21 August 2015

From Siberia with Gold

Eteri Kublashvili reports on the Round Eleven and closing ceremony of the Superfinal.

The Russian Superfinal in Chita is over. The results are actively discussed on many forums and sites, but everybody comes to the conclusion that Evgeny Tomashevsky and Aleksandra Goryachkina become well-deserved champions, because they passed the difficult distance the most consistently of all, keeping the closest rivals at bay.

On his way to the champion's title, Evgeny had four wins and sustained no defeats. Sasha won as many as six games, being beat only by Anastasia Savina; except this defeat, she played all other games at a very high level. Take, for example, her tough win over Olga Girya and a hard draw with Kateryna Lagno in the last round!

Sergey Karjakin, the second placed finisher of the Superfinal, also did not lose any games, but after the starting win he could not build on this success for a very long time and, consequently, was unable to catch up with the leader. Sergey wrote on his Twitter: “I always want more, but scoring +3 without defeats is a great result! I congratulate Evgeny Tomashevsky on the well-deserved win!”

Anastasia Bodnaruk played perfectly at the final part of the event, demonstrating courage and resourcefulness in every game. Alexandra Kosteniuk showed very powerful play during the whole tournament, and finished third only because Nastya played more games as Black. Alexandra lost only a single game against Ekaterina Kovalevskaya in the nervous last round.

The bronze winner of men's event, Nikita Vitiugov from St. Petersburg, is also undefeated, and won two games – against Denis Khismatullin and Ivan Bukavshin.

In the round 11 of men's section Igor Lysyj defeated Vladislav Artemiev. Other games, Tomashevsky-Svidler, Jakovenko-Karjakin, Vitiugov-Khairullin, Dubov-Motylev and Khismatullin-Bukavshin ended in a draw.

Lysyj – Artemiev 

After 19…Rfe8 Black lost a pawn almost by force.

20. a3 Bf8 21. Rd2 Nd3 22. Nxd3 c4 23. Qd1, and White gradually has rolled out his material advantage.

The women's section saw many decisive games in the final round. Valentina Gunina defeated Natalia Pogonina, Anastasia Savina got the upper hand over Evgenija Ovod, Marina Guseva outplayed Alina Kashlinskaya, and Ekaterina Kovalevskaya beat Alexandra Kosteniuk, as it was mentioned above.

Kovalevskaya – Kosteniuk


Wrong rook! Stronger is 25…Rd6, inevitably winning the pawn on f6.

Now after 26. Rxe6 fxe6 27.Bxg6 hxg6 28. g4 Rd2 29. g5 White gained a big advantage thanks to her passed pawns.

Aleksandra Goryachkina showed her persistence defending a difficult position against Kateryna Lagno. This game finished later than all others, and Sasha knew that she becomes a champion with any result. Yet that didn't prevent her from fighting hard, and the game ended in a draw. Anastasia Bodnaruk and Olga Girya also ended their game in a draw.

In the same evening Konstantin Ilkovsky, Governor of Zabaykalsky Krai, and Anatoly Karpov, the 12th World Champion and Vice-President of the Russian Chess Federation, welcomed all participants and guests at the closing ceremony.

Konstantin Ilkovsky noted that hundreds of chess fans had taken autographs from the famous players during the Superfinal:

“I hope that these fourteen days of the Superfinal will stay in the memory of Zabaykalsky Krai people. One of the main goals that we set for ourselves was to bring chess in the regions to a new level, so that parents want their children to play chess and be successful people. I think we have achieved this.”

The Governor also expressed gratitude to the Russian Chess Federation for the opportunity to hold the Superfinal in Chita and wished the participants further victories.

Anatoly Karpov: “The Superfinal is a competition of the highest level. I congratulate the champions on the well-deserved victory. It is nice that the tournament was held in the Zabaykalsky Krai for the first time, and it is also good that other competitions were held during the Superfinal. It is important to point out the initiative and perseverance of the Zabaykalsky Krai leadership in their aspiration to have the Russian Championship in Chita. The Superfinal has never been held so far to the east yet, and I think that the Russian Chess Federation made the right choice. And, of course, holding the Superfinal in Chita will contribute to chess development in the regions. I hope that Zabaykalsky Krai will have its own champions.”

Alexander Tkachev, deputy executive director of the Russian Chess Federation, thanked hospitable organizers: “I want to share a small secret: after we received the invitation to hold the Superfinal in Chita, we didn't doubt for a minute that everything would be organized in the Zabaykalsky Krai at the highest level. A great thanks goes to Governor of the Zabaykalsky Krai Konstantin Ilkovsky and the entire organizing committee for your love of chess! I congratulate everyone on this chess feast, which is unfortunately nearing its end ...”

The tournament results were summed up by its chief arbiter, International Arbiter Anatoly Bykhovsky. The medal winners and champions were awarded by Konstantin Ilkovsky, Anatoly Karpov and Alexander Tkachev. All tournament participants received presents from the organizers.

After the medal ceremony, the champions were answering the numerous questions of Chita mass media reporters.

Just in a few hours after the closing a large group of participants went to the railway station and caught a train to Irkutsk, where in a couple of days the Stage of Russian Grand Prix starts. Other grandmasters will go there by plane.

At conclusion I would like to congratulate the medalists and winners of the Superfinal once again and thank all organizers of this chess feast.