13 October 2021

Nikita Vitiugov Pulls Ahead at Russian Championship Superfinal

Valentina Gunina and Evgenija Ovod share lead at the women's tournament.

The fifth round of the Russian Championships Superfinals was played in Ufa on the 13th of October.  

In the open tournament, Nikita Vitiugov defeated Dmitry Andreikin to become the sole leader of the tournament. The grandmaster from Saint Petersburg scored another confident victory in the Catalan by catching his opponent in the opening preparation. White sacrificed an exchange to get a dangerous initiative in the centre and on the kingside. Andreikin spent a lot of time but wouldn't solve all his problems. The black pieces turned out to be almost paralyzed. Dmitry returned the material, but still, his position was too hard. White's advantage became too big, and Andreikin resigned after his 38th move. 

Vladimir Fedoseev won against Aleksandr Rakhmanov with the black pieces. The grandmaster from Saint Petersburg shared his thoughts after the game:

- Aleksandr is a very solid player. It is pretty difficult to guess what he would choose as White, but for some reason, he prefers to play 1.Nf3 against me. I can't say that I had any miracles of home preparation today. My aim was to create a long fight, and I got lucky that Aleksandr also wanted to struggle. A complicated play arose: I had an advantage both in time and on the board. Today I calculated a lot of tactics, and it seems that I did it precisely. In general, I'm satisfied with my play. 

The games Chigaev - Predke, Esipenko - Goryachkina, Motylev - Matlakov, and Alekseenko - Ponkratov were drawn. 

Standings after Round 5:

1. Nikita Vitiugov - 3.5
2-4. Vladimir Fedoseev, Maxim Matlakov, Kirill Alekseenko - 3
5-7. Aleksandra Goryachkina, Dmitry Andreikin, Andrey Esipenko - 2.5
8-12. Aleksandr Rakhmanov, Maksim Chigaev, Alexandr Predke, Alexander Motylev, Pavel Ponkratov - 2.

Round 6 pairings:

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

In the women's event, Valentina Gunina beat Alina Bivol as Black. The three-time Russian women's champion opted with a relatively rare and sharp line of the Caro-Kann Defence and seemingly took her opponent by surprise. Black grabbed the initiative quite quickly. A puzzling position with both kings in the centre appeared. As it is known, Gunina feels fine in such type of play, so she got a crushing edge closer to the time control. She posted a win after her 43rd move. 

Leya Garifullina sacrificed an exchange to Polina Shuvalova in a complex Ruy Lopez middlegame; however, the compensation wasn't sufficient. The Moscow chess player stroke a tactical blow after which the position simplified. In a further manoeuvering play, Shuvalova won another pawn and gradually won the game. 

The two-time Russian women's champion Natalija Pogonina scored the first victory in the event by beating Anastasia Bodnaruk with the white pieces. Black pressed her opponent on the kingside in a closed position but erroneously opened up the centre in the middlegame. It allowed Pogonina to set her pieces free and start a counter-offensive. White tactically got an advantage and soon achieved a decisive edge. 

Alisa Galliamova outplayed Daria Voit in a long fight as Black. White sacrificed a pawn in the opening for the initiative but then started to play inaccurately, so Black managed to maintain a dynamic balance by playing actively. Voit made a mistake after the time control and lost the second pawn. Galliamova was precise in a converting phase.  

The outcome of the longest game of the round between Marina Guseva and Evgenija Ovod was decided in the queen endgame. The Leningrad chess player converted an extra pawn and maintained leadership in the event together with Valentina Gunina.

The game Kashlinskaya - Girya ended in a draw. 

Standings after Round 5:

1-2. Valentina Gunina, Evgenija Ovod - 4
3. Polina Shuvalova - 3.5
4. Alisa Galliamova - 3
5-7. Natalija Pogonina, Alina Kashlinskaya, Leya Garifullina - 2.5
8-9. Olga Girya, Marina Guseva - 2
10-11. Daria Voit, Alina Bivol,  - 1.5
12. Anastasia Bodnaruk - 1.

Round 6 pairings:

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

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