2012 Russian qualifier reveals new star: Daniil Dubov

by ChessBase
6/29/2012 – Of all the national championships, the Russian has long been the strongest, and thus it is no surprise that many aspire to just play in it, much less win it. The Russian Higher League is a monster qualifier Swiss open with 28 GMs and several 2700 players. Though the winner on tiebreak was Dmitry Andreikin, the story was 16-year-old Daniil Dubov's domination throughout. Illustrated report.

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2012 Russian qualifier reveals new star: Daniil Dubov

Of all the national championships, the Russian has long been the strongest, and thus it is no surprise that many aspire to play in it, much less win it. The number of players is restricted but there are a number of ways any player may qualify and subsequently win it. One of those ways is the incredibly tough Russian Higher League. The League is not a team event as you might be forgiven for thinking, but is rather a Swiss open in which 46 players slug it out over eleven rounds, from which the top five will qualify.

In this motley crew were 28 grandmasters, and of those 28 were five rated 2700 or higher, including top seed Dmitry Jakovenko (2736), the reigning European Champion, Ian Nepomniachtchi (2716), the 2010 Russian Champion, Ernesto Inarkiev (2706), Nikita Vitiugov (2703), and Dmitry Andreikin. Last year, the winner was Alexander Morozevich no less, who marked his comeback year by trampling the field for his rightful spot in the sun.

Dmitry Andreikin (2700) took the top honors on tiebreak with 7.5/11

This year, while the actual winner was Dmitry Andreikin, the 2010 World Junior Champion, and a player deserving a chance in the Super Final, the story of the event was 16-year-old Daniil Dubov (2569). Daniil who? Well, unless you are Russian, or a chess reporter (cough, cough), it is understandable this player doesn’t ring a bell, though after the gong he sounded, expect to hear a lot more of him in the future. He first graced the pages of ChessBase when he scored his first GM norm in the 2011 Aeroflot Open at age 14, with a hefty 2700 performance.

16-year-old Daniil Dubov

By round ten of the current Higher League, the runaway leader was this 16-year-old boy, who sat on 7.5/10, and a half-point lead over the rest of the field. As a result, he was the only player assured of a place in the top five, and could play the last round with a clear mind. Despite losing in the last round against Evgeny Alekseev (2677), Dubov still took second on tiebreak.

GM Sergey Shipov, editor of Crestbook, spoke with us briefly on his pupil:

Albert Silver – When did you start working with him and how did it start?

Sergey Shipov – His father asked me in 2010, so about two years ago.

How strong was he then?

Two years ago he was about 2440. Now I believe his real strength is about 2650.

A jubilant Daniil Dubov with his trainer GM Sergey Shipov

What are his goals? To become a pro? Or not decided yet?

Initially his goal was not clear but now I hope it has become clearer (smiles).

How would you describe him as a player?

Daniil was initially a very solid, positional player in Petrosian’s style, but our common goal is to develop him into a truly universal player. I think we are on the right track, in fact I am sure of it.

What game would you choose here as his best and why?

His game against Potkin: simple and strong.

In spite of a sketchy start, Vladimir Potkin finished strong and squeaked into the qualifying group

Though Potkin, the 2010 European Champion, was not at his best in this game, a strong 3.0/4 finish in the final rounds allowed him to snatch the fifth and last qualifying spot, just ahead of Alekseev.

19-year-old Sanan Sjugirov finally made the cut this year

In third was Nikita Vitigov, and fourth was 19-year-old Sanan Sjugirov. Among those who failed to make the cut, the most obviously disappointed will be second-seed Nepomniachtchi who came in 16th with 6.0/11 and 2012 European Champion, top-seed Jakovenko who came in 23rd with 5.5/11.

WGM Baira Kovanova ran away with the Women's section and scored an impressive
9.0/11, a full point ahead of sole second-place Natalia Pogonina.

In the women’s section, with the same stringent conditions, WGM Baira Kovanova had a breathtaking 6.5/7 start, and though Natalia Pogonina actually managed to catch her in round nine, with two rounds to go, Kovanova won her two last game to end on 9.0/11 whle Pogonina drew hers and came clear second with 8.0/11. The final ladies to qualify for the final were Ekaterina Ubiennykh in third, Evgenija Ovod in fourth, and Olga Girya in fifth.

Pending confirmation, the players of the grand final of the 65th Russian Championship to be held August 2-13 are:

 Vladimir Kramnik
 Sergey Karjakin
 Peter Svidler
 Alexander Morozevich
 Alexander Grischuk
 Dmitry Andreikin
 Daniil Dubov
 Nikita Vitiugov
 Sanan Sjugirov
 Vladimir Potkin

The qualifiers for the 62nd Russian Women's Championship are:

 Tatiana Kosintseva
 Nadezhda Kosintseva
 Valentina Gunina
 Alisa Galliamova
 Daria Charochkina
 Baira Kovanova
 Natalia Pogonina
 Ekaterina Ubiennykh
 Evgenia Ovod
 Olga Girya



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