3 October 2023

Еvgeniy Najer and Vladislav Artemiev are in Lead at Russian Championship Superfinal

Co-sharing the lead in the women's section are Bivol, Garifullina and Kovanova.

Sunday, October 2, Round 2 games of the Russian Championships Superfinals finished at Tsarskoe Selo State Museum and Heritage Site (Saint Petersburg). Before the start of the game, the participants were welcomed by the Director of Tsarskoe Selo State Museum and Heritage Site Olga Taratynova. Alexander Tkachev, Executive Director of the CFR, presented the guest of honour with porcelain chess pieces from the famous set "Beasts of the North vs. Beasts of the South". Olga Taratynova made a symbolic first move in the Gunina - Kovanova game. 

Round 2 was rich in decisive games: both the open and the women's section four out of six games were decisive. Interestingly, the open section saw only 'White' players win, while the women's section had two such games of each color. 

Open section:

Ponkratov – Timofeev 1/2
Matlakov – Murzin 1:0
Esipenko – Lagno 1:0 
Najer – Rozum 1:0 
Goryachkina – Sychev 1/2 
Artemiev – Tomashevsky 1:0

Andrey Esipenko: "I prepared 6.e3 for my opening, which is not the most popular move (6.d3 is the mainline). Kateryna answered correctly – 6...e5, but after 7.exd4 the mainline is 7...e4, upon which there arises a complex and nearly equal position.  However, after 7...exd4 I was in time to reroute the knight to c2, and it turns out that the d4 pawn can become very vulnerable – which eventually happened in the game.  And I had a very easy game. I think the key moment came after 13.Re1 – I invested a lot of time into this move. Maybe Kateryna didn't react in the best possible way....  At some point I had to calculate many hard-to-calculate lines.  Yesterday I didn't have enough precision in my calculations, and today I decided not to give up on it!

Vladislav Artemiev, "Today I aimed to at least put my opponent up against more problems than in my round one game.  I prepared seriously and uncorked an interesting idea that has been gaining popularity as of lately – Magnus Carlsen, for one, had played like this.  To be honest, I was hoping to take Evgeny by a little surprise, but he reacted in the best way and we ended up in a roughly equal and rather uneventful position. On the other hand, Black had a slightly exposed king, which made it somewhat easier to play as White from a practice point of view.  An interesting moment arose after 25.b4, which Evgeny met with 25...d4. Meanwhile 25...c4 seemed to make sense.  Of course, I could have planted my rook on d4, but Black would have enjoyed his own trump in the form of a protected passed pawn.  It's hard to claim anything for sure.  Apart from that, I think I played pretty decently – I'm particularly pleased with having come up with the pawn sacrifice on a3.  I think that 39.f5 lands Black in a very dangerous position, if not a lost one.  I saw some lines for Black in terms of defence, but I'm not sure if they work.  All in all, I'm happy because I always found an opportunity to put my opponent up against certain problems. A decent game!"

Standings after Round 2:

1-2. Vladislav Artemiev, Evgeniy Najer – 1.5 points
3-10. Artyom Timofeev, Klementy Sychev, Pavel Ponkratov, Ivan Rozum, Kateryna Lagno, Andrey Esipenko, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Maxim Matlakov – 1
11-12. Еvgeny Tomashevsky, Volodar Murzin – 0.5.

Round 3 pairings:

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

Women’s section:

Gunina – Kovanova 0:1 
Shuvalova – Yakimova 1/2 
Bivol – Korneva 1:0 
Shukhman – Pogonina 1/2 
Badelka – Matveeva 1:0 
Goltseva – Garifullina 0:1

Olga Badelka: "My opponent has never played the Slav Defense in her life. Therefore, I was out of book on moves 7-8. I didn't know anything about the move 9...a5 – I think that's what you do after White relocates his king to the queenside. I just met it with 10.Rc1, creating the d5-capture threat.  Matveeva might have blundered something in her calculations. And after Black gave up the b7-pawn, White should be doing fine, if not winning already.  After 17.Nd1 Black had the only move 17...Rb6, and was not doomed yet.  Meanwhile, after 17...Rxa2? 18.Rxc6 Qa3 she obviously counted on 19.Rc8+ and missed the intermediate move 19.Rc3!, upon which White wins a piece in a forced way". 

Alina Bivol, "I was seemingly slightly imprecise in the opening. The entire battle shifted to the three files when we closed the position in the center and on the queenside. It seemed to me that I had wasted all my advantage, which is probably the case. If Marina had listened to my yesterday's interview, she could have recalled me saying that you could run your king from flank to another.  If the king had escaped to the queenside via f7, it would have been very difficult to get to him there.  In my opinion, the key moment came with Marina moving her king to h7". After that White brought all the major pieces to the g-file, forcing the pawn exchange on g4 and then organizing a decisive breakthrough with the help of the thematic sacrifice f4-f5. 

Standings after Round 2:

1-3. Baira Kovanova, Leya Garifullina, Alina Bivol – 2 points 
4. Anna Shukhman – 1.5
5-6. Polina Shuvalova, Olga Badelka – 1
7-11. Natalija Pogonina, Marina Korneva, Mariya Yakimova, Valentina Gunina, Ekaterina Goltseva – 0.5 12. Olga Matveeva – 0.  

Round 3 pairings:

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

Games online (Open)

Games online (Women)

Official website

Tournament on Chess-Results

Tournament page

Pictures by Vladimir Barsky