21 September 2022

Round 9 of Superfinals Finishes in Cheboksary

Decisive games are in store for us.

Round nine of the Russian Championships Superfinals among men and women is over in the city of Cheboksary. 
Scoring his second win in a row in the open section was Sanan Sjugirov, who was Black against Arseniy Nesterov. The tournament leader comments his victory as follows:
- Same as yesterday, today's game happened to be an interesting one. Arseniy's opening choice has surprised me somewhat. I have barely devoted time preparing for the Meran variation, but still managed to outfox him via the tricky order of moves. I think Arseniy was unaware of 12...0-0-0 because this continuation had been popular when he'd been 5-6 years old. I remember those times and today I recalled the lines analysed about 15 years ago, which I haven’t looked into much since. I am not aware of modern engines' evaluation, but I decided that it was worth trying. Arseniy's further performance was not to the point. I was seemingly better out of the opening and pressed this advantage home quite confidently.
Daniil Dubov outplayed Volodar Murzin in the Caro-Kann Defence. 
"This game has got off to a bad start for Volodar. I felt like Caro-Kann was not to be ruled out for the upcoming today's game because my opponent's Najdorf did not go well against Esipenko, and that he would tread in the footsteps of his coach Mikhail Kobalia, – said Dubov after the game. – I came up with a rather tricky plan 8. Ne2, because everyone usually opts for 8. Ngf3 in this position. And the main idea of this line is that if Black does not deviate from the setup arising after Ngf3, then his position becomes rather dangerous. Following 11.Rb1 Black is really in danger and with no more half-measures available to him: in some variations he has to take on a2, on h4, accept all sacrifices and produce many only moves in a row. I knew that I was much better after 12.b4 and seemingly winning by force after 17.Rb7, but then I started seeing ghosts and took much time over 18.Nf4. Volodar must have reacted correctly. Had he played 21...Nxf8, to evaluate the resulting position would have been far from clear. However, he had three minutes on his clock and opted for the 21...Bxf8 capture, in all likelihood missing 22. Bf4. I then launched a series of rather tough moves, but White was seemingly winning anyway. It is nice to win a game, which feels very unusual after all the preceding draws. In general, I feel more like an engineer than a chess player at this tournament because I cannot recall this extent of preparation for the upcoming games.” 
The Superfinal newcomer Ilia Iljiushenok has scored his first victory as Black over Aleksandr Rakhmanov. White made a mistake and missed a simple tactical blow in a position of dynamic balance, following which he had to give up his queen for two pieces. Iljiushenok gradually converted his edge despite his opponent's efforts to build up a fortress. 
Matlakov – Esipenko, Chigaev – Artemiev, and Najer – Tomashevsky have drawn their games.
Standings after Round 9:
1. Sanan Sjugirov – 6 points
2. Daniil Dubov – 5.5
3-5. Ilia Iljiushenok, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Vladislav Artemiev – 5
6-7. Evgeniy Najer, Maksim Chigaev – 4.5
8-11. Maxim Matlakov, Andrey Esipenko, Volodar Murzin, Aleksandr Rakhmanov – 4
12. Arseniy Nesterov – 2.5.
Round 10 pairings:
Iljiushenok – Sjugirov, Esipenko – Nesterov, Tomashevsky – Matlakov, Artemiev – Najer, Murzin – Chigaev, Rakhmanov – Dubov.
Alina Bivol and Valentina Gunina have delivered a very dynamic game in the women's section. The four-time Russian champion grabbed a pawn in what was a double-edged manoeuvering struggle. The stage of its conversion dragged well into the queens and opposite-coloured bishops ending. White's defence was not to the point and allowed Black to create a passed pawn. Combining threats to opponent's king and the pawn promotion, Gunina achieved success on move 63.
Marina Guseva would not let Valentina to break away from her pursuers by defeating Mariya Yakimova as Black. 
“Given that the struggle for first place is in its highest now, everything was far from easy. The game followed my preparation and everything was fine out of the opening, but then I traded queens and other pieces, which gave rise to an equal endgame with rooks and knights, – said Guseva. – Then we started to muddy the waters and ended up in a very unorthodox position: she sacrificed an exchange and started pushing pawns in the center. Fortunately, I figured out that rooks needed to join the fray and mount threats against her king while simultaneously promoting the passed pawn. Mariya would somehow miss all these ideas despite having some interesting resources at her disposal. Overall, the situation is challenging and the main bulk of struggle is yet in store for us.”
Olga Girya demonstrated the power of two bishops, methodically outplaying Leya Garifullina in the endgame with rooks and minor pieces. 
In the longest game of the round, Ovod – Pogonina, White made a mistake in an equal endgame with queens and knights and overstepped the time limit in a hopeless position literally two moves later. 
Galliamova – Goltseva and Charochkina – Zhapova ended in a draw.
Standings after Round 9:
1-2. Marina Guseva, Valentina Gunina – 6 points;
3. Olga Girya – 5.5
4. Alisa Galliamova – 5
5-7. Alina Bivol, Ekaterina Goltseva, Daria Charochkina – 4.5
8-10. Evgenija Ovod, Leya Garifullina, Natalija Pogonina – 4
11. Yana Zhapova – 3.5
12. Mariya Yakimova – 2.5. 
Round 10 pairings:
Garifullina – Guseva, Pogonina – Yakimova, Goltseva – Ovod, Gunina – Galliamova, Zhapova – Bivol, Girya – Charochkina.


The Russian Championship Superfinals among men and women take place in Cheboksary as part of the Chess in Museums project, jointly organised by the Chess Federation of Russia and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation. The tournament venue is the Chuvash State Art Museum. 
Tournaments are held to a round-robin system in 11 rounds. Game days: September 11-16 and 18-22. Rest day – September 17. Each round begins at 15:00. 
The total guaranteed prize fund makes 11 million rubles: 7 million rubles in the open and 4 million in the women's section.
The Superfinals are organised by the Chess Federation of Russia with support of the Russian Ministry of Sport, the Government of the Chuvash Republic, and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation. 

The CFR general partner is PhosAgro. The tournament partners are Aeroflot, Akkond, Gazprombank, and Locko-Bank. 

Tournament on Chess-Results (Open)

Tournament on Chess-Results (Women)

Tournament page

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili