21 April 2016

Rapid Knowledge Assessment

Day one of the Russian Junior Rapid Championships in the review of Eteri Kublashvili.

Number two event on the calendar of the Junior Russian Championship in Loo is a rapid tournament, which is a great opportunity to try your hand prior to the start of the classical-format competition, either taking a high place and starting to believe in yourself, or, conversely, profiting from an opportunity of dissecting your errors to analysis. This year there are as many as 852 participant playing rapid chess, whereas last year there used to be 702.

Almost every rating favorite of the classical format type of competitions is participating in the Russian Rapid Chess Championship. The tournament tables have such already famous names listed as Ilya Makoveev (boys U11), Margarita Zvereva, Emilia Zavivaeva (girls U11), Dmitry Tsoi, Volodar Murzin, Andrey Tsvetkov (boys U13), Leya Garifullina, Mariya Kutyanina (girls U13), Vitaly Gurvich, Arseniy Nesterov (boys U15), Ekaterina Goltseva, Anastasia Zotova, Elizaveta Solozhenkina, Aleksandra Maltsevskaya (girls U15), Alexey Sarana, Aleksey Sorokin, Sergei Lobanov (boys U17), Polina Shuvalova, Anastasia Kozina, Anna Afonasieva (girls U17), Saveliy Golubov, Andrey and Sergey Drygalovs, Dmitry Anikonov, Kirill Kozionov (boys U19), Dinara Dordzhieva, Daria Rodionova, Daria Khokhlova, Irina Drogovoz (girls U19) and many others.

However, the first game day began with a surprise as one of the U19 favorites of the youngster tournament, Semen Khanin, fell short of being included into round one pairing procedure. The root causes of this misunderstanding were shared to me by GM Dmitry Kryakvin - my multifaceted colleague and coach of Semyon and other famous and not yet so well known young talents:

- What has happened to Semyon?

- Alas, the member of the 2015 Russian Junior Olympic team failed to independently overcome such a challenging barrier as a registration procedure. This year it consists of two stages: submitting payment to the accounting department and filing your application to the Secretariat. The first barrier was successfully dealt with by Semyon, who was in the belief that the issue was thus solved.  I was awakened by his father's night call to inform me that his son was not included into the pairing procedure. In the morning I had to hurry to the chief arbiter and the tournament secretary.

- What was the final decision?

- Such draconian measures as non-admission are not practiced by the Russian Championship panel of arbiters. Even though the law is harsh, it is still the law - Khanin starts playing only from round two. It needs no saying that it came as a serious blow to the young player and both to me and his main coach Arthur Gabrielian, but Semyon is a man of character. I do hope that he will catch up with the leaders.

- Are you of the opinion that the rapid competition is a good warm-up for the classical event?

- It is undoubtedly so! The rapid format has been ever so increasingly gaining its place under the sun, whereas the rapid results serve as a basis for awarding the Russian Master of Sports title and it has Grand Prix stages of its own. Performing well in the rapid chess in the XXI century is simply a must, and it is excellent that the federation cultivates this type of chess, beginning with the youth tournaments. No, this is not just a warm-up - it is real chess, only somewhat different and already only an inch inferior in popularity to the classical format.

- Who of your students participate in the championship, and why is Andrey Esipenko missing from the rapid?

- Esipenko and Daniel Yuffa will perform in the U21 group. We have already discussed the misadventures of Khanin, while during the tournament I am also coaching two other boys who are participating in the U11 Higher League, them playing in the rapid as well. For a while I will refrain from mentioning their names. If they show decent results, then we will talk more about it!

Andrey has had the unfortunate experience of the summer performance in Latvia when, having played well in rapid and having taken the first place in blitz ahead of a couple of dozens of grandmasters, Esipenko ended up experiencing extremely hard time playing  the classical chess since his strength and motivation had been undermined already. Therefore, the family council with his parents decided to limit his participation to the classical event alone, and I had certainly no objections to that.

During the first game day the players finished five rounds, while during the second day they will have to sort things out in the remaining four games, upon which the best will be awarded with cups and medals. 

After completion of five rounds the U11 boys group has Grigori Ponomarev and Grigori Simonyan without a single loss. Trailing half-point behind are Ilya Makoveev and Erdem Khubukshanov. In the same age group among girls as many as 4.5 points have been scored by Larisa Karpova, Margarita Zvereva, Irina Poliato and Elizaveta Dorokhina.

Dmitry Tsoi and Valery Skatchkov have 5 points under their belts in the U13 boys group. Half a point behind are Volodar Murzin and Artur Kulik. Among U13 girls as many as 4.5 points have been scored by Victoria Kirchei and Tatiana Larina. Half a point behind them are eight chess players.

In the U15 boys tournament leading the field is Vitaly Gurvich with a clean score. 4.5 points were scored by Tagir Salemgareev, Daniil Golikov, Kirill Shubin, Tigran Mukhutdinov and Valeriy Shemyakin. In the U15 girls group Yuliya Vinokur and Kamaliya Bulatova are in the lead with 5 points. Evgeniya Koroleva has 4.5 points to her asset.

In the U17 boys group 5 points are shared by Sergey Lobanov and Alexei Sarana. Lagging half a point behind is Dmitry Goltsev. In the U17 girls group Elizaveta Martynyuk and Darya Gorovenko are in the lead with 4.5 points. Anastasiya Protopopova, Alexandra Obolentseva, Ksenia Abasheeva, Olga Mylnikova and Nataliya Ilina have gained 4 points.

In the U19 boys group leading are Dmitry Anikonov and Saveliy Golubov with 4.5 points. Lurking half a point behind are as many as ten players. Among the eldest girls group 4.5 points were scored by Irina Drogovoz and Dinara Dordzhieva. Half a point behind is Natalija Baryshnikova.