The second round of the Russian Superfinal was played on October 17 in Novosibirsk.
Dmitry Jakovenko suffered a disappointing loss in the men’s championship. Having White against Aleksey Goganov, he obtained a significant advantage out of the opening and developed it methodically. However, prior to the first control Jakovenko missed the strongest continuation, wrongly offering to trade a couple of rooks, which made position more balanced. On the move 58 Jakovenko committed a suicidal blunder, missing a tactical blow, and had to resign in a couple of moves.
The match between two leaders, Peter Svidler and Vladimir Fedoseev, ended in a draw. The players from St. Petersburg went for a rare variation of the Queen’s Gambit. Black equalized quickly, and following major simplifications the game ended in a draw by move repetition.
Nikita Vitiugov and Evgeny Tomashevsky also ended their game peacefully. Both showed good knowledge of lengthy book lines in the Queen’s Indian Defense. The game followed a quiet course and logically ended in a draw.
An interesting struggle in the French Defense ensued in the game between Grigory Oparin and Alexander Riazantsev. As usual in the Winawer Variation, White attacked in the center and on the kingside, while Black castled queenside and defended stubbornly and resoursefully. In the end Alexander managed to reach a dynamic equality, and the players went for a draw by repetition two moves before the control.
Ernesto Inarkiev and Alexander Grischuk went for a symmetrical English with quick exchange of central pawns. The evaluation remained approximately even throughout the game, and in a rook ending the players agreed to a draw.
Dmitry Bocharov and Dmitry Kokarev both played very creatively. Each player could obtain a significant advantage at different points of the game, but both missed their chances, and a draw was agreed in a pawn ending: Black has an extra pawn, but there was no chance to break through White’s blockade.
In the women’s championship, the key game of the day was Kosteniuk-Gunina. The highest rated players of the tournament went for the Caro-Kann Defense and castled to the opposite flanks. White’s pieces were placed more harmoniously, and after Gunina questionably grabbed a poisoned pawn on b2, Kosteniuk developed a strong initiative. In an attempt to reclaim it, Black sacrificed an exchange, but made a bad blunder almost immediately and lost a rook. On the move 29 Gunina resigned; this is her second loss in a row.
Anastasia Bodnaruk utilized White’s opening advantage against Daria Pustovoitova, the newcomer of the Superfinal. In the middlegame, White successfully rearranged her pieces, encircling and winning the e5-pawn. The e-file became open, and soon Black found herself under a powerful attack. With a help of a pin, White won a rook and the game.
Alisa Galliamova had Black against the defending champion Aleksandra Goryachkina and won a nice game. In the Reti Opening, Black moved her forced on the kingside and created a strong attack. White was forced to give up a pawn for unclear compensation, but it did not stop Black’s activity. Soon Goryachkina had to abandon an exchange and then resigned in view of the coming mate in one.
Olga Girya scored her second victory in a row, beating Ekaterina Ubiennykh. Ubiennykh played the King’s Indian as Black, sacrificed a pawn for the initiative, but the compensation proved insufficient. With accurate play, Girya parried all threats, and then slowly converted the advantage despite missing a couple of earlier wins.
The game between Evgenija Ovod and Natalija Pogonina ended in a draw. White’s small opening advantage was not enough to give her any serious winning chances, and the game eventually proceeded to a drawn bishop ending.
Alina Kashlinskaya had good winning chances against Daria Charochkina, but did not find the winning maneuver at the critical moment, and Black immediately simplified the game, transposing to a queen and bishop ending, in which White was forced to defend. A draw was agreed on the 60th move.
Standings after round 2
Svidler, Fedoseev, Riazantsev, Goganov – 1.5
Grischuk, Oparin, Tomashevsky, Kokarev – 1
Jakovenko, Inarkiev, Vitiugov, Bocharov – 0.5
Round 3 pairings:
Fedoseev-Inarkiev, Tomashevsky-Svidler, Riazantsev-Vitiugov, Kokarev-Oparin, Goganov-Bocharov, Grischuk-Jakovenko
Standings after round 2
Kosteniuk, Girya – 2
Charochkina – 1.5
Ubiennykh, Ovod, Pogonina, Galliamova, Bodnaruk – 1
Pustovoitova, Kashlinskaya, Goryachkina – 0.5
Gunina – 0
Round 3 pairings:
Pustovoitova-Kosteniuk, Pogonina-Bodnaruk, Galliamova-Ovod, Ubiennykh-Goryachkina, Charochkina-Girya, Gunina-Kashlinskaya
The Superfinals of 69th Russian men’s championship and 66th Russian women’s championship take place on October 15-27 at the Novosibirsk State Museum of Local History. The organizers are Russian Chess Federation, Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation, government of Novosibirsk Region, and Novosibirsk mayor’s office. General partner of the event – RATM Holding.
Photos by E. Kublashvili