64th Russian Championship – Svidler beats Kramnik in round one

8/9/2011 – This year's Russian championship marks its 64th edition, yet also marks the shortest championship in history with a mere seven rounds to determine the winner. It makes up for it somewhat with a stellar field including Kramnik, Karjakin, Grischuk and more, and fantastic video coverage. Svidler beats Kramnik in the very first round, staking a strong claim on the title. Illustrated 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.

As last year, the tournament is being held in the Moscow Central Club on Gogol Blvd.

The Sholokhov Memorial on Gogol Boulevard, in tribute to Mikhail Sholokhov, winner
of the 1965 Nobel Prize in literature, and his most famous book, "And Quiet Flows the Don".

The famed club is currently under renovation

A view of some of the finalized work displaying a gorgeously done stairway

Inside one of the main halls where portraits of the greats can be seen on the walls

The playing area with cameras positioned for the broadcast, and screens to display
the board positions for the spectators.

Grischuk, Svidler, and Karjakin during the opening ceremony

In the background is Kramnik, while in the fore is the chief
arbiter Edward Dubov.

The drawing of lots was more than simply a number from a hat and a picture. Before
drawing their number, the players were shown a position from a previous game and
asked to comment on the novelty they played.

A video of the ceremony made by Eugene Potemkin. Further videos and interviews (in Russian)
can be found at the site.

Alexander Galkin draws a four

Ayrton Timofeev was forced to explain that he had in fact played his 'novelty' before

Reigning champion Ian Nepomniachtchi

Five-time champion Peter Svidler

Alexander Morozevich has been having a fantastic comeback

Alexander Grischuk

2010 runner-up Sergey Karjakin, vying with Kramnik for the title
of Top Russian.

Vladimir Kramnik fresh from a fantastic result in Dortmund

Photographs by Vladimir Barsky (Russiachess.org)

Round one

In such a short tournament, a strong start or a weak one can decide the event from the beginning as there is little time to play catch-up. Astonishingly, the only decisive result came from Vladimir Kramnik, fresh from a fantastic tournament in Dortmund just weeks ago, but it was a shock loss to Peter Svidler. All other games ended in draws.

[Event "64th ch-RUS"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2011.08.08"] [Round "1"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A07"] [WhiteElo "2739"] [BlackElo "2781"] [PlyCount "87"] [EventDate "2011.08.08"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. d3 Bg4 5. Nbd2 Nbd7 6. h3 Bh5 7. g4 Bg6 8. Nh4 e6 9. e3 Bd6 10. Qe2 Qc7 11. O-O O-O-O 12. Rb1 $146 {An interesting and flexible novelty by Svidler. Though the rook is now positioned to push b4, there is no immediate hurry, and this useful move forces Kramnik to show his hand first.} (12. f4 h6 13. Nxg6 fxg6 14. Nf3 e5 15. Nh4 exf4 16. exf4 Rhe8 17. Qf2 Bc5 18. d4 Bb6 19. b4 Ne4 20. Bxe4 Rxe4 21. c3 Rde8 22. Nxg6 c5 23. bxc5 Nxc5 24. Qf3 Na4 25. Bd2 Nxc3 26. Bxc3 Re3 27. Qxd5 Rxc3 28. Rae1 Rd8 29. Qf5+ Kb8 30. Kh2 Bxd4 31. Re2 a6 32. Rfe1 Ka7 33. Qe4 Bb6 34. Ne5 Rd4 35. Qf5 g5 36. fxg5 Rdd3 37. Kg2 Rg3+ 38. Kf1 Rg1# {0-1 (38) Morozevich,A (2755)-Kramnik,V (2785)/Moscow 2007/EXT 2008}) 12... Qa5 $6 {It is often noted that when outside their known territory, GMs play weaker, and it seems even Kramnik is not above this rule. Kramnik chooses an odd plan with almost beginner-like directness (Bb8-Qc7... Qh2 mate?), but that doesn't really do a lot for the rest of his position. There is little way the bishop is better behind the queen.} 13. a3 Bb8 14. f4 e5 $2 {Really not his day. It is a red flag to box in his bishop with ...f5 so the question beckons: what is preventing Svidler from doing exactly that?} 15. f5 e4 16. dxe4 Qc7 17. Rf4 $1 Rde8 18. fxg6 hxg6 19. Nhf3 Qb6 20. e5 Nxe5 21. Nxe5 Bxe5 22. Rf3 {White has some work to do, but the extra piece should be decisive.} Nh7 23. c4 $2 {A flawed idea that nearly throws the win away.} ({Instead} 23. h4 $1 {preventing Ng5 and threatening Rxf7 was best.} f5 (23... Nf6 24. g5 Nh5 25. Rxf7) 24. gxf5 Nf6 25. fxg6 Rxh4 26. b4 $1 $18) 23... Ng5 24. cxd5 cxd5 25. Nf1 Kb8 26. b4 $14 d4 27. Bd2 Re7 28. Rc1 dxe3 $2 {A pity for the winner of Dortmund. After climbing out of the hole with the help of his opponent, Black errs and is once again in deep trouble.} (28... d3 $1 29. Qxd3 (29. Qf2 Qd6) 29... Nxf3+ 30. Bxf3 Rxh3 31. Kg2 Rh8 32. Be1 Rd8 {and White may be better, but it is far from won.}) 29. Bxe3 Bd4 $2 {Last chance to grab the exchange.} 30. Rg3 $1 Bxe3+ 31. Nxe3 Rhe8 32. Rc3 a6 33. Qf2 f6 34. Nc2 Qxf2+ 35. Kxf2 Re2+ 36. Kf1 Rd2 37. Rgd3 Ree2 38. Rxd2 Rxd2 39. Ne3 Ne6 40. Nc4 Rd1+ 41. Kf2 Nf4 42. Bf3 Ra1 43. h4 g5 44. h5 1-0


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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