23 April 2016

When Infantry is Superior to Artillery Corps

Round one of the Russian Junior Classical Championship in the review of Eteri Kublashvili.

The main Russian junior tournament of the year - the national classical chess championship - has has been finally set in motion in Loo, which the young folks have arrived at accompanied by their coaches, parents and grandparents from almost every corner of our vast country. 

Even though there is undoubtedly going to be a lot of joy, tears, brilliant victories and humiliating defeats, somebody is likely to drop the flag, the most important thing is that the all-Russian championship will for long remain in the memories of the young players, and perhaps in a few years from now some of them will bring their own young students to a similar tournament. 

As tradition has it, preteenager and teenager girls and boys are split into two shifts and are assigned to play in two different halls - "Megahall" and "Looshka". The play is scheduled to start at 10 am for U11 boys and girls (the Higher and the First Leagues), U13 boys and girls (the Higher and the First Leagues) and U15 girls (the Higher League). After lunch, at 15:00 p.m., there start to compete U15 boys (the Higher and the First Leagues), U15 girls (the First League), U17 boys and girls (the Higher and the First Leagues), U19 boys and girls (there is no First League in this age group), as well as U21 boys and girls. Let me remind you that the Russian U21 champions are qualified into the Higher League of the Russian men's and women's championships. 

Prior to the start of round one the arbiters allowed the parents see their children as far as their game tables, and then, not without a lot of persuasion, talked the adults into withdrawing from the premises of the playhall, having managed to convince them that their children would stay under reliable care and that no harm would befall them. However, buck fever is always very hard to cope with, especially for those who are first comers to tournaments. It explains why there were quite a few out of the accompanying crowd who remained glued to the windows of the playhall for the first few minutes following the start of the round. 

The children and youth competitions have already come about with a few unexpected results: Volodar Murzin - the rating favorite of the U11 boys tournament - failed to win, Maxim Litvinov lost and Semen Khanin drew his game in the U19 group, while Daria Filippova, number three in the U15 girls section, went down. 

The tournament of junior boys and girls, which is broadcasted at our website, does not brim with win/loss results: two victories were scored in the boys tournament and three in the girls'. With this said, all the games were won by first players. 

The "victims" of round one among juniors were the youngest participant of the marathon Andrey Esipenko, who went down to Maxim Chigaev, and the only female in the boys tournament Aleksandra Goryachkina, who lost her game to Kirill Alekseenko. 

Chigaev – Esipenko 

 Black has just played 24…Re8?


Black opted for a sharp line of the English Opening and got quite a playable position, but in the middlegame Andrey "pulled forward" somewhat prematurely and lost a pawn. Now, being in the position of a defender, Esipenko missed a tricky blow of his opponent: 

25. Ne4! Qxe4 26. Rxd8 h6 27. Qg3 Kf8 28. Bxf6 gxf6 29. Bd3 

The amount of White's initiative became no laughing matter at all and he went on to win in about 10 moves. 

Aleksandra Goryachkina put up a decent defense as Black in the Chelyabinsk variation and sacrificed a pawn in order to maintain the dynamic equilibrium, but her opponent Kirill Alekseenko went for broke, sacrificing a bishop in a many-piece endgame. Our national team member failed to hold together the position with a non-standard material balance.  

Alekseenko – Goryachkina 

The balance would have been maintained by 55…h3. E.g.: 56. c5 h2 57. Ke6 Re4+ 58. Kd7 Rd4+ 59. Kc6 Rf4 or 56. Rxh3 Rxf5+ 57. Ke6 Rf8, and the white pawns are unlikely to be able to make any further progress. 

However, there followed 55…Be7? 56. c5 Rf1 57. c6 Rc1 58. Rh7, and Black acknowledged defeat several moves later. 

The games Paravyan - Gordievsky, Eliseev - Golubov and Lugovskoy - Yuffa ended in draws. 

The girls were not able to dispense with the "swing" of varying degrees of amplitude. Aleksandra Dimitrova, facing the rating favorite Alina Bivol, opted for 2...b5 already as soon as move two, and there followed an interesting fight with slightly better chances for Black. Nevertheless, the active nature of White's counterplay has yielded its fruits.  

Bivol – Dimitrova 

The time-trouble pawn break 30…d4?! allowed White creating a dangerous passed pawn: 31. c6 Qc8 32. Rc1 Ba6 33. Qxh5 Ne3? 34. Bxe3 Rxe3 35. Ng6! fxg6 36. Rd5+ Re6 37. Qxg6, Black resigns. 

Dinara Dordzhieva methodically outplayed Ekaterina Smirnova, while the game between Viktoria Chernyak and Anna Kochukova subjected their fans to quite a worry. The edge, especially in time trouble, was literally changing hands at each move, but the last to commit her error already deep in the rook ending was Kochukova, the ending which she failed to bail out of in the final run. 

Other than peaceful draws were fixed in the games Utiatskaja - Makarenko and Styazhkina - Khokhlova. 

The pairings of round two for the junior boys group are as follows: 

Gordievsky - Esipenko, Golubov - Chigaev, Goryachkina - Eliseev, Yuffa - Alekseenko, and Paravyan - Lugovskoy. 

The pairings for the junior girls group are as follows: 

Makarenko - Smirnova, Kochukova - Dordzhieva, Dimitrova - Chernyak, Khokhlova - Bivol, and Utiatskaja - Styazhkina. 

While watching the Stavanger and the FIDE Grand Prix stage in Batumi, please do not forget about the battles of the future Russian chess stars as well!