the brave:

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While those two matches involved closely matched teams, Ugra should have dealt with University with little difficulty. Instead they scraped a 3:3 draw:

5   Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk 3.0 - 3.0 University, Belorechensk   7
1 2729 Jakovenko, Dmitry 0.5 - 0.5 Tregubov, Pavel V. 2599 1
2 2701 Shirov, Alexei 0.5 - 0.5 Landa, Konstantin 2645 2
3 2698 Dreev, Aleksey 1 - 0 Brodsky, Michail 2558 3
4 2705 Malakhov, Vladimir 0.5 - 0.5 Burmakin, Vladimir 2592 4
6 2679 Korobov, Anton 0 - 1 Panarin, Mikhail 2523 5
7 2524 Pridorozhni, Aleksei 0.5 - 0.5 Poluljahov, Aleksandr 2505 6

It could have been worse, as a real upset was on the cards after Mikhail Panarin’s win. The last hope for Ugra was Aleksey Dreev, who played on in a clearly drawn ending. Sergey Shipov commented:

It was stunning the ending Dreev managed to win today against Brodsky. Both sides had a rook and a knight, and also two pawns against two on the kingside. Symmetrical with no weaknesses!

It’s hard to imagine that a solid grandmaster could lose something like that. But he managed. And he did it without blunders, slowly, gradually.

Dreev’s a monster of technique!  

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The standings at the top of the men's event with only three rounds remaining are:

Place SNo. Team Fed. Local Match Points Total vs+ Wins B.1
1 2 Economist-SGSEU, Saratov RUS 2720 8.0 16.0 11;5;9;1; 4 2.5
2 9 Navigator, Moscow RUS 2551 6.0 15.5 18;10;6; 3 2.0
3 3 St. Petersburg Chess Fed. RUS 2711 6.0 15.0 12;8;4; 3 2.0
4 8 Chigorin Chess Club, St. Petersburg RUS 2553 6.0 13.5 17;14;15; 3 2.0
5 4 Tomsk - 400 RUS 2708 5.0 16.0 13;7; 2 3.0
6 5 Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2700 5.0 14.5 15;3; 2 2.5
7 1 ShSM-64, Moscow RUS 2725 5.0 14.0 10;6; 2 2.5
7 7 University, Belorechensk RUS 2570 5.0 14.0 16;17; 2 2.5

Apart from the dominance of Economist what stands out, perhaps, is that Navigator and particularly the Chigorin Chess club (wins against the 14th, 15th and 17th seeds!) have exploited easier pairings to edge into a prime position. Perhaps that's one of the flaws of the Swiss system (as discussed by the players in the run-up to the event), but it's hard to complain when each round is throwing up fantastic matches. In Round 5 it’s St. Petersburg’s turn to try and stop Economist (Svidler - Morozevich on top board), while Ugra take on Tomsk-400 (Jakovenko - Karjakin and Shirov - Ponomariov).

Nazi Paikidze's Yamal drew against Alexandra Kosteniuk's ShSM-RGSU. There was also a first half point for 13-year-old Aleksandra Goryachkina - someone we can expect to hear a lot more about in future! 

The women’s event, meanwhile, is still delicately poised after four rounds.

Place SNo. Team Fed. Local Match Points Total vs+ Wins B.1
1 4 Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2393 6.0 10.5 5;7; 2 1.0
2 1 Ladya, Kazan RUS 2493 5.0 8.0 2;3; 2 2.5
3 3 ShSM-RGSU, Moscow RUS 2392 4.0 8.5 7; 1 2.5
4 6 Chigorin Chess Club, St. Petersburg RUS 2321 4.0 7.0 5; 1 0.5
5 7 Udmurtia, Izhevsk RUS 2206 2.0 6.0 2; 1 3.0
6 5 Polytechnik, Nizhniy Tagil RUS 2139 2.0 4.0 7; 1 2.0
7 2 Yamal, YNAO RUS 2328 1.0 4.0   0 0.5

Ladya beat last year's winners ShSM-RGSU 3:1 in Round 3, though Valentina Gunina (who had switched teams in acrimonious circumstances, as mentioned in our previous report) was lucky her opponent took a draw by repetition in a won position. Her luck ran out in the next round, however, as she was demolished by Olga Girya and her team could only draw against rivals Ugra. Nevertheless, Ladya are still the team to beat, as they’ve played a match less.

Nadezhda Kosintseva and Valentina Gunina don't seem too downhearted!

The top games from the event can be watched live at the Russian Chess Federation website.

Colin McGourty's picture
Author: Colin McGourty


Frits Fritschy's picture

I don't understand what has happened in Tomashevsky-Sasikiran. The FIDE rules are very clear:

"6.8 A flag is considered to have fallen when the arbiter observes the fact or when either player has made a valid claim to that effect.
6.9 Except where one of the Articles: 5.1.a, 5.1.b, 5.2.a, 5.2.b [i.e. the game has ended in another way, for instance mate] or 5.2.c applies, if a player does not complete the prescribed number of moves in the allotted time, the game is lost by the player.
5.2c The game is drawn upon agreement between the two players during [!] the game.
13.1 The arbiter shall see that the Laws of Chess are strictly observed."

So the game ended after Sasikiran's flag dropped. Everything after that is irrelevant. If Tomashevsky's team had a problem with this draw, they still could have claimed a win.
There might be a problem if no arbiter was present (highly unlikely), but since no-one seems to contest the story, the win by Tomashevsky should still stand.

Colin McGourty's picture

Added a video with the latter stages of Morozevich - Caruana and Wang Hao - Tomashevsky!

Thomas's picture

Nice video! I wonder if it's coincidence that the filiming is 'erratic' around move 155/116 in Moro-Caruana. Did Potemkin know or suspect that Morozevich had a win? What about the spectators, who all kept poker faces?

Colin McGourty's picture

I doubt he was thinking about anything other than finding if there was something more interesting to film (especially as it was far from an obvious win), but in general you do wonder about team events. Even if people don't want to cheat it must be hard to avoid giving some sort of non-verbal indication if you're watching your teammate and see a win. And then there's the fact that you're allowed to consult with captains about draw offers: "No, Peter, the team really needs you not to take a draw in that position..."

Thomas's picture

I certainly don't claim that I would have seen the win, but in hindsight it's relatively obvious: it's well known that a passed rook pawn is the knight's worst enemy, so it wasn't exactly an inhuman computer line (which might be the case for 65.Bxf7). I guess Morozevich (or even an average IM) could have seen it with enough time on the clock, or if he had received and understood an - accidental or deliberate - sign from the audience? The problem is rather that it was a sudden opportunity, there seems to be no way for white to force such a turn of events.
Another relatively "easy" win was 73.Bxf7, here white regains the piece immediately keeping a passed g-pawn. And 74.Rxe5 (rather than repeating with 74.Rf3 Nd6 and now 75.Bxf7) allowed black to swap the kingside pawns, thereafter the position may be "practically drawn". [Of course I consulted engines ...]

Regarding draw offers in team matches and advice from the captain: In my last amateur team match, my captain rejected my opponent's draw offer with the words "No Thomas, you're the far better player" (aloud so that the other team could hear it ...). A bit later I accepted another draw offer - in a complex position and mutual time trouble, no chance to consult the captain again. Still have to check this game with a computer ... .

True Chess's picture

"Evgeny Tomashevsky “doing a Navara” by offering a draw after his opponent’s flag fell"

Now Chessvibes, you are being way too rude, waaay too rude.

Remco Gerlich's picture

In what sense is that rude? I took it as a big compliment for Tomashevsky.

True Chess's picture

To Navara of course.

nickeur's picture

nice pic of "men in black". Handsome morozevich vs young active brain caruana

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