Russian ch. - Higher league: Morozevich is back!

by Albert Silver
6/27/2011 – After watching the first half dominated by 18-year-old Sanan Sjugirov, the next two rounds saw the leadership change hands twice more. First it was Timofeev who beat Sjuigirov in round seven, and then Morozevich beat Timofeev, never relinquishing his lead. It was a combination of both skill and consistency, but the luckiest man was unquestionably Ernesto Inarkiev. See why.

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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).

If in the first half, the name of the moment had been 18-year-old Sanan Sjugirov, round seven and eight marked a change in the leadership.


In round seven Sjugirov lost both his game and pole position to Artyom Timofeev,
however, another name now appeared at the top, just a half-point behind...


Morozevich (right) who then proceeded to beat Timofeev, taking the lead himself,
which he never relinquisehd until the very end.

Interestingly, despite the decadent rating (2694), a poll at the Russian Federation's site, voted upon by more than 1200 viewers, had voted Morozevich as the overwhelming pick to win the event, even though several players came with higher ratings and more recent results. And Morozevich, who had been absent from play due to chronic health issues, did not disappoint.

The great player gained momentum and never failed to come up with the goods. If one were to listen to him, it was nothing special, in his games, and he was fortunate, which might be true of his game against Rublevsky, but otherwise he was simply the more consistent and stronger.

Morozevich,A (2694) - Khismatullin,D (2656) [E33]
64th ch-RUS HL Taganrog RUS (7), 22.06.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bd2 Qe7 7.a3 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 e5 9.d5 Nb8 10.e3 0-0 11.Nd2 c6 12.dxc6 Nxc6 13.Bd3 b6. 13...h6 14.b4 d5 15.0-0 Rd8 16.cxd5 Nxd5 17.Bb2 f6 18.b5 Na5 19.Nf3 Be6 20.Rad1 Qc7 21.Qa4 Ne7 22.Qb4 b6 23.h3 1/2-1/2 (23) Lautier,J (2682)-Sharif,M (2467)/Asnieres sur Seine 2006/EXT 2007 14.Ne4 h6 15.Nxf6+ Qxf6 16.0-0 Bb7








17.f4! Opening the lines for his artillery. 17...Qe7 18.b4 Rac8 19.Rad1








19...Nb8. Although Black is already in danger of being stampeded, this cannot be best. 19...Nd8 was an alternative as it still threatens to lock things up with 20...e4, and keeps the knight around, protecting f7 with a possible Ne6, or even ...f6 followed by Nf7. 20.fxe5 dxe5 21.Qf2 Nd7 22.Qf5 g6. 22...Nf6? 23.Bxe5 23.Qh3 h5








24.Qg3. Here White missed a nice tactic with 24.Bf5!! gxf5 25.Rxf5! f6 26.Rxh5 Rc7 27.Rh8+ Kf7 28.Rh7+ Winning the queen. 24...Rcd8 25.Bc2 Kh7 26.Rd2 h4 27.Qh3 Bc8 28.g3 Kg7 29.Qxh4 Qxh4 30.gxh4 Rde8 31.h5! g5 31...gxh5 32.Rg2+ Kh6 and the exposed king with all White's pieces swarming around it are a death knell. 32.Bf5 Nf6 33.Bxc8 Ne4 34.Bf5! Nxc3 35.Rc2








35...Na4 36.Bd7 1-0

 


Evgeny Najer was given this miniature of Peter I for his birthday


Still, if Morozevich had more numerous fans, Inarkiev's were of a much higher quality,
as a classmate (the girl in the middle) brought two of her friends and came with t-shirts
declaring their support for him. (Note to self: become best friends with him, emphasizing
motto "any friend of yours is a friend of mine")


The playing hall in round eight


In spite of a fantastic start, and even a victory over Kobalia in
round eight, keeping his chances to qualify alive, Sjugirov
ultimately came up just short of a spot in the Super Final.

Final standings

Rk.
Tit
Name
Rtg
Pts.
 TB 
1
GM
Morozevich Alexander
2694
8.0
63.0
2
GM
Timofeev Artyom
2665
7.5
66.5
3
GM
Galkin Alexander
2598
7.5
66.0
4
GM
Tomashevsky Evgeny
2707
7.0
65.5
5
GM
Sjugirov Sanan
2629
7.0
65.0
6
GM
Matlakov Maxim
2632
7.0
63.5
7
GM
Inarkiev Ernesto
2679
7.0
63.5
8
GM
Volkov Sergey
2615
7.0
63.0
9
GM
Zvjaginsev Vadim
2659
7.0
62.0
10
GM
Grachev Boris
2669
7.0
61.0
11
GM
Rublevsky Sergei
2682
7.0
60.0
12
GM
Fedoseev Vladimir
2506
7.0
55.0
13
GM
Vitiugov Nikita
2733
6.5
62.5
14
GM
Alekseev Evgeny
2673
6.5
61.5
15
GM
Kornev Alexei
2511
6.5
59.0
16
GM
Khairullin Ildar
2649
6.5
57.5

Click for complete results

Pictures by Anna Burtasova (Russian federation)

Links

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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