Russian Higher League won by Dubov and Sjugirov

by Elshan Moradiabadi
7/24/2017 – The Russian Higher League concluded in a celebration of youth, with as much drama and excitement for the five qualifiers in each event as for the ones who failed to make the cut. The open section was won by Daniil Dubov and Sanan Sjugirov, with classy performances, and the women’s section was won by Marina Nechaeva, while 13-year-old Bibisara Assaubayeva just barely missed out after a fantastic tournament. Report and analysis by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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Photos by Dmitry Kryakvin

The incredibly strong Open section with no fewer than 27 grandmasters, 18 of whom are rated 2600 or more, served to supply five players for the Russian Super Final to be held later in the year. The event seemed to have many of the players holding their breath with a number of draws, but the spectators and chess fans still enjoyed plenty of moments of excitement such as when veteran Alexey Dreev failed to win in the final round, missing a tactical shot against Sjugirov and because of the pressure to win in order to qualify, ended up self-destructing with an exchange sacrifice that blew up in his face.

Curiously, this dramatic turn of events cost more than just Dreev chances to qualify, it also hurt the tiebreaks of players he had faced. One such victim of the collateral damage was second-seed Evgeny Najer, whose 6.0/9 score, shared by five other players, left him just outside the qualifying group in sixth place. By the same token Bibisara Assaubayeva is denied a place in the Russian women superfinal as the talented youngster finished 6th in the women section and missed the golden opportunity by a whisker. Although missing Russian super final may be a big miss for a player like Najer, Bibisara is only 13 years old and will have enjoy plenty of chances in the coming years for a shot at the coveted title. What is clear is that the youngster is an upcoming star to watch out for: After a stellar performance in the European Open Championship, where she scored two IM norms, she gained 17 points in this tournament to prove that her success there had been anything but chance.

While many a grandmaster has enjoyed the spotlight as a midway leader of strong event, it would not be the first time one ran out of steam or stumbled before reaching the finish line, especially in the midst of such tough opposition. However, this was not the fate of midway leaders Sergey Volkov and Alexander Romanov, who both managed to maintain their pace, finishing 3rd and 4th respectively and securing a spot in the Russian Super Final.

If Caissa had a call in Sjugirov's success, Dubov's performance was simply amazing. The young Moscow resident was never in any serious trouble and he mercilessly outclassed his opponents when they failed to play actively, or got out of line. In fact, his ability to convert his advantages into wins was nothing short of world class, such as his amazing win over Alekseev in the 7th round.

Daniil Dubov had a fantastic event, dominating through and through, and could have potentially scored even more

Dubov - Alekseev (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

[Event "Russian Higher League"] [Site "Playchess.com"] [Date "2017.07.09"] [Round "7.5"] [White "Dubov, Daniil"] [Black "Alekseev, Evgeny"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "2652"] [BlackElo "2615"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] [WhiteClock "0:28:57"] [BlackClock "0:00:40"] 1. d4 {This is one of the best positional games of the event. I chose this over many others because it was played between two players among the leaders.} Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Bg5 Bb4+ 5. Nbd2 {An interesting move. If you would have asked me in 2011 I would have told you that this line is just dubious for white. Dubov, known for his outstanding opening preparation, has other ideas!} dxc4 6. Qa4+ Nc6 7. e3 {Dubov has already tried this once against Matlakov back in 2015.} Bd7 8. Qc2 b5 9. a3 Be7 (9... Bxd2+ 10. Nxd2 e5 11. dxe5 Nxe5 { And I think here Dubov might have prepared this, although, even in his game against Matlakov he had the current European Champion on the ropes.} 12. a4 (12. b3 cxb3 13. Nxb3 O-O 14. Be2 Rc8 15. Nc5 Bc6 16. Rd1 Qe7 17. O-O {I am sure Dubov had prepared another 10 moves from here onward! The position is extremely complicated. White has a lot of play on dark squares in return for his sacrificed pawn.}) 12... h6 13. Bh4 O-O 14. axb5 Bxb5 15. Nxc4 Qe7 16. Nxe5 Qxe5 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Ra5 a6 19. Bc4 Kg7 20. O-O Rad8 21. Qe2 c6 22. Qg4+ Qg5 23. Qf3 Rd6 24. Bxb5 cxb5 25. g3 Rc8 26. h4 {1/2-1/2 (26) Dubov,D (2632) -Matlakov,M (2695) Jerusalem 2015}) 10. b3 $1 {A typical idea borrowed from Catalan which works perfectly fine here.} cxb3 (10... Na5 11. Bxf6 (11. bxc4 Nxc4 12. Bxc4 bxc4 13. O-O c5 14. dxc5 Rc8 15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Rfd1 Rxc5 17. Ne4 Rc7 18. Rd4 O-O 19. Rxc4 Rxc4 20. Qxc4 Qb6 21. Ng3 Kh8 22. h3 Bc6 23. Qh4 Qc5 24. Rd1 Rg8 25. a4 Qc2 26. Rd4 Bd5 27. Rf4 Rg6 28. e4 Bb7 29. Rg4 Qc5 30. Rxg6 fxg6 31. Qh6 Bd6 32. e5 Bxe5 33. Nxe5 fxe5 34. h4 Kg8 35. h5 Qd5 36. f3 Qd4+ 37. Kh2 Qh4+ 38. Kg1 Qd4+ 39. Kh2 Qh4+ 40. Kg1 Qxg3 41. Qd2 Bxf3 42. Qd8+ Kg7 { 0-1 (42) Salgado Lopez,I (2607)-Delorme,A (2455) Chotowa 2010}) 11... Bxf6 12. bxc4 Nxc4 13. Bxc4 bxc4 14. Qxc4 c5 $1 15. Qxc5 Be7 16. Qe5 {And black has to prove his compensation for the sacrificed pawn, which should be doable but not without practical difficulties.}) 11. Nxb3 Rb8 (11... a6 12. e4 h6 13. Be3 O-O 14. Bd3 Rc8 15. O-O Nb8 16. Ne5 Be8 17. f4 c5 18. dxc5 Nfd7 19. Nxd7 Bxd7 20. e5 Qc7 21. Rac1 Bc6 22. Qe2 Bd5 23. Nd4 Nd7 24. a4 Bxc5 25. axb5 Qb6 26. Qf2 axb5 27. Bb1 Qb7 28. f5 Bxd4 {1/2-1/2 (28) Polgar,Z (2400)-Heyken,E (2350) Copenhagen 1986}) 12. Bd3 h6 13. Bh4 Nd5 14. Bg3 Bd6 $2 {A knee-jerk reaction which looks like a complete waste of time to me.} (14... b4 15. a4 Nc3 { was called for.}) 15. O-O Bxg3 16. hxg3 O-O 17. e4 Nf6 18. Rfe1 {White has dominated center and he has a lot more space. c5 is a nice outpost that white loves to use and I have a hard time seeing a counter play for black. All these activities for a just a pawn shows that Dubov's opening concept has proven itself.} Be8 19. Rad1 Rb6 20. Qc1 Ne7 21. Nc5 Nd7 22. Bb1 (22. g4 {deserves attention}) 22... Qc8 23. d5 $1 {From here till end of the game, Dubov's play is so instructive and beautiful. It is hard to pinpoint a move as Black's main mistake in this game.} Nxc5 24. Qxc5 Ng6 25. e5 $1 {Infantry should move forward!} exd5 26. Nd4 $1 {each of White's pieces is active and has a share of center. White's dominance is so obvious that Dubov is not worried about two sacrificed pawns!} Bd7 27. f4 Re8 28. e6 $1 {White wins a piece for three pawns but the issue is not about material. White maintains his dominance regardless of drastic change in piece formation.} Bxe6 29. f5 Nf8 30. fxe6 Nxe6 31. Qc2 Ng5 32. Nc6 (32. Rxe8+ Qxe8 33. Qxc7 g6 34. Kh2 $1 b4 35. axb4 Rxb4 36. Bc2 Rc4 37. Qd6 Ne6 38. Nxe6 Qxe6 39. Qd8+ Kh7 40. Bb3 {And the endgame should be winning.}) 32... Rxe1+ $2 {Under serious pressure Alekseev caves in.} (32... Qd7 33. Rxe8+ Qxe8 34. Rxd5 Rxc6 35. Qxc6 Qe1+ 36. Kh2 Qxb1 37. Qxb5 Qg6 38. Qd3 Ne4 39. Re5 f5 40. Qf3 {is winning}) 33. Rxe1 Kh8 34. Re5 $1 {Now h7 is vulnerable and Black's position fall apart in few moves.} Qd7 35. Rxg5 g6 36. Qb2+ Kh7 37. Ne5 Qe7 38. Rh5 Re6 39. Qd2 Kg8 40. Qxh6 {A great positional masterpiece by Dubov!} 1-0

Maxim Matlakov was the top-seed with 2730, and had been in great form, winning the 2017 European Individual Championship just a month earlier

Oparin - Matlakov (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

[Event "Russian Higher League"] [Site "Playchess.com"] [Date "2017.07.10"] [Round "8.3"] [White "Oparin, Grigoriy"] [Black "Matlakov, Maxim"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2613"] [BlackElo "2707"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] [WhiteClock "0:29:49"] [BlackClock "0:33:54"] 1. e4 e5 {The current European champion won a beautiful model game against his strong opponent. Given the lack of top level games in this line, this game will have great theoretical implications in the future.} 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. O-O d6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Nbd2 (8. Na3 {is the main idea behind White's a4.} h6 9. Nc2 O-O 10. Be3 Ne7 (10... Bxe3 11. Nxe3 Be6 12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. a5 d5 14. Qb3 Qd6 15. exd5 exd5 16. c4 Kh7 17. Nxd5 Rad8 18. Qxb7 Nxd5 19. cxd5 Qxd5 20. Rac1 Rd6 21. Nd2 Rg6 22. Ne4 Qxd3 23. Ng3 Nd4 24. Rc3 Ne2+ 25. Nxe2 Qxe2 26. Re3 Qd2 27. Qe4 Qxb2 28. Rg3 Rff6 29. Rxg6 Rxg6 30. g3 Qd4 31. Qf5 Qd5 32. Re1 Qxa5 33. Rxe5 Qa1+ 34. Kg2 Qc1 35. h4 Qc6+ 36. Kg1 Qf6 37. Qe4 Qc6 38. Qd3 Kh8 39. Qd8+ Kh7 40. Qd3 Kh8 41. Qd8+ Kh7 42. Qd3 {1/2-1/2 (42) Adams,M (2761)-Eljanov,P (2751) Shamkir 2017}) 11. Bxa7 Rxa7 12. Ne3 $14) 8... h6 9. Re1 g5 $5 {There has been only one game from top level players, where Wei Yi held Anand in a close battle.} 10. Nf1 (10. b4 Nh5 11. Nb3 (11. d4 g4 12. Nb3 gxf3 13. Qxf3 {is another rich positions where both sides pieces are flying!} Nf6 14. b5 Bg4 15. Qg3 Ne7) 11... g4 12. b5 {is a messy position which deserves a lot of attention!}) 10... g4 11. N3d2 $2 {A very bad move. White needs to take Black's attack more seriously.} (11. Nh4 Nxe4 12. dxe4 Qxh4 13. Be3 Be6 14. Bxe6 fxe6 15. b4 O-O 16. g3 Qh3 17. b5 Bxe3 18. Nxe3 axb5 19. axb5 Rxa1 20. Qxa1 Nd8 21. Qa2 Kg7 22. Rd1 Nf7 23. Qxe6 Ng5 24. Qxg4 Qxg4 25. Nxg4 Nxe4 26. b6 cxb6 27. c4 h5 28. Ne3 Rf3 29. Rb1 Rxf2 30. Rxb6 Rf7 31. Kg2 Rf2+ 32. Kg1 Rf7 33. Kg2 Kf8 34. Kh3 Ke8 35. Kh4 Rf2 36. Kxh5 Rxh2+ 37. Kg4 Rh7 38. Kf3 Ng5+ 39. Kg4 Ne4 40. Kf3 Ng5+ 41. Kg4 Nf7 42. Nf5 Kd7 43. Rxb7+ Ke6 44. Rb6 Kd7 45. Rb7+ Ke6 {1/2-1/2 (45) Anand,V (2770)-Wei,Y (2694) Leon 2016}) 11... h5 12. Nb3 g3 $1 {Matlakov conducts his attack as if he were playing the English Attack from the white side of a Sicilian.} 13. Nxg3 Bg4 14. Qc2 h4 15. Nf1 $6 (15. Nf5 {is a better choice. The less pieces on the board the safer White's king.}) 15... Rg8 16. Ne3 $2 {This is a serious mistake.} (16. Be3 Nh5 {looks also bad but after} 17. Bd5 Bh3 18. g3 Qf6 19. Nbd2 {Black has a very strong attack but I do not see anything concrete for him. However, after White's mistake the game is almost over.}) 16... Bf3 $1 {g2 is fully exposed, so does White's king.} 17. Kf1 Bxe3 18. gxf3 Bxc1 19. Nxc1 (19. Qxc1 Nh5 20. Qh6 Qg5 {is still very bad but much better than what happened in the game.}) 19... Nh5 20. Ke2 Qf6 21. Kd1 Rg2 {The game is strategically over. Matlakov converted with ease.} 22. h3 Qxf3+ 23. Qe2 Rxf2 24. Qxf3 Rxf3 25. Ne2 Na5 26. Bd5 Rxd3+ 27. Kc2 Rxh3 {Black is three pawns up and by returning one or even two he can obtain an easily winning endgame.} 28. Rf1 f6 $2 {A serious mistake} 29. Rf5 {which White did not exploit.} (29. Rh1 $1 Re3 (29... Rxh1 30. Rxh1 O-O-O 31. Rxh4 Nf4 32. Nxf4 exf4 33. Rxf4 Rf8 34. b4 Nc6 35. Bxc6 bxc6 36. Rf5 {and Black's extra pawn is useless.}) 30. Kd2 Rxe2+ 31. Kxe2 Ng3+ 32. Kf3 Nxh1 33. Rxh1 O-O-O 34. Rxh4 Nc6 35. Rh7 Rf8 36. Kg4 {and I do not see how Black could take advantage of his extra pawns.}) 29... Ng3 30. Nxg3 Rxg3 31. b4 Rg2+ 32. Kd3 Nc6 33. Rxf6 O-O-O {now it is easy and straight forward.} 34. b5 Ne7 35. Be6+ Kb8 36. bxa6 Rg6 $1 {Accurate!} 37. Raf1 bxa6 38. Kc4 Rxf6 39. Rxf6 Rh8 40. Bh3 Kb7 41. Re6 Nc6 42. Rf6 Na5+ 43. Kd5 Rg8 44. Rh6 Rg3 45. Rxh4 Rxc3 {A deep and nice performance by Matlakov. There is a lot can be learned from this game!} 0-1

Second-seed Evgeny Najer was unable to keep his foot down on the accelerator until the end, though he had his moments to shine such as the game below

Ponkratov - Najer (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

[Event "Russian Higher League"] [Site "Playchess.com"] [Date "2017.07.10"] [Round "8.4"] [White "Ponkratov, Pavel"] [Black "Najer, Evgeniy"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D12"] [WhiteElo "2595"] [BlackElo "2706"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] [WhiteClock "0:28:03"] [BlackClock "0:10:08"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Be4 7. f3 Bg6 8. Qb3 Qc7 9. Bd2 Be7 10. g3 Bh5 11. Be2 dxc4 12. Qxc4 a6 13. Ng2 b5 14. Qb3 c5 15. dxc5 Nbd7 16. Nf4 Bg6 17. Rc1 Nxc5 18. Qd1 Qb7 19. b4 Ncd7 20. h4 e5 21. Nxg6 hxg6 22. Kf2 O-O {[#] This game is a fight over a very interesting concept: whether either side should try to play e4 or not. After a number of missed opportunities it was Najer who first exploited this idea and managed to win this game in a very nice fashion.} 23. Qb3 (23. g4 Bxb4 24. g5 Nh5 25. Qb3 Ba5 26. Ne4 Bxd2 27. Nxd2 Nb6 28. Ne4 Rfc8 {and despite the engine's claims, I am not convinced that White has enough compensation in a practical game. However, I also believe that White had to go down this road.}) 23... Nb6 (23... e4 {This is the first moment Najer misses this opportunity.} 24. f4 Nb6 {and now Nc4 does not require reinforcement due to the check on g4.}) 24. Rhd1 (24. e4 Rfd8 25. Bg5 Rd4 26. a3 Nc4 27. Bxc4 bxc4 28. Qb2 a5 29. b5 Rad8 (29... Bc5 30. Kg2 { And Black's attack seems to fizzle out soon and he should now worry about White's knight eventual jump to d5.}) 30. Rc2 Rd3 31. Kg2 a4 32. Rf1 Bc5 33. b6 Bd4 34. Qb4 Qxb6 35. Qxb6 Bxb6 36. Nxa4 Bd4 37. Rxc4 Rxa3 38. Rfc1 {with draw the most probable result.}) 24... Rac8 25. Be1 $2 {This gives up c4 and then e4!} (25. e4 Nc4 26. Kg2 Nxd2 27. Rxd2 Rc6 28. a3 Rfc8 29. Rdc2 {And White has no problem to earn half a point.}) 25... Nc4 26. Nb1 e4 $1 {Finally} 27. f4 Bd8 $6 {a bit unusual but effective.} (27... Rfd8 28. Rxd8+ Rxd8 29. Na3 Nxe3 $1 30. Qxe3 Rd3 $1 {and White loses his queen!}) 28. Nd2 (28. Na3 Nxe3 29. Qxe3 Bb6 30. Rc5 Qe7 31. Nc2 Nd7 32. Kf1 Nxc5 33. bxc5 Bxc5 34. Qb3 {is bad but not dead lost.}) 28... Nxe3 $1 {Now the curtains fall!} 29. Qxe3 Bb6 30. Rc5 Nd5 31. Qxe4 Rfe8 32. Qd4 Nxb4 33. Nb3 Nc2 34. Qd5 Qe7 {with almost everything hanging, White resigns. Qe5 could easily be met by Qa7.} 0-1

The top three finishers in the Open section

Rakhmanov - Rozum (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

[Event "Russian Higher League"] [Site "Playchess.com"] [Date "2017.07.08"] [Round "6.9"] [White "Rakhmanov, Aleksandr"] [Black "Rozum, Ivan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E32"] [WhiteElo "2676"] [BlackElo "2599"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] [WhiteClock "0:06:56"] [BlackClock "0:02:27"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 b6 {This risky line has come in to prominence thanks to Komodo and his colleagues. Black provokes White into occupying the center and immediately attack White's center. The setback though is permanent: Black would lack enough space almost for the entire game. Here, Ivan Rozum made a couple of inaccuracies and White's developmental and spatial advantage became a decisive factor.} 5. e4 c5 6. d5 $1 {The old line with a3 is playable but far from challenging for Black:} (6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 Bb7 8. Bd3 b5 $1 9. Qb1 (9. Rb1 bxc4 10. Rxb7 cxd3 11. Qxd3 O-O 12. Bg5 cxd4 13. e5 Qc8 {And Black has the upper hand.}) 9... cxd4 10. cxd4 bxc4 $1 {A strong rook sacrifice!} 11. Qxb7 cxd3 12. Qxa8 Qb6 13. Ra2 $1 (13. Nf3 O-O 14. Be3 (14. O-O Nc6 15. Qxf8+ Kxf8 16. d5 exd5 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Bd2 Qa6 19. Rfe1 f6 20. h3 Kf7 21. Kh2 g5 22. Re4 Qb6 23. Kg1 h5 24. Kf1 Qb2 25. Rae1 Qxa3 26. Rb1 Nb6 27. Kg1 Qa2 28. Rc1 Qd5 29. Ree1 g4 30. hxg4 hxg4 31. Nh2 Nc4 32. Rcd1 Nd4 33. Nxg4 Nxd2 34. Rxd2 Qg5 35. Re3 Qxg4 36. Rexd3 Ne2+ 37. Kf1 Nf4 38. Rxd7+ Kg6 39. f3 Qh4 40. Rd8 Qh1+ 41. Kf2 Qxg2+ 42. Ke3 Qg1+ 43. Kxf4 Qg5+ 44. Ke4 f5+ {0-1 (44) Xiong,J (2544)-Moradiabadi,E (2587) ICC INT 2015}) 14... Na6 15. Qxf8+ Kxf8 16. O-O Nxe4 17. Ne5 Qd6 18. Nxd3 Nc3 19. Kh1 f6 20. Rfc1 Nd5 21. a4 g5 22. a5 h5 23. Rc4 g4 24. Bh6+ Kf7 25. Rc8 Nab4 26. Nc5 h4 27. Re1 Nc6 28. Rh8 Nxd4 29. Nxd7 h3 30. Nf8 hxg2+ 31. Kxg2 Qc6 {0-1 (31) Lysyj,I (2671)-Morozevich,A (2711) Poikovsky 2015}) 13... O-O 14. Rb2 d2+ 15. Kxd2 Qxd4+ 16. Ke1 Qc3+ 17. Kd1 Qd3+ 18. Ke1 Qc3+ 19. Kd1 Qd3+ {1/2-1/2 (19) Javakhishvili,L (2447)-Mammadzada,G (2368) Khanty-Mansiysk 2017}) 6... Qe7 7. Nge2 (7. Be2 {is an equally challenging continuation for Black but I leave this to our dear readers to investigate!}) 7... exd5 8. exd5 O-O 9. Bd2 Bxc3 $6 (9... d6 {Is a better try in my opinion.} 10. f3 (10. O-O-O Ng4 11. Re1 Nxf2 12. Rg1 Nd7 13. Nd4 Qxe1+ 14. Bxe1 cxd4 15. a3 Bc5 16. b4 d3 17. Qd2 Ne4 18. Nxe4 Bxg1 19. Bg3 a5 20. Bxd3 axb4 21. axb4 Ne5 22. Nxd6 Nxd3+ 23. Qxd3 Bd7 24. Kb2 Ra4 25. Qb3 Bd4+ 26. Kc2 Rfa8 27. Qf3 Ra2+ 28. Kd3 Bf6 29. Ke4 R8a3 30. Qh5 g6 31. Qd1 Ba4 32. Qe1 Bc2+ 33. Kf4 g5+ 34. Kg4 Bg6 35. Qe8+ Kg7 36. Nf5+ Bxf5+ 37. Kxf5 h5 38. Qe4 Rxg3 39. hxg3 Rf2+ 40. Qf3 Rxf3+ 41. gxf3 h4 42. gxh4 gxh4 {0-1 (42) Bocharov, D (2611)-Tomashevsky,E (2724) Novosibirsk 2016}) 10... Nbd7 11. O-O-O Ne5 12. Ng3 Qd8 {Black is very much in the game.} (12... a6 $6 13. Re1 (13. f4 $1 Neg4 14. h3 Nf2 (14... Nh6 15. Bd3 b5 {and White's position looks promising. However, in a practical game White's advantage is less relevant given the complexity of this position.}) 15. Re1 $16) 13... Qd8 14. f4 Ng6 15. h4 h6 16. h5 Ne7 17. Bd3 b5 18. Nce4 Nxe4 19. Bxe4 Bxd2+ 20. Qxd2 bxc4 21. f5 f6 22. Qc3 a5 23. Qxc4 Ba6 24. Qc3 Qd7 25. Rd1 Rfb8 26. Rhe1 Rb4 27. Qe3 Rab8 28. Rd2 R8b7 29. b3 c4 30. Bc2 cxb3 31. axb3 Qc7 32. Rd4 Rxb3 33. Qxe7 Qxe7 34. Rxe7 Rxg3 35. Re8+ Kf7 36. Ra8 Bf1 37. Rxa5 Rxg2 38. Rd2 Rg5 39. Rh2 Bg2 40. Rh4 Bf3 41. Rf4 Bxh5 42. Ra6 Rg1+ 43. Kd2 Rg2+ 44. Kc3 Rg3+ 45. Kd2 Rc7 46. Rc6 Rd7 47. Ba4 Re7 48. Rxd6 Re2+ 49. Kc1 Rg1+ 50. Bd1 Ree1 51. Rd7+ Kf8 52. Ra4 Rxd1+ 53. Kb2 Rd3 54. Ra8+ Be8 55. Rdd8 Re3 56. Kc2 Rg2+ 57. Kd1 Kf7 58. d6 Re5 59. Ra7+ Kf8 60. d7 Rg4 61. Raa8 Rge4 62. Kc2 h5 63. Rdc8 Re2+ 64. Kc3 R2e3+ 65. Kc2 Re2+ 66. Kb3 R2e3+ 67. Kb4 R3e4+ 68. Rc4 Rd5 69. Rxe4 Rxd7 70. Rexe8+ Kf7 71. Kc5 g5 72. Rh8 Kg7 73. Rag8+ Kf7 74. Rg6 Rd1 75. Rh7+ Kf8 76. Rxf6+ Ke8 77. Ra6 Rc1+ 78. Kd6 Rd1+ 79. Ke6 Re1+ 80. Kf6 {1-0 (80) Mahdian,A (1871)-Alijanzadeh,M (1942) Shiraz 2017})) 10. Qxc3 (10. Bxc3 Ne4 {equalizes}) 10... Ne4 11. Qe3 Re8 12. O-O-O b5 $2 {either home prep, a momentary blindness or incorrect calculation, Rozum will be kicking himself for a long time playing this move. White's logical response would simply dismiss Black's whole idea of undermining White's center.} (12... Nxd2 13. Qxe7 Rxe7 14. Kxd2 d6 15. Nc3 Ba6 16. Bd3 Nd7 17. Rde1 Rae8 18. Rxe7 Rxe7 19. b3 Nf6 20. f3 h5 {With an annoying endgame for Black where Black's drawing chances are less than 50%!}) 13. Ng3 $1 Nxd2 14. Qxe7 Rxe7 15. Kxd2 bxc4 16. Bxc4 {Now Black lacks enough space AND development!} Kf8 $2 {Last nail in the coffin in a close to lost position. He had to try:} (16... Re8 17. Nf5 Ba6 18. Nd6 Bxc4 19. Nxe8 Na6 20. Nd6 Bxd5 21. f3 {Where White has more technical matters to address than in the game.}) 17. Nf5 Re5 18. Nd6 Ba6 19. Rhe1 {The mate on e8 cannot be prevented without loss of material due to awkward placement of Black's pieces.} Ke7 20. Rxe5+ Kxd6 21. Re4 Bxc4 22. Rxc4 {The rest is INDEED a matter of technique!} Na6 23. Ra4 Nc7 24. b4 cxb4 25. Rxb4 Nxd5 26. Rb3 g6 27. a4 a6 28. Rb7 a5 29. Rc1 Nb4 30. Rc4 Nc6 31. Rc3 Rd8 32. g4 Ke6 33. f4 h5 34. gxh5 gxh5 35. Rh3 Kf5 36. Rb5+ Ke4 37. Rbxh5 Rb8 38. Rb5 Rg8 39. Rg5 Rb8 40. Rb5 Rg8 41. Rg3 Rh8 42. h3 f5 43. Rc3 Kxf4 44. Rc4+ Kg5 45. h4+ Kf6 46. Rf4 Rh5 47. Kc3 Ke6 48. Re4+ Kd6 49. Kd2 Ne7 50. Rxa5 Rh8 51. Rc4 Rg8 52. Rb5 Rg2+ 53. Kc1 Ke6 54. a5 Nd5 55. a6 Ra2 56. Rc2 Ra1+ 57. Kb2 Rxa6 58. Re2+ Kd6 59. Rd2 {A crushing victory for Rakhmanov who unlike the meaning of his name in Arabic/Persian (Rakhman means merciful) was ruthless and punished Rozum for his divergence from his principles.} 1-0

Perhaps the one issue with this tournament is that its only real allure was in the five qualifying spots, meaning that after the fight for those spots, most of the games were barely played and concluded in lifeless draws. One suggestion for the organizers is to find a way to keep it interesting for more players. Perhaps with some decent prize money?

Note that the Russian Super Final won’t be lacking in that respect, as its total prize fund of 5 million rubles (equivalent of roughly 72,000 Euro), is among the highest prize funds of any national championships!

Final Open standings

Rk
SNo
 
Name
Rtg
Pts.
 TB 
1 6 GM Dubov Daniil 2658 6,5 45,5
2 7 GM Sjugirov Sanan 2649 6,5 41,5
3 11 GM Volkov Sergey 2627 6,0 48,5
4 15 GM Romanov Evgeny 2610 6,0 48,5
5 1 GM Matlakov Maxim 2730 6,0 48,0
6 2 GM Najer Evgeniy 2706 6,0 47,5
  12 GM Shimanov Aleksandr 2623 6,0 47,5
8 3 GM Artemiev Vladislav 2695 6,0 42,0
9 16 GM Alekseev Evgeny 2607 5,5 47,0
10 4 GM Motylev Alexander 2680 5,5 44,0
11 22 GM Bocharov Dmitry 2576 5,5 43,0
12 30 IM Sarana Alexey 2510 5,5 42,5
13 29 GM Belozerov Andrei 2512 5,5 41,0
14 13 GM Kokarev Dmitry 2620 5,5 41,0
15 5 GM Rakhmanov Aleksandr 2670 5,0 47,5
16 25 IM Moiseenko Vadim 2548 5,0 47,0
17 9 GM Dreev Aleksey 2647 5,0 46,5
18 34 FM Sorokin Aleksey 2469 5,0 46,0
19 8 GM Zvjaginsev Vadim 2649 5,0 45,0
20 17 GM Oparin Grigoriy 2605 5,0 44,5

Click for complete standings

WGM Olga Girya was the top seed in the Women's event with 2502 FIDE and while she failed to win outright, she did come in second, and secured her berth in the Super Final

The winner was 31-year-old IM Marina Neshaeva, who took sole first with 7.0/9

13-year-old WFM Bibisara Assaubayeva missed out just barely, but her 6.0/9 score and 2450+ performance showed she was becoming a force to reckon with

The top three winners in the Women's event

Final Women's standings

Rk.
SNo
 
Name
Rtg
Pts
 TB 
1 4 IM Nechaeva Marina 2408 7,0 49,0
2 1 WGM Girya Olga 2502 6,5 48,5
3 7 WIM Shuvalova Polina 2383 6,5 48,0
4 13 IM Ovod Evgenija 2363 6,5 45,0
5 3 IM Kashlinskaya Alina 2438 6,0 53,0
6 6 WFM Assaubayeva Bibisara 2386 6,0 49,5
7 11 IM Vasilevich Tatjana 2365 6,0 48,0
8 20 WIM Tomilova Elena 2298 5,5 45,5
9 15 WGM Belenkaya Dina 2323 5,5 45,5
10 10 WFM Gritsayeva Oksana 2372 5,5 45,5
11 18 WIM Dordzhieva Dinara 2308 5,5 45,0
12 12 IM Savina Anastasia 2364 5,5 44,5
13 9 WGM Kovanova Baira 2373 5,5 40,5
14 23   Maltsevskaya Aleksandra 2254 5,5 40,0
15 17 WGM Mirzoeva Elmira 2314 5,5 35,0

Click for complete standings


Links

You can use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server Playchess.com.



Elshan Moradiabadi is a GM born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He moved to the US in 2012. Ever since, he has been active in US college chess scenes and in US chess. is a veteran instructor and teaches chess to every level, with students ranging from beginners to IM. He can be contacted for projects or teaching.
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Masquer Masquer 7/25/2017 03:07
better late than never...so thanks anyway CB !
excalibur2 excalibur2 7/24/2017 05:42
Late reports as usual for some events. This was like a thousand years ago.
kmw kmw 7/24/2017 11:21
Fine annotations, instructive
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