11 October 2021

Kirill Alekseenko Leads Race at Russian Championship Superfinal

Valentina Gunina pulls ahead in the women's tournament.

The third round of the Russian Championships Superfinals was played in Ufa on the 11th of October. There were two decisive games in the open tournament. 

Kirill Alekseenko and Aleksandra Goryachkina played the Carlsbad variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. Black organised a pawn advance on the queenside; however, it created weaknesses in her position, which were hard to defend. Goryachkina lost a central pawn on d5, and after the queens were traded, Black's position in the endgame was quite joyless. Alekseenko convincingly converted his advantage. 

Vladimir Fedoseev opted for the King's Indian Defence as Black against Nikita Vitiugov and implemented a fresh idea with 7...b6. In a double-edged struggle, White sacrificed a pawn for the initiative. However, according to Vitiugov, he had to actively fight for a draw at some point. A one-move blunder decided the game: Fedoseev made a rude mistake on the 41st move in a relatively equal position and resigned after White's precise reply. 

The games Ponkratov - Matlakov, Motylev - Andreikin, Esipenko - Predke, and Rakhmanov - Chigaev were drawn.

Standings after Round 3:

1. Kirill Alekseenko - 2.5
2. Nikita Vitiugov - 2
3-10. Maksim Chigaev, Maxim Matlakov, Aleksandr Rakhmanov, Vladimir Fedoseev, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Pavel Ponkratov,  Andrey Esipenko, Dmitry Andreikin - 1.5
11. Alexandr Predke - 1
12. Alexander Motylev - 0.5.

Round 4 pairings:

Matlakov - Chigaev
Predke - Rakhmanov
Fedoseev - Esipenko
Goryachkina - Vitiugov
Andreikin - Alekseenko
Ponkratov - Motylev.

In the women's tournament, Valentina Gunina won the second game in a row, having defeated Alina Kashlinskaya with the black pieces. White achieved a considerable advantage in the Dutch variation of the Slav Defence, having created an assault on the kingside. Trying to get to the rival's king, Kashlinskaya sacrificed an exchange, but this decision happened to be premature. Soon Black grabbed the initiative and trapped the white king in a mating net. 

Marina Guseva and Polina Shuvalova were waging a double-edged fight in the Queen's Gambit Accepted, where White excelled in the kingside attack. However, later Guseva started to play imprecisely, which allowed Black to counter direct threats. Being short of time, White made a mistake in a complex position and found herself under attack. Guseva resigned after Black's 38th move. 

Alisa Galliamova seemed to surprise Alina Bivol with her opening choice: she opted for the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Her opponent played not the most principled line, after which Black not only solved her opening problems but also got a solid positional edge thanks to the two-bishops advantage. Gradually, Galliamova won two pawns and converted them.  

Leya Garifullina and Anastasia Bodnaruk discussed the Rossolimo Variation in the Sicilian Defence. White grabbed the initiative in the middlegame: her knights were stronger than her opponent's bishops in a position with opposite castling. Garifullina's edge became decisive after the time control, and she eventually won.  

The games Pogonina - Voit and Girya - Ovod were drawn. 

Standings after Round 3:

1. Valentina Gunina - 2.5
2-4. Evgenija Ovod, Polina Shuvalova, Leya Garifullina - 2
5-8. Alisa Galliamova, Daria Voit, Olga Girya, Alina Kashlinskaya - 1.5
9-11. Marina Guseva, Alina Bivol, Natalija Pogonina - 1
12. Anastasia Bodnaruk - 0.5.

Round 4 pairings:

Ovod - Voit
Galliamova - Pogonina
Bodnaruk - Bivol
Gunina - Garifullina
Shuvalova - Kashlinskaya
Girya - Guseva.

The tournament is a part of the Chess in Museums international programme realised by the Chess Federation of Russia and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation. 

An exhibition featuring the chess sets from the Chess Museum is organised at the venue. The Museum's curator, Cand. Sc. History Dmitry Oleinikov conducts tours around the exposition for everyone.

The spectators are not allowed in the playing hall due to the anti-Covid measures. However, the chess fans are welcome in the commentating area where they can listen to GM Sergey Shipov in Russian. 

GMs Evgenij Miroshnichenko and Alexandr Shimanov are commentating on the tournament in English. 

Tournament on Chess-Results

Tournament page

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili