64th Russian Championship – Wins, wins, and more wins!

8/12/2011 – It doesn't get any more decisive than this: all four games ended in decisive results. Grischuk outwitted Karjakin in a balanced endgame, while Kramnik continues the trend of uncompromising results, as he pushed and shoved until Nepomniachtchi tripped and fell. Svidler overpowered Galkin, keeping the lead with Morozevich who had a very smooth win over Timofeev. 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.

Round four

Vladimir Potkin, Ilya Levitov, Jan Sidorchuk, Anna Zakharova, and Maxim Notkin

European Champion Vladimir Potkin and famed trainer and author Mark Dvoretsky

The contest for the title has heated up. Round four ended in fireworks with a triumphant winner emerging from each encounter. Kramnik, Morozevich, Svidler and Grischuk defeated Nepomniachtchi, Timofeev, Galkin and Karjakin respectively in four games conducted very differently.

Moro, who is clearly enjoying his good form, got Timofeev's goat right out of the opening. Artyom chose a risky variation in the queen pawn opening that invites White to demolish Black's pawn structure with a pawn gambit on move eleven. Black wasted some time with the redundant retreat 12….Nb6 instead of consolidating quickly (for instance with 12….g6 13. Qb3 Nb6 14. Qxe6 Qd7)

It is worth mentioning that Morozevich is on track for his third straight 2800+ performance

Moro gained a few tempi with his proactive knight, seized the advantage and breezed through the endgame.

The game Svidler-Galkin was a conventional Caro Kann Advanced Variation that didn't seem to be going anywhere - until Galkin got a little too comfortable and missed the sudden 37. Bxh5, leaving him with the sorry choice of exposing his king to the wolves or playing on with a pawn down.

Galkin faced with a very unpleasant blow from Svidler

[Event "64th ch-RUS"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2011.08.11"] [Round "4"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Galkin, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2739"] [BlackElo "2598"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2011.08.08"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4 h5 5. c4 e6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Nge2 Nh6 8. Ng3 g6 9. Bf4 Kf8 10. Qd2 Kg7 11. Bg5 a6 12. Be2 Nd7 13. O-O dxc4 14. Bxc4 Bxg5 15. hxg5 Ng8 16. Nge4 Bxe4 17. Nxe4 Ne7 18. Rad1 Nf5 19. Nf6 Qe7 20. Qa5 Rhd8 21. Rfe1 Nf8 22. Qb6 Rac8 23. Bb3 Nh7 24. f4 Qc7 25. Qc5 Nxf6 26. gxf6+ Kh7 27. Kh2 Nh6 28. Rd2 Rd7 29. Bd1 Qd8 30. Bf3 Qf8 31. Qc3 Rcd8 32. Red1 Kg8 33. Kg1 Kh7 34. b4 Kg8 35. a3 Kh7 36. Rd3 Kg8 $2 {Although there is no question it is a bad move, the truth is Black was in quite a bit of trouble and had no good moves.} ({For example} 36... Nf5 37. g4 $1) (36... Rc7 37. Bxh5 $1 {as in the game.}) (36... Qg8 37. g4 $1 {etc.}) 37. Bxh5 $1 Nf5 ({The pawn cannot be taken.} 37... gxh5 $2 38. Rh3 {and it will soon be over.}) 38. Bg4 Qh6 39. Bxf5 exf5 40. Rf1 Qh4 41. Rh3 Qg4 42. e6 fxe6 43. Qe1 1-0

The remaining two games were more complex. Karjakin-Grischuk followed a theoretical line in the Austrian Attack of the Pirc Defence, where Sasha boldly tried the lesser known 12….Qxd2+ in place of the more common 12….Bxf2+. The resulting endgame gave both players plenty of room to fight and it was black's superior technique that prevailed after 65 moves. It's nice to see that having black pieces doesn't necessarily curb ambition at this level…

Kramnik will deservedly get the award for most uncompromising player with no draws

Meanwhile Kramnik, playing White in yet another Symmetrical English, sacrificed an exchange on move 25 for compensation in the form of Black's vulnerable dark squares. Nepomniachtchi overlooked the plain defence 26….Qd6 and allowed his opponent to barge into his gaping kingside, giving him a lasting endgame initiative that was converted neatly.

[Event "64th ch-RUS"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2011.08.11"] [Round "4"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A30"] [WhiteElo "2781"] [BlackElo "2711"] [PlyCount "105"] [EventDate "2011.08.08"] 1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. e3 e5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. d4 e4 6. Ne5 g6 7. Be2 Bg7 8. O-O O-O 9. b3 cxd4 10. exd4 Re8 11. Bf4 d6 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Rc1 d5 14. Qd2 Ba6 15. Rfd1 Rc8 16. h3 dxc4 17. bxc4 Nd7 18. Na4 Bf8 19. Bf1 h5 20. Qc3 Qf6 21. Be3 c5 22. Qa5 cxd4 23. Bxd4 Qc6 24. Nc3 Bh6 25. Nd5 Bxc1 26. Rxc1 Bb7 ({It would be interesting to know what Kramnik had planned in the event of} 26... Qd6 {The friendly and well-intentioned} 27. Bb2 {is met with} ({While} 27. Qd2 {runs into an annoying} Bb7 {that stalls all attacking manoeuvres. The position offers challenging possibilities for analysis.}) 27... Ne5 28. Ba3 Qe6 29. Ne7+ Rxe7 30. Bxe7 Nd3 $1 31. Bxd3 exd3 {and Black is better.}) 27. Qb4 a5 28. Ne7+ Kf8 29. Nxg6+ Kg8 30. Ne7+ Kf8 31. Ng6+ Kg8 32. Ne7+ Kf8 33. Nxc6+ axb4 34. Nxb4 Nc5 35. Rb1 Red8 36. Nc2 Ba8 37. Rb5 Nd3 38. Rxh5 Ke8 39. Bb6 Rd6 40. c5 Rd5 41. Rh6 Rg5 42. Nd4 Rg6 43. Rh5 Ke7 44. a4 Nf4 45. Re5+ Kf8 46. g3 Nd3 47. Rh5 Kg8 48. a5 Re8 49. a6 Re5 50. Rxe5 Nxe5 51. Bb5 e3 52. a7 Kf8 53. Bc7 1-0

Morozevich and Svidler are now leading the table with three points each. Three rounds remain to be played after tomorrow's rest day.

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

Standings after four rounds


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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