November 27, 2021

Sergey Karjakin Becomes Sole Leader of Russian Championship Superfinal

Polina Shuvalova wins the third game in a row.

The third round of the Russian Championships Superfinals was played on December 7 in the Central Chess Club in Moscow.  

Five games out of six ended in draws in the open tournament. Sergey Karjakin was the only one to win the game against Nikita Vitiugov. The grandmasters discussed the well-known theoretical Berlin endgame, where Vitiugov implemented a new (or very rare) plan: he pushed his pawn to a5 and transferred the rook to the centre through a4. Karjakin did almost the same thing on the kingside.

White’s position looked quite promising, but it seems that Vitiugov chose a wrong plan around move 20, which allowed White to regroup and equalise the game. Vitiugov overestimated his chances by placing a bet on his a-pawn, while Black activated his king and got several passers. Soon after the time trouble, Vitiugov resigned. Having scored 2.5 points out of 3, Sergey Karjakin became the sole leader. 

The games Goganov – Antipov, Nepomniachtchi – Artemiev, Fedoseev – Svidler, Dubov – Matlakov, and Esipenko – Chigaev were drawn. 

The St Petersburg derby Fedoseev vs. Svidler turned out to be the most spectacular of all drawn encounters. The game saw a very long theoretical line in the Grunfeld Defence, where the attack and defence finally balanced each other. 

Standings after Round 3:

1. Sergey Karjakin – 2.5
2-4. Maksim Chigaev, Vladimir Fedoseev, Ian Nepomniachtchi – 2
5-8. Peter Svidler, Vladislav Artemiev, Aleksey Goganov, Daniil Dubov – 1.5
9-11. Andrey Esipenko, Mikhail Antipov, Nikita Vitiugov – 1
12. Maxim Matlakov – 0.5.

Round 4 pairings:

Karjakin – Chigaev, Matlakov – Esipenko, Svidler – Dubov, Artemiev – Fedoseev, Antipov – Nepomniachtchi, Vitiugov – Goganov.

The leader of the women’s event Polina Shuvalova scored the third victory in a row by defeating Alexandra Kosteniuk. 

Polina Shuvalova: „The game was unfolding very comfortably for me from the opening, and I got an advantage. Then I decided to sacrifice a pawn at some point, but I’m not sure whether I ought to have done it. I missed the fact that I cannot take on e6 after 23…Nf7, so I had to give a second pawn to maintain initiative and then to sacrifice on   h3. Of course, it was much harder to play this position as Black, especially in Alexandra’s time trouble. I cannot say where the crucial mistake took place, but it was very difficult for her to defend. Probably, Alexandra blundered 32. Bh6, after which my position is winning“. 

Alina Kashlinskaya won against Tatyana Getman, while Valentina Gunina lost to Marina Guseva. 

The games Pogonina – Girya, Galliamova – Grigoryeva, and Garifullina – Goryachkina were drawn. Yulia Grigorieva and Leya Garifullina were on the verge of beating their famous opponents, but Alisa Galliamova and Aleksandra Goryachkina were very persistent in defence and managed to save themselves. 

Standings after Round 3:

1. Polina Shuvalova – 3
2-6. Aleksandra Goryachkina, Alisa Galliamova, Marina Guseva, Leya Garifullina, Natalija Pogonina – 2
7. Alina Kashlinskaya – 1.5
8-9. Olga Girya, Valentina Gunina – 1
10-12. Yulia Grigorieva, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Tatyana Getman – 0.5.

Round 4 pairings:

Kosteniuk – Grigorieva, Goryachkina – Galliamova, Girya – Garifulina, Guseva – Pogonina, Kashlinskaya – Gunina, Shuvalova – Getman.

Total prize fund is 10 million rubles.

The medalists well be given tickets to the legendary CHESS musical. 

The tournament is a part of the Chess in Museums programme, which has been carried out by the Chess Federation of Russia and the Elena and Gennady Foundation since 2012.   

The organisers are the Chess Federation of Russia and the Timchenko Foundation. The tournament is supported by the Russian Ministry of Sports. The general sponsor of the Russian national teams is the Federal Grid Company Unified Energy System (FGC UES). The CFR general partner is PhosAgro.   

Tournament on Chess-Results

Tournament information

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili  



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