18 August 2019

Warm Days of Miscalculations

Dmitry Kryakvin's report about Rounds 4-5 of the Russian Superfinals

The next couple of the Russian Superfinal rounds are over in Izhevsk. It is much warmer here now so that it feels like the spring is about to come. Meanwhile, the calendar says August 16, and any comparisons with Indian summer would certainly raise peoples’ eyebrows.

So, what about the latest news from the Superfinals? Being superb in the English broadcast of the Votkinsk part of the marathon, Pavel Tregubov is off for a couple of days, leaving Daniil Yuffa as his replacement. Daniil does a great job despite his young age and a definite lack of commenting experience. However, you are welcome to enjoy his good English rich in chess terminology.

Men section's round four came up with its usual number of two decisive games, which could have been higher this time around. Thus, Vladimir Fedoseev missed a victory over his fellow countryman Nikita Vitiugov in what was a game full of tense fight. The lineup of the Superfinal is so solid that each half a point is simply priceless. Let me add that Artemiev - Predke, and Inarkiev - Tomashevsky ended in a draw, and Motylev, despite having missed a tricky blow from Alekseenko in time pressure, managed to keep together to salvage the game.

Maxim Matlakov vs Aleksey Dreev saw the Meran duel continue that started back in the Russian team championship. This time the line’s ardent proponent came up with a refined order of moves to get a good game. However...

Matlakov – Dreev

Black is up a pawn, and should have started by evacuating his centralized king with 29...Ke8. Instead, Dreev missed a direct blow from his opponent.

29...Re6? 30.Rxd5+! Rd7

Black is checkmated if taking the rook: 30...Nxd5 31.Qxd5+ Rd7 (31...Ke8 32.Qa8+; 31...Kc8 32.Qa8#) 32.Qa8+ Kc7 33.Qxa7+ Kc8 34.Qa8+ Kc7 35.Rc1+ Kd6, and the calm 36.f4! is the cutest killer.

31.Rxd7+ Qxd7 32.Qa1! Rd6 33.Rxd6 Qxd6 34.Qxa7, and it is White who is up a pawn now, and Matlakov did not fail to press his edge home.

Maxim Matlakov

Predke – Jakovenko

White is up a pawn in the rook ending. Predke adds to Black's grief by cutting the king off.  

50.Re8! Rb2+ 51.Kd3 Rf2

With 51...f6 52.Kc4 not helping, Jakovenko goes for the last opportunity left to him of creating own passer along the f-file.

52.d5 Rxf3+ 53.Kc4 Rf2 54.d6 Rc2+ 55.Kb5 Rb2+ 56.Kc6 Rc2+ 57.Kb7 Rb2+ 58.Kc7 Rc2+ 59.Kd8 f5 60.d7


60...f4 fails to 61.Ke7, and getting rid of the h2-pawn frees White from the necessity to give up his rook for the passed pawn.

60…Rxh2 61.Re6+! Kf7 62.gxf5 Rc2 63.Rg6 Rc1 64.Rxg5

Black’s g7-pawn is his only hope, which is not much of a challenge for White though.

64…Rc5 65.Rg1 Rc2

65...Rxf5 66.Kc7 is losing.

66.Rg6 Rc1 67.Ra6 Rc2 68.Ra8

Black has to part with the rook, and he is not in time to make it to the queening square.

68…Kf6 69.Ke8 Rd2 70.d8Q+ Rxd8+ 71.Rxd8 Kxf5 72.Kf7 g5 73.Rd5+ Kf4 74.Kg6 g4 75.Kh5 Black resigns.

Alexandr Predke

Having outplayed Alexandra Kosteniuk, Olga Girya is now in the sole lead of the women's tournament.

Girya – Kosteniuk

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d6 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Nbd7 7.f3 e5 8.e4 exd4 9.Qxd4 Nc5 10.Qc3


This position is a frequent choice with our national team members. Thus, 10...a5 11.Be3 0–0 12.Ne2 Re8 13.0–0–0 Qe7 14.Nd4 gives White a minor edge, as in Girya – Tan Zhongyi, Chengdu 2016.

11.Be3 Bd7

Below is a victory scored by the world championship runner-up: 11...Nh5 12.0–0–0 Ne6 13.g4 Nhf4 14.Ne2 Nxe2+ 15.Bxe2, as in Goryachkina – Tsolakidou, Batumi 2018. The ex-world champion opts for something else.

12.Bxc5 dxc5 13.0–0–0 Qe7 14.e5 Ne8 15.Bd3 Qg5+ 16.Kb1 



The home prep probably had something like 16...Qxg2!? 17.Ne2 g6 18.Be4 Bc6 in mind, and White is yet to prove the compensation, whereas the reckless f-pawn advance gifts Girya a viral attack.

17.Qc2! f5 18.Nh3 and went on to win the battle.

Olga Girya is in the lead in the women's section

The European champion Alina Kashlinskaya defeated Elena Tomilova.

Kashlinskaya – Tomilova

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.a4 b5 7.axb5 cxb5 8.Nxb5 Qb6 9.Na3 Bxa3 10.Qa4+ Nc6 11.Qxa3 Ne4 12.e3 f6 13.Bf4 Nb4 14.Rc1 Ba6 15.Bc7 Qxc7 16.Qxb4 Rb8 17.Qa4+ Bb5 18.Qa3

The press conference made it clear that there was a certain opening clash underway as Black was playing fast and White slowly, but the latter remembered the main ideas. 18...Qe7 19.Nd2 Nxd2 20.Kxd2 Kf7 would not have been entirely hopeless for the player of Rostov as the b2-pawn promotes Black's counterplay. Meanwhile, after

18…Qd6? 19.Nd2! Qxa3 20.bxa3 Nxd2 21.Kxd2 Rc8 22.Rb1! a clear advantage was with the Moscow chess player. The c4-pawn is weak and is about to perish.

22…Ba6 23.Kc3 Ke7 24.Be2 e5 25.Rb4 Rc7 26.Rhb1 exd4+ 27.exd4 Rd8 28.Ra4 Rd6 29.Rbb4 Rdc6 30.Ra5 Bc8 31.Rxc4 Kd6 32.Rxc6+ Rxc6+ 33.Bc4 Rc7 34.Rd5+ Ke7 35.Rc5 Kd6 36.Rxc7 Kxc7 37.Bg8 h6 38.Kc4


38...Kc6 is stronger as not allowing the whit king to с5 immediately. However, the smart king can infiltrate via a5 to carry out the same plan that happened in the game.

39.Kb5 Bb7 40.g3 g5 41.Bb3 Bc8 42.a4 Bb7 43.a5

White has consolidated to the max and threatens Black with the transposition into the pawn ending.

43…Bc8 44.Bg8 Bb7 45.d5 Bc8 46.Be6! Bb7 47.g4

It is zugzwang, and the game is over.

47…Ke5 48.Kc5 Ba6 49.Bf5 Black resigns.

Kashlinskaya's husband, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, also evaluated the ending as winning for White in all lines. 

Alina Kashlinskaya

With tiredness taking its toll now, the players are seen blundering more often than before. 

Charochkina – Shuvalova

1.f4!? d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 g6 4.b4 Bg7 5.Bb2 a5 6.b5 a4 7.Na3!? 0–0 8.Be2 c5 9.0–0 c4!?


This treatment of the opening caused a storm of emotions from the commentators, and Sergey Shipov even claimed that he neither had ever seen this position before, nor would he probably see it again either. In the game that followed the girls were very creative - Charochkina was on the offensive, and Polina on the defensive, but in the second time trouble everything ended with a tragic blunder of a rook.


58…Qc7?? 59.Qxe8 Qf4+ 60.Bf3 Black resigns.

Daria Charochkina

Aleksandra Goryachkina managed to outsmart the tournament’s first-timer in a tricky pawn ending.

Goryachkina – Shafigullina

49.b3 a3?

Zarina put her stakes on the extra passer, but the king is not in time to make it to b2. The way to draw was in 49...axb3 50.axb3 (White can also go dawn after: 50.cxb3 c5 51.dxc5 d4!) 50...Kf6! (After 50...Kf5? 51.c4 c5 52.dxc5 d4 53.c6 Ke6 54.f4 h3 55.f5+ White gains a crucial tempo) 51.c4 (or 51.Kg2 Kf5 52.c4 c5) 51...c5! 52.dxc5 d4 53.c6 Ke7 54.f4 h3 55.f5 h2 56.Kg2 d3 57.f6+ Kxf6 58.c7 d2 59.c8Q h1Q+ 60.Kxh1 d1Q+ with a perpet in the queen ending. Calculating this sequence in the time trouble is not an easy nut to crack!

50.c4 c5

Neither 50...Kd6 51.Kg2 nor 50...Kf5 51.cxd5 cxd5 52.b4 is going to help as leading to the winning mechanism known as pants. Now White is way ahead in promoting his passer.

51.cxd5+ Kxd5 52.dxc5 Kxc5 53.f4 Kd4 54.b4 Kc3 55.b5 Kb2 56.b6 Kxa2 57.b7 Ka1 58.b8Q h3 59.f5 Black resigns.

Aleksandra Goryachkina

A pack of leaders has become even more solid in the men’s section. Unexpectedly for the chess community already accustomed to the young Russian's streak of success, Vladislav Artemiev lost to Aleksey Dreev, but Ernesto Inarkiev and Evgeny Tomashevsky immediately advanced to “plus 1”. Alekseenko vs. Predke and Vitiugov vs. Matlakov ended in draws.  

Dreev – Artemiev

After 36...Qg5?! (Black was unwilling to trade queens although it is only White who needs to come up with precise moves after 36...Qxc3 37.bc Rf3!) 37.Ng2 (37.Nd1 is perhaps even stronger) Artemiev blundered with 37...Bxg2?? (in lieu of 37...Rd6!? with rough equality).  

Pressed for time, Dreev came up with the 38.h4!Intermezzo that forces the queen to abandon the defenses of the f6-rook. Artemiev had to resign shortly after. 


Alexey Dreev

 Playing Black, Ernesto Inarkiev defeated Dmitry Jakovenko.

Jakovenko – Inarkiev

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 Qb6

The most principled in the 3.е5 line of the Caro-Kann. In the 4.Nf3 and 5.Be2 Black is worse but solid, and the text is a draw, but one needs to be extremely well-versed in the opening theory at that.

7.Nc3 Nc6 8.0–0 Qxb2 9.Qe1 cxd4 10.Bxd4 Nxd4 11.Nxd4 Bb4 12.Ndb5 Ba5 13.Rb1 Qxc2 14.Rb3 Ne7 15.Nd6+ Kf8 16.Nxb7 Bb6

White tried different moves in this position, and Qd1 was the choice of a famous GM of Chelyabinsk: 17.Bd1 Qd3 18.Na4 Qe4 19.Nxb6 axb6 20.Qc3 d4 21.Qc7 Qc6, as in Ponkratov - Rozum, 2016. Jakovenko started by repeating moves, then challenged his opponent with the bishop’s retreat to d1. 

17.Nd6 Ba5 18.Nb7 Bb6 19.Nd6 Ba5 20.Bd1 Qd3 21.Bf3 Qd4 22.Ncb5 Qd2 23.Qxd2 Bxd2 24.Nd4 Bg6 25.Rb7 h5 26.Rd1 Bf4 27.Re1 Nc8?!

The engine shows different moves, but it is such a difficult position for Black to play over the board!

28.N6b5 Bd2 29.Rd1 Ba5 30.Nc6 

The clear initiative is with White, but it was the d-pawn’s march that sealed the fate of the game later on.

Ernesto Inarkiev

Tomashevsky – Fedoseev

White is slightly better, but after 29...Rcd7 there is nothing to fear for Black.

29...Nd7?! 30.d6!

Bronstein instructed us that you need to push such a pawn at the first opportune moment.

30…Rcc8 31.Bxb7 Rb8 32.Bxa6 Rxb3 33.Ra3 Rb4 34.Na5 Rxb2

Black has reclaimed the pawn, but the d6-passer is very potent and hard to fight against. Fedoseev gives the material back without delay to make his bishops active.

35.Nc6 Ra8 36.Rea1 f4!? 37.gxf4 exf4 38.Bxf4 


It is a time-trouble error as Black needed to prevent the homerank infiltration with 38...Rb3. 

39.Bc8! Rxa3 40.Rxa3 Be8

There is no stopping the pawn without material losses with 40...Rxc6 41.Bxd7 Rb6 42.Rd3, neither does the text move stop Tomashevsky from winning the game.

41.Ra8 Bf8 42.Bxd7 Bxd7 43.Ne5 Rxd6 44.Bxh6 Black resigns.

Evgeny Tomashevsky

The tournament standings after round 5: 1-4.  Ernesto Inarkiev, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Maxim Matlakov, Alexandr Predke - 3; 5-9. Vladislav Artemiev, Kirill Alekseenko, Alexander Motylev, Nikita Vitiugov, Alexey Dreev - 2.5; 10-11. Vladimir Fedoseev, Alexey Sarana - 2; 12. Dmitry Jakovenko - 1.5. The standings show players not far from each other, and it is too early yet to get upset for those trailing behind!  

In the women's fifth round, Olga Girya maintained her lead against her pursuer Natalya Pogonina (the previous year's edition saw these two players sort things out in a tie-break battle for the car and the gold medal) by making a draw. Polina Shuvalova vs. Alina Kashlinskaya was an uneventful draw, but Alexandra Goryachkina committed a grave mistake before the time control against Elena Tomilova, but the latter missed her chance, and it resulted in a perpetual. 

Valentina Gunina has been playing very solid chess, uncharacteristic of her. She proves time and again that she is capable of pure and strong chess.

Gunina – Potapova



One of the rebroadcasting sites had one of the fans write the following: Can Gunina come up with anything in a dead-draw like this? It turned out that Potapova needed to come up with some precise moves to make a draw.

22.Bb3 Rxc1 23.Rxc1 Rc8 24.Rd1! Nc4

It was worth opting for 24...Kf8!, bringing the king into the center and setting up a trap: 25.Nxe6+? fxe6 26.Rxd6 Bd5! The c4-knight proved misplaced.

25.h3 a6 26.Ne2! Ne5?

Perhaps, 26...Rc7 27.Rc1 b5 28.Bxc4 bxc4 29.Nc3 did not appeal to Potapova as the с4-pawn is likely to become a liability; White will blunt the opponent's bishop with his pawns and then start rolling his remote passer forward... On the other hand, the e5-knight is subject to yet another tempo move.

27.f4! Nc6 28.Rd7 Ba8 29.f5! Ne5 30.Rd6, White won a pawn and converted it.

Valentina Gunina

 Shafigullina – Bodnaruk


Bodnaruk gave a professional treatment of the game and got a minor edge. However, White’s defensive potential is not exhausted yet - 38.a4! a5 39.Ba3 b4 40.cxb4 axb4 41.Bxb4 Bxd4 42.Ba3. Black can take the a-pawn, but there will arise a 4 vs. 3 ending with great chances for Shafigullina to draw the game. Shafigullina seemed to have plenty of thinking time on her clock.  

38.Qa3? a5! 39.Bc5

39.Bxa5? Ra4 is bad, but it was worth trying 39.Bd6 at least.

39...Bxc5 40.dxc5 Qxc5 41.Qxa5?

There is no saving the game with weaknesses and down a pawn: 41.Qxc5 Rxc5 42.Rxe6 Rxe6 43.Rxe6 Rxc3, and the text drops a queen.

41...Ra4! White resigns.

Anastasia Bodnaruk

Alexandra Kosteniuk took her opponent by surprise by opting for a move that has caught up lately.


Kosteniuk – Charochkina

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e5 Ne4 5.Ne2 Qb6 6.d4 e6 7.Ng3 c5 8.Bd3 Nxg3 9.fxg3!? 

Recently, this seemingly anti-positional continuation was tested in the Internet match Van Forest - Wei Yi. White compromises his pawn structure, but wants to create dangerous threats along the f-file.

9...Nc6 10.0–0 c4?! 

The Chinese chess player took the pawn with 10...cxd4, while the text gives the initiative to White absolutely for free.

11.Be2 Be7 12.c3 Bd7 13.b3 cxb3 14.axb3 h6 15.Be3 Na5 16.Nd2 Rc8 17.b4 Nc6 18.Nb3, Alexandra soon broke through at the kingside, and even certain inaccuracies did not stop her from scoring yet another victory. 

Natalija Pogonina and Alexandra Kosteniuk

Standings after Round five:

1. Olga Girya - 4; 2-3. Natalija Pogonina, Alina Kashlinskaya - 3.5; 4-5. Aleksandra Goryachkina, Valentina Gunina - 3; 6. Alexandra Kosteniuk - 2.5; 7-9. Margarita Potapova, Daria Charochkina, Anastasia Bodnaruk - 2; 10-12. Zarina Shafigullina, Polina Shuvalova, Elena Tomilova - 1.5   

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili