11 October 2023

Baira Kovanova Catches Up with Olga Badelka at Women's Superfinal

Vladislav Artemiev maintains a two-point lead.

Tuesday, October 10, Round 9 games of the Russian Championships Superfinals finished at Tsarskoe Selo State Museum and Heritage Site (Pushkin, Saint Petersburg). The symbolic first move in the Kovanova vs. Matveeva game was made by Maxim Meiksin, Chairman of the St. Petersburg Election Commission.  

In the open tournament, Evgeniy Najer defeated Aleksandra Goryachkina as White. "We opened into a rather interesting variation of the Anti-Berlin: I prepared the idea, although it is quite difficult to do it now," said the grandmaster after the game. "I think I managed to put Sasha up against some problems. She played 17...c5, but 17...Rae8 seems to be the way to go there, and I started to look for an advantage, which should be there, if I remember correctly. But I failed in this task, burned much time and my position became quite dangerous: I never regained the pawn. The compensation in the form of chasing the queen was parried by counterplay against my king, and at some point I also had a minute and a half left on my clock.  Of course Sasha wanted to win, and I understand her – I would have wanted to win too. I think I know why she blundered: she wanted to double up rooks on the e-file and play Rxe1+, after which I have a hanging rook on f2. However, it turned out that White had a counterattack with Qxh5, upon which Black's position suddenly became very uncomfortable.  In my opinion, this is due to Sasha's desire to win no matter what, as she clearly rejected the lines leading to a roughly equal game". 

Esipenko vs. Artemiev, Timofeev vs. Sychev, Lagno vs. Ponkratov, Murzin vs. Rozum, and Matlakov vs. Tomashevsky ended in a draw.

Standings after Round 9:

1. Vladislav Artemiev – 7.5 points
2-3. Pavel Ponkratov, Evgeniy Najer - 5.5
4. Maxim Matlakov – 5
5-7. Andrey Esipenko, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Evgeny Tomashevsky – 4.5
8. Volodar Murzin – 4
9-10. Artyom Timofeev, Ivan Rozum – 3.5
11-12. Kateryna Lagno, Klementy Sychev – 3.

Round 10 pairings:

Ponkratov – Goryachkina, Artemiev – Najer, Tomashevsky – Esipenko, Sychev – Matlakov, Rozum – Timofeev, Lagno – Murzin.

In the women's competition, Baira Kovanova defeated Olga Matveeva as White and caught up with the leader Olga Badelka, who made a quick draw with Anna Shukhman as Black. We give the floor to the winner: "Olga surprised me with her opening choice. I didn't expect this continuation (my opponents opened in the Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian Defence - ed.), I wasn't ready. So what followed was a purely creative performance on my part. I think my opening was dubious because I saw stronger continuations for my opponent.  But when my rook arrived at f4, White was definitely doing well.  Left without a pawn, it looked as if Matveeva had stopped fighting altogether.  

Valentina Gunina defeated Marina Korneva in a game in which she had a big advantage for a long time and then the position became equal. The game went into an endgame with an extra knight, which was difficult to convert due to the small number of pawns left on the board.

Shuvalova vs. Garifullina, Yakimova vs. Pogonina, and Bivol vs. Goltseva ended in a draw.

Standings after Round 9:

1-2. Olga Badelka, Baira Kovanova – 7 points
3. Polina Shuvalova – 5.5
4-6. Valentina Gunina, Leya Garifullina, Marina Korneva – 5
7. Anna Shukhman – 4
8-10. Natalija Pogonina, Ekaterina Goltseva, Mariya Yakimova – 3.5
11. Alina Bivol – 3
12. Olga Matveeva – 2.  

Round 10 pairings:

Gunina – Badelka, Goltseva – Shukhman, Garifullina – Bivol, Matveeva – Shuvalova, Pogonina – Kovanova, Korneva – Yakimova. 

Games online (Open)

Games online (Women)

Official website

Tournament on Chess-Results

Tournament page

Pictures by Eteri Kublashvili