18 August 2015

It's getting quiet in Chita

Round Eight of the Superfinal in the review of Eteri Kublashvili.

In the eight round of the Superfinal the race dust has settled with the record-breaking number of draws. Is it the calm after the storm or just before it? We will find out in the next three days.

In the men's section Dubov – Lysyj, Khairullin – Jakovenko and Svidler – Vitiugov drew relatively quickly. All games were quiet enough, Black managed to equalize, that's why a draw was the most appropriate result. Ivan Bukavshin made Sergey Karjakin's fans a bit nervous, but still did not gain any meaningful progress, and Black managed to equalize and draw. Evgeny Tomashevsky drew against Vladislav Artemiev, maintaining his sole lead. 

There was only one decisive game. 

Motylev – Khismatullin

Denis chose an interesting hybrid of the Najdorf and Dragon, that had been played for the first time, as he admitted at the press conference. Alexander met the innovation well, but, as the game showed, the plan with h5, Rh4 and Rxg4 does not work. Khismatullin suggested White to play in the center.

20. Rxg4?!

After 20. Bxf6 follows 20…Bxf6 21. Rxg4 Rad8, and it is not clear what should White do. Khismatullin was very surprised by the text move.

20…Nxg4 21. Bxg7 Kxg7

Maybe it was more accurate to start with 21…Nxb3+ with the approximate line 22. Nxb3 Qe3+, and White suffers material losses. On 22. axb3 Denis suggested 22…Rg8.

22. Qxg4+ Kh8 23. Qe2 Nxb3+ 24. Nxb3 Qf6, and Black gradually has rolled out his material advantage.

Believe it or not, girls also had only one decisive game with much more scoring opportunities than men.

Alexandra Goriachkina scored the only victory defeating Marina Guseva and becoming the sole leader in the women's section. 

Goriachkina – Guseva

Sasha has a strong sense of position, that's why converting the bishop pair advantage was only a matter of time for her.

Following Black's rook retreat on e8, White immediately pins the opponent's knights. 

29. Rd1 Kc6 30. Bc3! Rd8 31. g4! Ne8 32. Be5 (with the unpleasant threat of Bd6) 32...Kxc5


33. Bd4+ Kb4 34. Bxa7 Rd7 35. Bd4 Kb3 36. a6 f6 37. a7 Nec7 38. Bc5 Kc4 39. Rc1+ Kb3 40. Bd4 Rd8 41. Rc5 Black resigns.

Valentina Gunina sacrificed two pawns for an attack against Anastasia Bodnaruk, but Black repelled the attack, keeping extra material.  However, after that Anastasia played inaccurately, allowing Valentina develop a dangerous initiative and even obtain a winning position.

Gunina – Bodnaruk

Taking on d7 with a knight gives a lot of extra material: 33. Nxd7 Nxb6 34. Nxf8+ Kf5 35. Rc5+ and Rb5, holding up a passed pawn. White opts for a more complicated way.

33. Rxb3 Rf7 34. Rg3+

The computer suggests 34.Ba6! Na5 35. Rd3! gaining extra material, which is much stronger.

34…Kxh6 35. Nxd7?

Now the position becomes simpler and almost drawn. Perhaps White should keep utilizing the pin by, for example, 35. Rh3+ Kg7 36. Bc8 Nb6 37. Bxd7, and Black is obliged to lose an exchange, because after 37…Nxd7 there is 38. Nxe6+ Kg6 39. e4 f5 40. e5 with a decisive advantage. 

35…Rfxd7 36. Rxc4 Rxb7, and the rook endgame was drawn.

Alina Kashlinskaya and Ekaterina Kovalevskaya had a hard game abounding with mistakes. They played one of those lines of the QGD that requires a ton of calculating, and the game was fairly balanced up to a certain point. In a complex endgame Black sacrificed a pawn for the initiative. Kovalevskaya regained the material, but lost coordination of her pieces, and Kashlinskaya won a pawn again. After that Alina was not accurate enough, and the game once again became balanced.

Kashlinskaya – Kovalevskaya

After the time control Alina decided to create a passed pawn or several pawns, even at a cost of the a1-knight.

48. g4! Rc1

The challenge is accepted.

49. g5 Rxc1 50. Rxf6+ Re7 51. h4 Ra3+ 52. Kd4 Rh3 53. Rxb6 Rxh4 54. Ke5 Rh2 55. f4 Rc2


It is not easy to fight against three passed pawns – Black faces many tough choices. However, White's next move is a mistake that probably cost her half a point.

56. g6?

Stronger is 56. f5, and Black's plan employed in the game does not work.

56…Rc5+ 57. Kd4 Rb5 58. Rc6 Rb4+ 59. Ke3 Rxe4+ 60. Kxe4 Draw.

In Pogonina – Ovod White managed to gain advantage in the end, but Black has escaped with the perpetual check. Alexandra Kosteniuk, playing Black against Olga Girya, sacrificed a pawn for the activity, equalizing the position. Anastasia Savina and Kateryna Lagno drew quicker than everyone else, having a quite peaceful game.

After 8 rounds Evgeny Tomashevsky leads at the Men's Superfinal with 5.5 points. Dmitry Jakovenko and Sergey Karjakin are half a point behind.

Alexandra Goriachkina is the sole leader in the women's tournament with 6.5 points. Alexandra Kosteniuk is half a point behind.

The key duel of the 9th round at the women's event will be Kosteniuk – Goriachkina. The favorites battle Karjakin – Svidler and Evgeny Tomashensky's duel with Ivan Bukavshin, a newcomer of the Superfinal, are of a big interest in the men's tournament.