The Russian Championship Super Final took place from October 3rd to 15th in the Moscow Central Chess Club. Participants were the top players by rating and qualifiers from the higher league competitions. The rate of play was 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 could not offer draws directly to their opponents but had to do so through an arbiter. The prize fund was five million roubles, which translates to 139,000 Euros or US $193,000.
The playoffs were supposed to take place immediately after the final round, but it had become late and the three-way tie meant that the tiebreak would go on until way past midnight. More importantly: all three finalists, Peter Svidler, Dmitry Jakovenko and Evgeny Alekseev, had to rush off the the European Club Cup the next day. So the organisers decided to hold the playoff games on 28th October. There were six games in a double round robin, with time controls at 15 min per player per game, with a ten-second increment per move.
Before the final game Dmitry Jakovenko was in the lead, having beaten Evgeny Alekseev 2-0 and drawn to Peter Svidler, while the latter had only scored 1.5:0.5 against the luckless Alekseev. This was the situation on the scoreboard:
The final game would decide the outcome. Jakovenko needed just a draw, but he had black against Svidler, who had slipped into the playoff with a fine last-round victory over the leading Alekseev. Could he do it again. He could and did, in an aggressive Anti-Marshall which is a joy to replay, especially the final kingside storm:
Svidler,P (2738) - Jakovenko,D (2709) [C84]
ch-RUS Playoff Moscow RUS (6), 28.10.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.a4 Bd7 9.c3 0-0 10.Nbd2 Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Re1 h6 13.Nh4 Kh7 14.Nf5 Bxf5 15.exf5 Nc6 16.g4 Kg8 17.h4 Nh7 18.Bd5 Rc8 19.axb5 axb5 20.Qf3 Nb8
21.g5 hxg5 22.Ne4 Nd7 23.hxg5 Nxg5 24.Bxg5 Bxg5 25.Ra6 Qe7 26.Ra7 Rfd8 27.Qh5 Bh6 28.Kh1 Kh8
29.Rg1 Nf6. Now it is actually a forced mate. 30.Nxf6 Qxa7 31.Ng4 Kh7 32.Nxh6 gxh6 33.f6 Rg8 34.Be4+ Rg6 35.Rxg6 1-0.
With this victory Peter (actually Pyotr) Svidler, born in Leningrad in 1976, won the Soviet or Russian Championship for the fifth time. His previous victories were in 1994, 1995, 1997 and 2003. If your math is good you will immediately notice that the first two wins were when he was 18 and 19, the third when he was 21.
Congratulations Pyotr! For the fifth time Peter Svidler won the Russian Championship