On August 10, games of round 2 of the 68th Men’s and 65th Women’s Russian Championships were played in Chita.
Nikita Vitiugov, playing White versus Ivan Bukavshin, went for a calm and not too ambitious line, provoking his opponent to make an immediate breakthrough in the center. As Vitiugov admitted at the press conference, he had expected such a reaction from his rival. The continuation did not give White any objective edge, but Bukavshin got caught in a cunning trap, and an unexpected pawn sacrifice allowed the St. Petersburg grandmaster to gain a major advantage. Black made a few more imprecise moves afterwards, whereas White built up the pressure steadily. On move 28, Ivan Bukavshin resigned in a hopeless position.
Alexander Motylev obtained an edge over Ildar Khairullin, but committed a blunder in a promising position (although a very sharp and complex one) and ended up with a piece down. Motylev tried to “muddy the waters,” but Khairullin countered the threats to his king neatly and scored a win.
Evgeny Tomashevsky, playing a trendy variation as Black versus Denis Khismatullin, used a new interesting idea, which he himself later called “a semi-bluff”. Had White found the correct continuation, Evgeny would have had to switch to a defensive stance, but it turned out that Khismatullin had analyzed this line at home much less deeply than his opponent. Denis made a tempting exchange sacrifice, but this courageous solution fell short of expectations. White had to defend an unpleasant position, and, given the sudden time trouble, this wasn’t a simple task. Making use of his opponent’s oversights, Tomashevsky hunted down his bishop and trapped it, after which White had to acknowledge defeat.
The games Lysyj – Karjakin, Dubov – Artemiev, and Svidler – Jakovenko were drawn.
In the women’s event, Alexandra Goriachkina secured the second win in a row, confidently outplaying Ekaterina Kovalevskaya as White.
Valentina Gunina outsmarted Alina Kashlinskaya late in the opening and gained a considerable advantage, since her bishop proved to be much more active than her opponent’s opposite-colored bishop. The Russian champion brought the point home with flying colors.
Natalia Pogonina, who played versus Anastasia Savina as White, was inaccurate in the opening and allowed her opponent to get a very promising position with initiative. White was unable to develop counterplay, and Black made a breakthrough on the kingside and secured a passer that proved to be unstoppable. Natalia surrendered in a hopeless position.
The game Guseva – Girya was a lengthy maneuvering battle. White spoilt her opponent’s pawn structure on the queenside, but Black got a powerful knight in the center as a compensation. Marina was unable to prepare an attack against the king, and little by little Olga’s advantage was becoming ever more obvious. True, Girya overlooked a few winning continuations, but at the end she made a beautiful blow to score her second point at the Superfinal.
The games Ovod – Kosteniuk and Bodnaruk – Lagno ended in a draw.
The second round’s games were commentated in Russian by Grandmaster Sergey Shipov. Comments in English were provided by Grandmasters Evgenij Miroshnichenko and Anna Burtasova.
Standings after round 2:
1-4. Karjakin, Khairullin, Tomashevsky, Vitiugov – 1.5 each; 5-9. Svidler, Jakovenko, Lysyj, Dubov, Artemiev – 1 each; 10-11. Motylev, Bukavshin – 0.5 each; 12. Khismatullin – 0.
1-2. Girya, Goriachkina – 2 each; 3. Savina – 1.5; 4-8. Gunina, Kosteniuk, Lagno, Pogonina, Bodnaruk – 1 each; 9-11. Kovalevskaya, Ovod, Guseva – 0.5 each; 12. Kashlinskaya – 0.
Round 3 pairings:
Khairullin – Svidler, Artemiev – Motylev, Bukavshin – Dubov, Karjakin – Vitiugov, Tomashevsky – Lysyj, Jakovenko – Khismatullin.
Kashlinskaya – Goriachkina, Savina – Gunina, Girya – Pogonina, Kosteniuk – Guseva, Lagno – Ovod, Kovalevskaya – Bodnaruk.
The Russian Championship Superfinals are held by the Russian Chess Federation, the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation and the Zabaykalsky Krai Chess Federation, with support from the government of the Zabaykalsky Krai. The competition partners are Norilsk Nickel and the Baikalsk Mining Company.
The games will be played at the Megapolis-Sport Youth Palace. The rounds will begin at 15:00 (10:00 Moscow time), while the last round will start at 13:00 (08:00 Moscow time). The playing days are August 9-14 and 16-21. A day off will be provided on August 15. The tournaments’ total prize fund is 8 million rubles.
On the free day of August 15, simultaneous exhibitions will be held in Chita. Fifty young chess players from the Zabaykalsky Krai will cross swords with famous grandmasters: Evgeniy Najer, Sergei Rublevsky, and Evgenij Miroshnichenko.
As has become a tradition at these tournaments, the organizers are preparing an extensive additional program for chess lovers of any age.
The Russian Chess Federation’s official website will have online and video broadcasting, and well-known grandmasters will commentate the games both in Russian and in English.
The tournament’s official website: http://ruchess.ru/
For more information, please contact: Eteri Kublashvili, +7-905-791-76-51, e-mail: email@example.com; Elena Fedorova, 8-964-470-06-06, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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– GM Susan Polgar