All Men Draw Again in Novosibirsk.
The 7th round of the Russian Superfinal was played on October 23 in Novosibirsk.
The most interesting game of the men’s championship was played between the rating favorites, Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler. The players went for the Marshall Attack, discussing a fashionable line, in which White enjoys the bishop pair. Black needed to play precisely in order to hold the balance. At the critical moment Svidler carried out a positional exchange sacrifice, and a thrilling game under mutual time pressure ensued. All in all, the balance of the game has never been shaken, and the players agreed to a draw soon upon passing the time control.
Peter Svidler: “White played a novelty – 15. Na3. Curiously, I intended to play it myself as White in one of the earlier games. I guess this novelty is well known to all players who study the Marshall. It looks like the game was quite even throughout, but we both liked our side more. This was an interesting game, which ended like the majority of other games in this tournament.”
Nikita Vitiugov was close to a victory against Dmitry Jakovenko. It seemed Black’s passed pawns were about to decide the fate of the game in favor of the St. Petersburger. However, Jakovenko defended stubbornly and utilized the first misplay of his opponents to survive with a sequence of the only moves.
Relatively quiet draws occurred in Riazantsev-Inarkiev, Kokarev-Tomashevsky, and Goganov-Fedoseev. Grigoriy Oparin was under strong pressure but survived against Dmitry Bocharov.
In the women’s tournament, Natalija Pogonina suffered a quick loss, playing Black against Ekaterina Ubiennykh. On the move 18, Pogonina blundered a piece and soon resigned.
Alexandra Kosteniuk drew with Alisa Galliamova. They played an interesting game in the Queen’s Indian Defense. Kosteniuk, playing Black, abstained from castling and advanced her queenside pawns, but got under an unpleasant pin. Galliamova sacrificed two pawns for the initiative, but a couple of moves before the control preferred to force a draw by perpetual.
Valentina Gunina, playing White against Anastasia Bodnaruk, started the game in a reckless style, advancing her h-pawn to the 6th rank. Black replied with a central break and skilfully utilized weaknesses in White’s position. Bodnaruk played very strong chess, and soon White started to suffer casualties. Gunina resigned after 37 moves.
Daria Pustovoitova proved strength of the bishop pair in an endgame with Daia Charochkina. This is a third victory in a row for Pustovoitova.
Kashlinskaya-Ovod and Girya-Goryachkina made draws.
Men’s championship, standings after 7 rounds:
Grischuk, Jakovenko, Svidler, Fedoseev, Riazantsev, Tomashevsky – 4
Oparin, Goganov, Kokarev – 3.5
Vitiugov – 3
Inarkiev – 2.5
Boachrov – 2
Round 8 pairings:
Inarkiev-Oparin, Vitiugov-Bocharov, Svidler-Jakovenko, Fedoseev-Grischuk, Tomashevsky-Goganov, Riazantsev-Kokarev
Women’s championship, standings after 7 rounds:
Kosteniuk – 5
Girya, Pogonina, Bodnaruk – 4.5
Goryachkina, Pustovoitova – 4
Charochkina – 3.5
Gunina, Ovod – 3
Kashlinskaya, Galliamova, Ubiennykh – 2
Round 8 pairings:
Kosteniuk-Goryachkina, Ovod-Girya, Bodnaruk-Kashlinskaya, Pustovoitova-Gunina, Pogonina-Charochkina, Galliamova-Ubiennykh
The Superfinals of 69th Russian men’s championship and 66th Russian women’s championship take place on October 15-27 at the Novosibirsk State Museum of Local History. The organizers are Russian Chess Federation, Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation, government of Novosibirsk Region, and Novosibirsk mayor’s office. General partner of the event – RATM Holding.
Pictures by E. Kublashvili and V. Barsky