10 December 2015

Move Your King, Push Your Pawn

Stage One of the Russian Cup in the review of Dmitry Kryakvin.

The key point is not missing a check, a fork, and a pin.
V.V. Smyslov, Seventh World Champion

Eventually, the day has come when the capital of Ugra gave start to the final leg of the Russian Cup that features both men’s and women’s knockout tournaments. It should be noted that the native of Nizhnevartovsk and the triumphant of the last two years’ Cups Dmitry Jakovenko did not come to defend his title (as the organizers’ nominee), providing others with an opportunity to compete for the trophy. Participation of yet another Russian champion of the European Team Championship Ian Nepomniachtchi would have been a great asset to the competition, but it is a pity that the Cup final coincided in time with the final ACP tournament in Ashdod. Accordingly, in the women’s section it was the qualification winner Evgenija Ovod who held back from partaking in the event. Otherwise, the lineups tuned out to be very impressive, just teeming with young stars such as Artemiev, Fedoseev, Bukavshin, Eliseev, Alekseenko, Iljiushenok, Goryachkina, and Bivol! This used to be literally nothing short of the generation NEXT parade. However, the titans and the classics of the cup battles were determined to prove that the juniors still had something to learn from them! This is how the battle on the hospitable land of Ugra broke out.

Your author, equipped with his photographic rifle, would arrive at the tournament after the first two rounds, in meanwhile following up on the Khanty-Mansiysk dramas from afar. It was a sheer blessing that besides the local Ugra journalists the RCF computer guru Evgeny Vashenyak, who is not only a great IT-specialist, but also a great connoisseur of the photographic impressions, was out there to lend assistance, for which I want to express him my deep gratitude! Let's start with reviewing round one games, and, abiding by the rule of Olga Girya, we are going to start with the best half of humanity, of course.

Women’s Russian Cup Final. Quarterfinals

The starting clashes of the competition proved to be very rich in meaningful content, although not infallible. The underdogs gave a real fight to the favorites – I have never seen such an intrigue in the women's quarterfinals yet! Even in the Goryachkina - Travkina encounter, in which the Russian champion was subjecting the master from Rostov to examination (with whom, I must confess, I did a fair share of training during that part of my life when I was residing in Rostov). In the first game Anastasia was perfectly well prepared and equalized in the Anti-Meran as Black, when a draw by move repetition became the logical outcome of the opening duel. No doubt that with the rating superiority of 300 points this outcome was nothing especially appealing to Aleksandra, who went to all lengths, giving a great chance to her opponent.

The Russian Champion joined the starting line of the Russian Cup


Goryachkina – Travkina

Game 1 

Black has a clear edge, substantiated by the following simple lines 28... c5 29.Qxh6 (29.Bg6 Rf8 30.Rd1 Qe5) 29...Qe5 30.Qg7 Qh5 – and even though White has regained the pawn, control over the only open file, better pawn structure and better bishop voted in favor of Travkina’s position. However, the athlete from the Don region hurried with the rook invasion, resulting in the tension escalation on the board.

28… Rd2?! 29.c5! 

This move was made instantly: so strong a positional player as Alexandra does not miss such chances!

29…Qf8 30.Qg4! 

Black’s hopes on 30.Qxf8+ Kxf8 31.cxb6 a5!, with the edge in the ending, are not destined to come true.


More precise is 30...b5, not allowing the queen to land on а4.

31.Qa4 b5 32.Qxa7 Qa8 

Travkina persists in having the strongest pieces traded off and succeeds in persuading her opponent into going for it. The engine satisfies the fans of silicon beauties with the line 33.Qb6! f5 (33...Rd7!? could be played for a win) 34.e4 Qxa2 35.Rc1! Rxf2 36.Qc7+ Kf6 37.Qd8+ Ke5! 38.Qd6+ Kxe4 39.Bxf5+!! exf5 40.Qe7+ Kd3 41.Qd6+ Ke4 42.Qe7+ with a spectacular draw. 

The grandmaster from Salekhard exchanged queens, putting herself once again on the brink of defeat and... went on to win in a confident manner! I think this example refutes the postulate formulated by women’s trainers and told to me by Michael Brodsky. This postulate states that any position in women's chess can be subjected to assessment only when all the knights are gone from the board... And yet, in time trouble nothing is impossible with their men colleagues also.

33.Qxa8? Bxa8 34.a4 

The h7-"mammoth" fell behind the flock, making it high time for a crowd of little black men to drive him into a pit with wooden stakes inside. 34...f5! 35.e4 (35.axb5 cxb5 36.Rxb5 Rd8 or 35.g4 bxa4 36.Ra1 Kf6 37.Rxa4 Bb7 38.Rb4 Bc8 39.gxf5 e5 are no better options) 35...bxa4 36.Ra1 Kf6 37.Rxa4 Bb7 38.exf5 e5, as well as transposition of moves 34...bxa4! 35.Ra1 (35.Rb8 Rd8; 35.Be4 a3) 35...f5 would have afforded Anastasia with all chances for success. Ah, Nastia, Nastia…

34…Rd5? 35.Be4 Rxc5 36.axb5 f5 37.Bf3 e5?? 

This is a final terrific blunder. Following the correct 37...Bb7 Black was very likely to bail out. 

38.Ra1!, and it was the black bishop that ended up being trapped rather than his white counterpart!

The bishop duel ended not in Anastasia Travkina’s favor

In the return game Alexandra Goryachkina, as befits the favorites, performed in a reliable, calm and confident manner. On a couple of occasions Travkina declined the repetition of moves that suited her opponent, and, the way it often turns out in such cases, came under a mating attack. The Russian Champion won with 2-0 score and advanced forward, while her lost opponent’s performance against the best gladiator of the black and white Coliseum was quite commendable.

In other matches the owners of high ratings had to pass through a rough time, whereas the standard formula "Goryachkina, Girya, and Bodnaruk in the semifinals" did not work out this time. In the quarterfinals Olga played against Elmira Mirzoeva - a good GM and a popular TV journalist. Elmira has recently shaped up, which is demonstrated by the dynamics of her rating that gravitates towards 2400. I suspect that the famous Ostankino Grand Prix has something to do with it. Mirzoeva has sharpened her skills and, having refreshed her memory on standing up against the best of the best in the past girls' tournaments, went on to meet the Olympic champion head-on.

Unlike her counterpart, Girya produced an impression of being out of shape. The grandmaster from Langepas took the upper hand in a terrible game one blockbuster, but then lost two in a row, while in both cases she used to be within the realms of her trademark Girya-like positions that featured excellent statics as well as outposts for her knights. Olga would overlook active opportunities of Mirzoeva, whereas the latter acted aggressively and fearlessly when it came to the crucial moments of the game. However, in the return rapid game Girya outclassed her opponent to level the score - 2-2.

From that point on it was all about Armageddon, which turned into one of the most dramatic encounters of the first round.

Mirzoeva – Girya


Black is up a pawn in a risk-free position. There remained almost no material on the board and the sole goal of Black was to hold out till move 61, at which point the time increment would come into play and you could catch your breath and go into a little think. Besides simple moves like 44…Rc5 or 44…Rh5 there suggested itself 44...Rd1! 45.Bd3 (or 45.Bc2 Nd5+) 45...Nd5+ 46.Ke4 Nxf4 47.Bc4 Ne6, reducing the amount of material on the board even further. Instead Olga gave in and blundered a piece.

44...Nd7? 45.Be4! Rc5?? 

Black had better sacrifice a piece via 45...Rd1 instead, and even though a bishop is superior to a knight in the open type of positions it is hard to imagine that Black would fail to sail into the drawish harbor. 

46.Rxd7 Rc3+ 47.Rd3 Rc5 48.Bd5 

The black infantry follows the perished rhino into oblivion. However, as the game was ruled by the Armageddon laws, the opponents continued fencing, lashing out with lightning-fast moves so that the clocks saw the last remaining seconds sweep by.

In the "game of death" Elmira Mirzoeva’s nerves proved stronger


48…Rc1 49.Kd4 Rf1 50.Rf3 Rd1+ 51.Ke5 a4 52.f5 Ke7 53.f6+ Kd7 54.Rg3 b3 55.axb3 a3 56.b4 Re1+ 57.Kd4 Rd1+ 58.Kc5 Rc1+ 

Girya tried her last chance, having pushed her passed pawn as far as possible. However, the further progress is blocked by the d5-sniper, who rakes across the a2-g8 diagonal in a powerful manner. After 59.Kb6 the struggle would have been over, but Elmira instinctively grabbed her minor piece in order to make a short move just as Chepukaitis prescribed, thus allowing the a3-a2 advance...

59.Bc4?? Ra1?? 

Missing an incredible chance: after 59...a2 60.Ra3 a1Q 61.Rxa1 Rxa1 62.Bxf7 Rf1 it is only Black that can win the game, although he really doesn’t need to go that far! There followed a short series of moves, upon which Mirzoeva qualified into the semifinals!

60.Rg7 a2 61.Rxf7+ Ke8 62.Ra7 Kf8 63.Ra8 – mate.

The last year's Cup holder laid down her title


Very captivating fight was anticipated in the confrontation of Anastasia Bodnaruk and Alina Bivol. The grandmaster from St. Petersburg is on the rise; Anastasia stood out at the Super Final and deservedly joined the team in the Icelandic quest for gold. Alina, on the other hand, is the junior Vice-champion of the World and one of the main young hopes at the upcoming Premier League of the Russian Championship. Two classical Bodnaruk-Bivol duels ended in draws, whereas in both games the initiative belonged to Anastasia, who missed a sure winning continuation in one of them. Alas, when you fail to score you are scored on, and in the rapid format the best vocalist among chess players and the best chess player among vocalists opened the score.

Bivol – Bodnaruk

Game 3 

This time the opening preparation of the powerful analytical group of Bivol hit the target, when Bodnaruk found herself under a terrible attack right out of the opening. The native of St. Petersburg didn’t lose her bearings, having successfully resorted to her favorite exchange sacrifice tool in order to make the game double-edged.


More to the point is 34.Nd3! (activating the idle piece!) 34…a3 (34...Nxd3 35.Rxd3) 35.Rb4 Qc6 (35...Qa6 36.Qxb7) 36.Qxc6 Nxc6 37.Rxb7, and White simplifies into a winning ending. The game saw a better version of this position for Black. 

34...a3 35.Rb4? 

35.b3 disallows any direct tactical blows, whereas now the struggle escalates dramatically.


A draw was guaranteed by 35...Qa7! 36.Rxb7 (dangerous for White is 36.c3 Nc6 37.Rb3 axb2 38.Rxb2 d5!) 36...Qa6 37.Rb6 Qa7 (37...Qa5 38.Nb3) 38.Rb7. As Anastasia is an excellent tactician she is very likely to have seen this continuation, although the resulting ending with two pawns for the exchange and a possibility to rope in the isolated e6-pawn might have appealed to her in terms of enabling her with definite winning chances. However, the "white nail" proved to be a die-hard, whereas the powerful tactical resources unearthed by Alina assured its rolling down all the way to the queening square.

36.Qxc6 bxc6 37.bxa3 Nxg6 38.Rb7 Rxa3 39.Nb3 Bf6 40.Rg1 Ne7 

Immediate central deployment fails to: 40...Ne5? 41.Rgxg7+! Bxg7 42.Rb8+ Kh7 43.e7, winning.

Anastasia Bodnaruk missed her chances in the classical games

41.Rf1 Nd5 

As both sides are yearning to win, the coward retreat 41...Ng6 is strongly parried by 42.Rxf6! gxf6 43.Nd4, followed by either knight taking on с6 or landing on f5 in order to assist in promoting the passed pawn and attacking the king. 

42.c4 Nc3+ 43.Kc2 

Until this moment Bivol and Bodnaruk have been demonstrating a great performance. However, the rapid chess differs from the classical one and Anastasia, being in time trouble, blundered and instead of 43...Ne4 with an equal position she opted for:

43…Ra2+? 44.Kd3 Na4? 45.Rxf6! 

Following the nervous draw in game four the overall tie-break victory rested with the resident of Dmitrov. 

The junior Vice-champion of the World is in the semifinal

A heavy blunder put an end to the game between Daria Charochkina for Marina Guseva. In the main time Dasha and Marina exchanged blows, while the intense positional battle of the first rapid game ended in a draw despite some pressure from Charochkina. The course of game four was dictated by the native of Stavropol, although the Muscovite put up a fierce resistance when, despite her being down two pawns, she had a "devil’s combination” of  a queen and a knight.

The struggle between Daria Charochkina and Marina Guseva was really tense

Guseva – Charochkina

Game 4 

The defending side prevents the passed pawn from being pushed forward by creating minor counter-threats. Therefore, speedy problem-free winning requires some super calculation efforts in the nature of 49.Qf3 Qb2 50.Qf4 + Kh7 (the trade of queens via 50... Kg7 51.Qd4+ cannot be allowed, of course) 51.b4! Qc2 52.Bd5 Qb2 53.Bc6! Ne5 54.Be8! Nd3 55.Bxg6+! Kxg6 56.Qg5+ Kf7 57.Qxf5+, winning. Marina made up her mind to give back one of her pawns to trade off the formidable knight, missing a simple blow.

49.b4? Qe4+ 50.f3? 

This is yet another step towards the abyss. The game would have ended in a perpetual check after 50.Kg1 Ne5 51.Bb3 Nf3+ 52.Kf1 Nh2+ (at attempt squeeze a win out of the position 52...Nd4?! 53.f3! Nxf3 54.Bc2! Qb7 55.b5 Ne5 56.e4 can backfire), thus sending the match into the Armageddon.


Of course, 50...Nxe3+ 51.Kf2 Qxc4 52.Qxe3+ Kh7 53.Qc5 peters out to a difficult queen ending for Black. Although Charochkina emerges up a piece due to the fork on е3, the struggle is not over yet. 

51.Qd2 Qc2! 

51...Ne5 52.e4+ is unlikely enough for a win, even though it would have left Black with practical winning chances.

52.Qxc2 Nxe3+ 53.Kf2 Nxc2 54.b5 Nd4 55.b6 Kg7 56.Ke3 Nc6 57.Kf4 Kf6 

I suspect that Guseva, while in a state of lamenting her oversight, resigned herself to the idea of being knocked out of the tournament and, therefore, lacked belief in any sort of bailing out chances! Indeed, what if you just stand still - 58.b7 Nb8 59.Ke3 Ke5 60.Kf2 Kd4 61.Ke2, how should then Black go about winning this position? If the black king is dispatched to grab the b7-pawn, the white monarch will rush towards g5. The f5-f4 breakthrough yields nothing, while coming up with some study-like solution in time trouble would have been a rather challenging task... 

58.g4? Nb8, and upon the exchange of pawns on f5 Charochkina easily prevailed on the kingside, making use of an extra tempo afforded by the knight.
Now the semifinals will see the duels Goryachkina – Charochkina and Bivol – Mirzoeva. 

Russian Men’s Cup Final. Final 16 

It should be noted that the men's competition features as many as eight pairs, each one with its inherent degree of captivity and intrigue. The ChessPro commentator Adam Tukhaev failed to match up well against Alexander Motylev. The talented Crimean grandmaster tried to invite complications in each game, but the Russian national team coach made his way through all of them with a surgical precision and ended up winning 2:0. A crushing defeat in the St. Petersburg derby against Ildar Khairullin was suffered by the U18 Vice-world Champion and the winner of the Chigorin Memorial Kirill Alekseenko. It is quite obvious, after all, that the opening part of the game is the Achilles' heel of Cyril. Even if you are able to win major mixed tournaments, while playing even something like 1.e4 c5 2.Be2 and still outclassing your opponents owing to your immense practical force, it’s nothing doing when it comes to being faced off against such die-hards as Ildar Khairullin. Ildar emerged winning out of the opening as White; whereas he stood better as Black and then went on to perform in a classical style to finish off the match with yet another 2-0 result.

However, the main sensation, if you may call it like that, happened on table one when the tournament was left by its rating favorite Vladislav Artemiev. He happened to be paired against Artyom Timofeev – the Russian star of the first decade of the century, the winner of the 2008 Higher League who used to be the Russian national team member and whose rating used to creep towards close proximity of the 2700 point. So, do not be mistaken by the current 2555 Elo of the Kazan native - once Vlad fell into negligence there followed up a severe punishment.

Timofeev – Artemiev

Game 1, Grunfeld Defence

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Be3 Bg4 9.Rc1 Qa5 

This aggressive move order, based on saving a tempo at the cost of castling, is good in all respects but for seriously weakening the b7-square, which is not that great since the Vlad’s monarch has not yet hidden himself in the underground bunker in anticipation of the airstrike of the white aviation. A couple of years ago Artemiev tested this line successfully in his game against Mchedlishvili, in which there followed 10.Qd2 Nc6 11.d5 Rd8 12.Be2. However, the queen can be deployed otherwise.


This idea belongs to Michael Roiz and dates back to 2010. The basic idea of ​​White is that after 10...cxd4 11.Nxd4! Qc7 12.Nb5 Qd8 (12...Qa5 13.Qb4!) 13.Bc4 0-0 14.Nxa7 (as in Khairullin - Svidler, 2010) White ends up winning a healthy pawn. 11... Bc8!? 12.Qb5+! Qxb5 13.Nxb5 Na6 14.Nxa7 Bd7 15.Bc4 is an interesting line since there is a certain amount of compensation for the missing pawn. This position was tested in the Khalifman – Evdokimov, 2011 and Melkumyan - Esipenko, 2015 encounters. Andrei was defending stubbornly and was an inch away from escaping, whereas Sasha even wound up defeating the formidable FIDE World Champion, so that the annoyed Alexander Valerievich simply dropped out of the Higher League in Taganrog. However, I would not recommend coming out with this setup as Black against a well prepared opponent since the positional evaluation of this line oscillates within the range of +0.7 to as high as +0.9.

It is hard to guess whether the advance of the White Queen was subjected to analysis in the course of Vlad’s home preparation, but the native of Omsk sidestepped from the path trodden by his predecessors.

10...0–0!? 11.Qxb7 Bxf3 

Since 11...cxd4 12.Nxd4 Nd7 13.f3 Rab8 14.Qa6 is bad, Black is forced to sacrifice the exchange. 

12.Qxa8 cxd4 13.Qd5! Qxd5 14.exd5 Bxd5 15.Bxd4 Bxd4 16.cxd4 Nc6 

Although Artemiev is down a pure exchange so far, all his pieces are active, while the d4-infantryman is isolated and being attacked.  Should a pair of a-pawns be traded off, the resulting position will be a fortress.

17.Rc5 e6 18.Kd2 


It would be interesting to know the reason of Vlad’s refusal to pick up a pawn via 18...Nxd4? Now Timofeev solidifies the position and gets down to converting his advantage, having rescued a valuable soldier along the way.

19.Bc4! Ne7 

19...Bxg2 20.Rg1 Bf3 fails to 21.Ke3!, and now the rook will prove its superiority over the knight.

20.Bxd5 Nxd5 21.Rhc1, and White went on to win as late as move 70.

The return game featured a viscous type of struggle in which Artem’s nerves proved stronger since he fixed a draw from the position of strength at the moment when he was almost winning.

It was far everyone opposing the rating favorites who succeeded in not letting go of the bluebird of happiness that turned up their way so unexpectedly. Ivan Rozum, for one, when being faced off against such a heavyweight as Vladimir Fedoseev in the course of their two round match, had everything going for him to be able to knock his counterpart down, but eventually found himself on the floor instead.

Rozum – Fedoseev

Game 2

A while later

The contrast between the two illustrated positions is not really hard to detect. It was Vladimir Fedoseev who qualified into the quarterfinals.

Vladislav Artemiev and Ivan Rozum


The highly experienced Dennis Khismatullin confidently defeated the troublemaker of the last European Cup Ilia Iljiushenok. In game two the Neftekamsk grandmaster intuitively sacrificed a pawn, keeping the opponent's king in the center and delivering a series of counterintuitive moves to bring the point home.

Iljiushenok – Khismatullin

Round 2 

Has Black’s assault bogged down? On the one hand the rook is stuck on g3, on the other hand 32...Qxb4? runs into 33.Rb1 Qa4 34.Rb8+ Ne8 (34...Kh7 4.e5+) 35.Qxd6 with substantial advantage for White. However, there followed a carefully calculated shot of the kind that permeate the best examples of Denis’ games, upon which it became immediately clear that the worst for Ilia’s king is only about to begin.

32...Nd7! 33.f4 

I wish the game saw something along the following lines: 33.b5 Ne5 34.f4 Bg4+ 35.Nxg4 Nxd3 36.Ne3 Nxf4+ 37.Kf2 Ne6 38.Qa1 d5! 39.e5 d4! with a terrific attack. Iljiushenok made up his mind to liquidate into an ending to seek salvation there, but White would end up being a pawn down and the rest was a matter of profiting from the relatively simple technical skills.

33...Qxb4 34.f5 Nc5 35.Rb1 Rxd3! 

It is perfectly clear that 35…Qa3? 36.Qхd6 should be avoided.

36.Rxb4 Rxd4 37.fxe6 fxe6 38.Ke3 e5 39.Rb6 Kf7 40.Rc6 Ke6 

As White was tied down to defending his weaknesses, the game was over soon. 

41.Rc7 g6 42.Nh3 Rxe4+ 44.Kf3 Rxc4 White resigns.

Even though Denis Khismatullin was many time in the Russian Cup finals and semifinals, the only time he won it was 10 years ago

Despite the chances granted by Caissa to Aleksei Pridorozhni, who was yet another representative of the home field and one of the heroes of the past Cup, to put Dmitry Kokarev up against serious problems, the former failed to catch sight of the study-like geometrical solution.

Kokarev – Pridorozhni

Game 1 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.0–0 Bg4 7.h3 Bh5 8.g4 Nxg4 9.hxg4 Bxg4 10.Be3 Bd6 11.Kh1 Qd7 12.Rg1 h5 13.Nbd2 0–0–0 14.Qe1 f6 15.Nh2 Be6 16.Nc4 Kb8 17.Rg6 Qf7 18.Qg1 Bg4 19.Rxg4 hxg4 20.Qxg4 g6 21.Rg1 

The sharp line with a piece sacrifice instead of the academic 7...Bxf3 is just coming into fashion. In particular, the latest China team championship featured an important game on the subject, where the white pieces were in charge of the eastern chess prince Wei Yi. The play of the grandmaster from Penza can apparently be improved further, as 21...Rh5!? with the idea 22.Qxg6? Rdh8 was good for Black in this position, while 21...f5! 22.Qxg6 (22.Nxd6 cxd6) 22...Rxh2+! 23.Kxh2 Rh8+ 24.Bh6 Qf8! 25.Kg2 Rxh6 26.Qg3 (26.Qxf5 Rf6) 26...fxe4 would have been even a better continuation, resulting in a material equality and an ongoing attack. Aleksei, to the contrary, put his pawn on the black square, which is a suspect decision in itself.

21…g5?! 22.Kg2 Rh4 23.Qf5? 

Correct was 23.Qe2 Qd7 24.f3 Qh3+ 25.Kh1 Rdh8 26.Rg2, surrounding the king with his loyal subjects, but Dmitry’s fearless queen rush into the enemy’s camp had Pridorozhni taken aback.


The knight jump to the blockading square is looming large, while the trade of queens has the sole effect of delaying the eventual death. Meanwhile, had Black found 23...g4! 24.Nxg4 (the threat of the queen trapping via 24.Nf1 Rh5 is in the air) 24...Rxg4+ 25.Qxg4 Rg8 26.Qxg8+ Qxg8+ 27.Kf1, and Kokarev would have had to try his chances in building up a fortress, which was anything but a guaranteed success to look forward to. 

Dmitry Kokarev was lucky enough to get out of the woods in his encounter with Aleksei Pridorozhni

24.Qxh7 Rxh7 25.Ng4, and the technical part was performed by Dmitry on a level that matches up well or even better against that of Nimzowitsch and Rubinstein. Pridorozhni never managed to come back after that.

Only two matches went into the tie-break: Maletin - Goganov and Bukavshin - Eliseev. Dealing in rapid chess with such a heavyweight of speed games as the Russian Champion and the main prize winner of the 2014 Rapid Grand Prix was far from an easy task for Goganov. A sure thorn in Aleksey’s subconscious mind was the fact that he had missed a spectacular strike in the second classical game that could have landed him into the next stage. It finished in a rather prosaic manner: when in a sharp position Paul created an immediate mating threat in one move, it turned out that there simply was no defense.

Goganov – Maletin

Game 3 

40.fxg6? Nxg2 would be too reckless now, while coming up with a 40.Qc1! Nd3 41.Qf1! “pendulum” idea so as to answer 41…Rxd2 with 42.Ne4 with just a few seconds on your clock is far from being a piece of cake unless you are an engine, of course.  Some human approach to the position in the form of 40.Ne4!? Qxf5 41.Qf3 Rf8 42.Nd6, intending to meet 42…Qg5 by 43.Bxf4, should have sufficed to repel an offensive impetus of Black’s, leaving Goganov with positional pluses. In the game, however, Aleksey underestimated a deadly threat against the g2-point.

40.d6?? Qc6!, and Maletin scored his first point. In the second rapid game the native of Novosibirsk brilliantly handled the g3-system in the King's Indian Defence and went on to win in the best traditions of Alexander Semenovich Khasin - 3-1!

The simplest winning recipe from Pavel Maletin

As for the game between Ivan Bukavshin and Urii Eliseev, one cannot but point out the superb level of Urii’s preparation for the match. While in both long games Bukavshin was confined to the defensive, Eliseev was almost certainly likely to break through any another opponent’s defensive formations in a similar situation. However, expressing Pons Vallejo’s words in a different way, Ivan is capable of building a fortress or a defensive line even when no suitable materials are at hand! The 1:1 score was followed up by two rapid games that ended in draws, upon which the men's section of the tournament came at the point of witnessing the Armageddon taking place.

Bukavshin – Eliseev


Ivan has just finished execution of his literally brilliant e1-f2-g3 king transfer (you've probably seen the diagram in the “positions of the day” section of the RCF website), which allowed the native of Tolyatti having his pieces coordinated in a harmonious way. In this position Eliseev, being short on time, needed to bring forth a reasonable way of opposing the brutal forces rampaging along the h-file.


It helps White to carry out an accelerated invasion. Even at the forefront of the endgame the Grunfeld-like 24...f5! 25.Qxg7+ (25.Rdh1? fails to 25…f4+, there is also nothing tangible after 25.exf5 gxf5+ 26.Qxg7+ Kxg7 27.Rdh1 Kf6) 25... Kxg7 26.Rdh1 Kf6 27.Rh7 Rf7 was the best recipe as White is only marginally better, but no more than that.

25.Rxh6 Kg7 26.Rdh1 Na5 

Black has to sound the retreat since 26...Rh8 27.Rxh8 Rxh8 28.Rxh8 Kxh8 29.Bxc4 loses a piece.

27.Rh7+ Kf6 28.f4, and, despite the resourceful defense demonstrated by Urii, Bukavshin succeeded in bringing his advantage home. 

Would you go as far as dispatching your king to g3 in the Armageddon game?

Ivan Bukavshin played the longest match of the first round in the men’s section

Thus, the men’s pairings of the next round are Kokarev - Timofeev, Khairullin - Bukavshin, Fedoseev - Motylev and Khismatullin - Maletin. The most exciting is still ahead, and we continue keeping a close eye on the development of events.

Pictures by Evgeny Vashenyak