15 October 2020

Valentina Gunina and Maksim Chigaev Lead Russian Championships Higher League

Six rounds are played in Sochi.

Photo by Eteri Kublashvili
Photo by Eteri Kublashvili

The sixth round of the Russian Championships Higher League was played in Sochi on October 14. Before the games started, the tournament director Alexander Tkachev and chief arbiter Artem Akhmetov had presented FIDE diplomas to Dinara Dordzhieva (WGM) and Polina Shuvalova (IM).  

In the open tournament, Maksim Chigaev defeated Mikhail Antipov on the first board with the black pieces to take the sole lead with 5 points. Aleksey Goganov and Vladimir Fedoseev, who won against Sanan Sjugirov and Valery Sviridov respectively, are half a point behind. Nine players have got 4 points each.

Antipov - Chigaev

White to move

As usually, Mikhail was acting quite creatively in the middlegame and pushed his queen to the back areas of the opponent's position. According to the classics, Maksim prepared a counterattack in the centre and opened up the e-file. White should have switched to defence by 31. g4, although his position would have been rather unpleasant after  31...a3! 32. bxa3 Nxc3. But Antipov continued to play optimistically.  

31. Nd6? Qe6 32. Nxb5 Re1 33. Nc7
33. Rd2 was more tough, and the strongest reply is 33...Kh7! taking away the king from checks in the future. The main line is beautiful: 34. Nd4 (34. Nc7 Qe7, and White cannot untie himself with a help of a check from the 8th rank) 34...Qe4! (threatening to move the queen to b1) 35. Nc2 

35...Rxf1+! 36. Kxf1 Ne3+ 37. Nxe3 Qxb7.

The game ended in a more prosaic way.
33...Nxc7 34. Qxc7 Qe2! 35. Qc8+ Ne8 36. Qxc4 Rxf1+ 37. Kh2 Qxf2 38. Qxa4 Qg1+ 39. Kg3 Qe3+, and White resigned.

Sviridov - Fedoseev

Black to move

A beautiful and mathematically precise way to win was 33...Qd3!! 34. Qb1 (34. Rxd3 Rc1+; 34. Rf1 Rc2 35. Qb1 Bd6!, and the bishop delivers the fatal blow from с5) 34...Qe2 35. Rf1 Rxf2! 36. Rxf2 Qe3, and there is no defence from 37...Rc1+. But Vladimir arrived at this idea one more later. 
33...Rc3 34. b4 Qd3 

White had 34 seconds here. Having spent almost all his time, Sviridov resigned. However, there was a miraculous save in this position: 35.Rd4!! Bxd4 36. Qxd5+, and here Black cannot avoid a perpetual check - 36...Rf7 37. Qd8+ Rf8 38. Qd5+, as he even loses in case of 36...Kg7?? 37. Bxd4+.  

From a practical point of view, 35...Bxd4 is much stronger than 35...Qf5!, and White should have found several precise moves (36. Qxd5+ Rf7 37. R4d2 axb4 38. Re1...). Was it possible in such a severe time trouble? The question remained undetermined.

In the women's event, Leya Garifullina made a draw with Marina Guseva, while Valentina Gunina beat Ekaterina Kovalevskaya as Black to become the sole leader with 5 points. Garifullina, Guseva, and Ekaterina Goltseva are trailing by half a point. 

Kovalevskaya - Gunina

White to move

Black bishops are feeling great in the enemy camp, while Gunina's queen and rook are taking aim at f2. White's position looks desperate, however, it is still quite defendable. White could have saved herself by 28. Ng4!! h5 (28... Qxg4 29. Qf6+) 29. Qc7 hxg4 30. Qxd8+ Kg7 31. Qe8! Bg5 32. Rf1. But Ekaterina moved her knight in another direction. 

28. Ne8 Bc3 

28... Be1! is good as well: 29. Qf6+ Qxf6 30. Nxf6 Bxf2+ 31. Kh1 (31. Kg2 Bd4+) 31... Be2.

29. Rf1 Bb5 30. Qc7 Rxe8 31. Qxf7 Qg7 32. Qxg7+ Kxg7 33. Rfd1 Ree2 34. d6 Rxf2 35. Bd5 Bb4 36. a4 Bc5 37. Rac1


The seventh round will be played on October 15.

Tournament on Chess-Results
Tournament page

Comments by Vladimir Barsky