Valentina Gunina Wins Women's Russian Championship Higher League with One Round to Spare
Maksim Chigaev is leading the open section.
The penultimate eighth round of the Russian Championships Higher League was played in Sochi on October 16.
Valentina Gunina celebrated yet another victory in the women's event by defeating Margarita Schepetkova with the black pieces to become inaccessible for other players. The games Getman - Goltseva and Garifullina - Kovanova were drawn. Before the last round, Valentina Gunina has got 7 points, while Leya Garifullina, Marina Guseva (won against Anastasia Paramzina), Tatyana Getman, and Ekaterina Goltseva are 1.5 points behind.
Our congratulations to Valentina Gunina on this convincing victory!
Schepetkova - Gunina
Schepetkova was the leading the first half of the game very strongly and got an edge. However, then she didn't find the right plan, her initiative vanished, and the roles changed. In the position above, White should have acted carefully: 34. Be4! Na6 35. b4!? Nxb4 36. Nc3 with chances for a draw. But she hurried to take back the pawn.
34. Rxh5? Nd3!
Whatever happens, but Valentina always keeps an eye on the enemy king!
35. h4 Nxf2+ 36. Kh2 e4 37. Bxe4
White has to give up a piece, but still she cannot offer due resistance.
37...Nxe4 38. Nxf4
The most precise way: the Arabian mate Nf3+ and Rg1# is a threat, and White cannot bridge the g-file with a rook.
39. Kh1 Nf3 40. Ne2 Bh3 0-1.
Maksim Chigaev, who made a draw with Vladislav Artemiev, maintains leadership in the open event with 6 points. Mikhail Antipov, Vladimir Fedoseev, Aleksey Goganov, Andrey Esipenko, and Konstantin Sakaev are trailing by half a point.
Esipenko - Pridorozhni
A fine regrouping of pieces: the knight will protect the f4-pawn from this square, while the rook will start an assault.
23...Bxg1 24. Rhxg1 Rxg1 25. Rxg1 Qf6 26. Rg5 h4 27. e5!
Both black flanks are weakened, and his king is going to perish in the centre.
27...Qe6 28. Rh5! Ng8
29. Nd4 was a threat, that's why Black has to step back.
29. Rxh4 dxe5 30. fxe5 Qe7 31. Rh5 Be6 32. Nf4 Qc5 33. Rg5 Ke7 34. Nxe6 Kxe6 35. Qf3 Rd8
36. Qf5+ Ke7 37. Qf6+!
Black resigned in view of 37...Nxf6 38. exf6+ Kd6 39. Ne4+ or 37...Kd7 38.e6+ fxe6 39.Qxd8+ Kxd8 40.Rxc5.
Sjugirov - Paravyan
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. Bd3 d5 5. Nxe5 Bd6 6. 0-0 0-0 7. c4 Bxe5 8. dxe5 Nc6 9. Bf4 Be6 10. Re1?
White got into a trap in the almost forgotten opening line.
10...Nxf2! 11. Kxf2 Qh4+ 12. Bg3 Qd4+ 13. Re3?
The final mistake. Sjugirov could have resisted by 13. Kf1 f6 14. Bxh7+ Kxh7 15. Qxd4 Nxd4 16. cxd5 Bxd5 17. Nc3 Bc4+ 18. Kg1 Nc2 19. Re4 Nxa1 20. Rxc4.
13... f5! 14. cxd5 f4
Everything is on the board - both the fork and the pin.
15. Bxh7+ Kxh7 16. Qxd4 Nxd4
Information and photos by Vladimir Barsky