12-year-old in contention in Ukraine Championship

12/6/2008 – The 2008 Ukraine Championship is missing Ivanchuk, Ponomariov and Karjakin, but is still very strong, with 26 participants, including 17 GMs. The player to watch is IM Illya Nyzhnyk. At twelve he sports a 2444 rating, and after four rounds he has three points (two wins, two draws). His performance: 2783. From Poltava we bring you a big pictorial report by Anastasiya Karlovich.

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Ukrainian Championship 2008

The 77th Chess Championship of Ukraine is under way, from December 2nd in Poltava. There are 26 participants, including 17 GMs. The top seed are Evgenij Miroshnichenko (2632), Yuriy Kryvoruchko (2627), Vladimir Baklan (2625), Yuriy Kuzubov (2622). Also taking part is the 12-year-old youngster Illya Nyzhnyk. Even without such “monsters” as Vassily Ivanchuk, Ruslan Ponomariov and Sergey Karjakin the tournament looks very strong.

Poltava is a city in central Ukraine.It is a center of Potava Oblast, one of the 24th administrative parts of Ukraine. The current population is around 315,000 people. Located between Kharkiv and Kyiv in Ukraine, Poltava is not much of a tourist destination. The city is probably best known as the site of a 1709 battle between a coalition of Cossacks, led by Mazepa, and the Swedes (Charles XII) against the Russian army of Czar Peter I. The subsequent Russian victory in battle established Russia’s prominent position in Europe. Next year in Poltava there will be a big celebration because of Poltava battle's 300-year anniversary. So, the royal family of Sweden is going to visit the city, and the organizers of Ukrainian championship are planning to make a big Open tournament devoted to the anniversary.


The Monument of Glory set up in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava. Historians tell us that in 1709 the meeting of Peter I with the defenders of Poltava took place very close to where this monument stands.


The monument of Peter I


A monument erected to remember Cossacks (Ukrainian) soldiers who perished in the battle


The monument to Poltava Galushka (“galushkas” is Ukrainian national dish masterpiece of culinary art) which symbolizes family sufficiency and prosperity


The building of the Security Service of Ukraine


The building of the Regional Administration where the tournament is taking place


Ukrainian Chess Federation representative Leonid Timoshenko examines the venue before the start of a round. He is the main participant of the story with damaged Gaprindashvili Cup and the stolen diamond.


12-year-old Illja Nyzhnyk checks some variations before the opening ceremony


The President of Ukrainian Chess Federation Viktor Petrov and the Governor Valeriy Asadchev are met with bread and salt – a Ukrainian tradition


The playing hall with round one under way


GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko, 2627, Ukrainian champion 2003


GM Vladimir Baklan, 2623, Captain of the Kievchess club


GM Yuriy Kryvoruchko, 2625


GM Yuriy Kuzubov, 2622 (see ChessBase portrait)


GM Alexandr Kovchan, 2545


GM Mikhailo Oleksienko, 2585


GM Yuri Drozdowskiy, 2587, European Rapid Champion 2006


GM Anton Korobov, 2605


IM Illja Nyzhnyk, 2444, the youngest (12 years old, one GM norm) but the most dangerous participant of Ukrainian championship, who defeated well-known GM Valeriy Neverov in the first round


GM Mikhail Brodskiy, 2551, 1990 Ukrainian Champion


GM Eldar Gasanov, 2550, winner of Open chess tournament in Pardubice in 2008


GM Valeriy Neverov, 2571, three times champion of Ukraine


IM Yaroslav Zherebukh, 2473, 15 years old, another Ukrainian talent


During friendly analysis of the game Miroshnichenko-Kravtsiv

Standings after four rounds


Interview with Viktor Petrov the President of the Ukrainian Chess Federation.

This is the third championship of Ukraine in Poltava since 2006. Why does Ukrainian Federation support the organization of such events specially in Poltava?

We have the championships here because of a coincidence of circumstances. First of all I was born in Poltava, secondly I've known the Governor of Poltava region, Valeriy Asadchev, for a long time. He is a very interesting person who has three higher education degrees and likes chess very much. He supports chess in the region and of course everybody can understand that without people who really love chess and are ready to give money for its development it is impossible to hold such kind of tournaments.


Viktor Petrov playing a friendly game

Why don’t we see any members of the National Team of Ukraine among participants of the tournament?

We had different levels of Ukrainian championships. The strongest one was in Kharkov in 2004, almost everybody from the National Team took part. But this year the Olympiad finished just before the tournament, and there were also many other strong tournaments. But in any case this year we still have a very strong tournament and also many youngsters who are expected to play very interesting chess.

Whom are you rooting for in this tournament?

I'll cannot disclose this information. But I can tell you I'm very glad to see Illya Nyzhnyk playing here, because we think he is a very promising talent. I'll be glad if he shows good results in the tournament.

Can you please comment the situation which happened with Nona Gaprindashvili International Trophy which was damaged in the airport?

It is difficult to say something new now. The Ukrainian Federation applied to the Ministry of Transport and to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and asked them to investigate the case, which happened in Boryspol International Airport. The investigation is proceeding. The Cup was taken and is now part of the criminal investigation, so we cannot do anything with it. So I hope the offenders will be found, and then of course we'll repair the Cup. I cannot say anything else because of the ongoing investigation.

In an interview Viktor Petrov commented on the situation surrounding the doping scandal. “We received the official notice from FIDE," he said, "that Ivanchuk didn't pass the doping test. It says that FIDE gives Ivanchuk three months to pass the test and decide this question. We sent this request to him and he understood all responsibility. I'm sure this problem will be decided in time.”


Anastasiya (Nastja) Karlovich was Ukrainian champion and vice-champion among girls under 16, 18 and 20. She was European Champion with the Ukrainian team in the Youth Team Championships. She is also

  • a candidate officer in the National Law Academy “Yaroslav the Wise”
  • a member of the chess club “Law Academy”
  • a member of the German club Grosslehna
  • organiser of the WGM and GM closed tournaments “Cup of Rector”.
  • a Woman Grandmaster since 2003

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