19 October 2021

Nikita Vitiugov and Valentina Gunina Maintain Leadership in Ufa

Decisive games are ahead.

The penultimate 10th round of the Russian Championships Superfinals was played in Ufa on the 19th of October.  

Nikita Vitiugov, the leader of the open tournament, got a promising position as White against Andrey Esipenko, but somewhere he played imprecisely, so his opponent grabbed the initiative and won a pawn. White made use of a pin in a time-trouble struggle and won two pieces for a rook. A complicated calculating play started before the time control, which resulted in the queen exchange and simplifications. A draw was agreed on the 41st move. 

Maxim Matlakov defeated Aleksandra Goryachkina with the white pieces. 

"Initially, I managed to catch my opponent in the opening. A rather strange position appeared: Black had an extra pawn in the endgame, but I had two bishops. There were no direct threats from White, but I could gradually strengthen my position", Maxim said after the game. "Probably, I could have played stronger in the beginning, but there were so many opportunities, so I mixed something up and placed my pieces imprecisely. I think that Aleksandra mistakingly put her knight on d6 because she had to opt for a set-up with the knight on c5 after 31. c4 and I didn't see how to progress". 

Alekandr Predke bested Pavel Ponkratov as Black. According to him, he didn't expect a struggle to appear because quite a simple position arouse from the opening. However, White then seriously complicated the play trying to win. Predke got a good compensation for a pawn in the endgame, and Ponkratov made a mistake on the 54th move and lost.  

In the longest game of the round, Alexander Motylev outplayed Maksim Chigaev with the white pieces in the opening and gained a decisive advantage in the middlegame with an extra exchange. However, Black was defending persistently that's why a converting stage took quite a lot of time. Nevertheless, Motylev won the 71st move. 

Dmitry Andreikin saved one more tough position: this time against Vladimir Fedoseev. The Alekseenko - Rakhmanov game happened to be very puzzling: White (and once Black) had good winning chances, however, the encounter ended in a draw by repetition. 

Standings after Round 10:

1. Nikita Vitiugov - 6.5
2-3. Vladimir Fedoseev, Maxim Matlakov - 6
4. Dmitry Andreikin - 5.5
5-8. Andrey Esipenko, Kirill Alekseenko, Alexander Motylev, Alexandr Predke - 5
9. Pavel Ponkratov - 4.5
10-11. Aleksandra Goryachkina, Aleksandr Rakhmanov - 4
12. Maksim Chigaev - 3.5.

Round 11 pairings:

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

The game between the leaders of the women's tournament Ovod vs Gunina ended in a draw.

Polina Shuvalova defeated Anastasia Bodnaruk with the white pieces and shared her impressions after the game:

- The game was quite a comfortable one for me: I managed to get my play in the opening. At some point, my position seemed very good to me, but then it became not so clear. Somewhere I missed a part of my edge, although Black still was worse. It looks like that Nastja made a mistake in time trouble (36...Rc5), after which I just made it to the endgame with an extra pawn. In general, I'm glad to have won. 

Alina Kashlinskaya methodically outplayed Natalija Pogonina in the Nimzo-Indian Defence with 4.Qc2: White's play centred around the kingside attack. Kashlinskaya constantly raised problems to her rival; however, it seemed that Pogonina was all right by the time control. However, Natalija overestimated the opponent's threats and gave up a piece on the 40th move to force the queen exchange. The compensation wasn't enough. 

Olga Girya, who had White against Alisa Galliamova, lost a pawn in the opening and then decided to sacrifice a knight for the initiative. As a result, Black got two minor pieces for a rook and a pawn with good chances of success. Galliamova convincingly converted her advantage and won.  

The Garifullina vs Bivol was a real roller-coaster of a game in the French Defence with the opposite-side castling. An advantage passed from hand to hand, then one of the players erred and found herself on thin ice. However, the last one to make a mistake in time trouble was Bivol, so Garifullina celebrated victory on the 41st move. 

Marina Guseva organised a crushing attack on Daria Voit's king using sacrifices and various tactical blows. Black resigned on the 39th move. 

Standings after Round 10:

1. Valentina Gunina - 7.5
2-3. Evgenija Ovod, Polina Shuvalova - 7
4. Alina Kashlinskaya - 6
5-6. Natalija Pogonina, Leya Garifullina - 5.5 
7. Alisa Galliamova - 5
8. Olga Girya - 4
9. Marina Guseva - 3.5
10-12. Anastasia Bodnaruk, Daria Voit, Alina Bivol - 3.

Round 11 pairings:

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

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