Sergey Karjakin and Ian Nepomniachtchhi lead the open event.
The sixth round of the Russian Championships Superfinals was played on December 9 in the Central Chess Club in Moscow.
Having defeated Aleksey Goganov and Maxim Matlakov respectively, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Sergey Karjakin keep leading the open tournament.
Ian Nepomniachtchi: “I was preparing quite a lot for this game and played a new line for me. In fact, Aleksey is playing very solidly as White here and willingly goes for mass exchanges. That’s why my task was to get a complicated position from the opening and go into an interesting strategic struggle. The line I had prepared happened in the game. I think that White didn’t play optimally in the opening, so I managed to equalise at first and then to get good chances after his blunder 18. b3 Be4. I liked the way the struggle was going on and thought that only Black was playing for a win. After it, I think, I was acting rather precisely not giving much chances for a counterplay to my opponent”.
Sergey Karjakin: “The game was rather complex. Maxim managed to surprise me despite the fact I was preparing this line. Ding Liren and Anish Giri had played it in the FIDE Candidates, so I was mainly preparing for the line Anish had chosen. However, Maxim played differently and offered the variation with a queen sacrifice for a rook and a bishop. I was thinking quite a lot and finally decided to act in the most principal way. Objectively, Black should hold there, but it wasn’t quite easy for him to play in a practical game, and at some point Matlakov made an inaccuracy (21…h6), and soon I got an advantage. I think that I was converting it well, although the opponent helped me in the end, bus still this position had to be winning”.
Vladislav Artemiev beat Andrey Esipenko as White. Esipenko implemented quite an interesting piece sacrifice on the 25th move but made a mistake right after it. Artemiev accurately defended against all the threats and kept the material advantage.
The games Vitiugov – Fedoseev, Svidler – Chigaev, and Antipov – Dubov were drawn.
Standings after Round 6:
1-2. Ian Nepomniachtchi, Sergey Karjakin – 4.5
3-4. Vladislav Artemiev, Vladimir Fedoseev – 3.5
5-8. Maksim Chigaev, Peter Svidler, Daniil Dubov, Nikita Vitiugov – 3
9-12. Andrey Esipenko, Maxim Matlakov, Aleksey Goganov, Mikhail Antipov – 2.
December 11 is a free day. One of the key games of the tournament between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Sergey Karjakin will be played in Round 7.
Round 7 pairings:
Nepomniachtchi – Karjakin, Fedoseev – Goganov, Dubov – Vitiugov, Esipenko – Antipov, Chigaev – Artemiev, Matlakov – Svidler.
Polina Shuvalova continues her phenomenal undefeated streak in the women’s tournament. She won the sixth game in a row, this time against the two-time Russian women’s champion Natalija Pogonina.
Polina Shuvalova: “The game started with a very comfortable opening for me, and I had a big time advantage. But Natalija knows how to defend such worse positions, and at some point, I allowed her to organise a counterplay. Probably, I lost the major part of my edge, we were more or less equal in time, and an unclear endgame appeared. I think we were both very tired and made mistakes. In general, I had an advantage but I saw an opportunity for her to level the game. However, it was harder for Natalija to defend, and I managed to win”.
The reigning Russian champion Olga Girya won the first game having beaten Yulia Grigorieva. Marina Guseva won against Alisa Galliamova, while Valentina Gunina lost to Tatyana Getman.
One of the key matches between Alexandra Kosteniuk and Aleksandra Goryachkina ended in a draw. The game between Alina Kashlinskaya and Leya Garifullina was also drawn.
Standings after Round 6:
1. Polina Shuvalova – 6
2. Aleksandra Goryachkina – 4.5
3. Leya Garifullina – 4
4. Natalija Pogonina – 3.5
5-7. Alisa Galliamova, Marina Guseva, Alexandra Kosteniuk – 3
8-9. Olga Girya, Alina Kashlinskaya – 2.5
10. Valentina Gunina – 2
11. Tatyana Getman – 1.5
12. Yulia Grigorieva – 0.5.
Round 7 pairings:
Gunina – Kosteniuk, Pogonina – Getman, Garifullina – Shuvalova, Galliamova – Kashlinskaya, Grigorieva – Guseva, Goryachkina – Girya.
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.
Photos by Eteri Kublashvili and Vladimir Barsky