Polina Shuvalova keeps leading the women’s event.
The ninth round of the Russian Championships Superfinals was played in the Central Chess Club in Moscow on December 14.
The leader of the open event Ian Nepomniachtchi lost to Daniil Dubov as Black. The rivals played a sharp variation of the Gruenfeld Defence, where Black gave the exchange for a pawn. After the game, Dubov thanked his second Alexander Riazantsev for the preparation of this line. Nepomniachtchi wasn’t acting precisely in a complicated position, and it allowed White to organise the attack on the opponent’s king using a piece sacrifice. In order to avoid a checkmate, Black had to give up his queen for a rook and a bishop, but his pieces were placed clumsy and couldn’t offer sufficient resistance to White. Dubov claimed the victory on the 40th move.
Sergey Karjakin joined Nepo in the lead after making a draw with Vladimir Fedoseev.
Andrey Esipenko, the youngest participant of the open tournament, scored the first win by defeating Aleksey Goganov with the white pieces. The rivals were struggling in a closed position, where White had the advantage in space, while Black got a weakness on a4. Esipenko won this pawn, and his knight turned out to be stronger than the opponent’s bishop, which was stuck on f8, and his queen and rook were interacting better than those of the Black. Eventually, White managed to make a breakthrough, and in a couple of moves, Goganov’s position became lost from the worse one. He resigned on the 78th move.
The games Chigaev – Vitiugov and Svidler – Artemiev were drawn.
Standings after Round 9:
1-2. Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi – 6
3-4. Maksim Chigaev, Daniil Dubov – 5.5
5-6. Vladislav Artemiev, Vladimir Fedoseev – 5
7-8. Andrey Esipenko, Nikita Vitiugov – 4.5
9. Peter Svidler – 4
10. Maxim Matlakov – 3.5
11. Aleksey Goganov – 2.5
12. Mikhail Antipov – 2.
Round 10 pairings:
Karjakin – Artemiev, Vitiugov – Matlakov, Goganov – Chigaev, Nepomniachtchi – Esipenko, Fedoseev – Dubov.
The leader of the women’s tournament Polina Shuvalova made a draw with Yulia Grigorieva. Shuvalova missed a strong tactical blow in a complex double-edged position, after which Grirorieva won the exchange. However, the fight didn’t finish: Shuvalova miraculously saved herself in the endgame to maintain the sole leadership.
Alexandra Kosteniuk outplayed Natalija Pogonina with the black pieces in the endgame with rooks and bishops: the 12th world women’s champion managed to confuse the rival in the time trouble. Tatyana Getman missed a tactical blow from Alisa Galliamova and resigned on the 21st move. Marina Guseva converted an extra pawn in the endgame versus Olga Girya.
The games Goryachkina – Kashlinskaya and Garifullina – Gunina ended in draws.
The key game will be played in the 10th round: Polina Shuvalova will face Aleksandra Goryachkina.
Standings after Round 9:
1. Polina Shuvalova – 7
2. Aleksandra Goryachkina – 6.5
3. Leya Garifullina – 6
4-5. Alexandra Kosteniuk, Marina Guseva – 5.5
6-7. Alisa Galliamova, Alina Kashlinskaya – 5
8. Natalija Pogonina – 4.5
9. Valentina Gunina – 3.5
10. Olga Girya – 3
11. Tatyana Getman – 1.5
12. Yulia Grigorieva – 0.5.
Round 9 pairings:
Kosteniuk – Guseva, Kashlinskaya – Girya, Shuvalova – Goryachkina, Getman – Grigorieva, Gunina – Galliamova, Pogonina – Garifullina.
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