Russian Championship: Sjugirov takes early lead

6/22/2011 – With three coveted spots qualfiying for the Russian Championship Super Final to be held later this year, the eleven-round Higher League is a swiss open with nearly 50 players rated over 2500, including a returning Morozevich. After six rounds, 18-year-old Sjugirov leads with 5.0/6 and a 2846 performance. Held in Taganrog, Russia, here is a panoply of pictures by Anna Burtasova.

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64th Russian Championships Men - Higher League 2011, Taganrog (near Rostov) / Russia

Prize fund: 62,000€ (12,500 - 8,000 - 5,750 - 4,000 - 3,000…)
Tourney mode: Swiss tourney over 11 rounds
Time mode: 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes + 30 seconds/move starting with the 1st move.
Game start: 13:00 all rounds
Rest day: 21st June

The Higher League of the 64th Russian championships is underway for both men and women in Taganrog (near Rostov), Russia. The men's event is an eleven-round swiss event that qualifies three players to the Super Final to be held later in the year. The women's event will qualify five players. The tournament includes many top players such as Vitiugov (2733), Jakovenko (2732), Tomashevsky (2707), and European Champion Potkin (2682), however the biggest name and news is the participation of Alexander Morozevich (2694).


After a long hiatus from the Russian Championships, former elite
player Morozevich is back.

With nearly 50 players rated 2500 or more, and a depth of talent that could fill many a top team, a surprise is no longer a possibility, it is nearly a probability. And sure enough, after six rounds, the leader with 5.0/6 is not one of the 2700 heavyweights, but the 18-year-old Sanan Sjugirov (2629) who has a rating performance of 2846 at the moment. Until now he has knocked out all his rivals, including Najer (2643) who recently had a phenomenal result in the Russian Team championships.

The event has also been noteworthy for a few other things. The first is the backlash after the incredibly drawish Super Final of last year, where not only have the Sofia Rules been enacted, but exacerbated! Instead of not allowing the players to draw in 30 moves, the rules stipulate they must play 40 (!) moves.

Another change has been in the very serious change in the previous laxness in upholding certain rules. Rules such as not being able to leave the playing area were never seriously enforced, but this year, some players were in for a shock. GM Dmitry Chuprov, who had left the area twice, was informed by the arbiter his game was forfeit despite have won the game on the board. This wasn't as a result of suspecting him of cheating, as that was not the case, but simply because he had blatantly ignored the rules.

Standings after six rounds

Rk. Tit Name Rtg Pts.
1 GM Sjugirov Sanan 2629 5.0
2 GM Timofeev Artyom 2665 4.5
3 GM Najer Evgeniy 2643 4.0
4 GM Kurnosov Igor 2633 4.0
5 GM Matlakov Maxim 2632 4.0
6 GM Galkin Alexander 2598 4.0
7 GM Khismatullin Denis 2656 4.0
8 GM Zvjaginsev Vadim 2659 4.0
9 GM Volkov Sergey 2615 4.0
10 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2707 4.0
11 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2733 4.0
12 GM Morozevich Alexander 2694 4.0
13 GM Alekseev Evgeny 2673 4.0
14 GM Khalifman Alexander 2627 3.5
15 GM Grachev Boris 2669 3.5

Click for complete results

Anna Burtasova has also been covering it with extensive photographic material.


In Taganrog, the event has clearly been given great status as banners and billboards
are to be found everywhere.


The hotel where the players are lodged and the locale of the tournament


The opening ceremony with the usual suspects


The players were treated to an unusual artistic display with live pieces


The audience is presented to the spectacle about to unfold


Were the dancers, dressed as chess pieces, informed that pieces don't usually stand
on each others shoulders for a swan dive?


A very lovely choir presentation was much appreciated


Igor Lysyj stares futilely at Russian under-18 champion, Fedoseev, who seems
more interested in the chandeliers.


Veteran grandmaster Yuri Balashov


Khalifman playing his first move against Morozevich


18-year-old Sanan Sjugirov, leading with 5.0/6


Taganrog is also famous for being the birthplace of one of the greatest playwrights,
Anton Checkov, so a visit to his home was in order.


Anton Checkov grew up in this home, where he lived with his parents as well as four
brothers and one sister.


The bedroom in the home, decorated according to the style of the time, but also
containing numerous items that originally belonged to the family.


Pavel Checkov, Anton's father, was known as a hard-nosed merchant, though no doubt
the need to feed a such a large family had its effect.


The ground floor was the main grocery store


However the second floor of the building was the lounge, a home away from home,
where Anton first became interested in literature and where he wrote his first play.


It was finely decorated and a central part of the lives of the Checkovs


In the city one can find bridges with the time-honored Russian tradition: wedding locks
on the bridge.


These locks carry the names of the newlyweds and give a whole new meaning to the
term "wedlock"!

Pictures by Anna Burtasova (Russian federation)

Links

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