26 January 2018

When in Need, a Tie-Break System Is a Friend Indeed

Dmitry Kryakvin reports about Vladimir Dvorkovich Memorial, a stage of the Russian Cup 

A tournament dedicated to the memory of a well-known chess arbiter Vladimir Dvorkovich finished in Taganrog. The Russian Cup was revived in due time thanks to the endeavors of the legendary referee, who was the first in Russia to make a path from the legacy of the Soviet refereeing to modern arbiters’ codes. That’s why it is logical to start a year with a tournament which attracts many strong chess players and honors Vladimir Dvorkovich’s memory.

December 30, 2017, was the 80th birthday anniversary of Vladimir Dvorkovich, and the competition was visited by distinguished guests and the arbiter’s family. Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Arkady Dvorkovich and Governor of Rostov Oblast Vasily Golubev greeted the players; Galina Lvovna Dvorkovich and her second son Mikhail came to the event as well.

The starting list was headed by a participant of the Russian Championship Superfinal-2017 and the Russian Champion-2000 Sergey Volkov, the Russian Cup-2017 runner-up Dmitry Kokarev, one of the major heroes of the WRBC-2017 in Saudi Arabia Boris Savchenko, the Siberian landing force represented by Dmitry Bocharov and Aleksei Pridorozhni, the World Cup participant Ilia Iljushenok, two-time participant of the Russian Championship Superfinals Aleksey Goganov, and the winner of the Russian Higher League-2008 Artyom Tomofeev (your author mixed in with them as well). However, Sergey Nesterov, of course, didn’t miss the chance to “trial” the promising youth of his club: Alexey Sarana, Alexandr Triapishko, Dmitry Tsoi, Volodar Murzin, and Evita Cherepanova. And it turned out to be quite strong. If we speak about young talents, I cannot but mention Leonid Lystsov from Pyatigorsk (born in 2007). I have already written in my reviews on the Russian Youth Championships and World School Championship about successes of Viktor Skorchenko’s trainee (Viktor Alexandrovich is the father of GM Dmitry Skorchenko), but this time Lenya was fighting against strong adult chess players. One can see Leonid’s great abilities and it is important for him to be supported in his place. Lystsov should be invited to Sirius and grandmasters’ schools.

Those who were going to face Volodar Murzin, came to the playing hall cursing the drawing of lots. How to fight against this prodigy? I can say only one thing about Murzin: thank God, I played him only in blitz. Evgeny Potemkin ran up to us immediately, fixed his camera and exclaimed that he was going to collect thousands of views in YouTube thanks to this video. Volodar and I strained ourselves to make a quick draw. Dima Tsoy found his name in all local newspapers having defeated a thirtyfold champion of Taganrog Sergey Mihailov in the last round. Any victory against Mihailov becomes a sensation in the favorite city of Anton Chekhov.  

Severe anti-cheating rules were valid in the classical tournament. On the instruction of Mikhail Kryukov, arbiter Dmitry Gusev was strolling in the centre of the playing hall throwing out his portable radio-metal detector in a salutatory gesture as the Roman legions had shaken their swords when seeing Caesar.

When something seemed suspicious to Gusev (who is a very meticulous person), he was carefully X-raying pockets of jackets and bags with his instrument. To make a long story short, a cheater (even if swindlers were not present) did not pass there.

There were losses as well, for example, Gleb Apryshko withdrew from the tournament. Gleb is a very talented chess player, but a lot of mystical things have permanently happened to him in recent times. Once Apryshko excels in a side event of Moscow Open, Aeroflot or the Amateurs’ tournament of Sergey Beshukov, he then fails the next competition, and his rating becomes lower than a necessary mark of 2300. Thus, poor Gleb is living in this enchanted circle to skim the cream off in amateur events (money prizes are quite good in the above-mentioned tournaments, and Apryshko won two bags of money in Loo) without the possibility to break through. In Taganrog, the hero of amateur opens lost 20 points (having 2316) and could not continue the event due to good reasons.

In recent years, the youth has triumphed in Dvorkovich Memorial. Volodya Fedoseev, Alexandr Triapishko, and now Lesha Sarana excelled. The future winner’s way to victory was quite light – he started with four ordinary wins (he defeated a “troublesome” Kokarev in the fourth game) and then drew against Bocharov. In round 6, he outplayed Saveliy Golubov, but then he was upset by Iljushenok’s gust a la Tal. There was a struggle with a grandmaster from Saint Petersburg ahead.

Sarana – Goganov

Round 8

Black is suffering: he is lacking a pawn, while his opponent has closed pincers, but Goganov found a last chance in a time trouble by sacrificing a piece.  

35... Bxe5!? 36.fxe5 Qxe5+ 37.Kg1 Ra7!  

It turns out that 38.g3 Ra1+ 39.Kg2 Rxf2+ 40.Kxf2 Qf5+ 41.Kg2 Ra2+ 42.Kg1 Ra1+ leads to a draw; Black also saves himself in a rook endgame after 38.Rxf5 gxf5 39.Rxd4 Ra1+ 40.Kf2 Qf4+ 41.Qf3 Ra2+ 42.Kf1 Qxf3+ 43.gxf3 fxe4 44.Rxe4 Rb2 45.b4 Kg7. But there is a way to win and Alexey Jr. has found it.

38.Rf1! Rxf1+ 39.Kxf1 Ra1+ 40.Ke2 Qh5+ 41.Qf3!  

It is unclear after 41.Kf2 Qxh4+ 42.Qg3 Ra2+ 43.Kf3 Qh5+ 44.Qg4 Qxg4+ 45.Kxg4 Rxg2+ 46.Kf4 h5, there is not so much pawn material left, and Black will try to push h-pawn as soon as possible.

41...Qb5+ 42.Kd2 Qa5+ 43.Kd3!


Beautiful! The king is in the centre of the board, but in reality it is the black monarch who has problems.  

43…Qb5+ 44.Kc2 Rf1 45.Nf6+ Kh8 46.Rd8+  

It’s a pity that the game didn’t finish with a spectacular line 46.Qa8+ Kg7 47.Qg8+ Kxf6 48.Rxe6+ Kf5 49.Qxg6+ Kf4 50.Re4#.  

46...Kg7 47.Rd7+ Qxd7 48.Nxd7 Rxf3 49.gxf3 Black resigns because his rival has an extra knight.  

Dmitry Bocharov, who had also won first 4 games, was leading as well. However, the Fortune, who had been taking so much care of the Novosibirsk grandmaster, left him in the last round.   


Volkov – Bocharov

Round 9




A mistake one pace away from draw. If Black had played 39...Kh7! 40.Qb8 (40. Qc6 Qe2) 40...Qe2, his king would have left the 8th rank, his queen would have threatened his opponent with a perpetual check, while his b-pawn would have been ready to run towards the dear 1st rank.    

40.Qc6 b4 41.Qb6  

The black pawn is blocked, but who will stop the white one?  

41…Qa8 42.d6 b3??  

A fatal blunder. Black could have stubbornly resisted after 42...Qd5 43.Qxb4 f6.  

43.d7 Black resigns.  

As a result, Sarana, who had made a draw with Pridorozhni, was caught by Volkov. Their tie-breaks looked rather equal, so everything was decided in other games. The tournament’s destiny was practically determined in the game between your correspondent and a strong chess player from Surgut.

Nikolai Kabanov had played with Sergey Volkov in round 7, and the Saransk grandmaster needed his rival’s success in the last round to win the event. However, firstly, Black lost a very big advantage, and then – an equality.  


Kryakvin – Kabanov

Round 9


There is an easy win after 1.Rh7 (g7) with the idea of 1…Ke6 (there is no 1…Ra6 because of 2.b5!, and no 1…с5 because of 2.b5) 2.Rh6+ Kd7 (2…Kd5 3.Rh5+ и 4.Ra5) 3.Rh8!  

However, it was far from it. Grandmaster Kryakvin quite often happens to play key games in the last rounds with not so many points scored. Thus, in the Russian Championship Higher League-2015, he nearly gave Alexander Riazantsev a heart attack by three times offering his opponent Maxim Vavulin to proceed to a bishop endgame which was won for the latter (Riazantsev needed a draw in their game to qualify for the Superfinal). Max “did well’’ by having missed an open goal, Sasha kept alive and kicking, and eventually won the Superfinal. And the combatant value of the women’s national team didn’t suffer for a little.

And here White pushed his king roundabout to b8 instead of implementing a basic method described by Mark Dvoretsky. It is good that White wasn’t mated somewhere in between. The rook on a4 with the following с6-с5 didn’t meet this titanic march. Alexey Sarana won the tournament!

Dmitry Bocharov became third with 6.5 points. Ilia Iljushenok, Artyom Timofeev, Aleksei Pridorozhni, Aleksander Moskalenko, Dmitry Kryakvin, and Alexandr Triapishko also scored 6.5 points. Here I am obliged to thank Oleg Vastrukhin, who defeated me in the rook endgame in the middle of the tournament, then lost two games in a row and didn’t fight against a local amateur in the last round at least for the sake of his opponents’ tie-breakers. When you have Oleg as a friend, you don’t have to quarrel with anybody!

Best results in categories: seniors - Yuri Balashov, women - Tatyana Getman, and local chess players - Alexander Chernyavsky.

Finally, I would like to remind you that a stage of the Rapid Grand Prix of Russia is planned to be held in Taganrog in Summer; it will be dedicated to the memory of Vladimir Dvorkovich as well. See you next time!