64th Russian Championship – Svidler shoots into lead with dramatic win

8/14/2011 – With only three rounds to go, points carry added weight for those vying for the top spots, and it showed. Svidler seemed in danger of losing his lead to Moro, who had caught up with him, yet punched his way to victory after a dangerous slip. Morozevich gambled his certain draw with a unwarranted winning attempts, and instead lost, leaving Svidler with a full point lead. Round five report.

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Prize fund: 90.000€ (24.000 - 17.500 - 12.500 - 11.000 - 9.000 - 7.500 - 4.000 - 2.500)
Tourney mode: round robin with 7 rounds
Time mode: 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes + 30 seconds/move starting with the 1st move.
Game start: 13:00, last round 11:00
Rest day: 12th August

64th Russian Championship Super Final

This year's Russian Championship Super Final also marks a special edition: the 64th. Oddly though, instead of some mega event with more, the tournament has been cut down from last year's eleven-round edition with twelve players to a mere seven rounds and eight players. Still, don't think that makes it a lesser event by any means, as it also brings together a fantastic field with Kramnik, Karjakin, Grischuk, Morozevich, Svidler, Nepomniachtchi, and Galkin for a 2715 average rating. Once more the Russian Federation hosts the championship at a level that few can rival, with high resolution video broadcasting and of course grandmaster commentary. Round one through four will be commented by GM Sergey Makarichev, while rounds five through seven will be commented on by world-famous coach Mark Dvoretsky.

Round five

The fifth round was a classic soap opera, with elements of surprise, dismay and the mundane sprinkled across the boards as players recovered from languid Friday at varying speeds.

Svidler had a lucky escape from Timofeev’s Ruy Lopez. The game saw strategic manoeuvring typical of this positional opening with both players fighting for control of the centre. Black succeeded in achieving the freeing d5 break, but slipped up with 27….f6? giving Artyom an excellent chance to win a pawn with 28. Ra7! However, he overlooked the tactics and went on to spoil his position a couple of mvoes laters with the regressive 30. Rdc1.

Svidler now has a commanding lead going into the last two rounds

Svidler pounced, nailed the white queen in a deftly deployed kingside trap, and snatched the point.

[Event "64th ch-RUS"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2011.08.13"] [Round "5"] [White "Timofeev, Arty"] [Black "Svidler, P."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C70"] [WhiteElo "2665"] [BlackElo "2739"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2011.08.08"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nge7 5. c3 g6 6. d4 exd4 7. Nxd4 Bg7 8. Be3 O-O 9. O-O b5 10. Bc2 Ne5 11. a4 Rb8 12. axb5 axb5 13. Nd2 d6 14. h3 c5 15. N4f3 N5c6 16. Bf4 Rb7 17. Qe2 c4 18. Rfd1 Rd7 19. Nf1 d5 20. Bg5 Qc7 21. Qe3 b4 22. Bf4 Qd8 23. Bh6 d4 (23... b3 24. Bb1 d4 25. Rxd4 (25. Nxd4 Bxh6 26. Qxh6 Nxd4 27. cxd4 Rxd4) (25. cxd4) 25... Nxd4) 24. cxd4 Nxd4 25. Bxg7 Nxf3+ 26. Qxf3 Kxg7 27. e5 f6 $2 {This move is bad for tactical reasons as it allows a shot pressuring the crossroads on d7.} 28. Ne3 ({Now Artyom had an excellent chance to win a pawn with} 28. Ra7 $1 b3 (28... Rxd1 29. Qxd1 {and now if} Qxd1 $4 {White has the zwischenzug} 30. Rxe7+ Rf7 31. exf6+ Kxf6 32. Rxf7+ Kxf7 33. Bxd1 $18) 29. Bxb3 cxb3 30. Raxd7 Bxd7 31. Qb7 Bc6 32. Rxd8 Bxb7 33. Rd7 fxe5 34. Rxb7 Rf7 35. Rxb3 $14) 28... b3 29. Be4 Qc7 30. Rdc1 Rd4 31. Qg3 f5 32. Bf3 f4 33. Qh4 h6 34. Ng4 Nf5 0-1

Morozevich, playing the French Defence with black, tragically gambled away a drawn rook ending against Nepomniachtchi. The encounter was evenly fought until well into the endgame, when black overestimated his position and played the fatal 40. Rc4 attempting to create counterplay instead of stopping white’s king advance with Rg7+. A race ensued on opposite sides of the board in which Nepomniachtchi’s precise technique pronounced him the winner.

Feeling he had a chance to swindle Nepomniachtchi, Moro went too far and lost

[Event "64th ch-RUS"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2011.08.13"] [Round "5"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, I."] [Black "Morozevich, A."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C10"] [WhiteElo "2711"] [BlackElo "2694"] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2011.08.08"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Bg5 h6 7. Nxf6+ Nxf6 8. Bh4 c5 9. Bd3 Qa5+ 10. c3 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Bd7 12. O-O Bd6 13. Qf3 Qh5 14. Qxh5 Nxh5 15. f3 Nf4 16. Be4 Bc5 17. Bf2 Bxd4 18. Bxd4 Ne2+ 19. Kf2 Nxd4 20. cxd4 Ke7 21. Rfe1 Kd6 22. Re3 Rab8 23. Ra3 a6 24. Rc1 Rhc8 25. Rxc8 Bxc8 26. f4 Bd7 27. Ke3 f5 28. Bf3 g5 29. h3 Bc6 30. Bxc6 Kxc6 31. Rc3+ Kd6 32. Rb3 Kc6 33. a4 Rg8 34. fxg5 Rxg5 35. Kf3 h5 36. g3 Rg7 37. Re3 Kd5 38. Re5+ Kd6 39. Kf4 Rc7 40. Kg5 Rc4 $6 {The first imprecision which gives White a slight pull, though Black should still be able to hold} 41. Kf6 Rxd4 $6 {This second one, insisting on going in the wrong direction, is serious as now White has a significant edge.} ({Moro could still hold with} 41... Rc2 $1 42. Rxe6+ Kd5 43. Rb6 (43. Re5+ Kxd4 44. Kxf5 Rxb2 $11) 43... Rg2 44. Rb3 Kxd4 45. Kxf5 Kc4 46. Rc3+ Kb4 47. g4 Rxb2 48. Rg3 Rf2+ 49. Kg6 hxg4 $11) 42. Rxe6+ Kc7 43. Kxf5 $18 Rxa4 44. g4 hxg4 45. hxg4 Rb4 46. Re2 Kd6 47. g5 Rb3 48. g6 Rg3 49. Re6+ Kd7 50. Rb6 Kc7 51. Rb4 a5 52. Rg4 Rf3+ 53. Kg5 Rf8 54. g7 Rg8 55. Kf6 Kc6 56. Kf7 Rd8 57. g8=Q Rxg8 58. Kxg8 Kc5 59. b3 1-0

The remaining four participants were in a more amicable (or perhaps cautious) mood after the free day break.

Kramnik finally draws

Kramnik made his first draw of the tournament playing Grischuk from black in the Queen’s Gambit Ragozin Defence. Grischuk diverged from known theory by trying the inoffensive 17. Rc2 for a friendly spar with the black queen. The novelty was not particularly useful as the point was immediately split through threefold repetition.

Galkin-Karjakin was a tame Scotch Four Knights game where black equalised easily after the opening. Galkin simplified into a drawish endgame via a forced series of exchanges starting with 21.Bxh6 and the expected result was reached soon after.

The tournament now has a clear leader with Svidler perched alone on 4 points, a full point ahead of his nearest rival Morozevich. He faces today's other winner Nepomniachtchi in round six. Two rounds remain.

Photographs by the Russian Federation (Russiachess.org)

Standings after five rounds


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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