5 May 2019

Leningrad Chess on the March

Dmitry Kryakvin shares about initial rounds of the Russian Team Championships

The national team championships are witnessing a real march of the Northern capital city’s representatives. Thus, the Premier League is sporting as many as four. Besides Bronze Horseman, the qualification tickets (which are as many as six!) into the European Cup are being contested by SShOR, Muzhskoe Dvizhenie (Men's Movement), as well as by Strazhi Pravoporyadka (Guards of Law and Order) with its no less impressive lineupIt is true, however, that the city on the Neva River's team has arrived short of its leaders Peter Svidler and Vladimir Fedoseev (the latter taking part in Mind Games being held in China), but standing in line yet again is Leinier Dominguez, not to mention Vladimir Bykov’s reinforcing the team with Evgeniy Najer and Pavel Ponkratov.

Beefed up by the hired forces, Bronze Horseman dispensed with procrastination and whitewashed team Moscow 5.5:0.5.

Vitiugov – Inarkiev

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6

This line, championed by Nakamura, has become very trendy; this said, Black successfully meets 4.d4 by either taking the pawn or moving 4…е4.

4.e4!? d5

A few games available have seen 4...Bc5, but Ernesto goes his own way.

5.cxd5 cxd5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.0–0 Bg4

Black will be fine if he manages to complete development, but it is White's turn.

9.Qa4 Qd7 

10.Nxe5! Nxe5 11.Qe4

You can immediately win back a piece and even grab an extra pawn with: 11.Qxd7+ Kxd7 12.Bxd5 Be2 13.Re1 Nf3+ 14.Bxf3 Bxf3, but is there outperforming Mark Dvoretsky’s student in this ending?


The engine votes for 11...Qf5! 12.Re1 (12.Qxd5 Bf3! 13.Qb5+ Bc6 14.Bxc6+ bxc6 15.Qb7 Nf3+ 16.Kg2 Nh4+ 17.gxh4 Qg4+ with a draw) 12...Qxe4 13.Rxe4 0–0–0 14.Rxe5 Nb4, and Black should hold this ending despite being down a pawn. Harboring bigger ambitions, Inarkiev must have underestimated opponent’s threats to his king.

12.Qxe5 Nb4 

13.d4! Bd6

13...Nc2 fails to 14.Bf4 Bd6 15.Qxd6 Qxd6 16.Bxd6 Nxa1 17.Rc1+ Kd7 18.Bb4! (18.Ba3? Bf5!) 18...Rc8 (Now the knight drops after 18...Bf5 19.Na3) 19.Nc3 Rc4 20.Ba3, winning.

14.Qa5! Kb8

With 14...Nc2 failing yet again to 15.Qxa7 Nxa1 16.Qa8+ Bb8 17.Bf4, Black’s hopes on the knight invasion prove futile.

15.Nc3 Rhe8 16.Nb5 b6

And here is our Position of the Day.

17.Qxb4! Bxb4 18.Bf4+ Bd6

Black gains nothing from 18...Kc8 19.Rfc1+ Bc5 20.Nd6+.

19.Bxd6+ Qxd6 20.Nxd6 Rxd6 21.d5, and Nikita went on to convert his up a pawn superiority.

As it happens, the CPRF team playing in the Higher League (Korneev, Kornev, Chernyshov, Yagupov, Domogaev) dreams about qualifying into the Premier League, in which case their board one will be Alexander Grischuk himself! Besides, let us not forget an excellent chess player Marina Guseva's soft spot for the red colors... Proletarians of all countries - join the club!

The defeated capital players, on the contrary, suffered more substantial losses in their lineup personnel as Sergey Karjakin and Ian Nepomniachtchi are to head for Africa for the first stage of GrandChessTour. By the way, Ian arrived at round two to support his coach Vladimir Potkin defending board one of the team from Tyumen. Molodezhka is a pool of young talents (Chigaev, Paravyan, Esipenko, Yuffa, Antipov, Lomasov), and the first-timers of the 2018 season gained their four points through a much more demanding contest.

Potkin – Schekachikhin


With a current score of 2.5: 2.5, the round one hero (Maxim Schekachikhin had defeated his namesake Matlakov) was successfully fending off all winning efforts by the ex-European champion in a position that had seen no pawn moves for 40 moves already. Despite all Molodezhka players’ efforts to come up with some study-like solution, they came not even close to any distant ideas. Nevertheless, having beaten around the bush, Vladimir is setting a crafty trap, his last hope. For the sake of justice, it should be added that a native of St. Petersburg was simply exhausted after having been in the defensive and eternal time pressure throughout half the game.


91...Kg8, intending 92.f7+ Rxf7 93.Rg2+ Kh8 94.Kxf7, was an easy draw. However, after 91...Ra8+ 92.Kf7 Ra7+ 93.Re7 Black needed to come up with a precise sequence of 93…Rb7! (93...Rc7? 94.Ke6 Rc8 95.Kd7 Rf8 96.Re8, winning).

92.Kd8! Kg8

Or 92...Rf8+ 93.Re8 Kg8 94.Ke7, and the pawn queens with a check.

93.Re8+ Rf8 94.Ke7 Rxe8+ 95.Kxe8 Kh8 96.Ke7 Black resigns.

Trailing a point behind the leaders are Sibir, Sima-Land, and Ladya, the latter headed by Vladislav Artemiev – hope No.1 of the Russian chess. Things are only about to hot up in the women’s tournament.

It is worth mentioning that the opening ceremony saw Svetlana Yermilova, Director General  of the Zhemchuzhina hotel, award the teams coming to the hotel for the fifth time in a row. We are looking forward to jubilee competitions of 2024 and 2029.  

Photo credit: Dmitry Kryakvin and Evgeny Vashenyak