The first round of the Russian Superfinals was played on October 16 in Novosibirsk.
Sergey Akhapov, Head of the Physical Culture and Sports Department of Novosibirsk Region, Honored master of sports in underwater swimming, made a ceremonial first move in Svidler-Inarkiev.
The 7-time Russian champion, playing White, scored a victory in a nice attacking style. In the anti-Berlin system of the Ruy Lopez, Svidler developed a powerful attack, and carried out the winning break following his opponent’s mistake on the 18th move. Despite nominal material equality – White had a queen and pawn for Black’s two rooks, White’s position was overwhelming due to poor position of Black’s king, and Svidler’s technique did not let him down.
Alexander Riazantsev, playing White, outplayed the local grandmaster Dmitry Bocharov. In the Nimzo-Indian Defense, Black failed to equalize, and White developed a crushing kingside attack, while the black queen was hopelessly stuck on the opposite side of the board. Soon White won a pawn with a nice combination, also keeping his attack rolling, and Black resigned in a few moves.
The battle between two players from St. Petersburg, Vladimir Fedoseev and Nikita Vitiugov, lasted for 83 moves. White got an advantage after the opening, but the position remained closed, and it was unclear whether Fedoseev can break through. However, Vladimir managed to shake Black’s fortress during the maneuvering stage, and then grabbed a key pawn, after which Vitiugov’s position fell apart.
The defending Russian champion Evgeny Tomashevsky faced Grigory Oparin, the winner of the Higher League. Black successfully solved opening problems, and the game proceeded to a dull and equal endgame. A draw by move repetition occurred on the 28th move. Kokarev-Jakovenko followed a similarly quiet course in the Berlin Variation, and the result was the same.
Alexander Grischuk, playing Black against Aleksey Goganov, went for the Dutch Defense and outplayed his opponent, obtaining a very promising position on the kingside. However, White defended well, while Black was clearly inaccurate somewhere, letting his advantage to slip away. Seeing that the game does not develop to his favor, Grischuk went for mass exchanges, securing a draw.
The women’s championship brought a couple of upsets. First of all, Daria Charochkina defeated the multiple-time champion Valentina Gunina. In the sharp line of the Nimzo-Indian Defense, Gunina sacrificed two pieces for a rook and pawn, but failed to get any initiative. White got a totally dominating position, and Gunina resigned on the move 33.
Another underdog victory took place in Ubiennykh-Kashlinskaya. In the Nimzo-Indian Defense, the higher rated Kashlinskaya blundered a pawn, and the strongest player of Siberia confidently converted her material advantage.
Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Anastasia Bodnaruk. Playing Black, the former World Champion successfully solved opening problems and seized the initiative. In the middlegame Black delivered a nice blow and won a pawn. Anastasia defended tenaciously, but eventually succumbed to pressure by committing a final blunder.
Olga Girya, playing Black, outplayed the experienced Alisa Galliamova, skilfully utilizing White’s risky pawn advances on the kingside in the Slav Defense. White was forced to part with a pawn, not getting any compensation for that, and in a nervous time-trouble finale Olga finally managed to convert her winning advantage.
The game between Natalija Pogonina and Aleksandra Goryachkina followed a positional course, which is typical for the Catalan Opening, and logically ended in a draw.
Daria Pustovoitova and Evgenija Ovod played for 110 moves. White had good winning chances in the middlegame, but missed the decisive continuation, after which the game proceeded to a complicated endgame with unbalanced material, which Ovod managed to defend successfully.
Standings after round 1
Svidler, Fedoseev, Riazantsev – 1
Grischuk, Jakovenko, Oparin, Tomashevsky, Kokarevm Goganov – 0.5
Inarkiev, Vitiugov, Bocharov – 0
Round 2 pairings:
Inarkiev-Grischuk, Jakovenko-Goganov, Bocharov-Kokarev, Oparin-Riazantsev, Vitiugov-Tomashevsky, Svidler-Fedoseev.
Standings after round 1
Kosteniuk, Gorya, Charochkina, Ubiennykh – 1
Goryachkina, Ovod, Pogonina, Pustovoitova – 0.5
Gunina, Kashlinskaya, Bodnaruk, Galliamova – 0
Round 2 pairings:
Kosteniuk-Gunina, Kashlinskaya-Charochkina, Girya-Ubiennykh, Goryachkina-Galliamova, Ovod-Pogonina, Bodnaruk-Pustovoitova
Photos by E. Kublashvili
Official website of the Russian Chess Federation – http://ruchess.ru/