64th Russian Championship – Black day for black queens

8/9/2011 – It was an exciting round for chess fans, as Kramnik shrugged off his first round loss with a convincing win over Timofeev in round two. Artyom's queen found itself desperately seeking shelter, a situation that led to his demise. Morozevich played a heart-thumping do-or-die attack which almost went bad, but in the end his courage was rewarded as he caught Grischuk's queen. Round two report.

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Prize fund: 90.000€ (24.000 - 17.500 - 12.500 - 11.000 - 9.000 - 7.500 - 4.000 - 2.500)
Tourney mode: round robin with 7 rounds
Time mode: 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes + 30 seconds/move starting with the 1st move.
Game start: 13:00, last round 11:00
Rest day: 12th August

64th Russian Championship Super Final

This year's Russian Championship Super Final also marks a special edition: the 64th. Oddly though, instead of some mega event with more, the tournament has been cut down from last year's eleven-round edition with twelve players to a mere seven rounds and eight players. Still, don't think that makes it a lesser event by any means, as it also brings together a fantastic field with Kramnik, Karjakin, Grischuk, Morozevich, Svidler, Nepomniachtchi, and Galkin for a 2715 average rating. Once more the Russian Federation hosts the championship at a level that few can rival, with high resolution video broadcasting and of course grandmaster commentary. Round one through four will be commented by GM Sergey Makarichev, while rounds five through seven will be commented on by world-famous coach Mark Dvoretsky.


The tournament poster and one of the cameras to film the event


The camera crew sets up the equipment


Grigoriants, Motylev, and Dvoretsky follow the action

Round two


The four boards as they start

White fared well in the second round of the Russian Men's Superfinal with Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Morozevich winning against Artyom Timofeev and Alexander Grischuk respectively. The new seven-round system might prove to be a treat for spectators as participants seem eager to score faster and take an early lead.


Kramnik and Timofeev in round two

Kramnik came back strongly from his first round loss to Peter Svidler and beat Timofeev with white in a Symmetrical English. The former World Champion cornered his younger opponent's queen after the latter dubiously posted the black lady at the edge of the board on move 25.


Kramnik bounced back from his opening loss with a convincing win

Kramnik missed a quick and simple finish when he played 30. Rxc5 instead of 30.Rc4! which could have immediately won him the black queen. In the game, black could have complicated matters with 30…Nxc5 but the position after 31. dxc5 Qxa1 32. Qf5 Rf8 33. Ng5 g6 34. Qh3 h5 35. Rxf7 still holds some bite for White. Artyom's choice of 30….Rxc5 did not help him much and white picked up the point five moves later.

The other decisive result came from a Queen's Gambit between Moro and Grischuk. Moro played very aggressively, and bravely. He invested heavily in his attack ultimately found himself in a do or die situation where either his attack went through or he would be left looking foolish. It was a tense affair and both players got into time-trouble. Morozevich's attack seemed to be in danger of stalling when he played a poisonous little move that was in fact a mistake. Grischuk not only missed the point but the refutation, and suddenly found himself facing mate or losing his queen.


Grischuk suddenly realizing he has blundered


Morozevich's gutsy play finally paid off after sweating a bit

[Event "64th ch-RUS"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2011.08.09"] [Round "2"] [White "Morozevich, A."] [Black "Grischuk, A."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D31"] [WhiteElo "2694"] [BlackElo "2746"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2011.08.08"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. h3 {Leave it to Morozevich to play something completely offbeat.} Nd7 8. Nf3 Qb6 9. Qe2 $5 { You didn't actually think he was going to develop his bishop on the f1-a6 diagnoal did you? Of course not! g4-Bg2 is the only logical way to develop here... when your name is Morozevich that is.} Ngf6 10. g4 Bg6 11. Nh4 Qa5 12. Bg2 Ne4 13. Nxg6 Nxc3 14. Qd2 hxg6 $1 ({You might wonder why Black could not play} 14... Bb4 $5 {threatening to win the queen with a nasty discovered attack. But it doesn't quite achieve its purpose.} 15. a3 $1 {is enough to maintain the balance.}) 15. bxc3 Nb6 16. O-O Nc4 17. Qe2 O-O 18. e4 Bd6 19. e5 $1 {The move is not the objective best, but Morozevich deserves the marks for ambition since the intentions could not be clearer.} Ba3 20. Rab1 Qxc3 21. Rfd1 b5 22. Rb3 Qa5 23. g5 Rfe8 24. h4 Bf8 25. h5 $2 {This is a mistake since White had no need to give up the a2 pawn (and Black counterplay) just yet.} ({Instead } 25. Rh3 $1 {preparing the very same h5 was better since after a take on h5, Black will not have time to capture as he will be facing a mate on the h-file. In fact, it is not clear Black can defend this position.} Nd6 26. h5 Nf5 {and now White can simply line up his battering ram and assault the king.} 27. Bf3 Qc7 28. Bg4 $1 Qd7 (28... -- {Threatening} 29. hxg6 fxg6 30. Bxf5 gxf5 31. g6 { cutting off the monarch's escape.}) 29. Kg2 $1 {with the idea Rdh1 if allowed.} ) 25... gxh5 26. Qxh5 $6 {Another imprecision which will allow Grischuk to get a slight upper hand though the attack is still full underway.} (26. g6 $1 fxg6 27. Rg3 Re6 28. Qc2 Rae8 (28... Qa4 29. Qxa4 bxa4 30. Bh3) 29. Bh3 {would lead to equality.}) 26... g6 27. Qh4 {Now it will be much harder to break through.} Qxa2 28. Rh3 Bg7 29. Qh7+ Kf8 30. Rf3 {The players were already quite short of time by now, and it really is a make or break situation. Unless some kind of wild perpetual takes place (a distinct possibility), either White's attack goes through, or he will lose the game. It is that simple. Poker chess at its best!} Qe2 31. Rdd3 Re6 32. Bg3 $2 {A blunder!} a5 $4 {Grischuk returns the favor and misses the point of White's move: to capture the queen!} ({After} 32... Nd2 $1 33. Rfe3 $8 Qd1+ 34. Kh2 {Black has seized control and with two pawns should be able to win.}) 33. Bf1 $1 Qe4 ({There is nothing to be done. If } 33... Qe1 {for example, then} 34. Rxf7+ Kxf7 35. Rf3+ Ke8 36. Qxg7 $18) 34. Rf4 {There is no escape.} Qxf4 35. Bxf4 a4 36. Rd1 a3 37. Bxc4 dxc4 38. Bd2 Ra4 39. Be3 Re7 40. d5 a2 41. d6 {The time control is made and it is over.} Rd7 42. Bd4 b4 {Finishing with style, Morozevich plays the crowd-pleasing} 43. Qxg7+ $3 (43. Qxg7+ Kxg7 44. e6+ Kf8 45. exd7 Ra8 46. Bf6 b3 {How does White finish Black off?} 47. Kg2 $3 { and if} b2 48. Rh1 $1 a1=Q 49. Rh8#) 1-0

The games between Nepomniachtchi-Galkin and Svidler-Karjakin were both drawn after the players simplified into equal endgames.

Photographs by Vladimir Barsky and Russian Federation (Russiachess.org)


Links

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