2015 Ukrainian Ch: Comebacks and Cinderella

by Albert Silver
12/19/2015 – It was a tight race to the end for the Ukrainian Championships, with nothing decided in either the Men’s or Women’s event until the very last round. Andrei Volokitin snatched the title in the 11th hour for his second title in 11 years. In the Women’s Championship, Anastasia Rakhmangulova, the second lowest rated in the field, took sole first in a Cinderella win.

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Men's Championship

Kuzubov (left) was the early hero of the event with 3.5/4, but was unable to sustain the
momentum and finished on 6.0/11. As to his opponent, Martyn Kravtsiv was one of the leaders
going into the final round, and tied for first with 7.0/11.

Zahar Efimenko was the second co-leader with 6.5/10 and after a last round draw, 7.0/11

Women World Champion Mariya Muzychuk gave an honest reckoning of herself with a slight
negative score, but was facing an overall higher rated field. Above she faced top-seed
Kryvoruchko (2711 FIDE) who outrated her by 150 Elo, and held him to a draw.

The winner was Andrei Volokitin, who snatched victory in the final round, winning his game and
edging out the two other co-winners on tiebreak. Here he is receiving a victor's kiss by his wife.

Kovchan - Volokitin

[Event "Ukraine Men`s Final - 2015 "] [Site "Lviv"] [Date "2015.12.11"] [Round "8.3"] [White "Kovchan, Alexander"] [Black "Volokitin, Andrei"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B92"] [WhiteElo "2583"] [BlackElo "2628"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4r1k1/1pQ3pp/p7/P2p4/1P3R2/1P2p2P/3q1PP1/6K1 b - - 0 33"] [PlyCount "5"] [EventDate "2015.12.03"] {It is a last skirmish with substantial threats for both sides. White's Qf7+ with mate patterns on the back rank are not to be underestimated. However, Black is first to the punch with an elegant little finish.} 33... exf2+ 34. Kh2 Qxf4+ $3 35. Qxf4 Rf8 $1 0-1

Volokitin and Efimenko chatting during the closing ceremony

GM Oleksander Sulypa, coach of the Ukrainian national team, congratulates Martyn Kravtsiv
on his second-place finish. On the left is Anastasia Rakhmangulova, winner of the Women's
championship, and on the right is Yuriy Kryvoruchko.

Final men's standings

Grandmasters vs Students Simul

There was a siul after the competition, pitting numerous grandmasters and masters, some of whom were participants, though not all, against children.

Getting a head start on 'dressing like a grandmaster'

The playing hall of the simul was top-notch

Following the footsteps of her heroes: a hero for the future?

After the games, the scoresheets were duly signed, but even losses were overlooked as
they had a chance to meet the players they aspire to become

Women's Championship

A tough blow for Olga Kalinina, who entered the final round tied for the
lead, but a loss relegated her to third place. Nevertheless, her 6.0/9 was
also the fruit of five wins, as many as any, and more than most.

17-year-old Iulija Osmak took silver on tiebreak with 6.0/9

Nevertheless, the winner was 21-year-old Anastasia Rakhmangulova, who took clear first
with 6.5/9. It was almost a Cinderella victory as she was the second lowest rated player.

The top three finishers of the 2015 Ukrainian Women Championship

Final women's standings

All photos by Evgeny Kraws


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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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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