Peter Svidler leads in Russian Super Final

10/7/2008 – In round four he took a 14-move break, but after winning the first three games Saint Petersburger GM Pjotr Svidler is in the lead in the Russian Championship, with 3.5/4 points and a performance of 3028. He is followed by Alexander Lastin with 3.0 points. Top seed Alexander Morozevich (there are three Alexanders in this tournament) is in 5-8th place with 2.0. Report after round four.

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Russian Championship Super Final

The Russian Championship Super Final is taking place from October 3rd to 15th in the Moscow Central Chess Club. Participants are the top players by rating and qualifiers from the higher league competitions. The rate of play is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves, and then 15 minutes and a 30 second increment per move to end the game. Players cannot offer draws directly to their opponents but have to do so through an arbiter. Play starts at 15:00h local Moscow time (13:00 CEST, 07:00 New York). The prize fund is five million roubles, which translates to 139,000 Euros or US $193,000.

Round three

Round 3: Sunday, 5th October 2008
Peter Svidler 
1-0
 Alexander Riazantse
Konstantin Sakaev 
½-½
 Alexander Lastin
Nikita Vitiugov 
½-½
 Alexander Morozevich
Dmitry Jakovenko 
1-0
 Evgeny Alekseev
Artyom Timofeev 
1-0 
 Ernesto Inarkiev
Konstantin Maslak 
½-½ 
 Evgeny Tomashevsky

Svidler,P (2727) - Riazantsev,A (2656) [C11]
ch-RUS Moscow RUS (3), 05.10.2008
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qd2 0-0 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.0-0-0 Qa5 11.Bxc5 Nxc5 12.h4 Bd7 13.h5 Rab8 14.h6 g6 15.Qe3 Na4 16.Nxa4 Qxa4 17.Kb1 Rfc8 18.Rd2 Nb4 19.a3

Now the fireworks start – will White be able to survive? 19...Rxc2 20.axb4 Rc1+ 21.Kxc1 Qa1+ 22.Kc2 Rc8+ 23.Qc3. White must give his queen, since 23.Kd3 is mate: 23.Kd3 Qa6+ 24.Kd4 Qb6+ 25.Kd3 Bb5#. Pretty. 23...Rxc3+ 24.Kxc3 Bb5 25.Kd4! An "iron king" marches forward. 25...Bxf1 26.Rf2 Qc1 27.Rfxf1 Qxf4+ 28.Kd3 Qe4+ 29.Kd2 Qxb4+.

Two rooks and a knight for a queen and three pawns. Normally the white king would retreat, the queen would keep checking and the game would be drawn. Peter Svidler decides to go for a kingside attack. 30.Ke3 Qb6+ 31.Kf4 f6 32.exf6 Qxb2 33.Kg4 Qxg2+ 34.Kh4 Qb2 35.Rhg1 Qxf6+ 36.Ng5 Qb2 37.Kh3 a5

Now White can actually mate, after 38.Rg3 and 39.Rgf3 (Rf3 and Rgf1), but Svidler's move, 38.Nxe6 (threatening 39.Rf8#) is sufficient to make his opponent resign. 1-0.

Jakovenko-Alekseev saw an instructive same-colored bishop endgame, which was well handled by White. It is worth replaying this game starting around move 50 – see if you can come up with the right ideas and work out the tactics. Maslak-Tomashevsky lasted a marathon 91 moves with Black trying to win a rook ending which White coolly defends.


Round four

Round 2: Monday, 6th October 2008
Ernesto Inarkiev 
½-½
 Dmitry Jakovenko
Alexander Morozevich 
½-½
 Artyom Timofeev
Evgeny Tomashevsky 
½-½
 Evgeny Alekseev
Konstantin Maslak 
½-½
 Konstantin Sakaev
Alexander Riazantse 
½-½
 Nikita Vitiugov
Alexander Lastin 
½-½
 Peter Svidler

Inarkiev-Jakovenko went 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.dxe5 Nxb5 7.a4 Nbd4 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 d5 10.exd6 Qxd6 11.Qe4+ Qe6 12.Qd4 Qd6 13.Qe4+ Qe6 14.Qd4 Qd6 ½-½. The players have to ask the arbiter for permission to offer a draw, but apparently they can get one at any time by repeating moves. Not surprising that Inarkiev went for this, as he had lost his first three games. Lastin-Svidler similarly ended after the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Re8 10.d4 Bb7 11.Ng5 Rf8 12.Nf3 Re8 13.Ng5 Rf8 14.Nf3 in a draw by repetition.

Morozevich-Timofeev, a Grünfeld, also ended in a three-fold repetition on move 25. Maslak-Sakaev repeated in a QGD after 25 moves as well. Thomashevsky-Alekseev, a Symmetrical English, produced a distant repetition of the moves ...Kf8-g8-f8 and Rd2-d1-d2 and a draw in 30.

Riazantsev-Vitiugov made up for the brevity on the other boards with a game that had 20 moves more than the other five together: a Semi-Slav that turned into a Q+P vs Q ending that was drawn on move 128. It is worth taking a somewhat sadistic look at the finish with our Endgame Turbo 3. With these "tablebases" installed Fritz and other engines can play all five and many six-piece endings with absolute perfection. Unfortunately humans cannot store the 43 Gigabytes of positions in their brains and so are wont to go astray.

Riazantsev,A (2656) - Vitiugov,N (2638) [D43]
ch-RUS Moscow RUS (4), 06.10.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.h4 g4 11.Ne5 Nbd7 12.Nxd7 Qxd7 13.Be5 Qe7 14.0-0 Rg8 15.b3 b4 16.Na4 Nxe4 17.Qc2 c5 18.Bxc4 Bg7 19.Bxg7 Rxg7 20.Rae1 Nd6 21.Nxc5 Nxc4 22.bxc4 Bc6 23.Qd2 0-0-0 24.Qxb4 Rxd4 25.g3 Qd6 26.Rb1 e5 27.Qa5 f6 28.Qa6+ Kd8 29.Rb7 Rxb7 30.Nxb7+ Bxb7 31.Qxb7 Rd1 32.Qa8+ Ke7 33.Qxa7+ Ke6 34.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 35.Kh2 Qc2 36.a4 f5 37.Qe3 Qxc4 38.Qxh6+ Kd5 39.Qd2+ Ke6 40.Qh6+ Kd5 41.Qh7 Qc8 42.a5 Ke4 43.Qa7 f4 44.a6 Kf3 45.Qb7+ Kxf2 46.Qb2+ Kf3 47.Qb3+ Ke2 48.a7 Qa6 49.Qc2+ Ke3 50.Qc1+ Ke2 51.Qb2+ Kd3 52.Qf2 Ke4 53.gxf4 exf4 54.Qg2+ f3 55.Qxg4+ Ke3 56.Qg5+ Ke2 57.Qe5+ Kf1 58.Qb8 Qe2+ 59.Kg3 Qf2+ 60.Kg4 Qd4+ 61.Kxf3 Qd3+ 62.Kf4 Qd4+ 63.Kf5 Qd5+ 64.Qe5 Qd7+ 65.Kg5 Qxa7

White, our tablebases tell us, mates in 54 moves. 66.h5* This is the only move to win, all other moves by White allow Black to draw. We will add an asterisk to only moves like this one. 66...Qg1+ 67.Kf5 Qg8 68.h6 Qh7+ 69.Kg5* Qg8+ 70.Kh4 Qc4+ 71.Kh3 Qb3+ 72.Kh4 Qc4+ 73.Kh5 Qf7+ 74.Kg4 Qg8+ 75.Qg5 Qh8 76.Qf5+ Ke1 77.h7 Kd1 78.Qd5+ Kc1 79.Qg8 Qd4+ 80.Kh5*. White is still winning, but the mate is now 61 moves away.

80...Qd1+ 81.Qg4 Qh1+ 82.Kg6 Qc6+ 83.Kg5 Qd5+ 84.Qf5 Qg2+ 85.Kh6 Qc6+ 86.Kh5 Qh1+ 87.Kg6 Qc6+ 88.Qf6 Qe4+ 89.Kh6 Qh1+ 90.Kg7 Qb7+ 91.Kg6 Qe4+ 92.Qf5 Qc6+ 93.Kg5 Qg2+ 94.Kh4 Qh2+ 95.Kg5 Qg2+ 96.Kf6 Qc6+ 97.Qe6. The final mate is still 61 moves away. 97...Qf3+ 98.Ke7 Qb7+ 99.Qd7* Qb4+ 100.Ke8 Qb8+ 101.Ke7 Qe5+ 102.Kd8 Qh8+ 103.Kc7* Qe5+ 104.Kb7 Qb2+ 105.Ka6 Qa3+ 106.Kb6 Qb2+ 107.Qb5 Qh8

Now it is mate in 58 moves, and there is only one move for White: 108.Qf5. Riazantsev misses it: 108.Qc4+? After this the position is a theoretical draw. 108...Kb1 109.Qc7 Qd4+ 110.Kb7 Qe4+*. The only move that holds the draw for Black. We will now mark only moves Vitiugov has to find. 111.Kb8 Qe8+* 112.Qc8 Qe5+* 113.Ka7 Qd4+ 114.Ka8 Qa4+ 115.Kb8 Qf4+* 116.Qc7 Qf8+* 117.Kb7 Qf3+* 118.Ka6 Qd3+* 119.Ka7 Qa3+* 120.Kb8 Qf8+* 121.Qc8 Qf4+ 122.Ka7 Qd4+ 123.Ka8 Qa4+ 124.Kb8 Qf4+* 125.Qc7 Qf8+* 126.Ka7 Qa3+* 127.Kb7 Qf3+* 128.Kc8 ½-½. This endgame is the hardest of all five-piece endings for humans to understand. Even working with the computer it is very difficult to find general plans or strategies; but practising with the tablebases can make you better at it than your opponent, even if we have to admit that both are playing suboptimum moves.

Standings after four rounds


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