12 May 2016

Victory Day Battles

Day Nine of the Russian Club Championships reviewed by Vladimir Barsky.

The first All-Russian Championship of Orphanages and Boarding Schools finished in Sochi on Victory Day, May 9. Almost as many as 100 children from different regions of the country have had a good rest at the resort and were given a chance to get to know the world of chess better. After all, they shared the same playhall with the leading national and international grandmasters and could encounter them in a hotel café and at swimming pool lanes on a daily basis. It is clear that a chess component was not intended as the most critical one in this project, but it was nevertheless nice to see the young folks spending their spare time, both at days and at evenings, in a chess corner managed by the rating administrator of the Russian Chess Federation Ilya Filippov. The children enjoyed the game, taking great interest in analyzing certain positions with adult players and watching grandmasters and masters in the process of analysis. If chess becomes a good lasting companion for at least a dozen or two of orphanage inmates that are now in "Zhemchuzhina", the entire effort of organizing the tournament was surely not in vain!

In the end, the event was won by the schoolchildren from Simferopol, who overtook their peers from the Luga boarding school by the third (!) additional tiebreaker. The amount of intensity and fun, to which the closing ceremony was carried out with artists and jugglers, games and dancing involved, did not fail to match the entire tournament itself. The children were congratulated and awarded by Andrey Filatov, President of the Russian Chess Federation, Natalia Yunchenkova, Director of the "Severnaya Korona", and Vladimir Kirsanov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the group of construction companies "Don".

Already in round eight we got to know the name of the winning team in the women's championship, and following the end of round nine we managed to guess as to who would be the men's champion. However, despite all that it is yet early to call it a day since any surprises are possible in sport, so let's wait till the end of the ultimate round 10. On the last day of the competition, "The Bronze Horseman", having on the eve won the "gold" (OK, the golden) match from "Siberia", is faced off with the Kazan "Rook" that has lost all her matches. The Moscow squad will test "Zhiguli", whereas "Siberia" has already played all her games. There is no doubt that the ambitious management of the Novosibirsk team will meticulously analyze the tournament performance, will draw up the balance sheet and will make all required realignment of forces so that the European Cup is going to see the old awe-inspiring "Siberia"! 

Now that everything is more or less clear with the two major tournaments, it is high time that we said a few words about the Higher League. One round short of the finish line the friendly team of the grandmaster Sergey Arkhipov and his students has broken two points away from their closest pursuers and has at least secured a ticket into the next season's Premier League. Even though our column "Position of the day" has featured a snapshot from the Paravyan - Levin game, let us see how the opponents arrived at this setup. 

Paravyan («SergArk team) – Levin (SDYUSSHOR SHSH)

20. Qe7! 

The aim of this bold queen's infiltration, involving a temporary pawn sacrifice, is to prevent Black from finishing his queenside development in a calm fashion. 

20…Qxe5 21. Rde1 Qf4+ 22. Kb1 Nf6 23. Rhf1 Qg5

The computer's fearless (or rather - unemotional) recommendation is 23... Qxh2. Although White has a guaranteed draw here via 24. Rxf6 Rxf6 25. Qe8+ Rf8 26. Qg6 Rf6 27. Qe8+ etc., he is still able to keep on fighting for advantage by means of 24. Na4!?, among other moves.

24. Rf3 Qh5 25. g4 Qe8 26. Qd6 Qd8 27. Qg3 d4 28. Ne4

The alternative knight manoeuvre 28. Ne2 b5 29. Nf4 looks attractive as well.

28... Nxe4

More stubborn is 28... Bd7 29. Nxf6+ Rxf6 30. Rxf6 Qxf6. 

29. Rxe4 Rxf3 30. Qxf3 Qd5 

31. Qf4 

The engine offers the following nice way of decisive improvement of White’s position: 31. g5! hxg5 32. Qh5 Bd7 33. Re1!, etc.

31... Bd7 32. Rxd4 Qh1+ 33. Ka2 Bc6 34. Qe5 Qf3 35. Bc4 Re8 

This move loses to a quick and nice refutation. 35...Qf6 36. Bxe6+ Kh8 37. Qxf6 gxf6 38. c4 would have prolonged resistance.

36. Rf4 Qg2 37. Bxe6+ Kh7 38. Rf7 Qxg4 

39. Bf5+ Kg8 40. Rf8+! Black resigns. 

The outcome of yet another game from the same match was sealed by two pawn breaks in the rook ending. 

Arslanov («SergArk team) – Palchun (SDYUSSHOR SHSH)

47. e6+! fxe6+ 48. Ke5 Rh4 49. Rg7+ Ke8 50. Rxa7 c4 51. a5 c3 52. axb6 Rb4 53. Kxe6 Re4+ 54. Kf5 Rb4

55. Rc7

55. b7! Rxb5+ 56. Kg6 would have been an immediate winner.

55... c2 56. Rxc2 Rxb5+ 57. Kg6 Rxb6 58. Kg7 Rb7+ 59. Kg8 Black resigns. 

It is quite obvious that the main issue for Sergey Arkhipov's team, as well as for the the rest of the prize winners of the Higher League", is to enlist the financial support of sponsors for the following year's participation so to be able to compete decently at our top League.