Alexander the First wins Russian Championship Superfinal

by ChessBase
12/31/2007 – There were two Alexanders in the field: Morozevich and Grischuk. One round before the end the second was breathing down the neck of the first: after finishing a 100-move endgame successfully Grischuk lay just half a point behind the leader. In the final round, however, Morozevich beat Ernesto Inarkiev, while Grischuk drew against Peter Svidler. Illustrated report with endgame lesson.

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Russian Superfinal – closing report

One round before the end of the Russian Championship Superfinal things got close. Alexander Morozevich, who had led the tournament with up to 1.5 points, had lost his round nine white game to Alexey Dreev, and drawn in round ten to Amonatov. His closest rival, Alexander Grischuk, had in the same time beaten Timofeev with black, and in round ten Rychagov, again with black, in a 100-move marathon game given below. Suddnely Grischuk was in striking distance, just half a point behind Morozevich.

In the final round Alexander the First put an end to all speculations by beating Ernesto Inarkiev, who had been lurking in fourth place. Grischuk drew his game against Peter Svidler, so that Morozevich finished a full point ahead of the field.

Final standings in the Men's section

Draw statistics: of the 66 games in this tournament less than half – just 30 – were drawn, which works out to a draw average of 46%, the lowest we have seen in a top tournament for a long time. Both White and Black won 18 games each, for a 27% win ratio. A big force driving these positive statistics was Alexnader Morozevich, who has just two draws to his account. With the white pieces Morozevich won three games and lost two, with black he won four and drew two. It would look as though he is stronger with the black piece. In fact if you check the performance in this tournament Morozevich scored 2924 with black and over two hundred points less, 2715, with white (he was lucky to have had just five whites as opposed to six blacks). His overall performance was 2817.

Morozevich,A (2755) - Dreev,A (2607) [B56]
60th ch-RUS Superfinal Moscow RUS (9), 28.12.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be3 0-0 9.Qd2 a5 10.Bb5 Be6 11.0-0 d5 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Nxd5 Qxd5 14.Qxd5 Bxd5 15.Rfd1 Bxb3 16.axb3 Nd4 17.Bd3 Bc5 18.Kf2 b6 19.Rac1 Rac8 20.Bc4 b5 21.Bd5 Rfd8 22.Bb7 Rb8 23.Be4 g6 24.Ra1 f5 25.Bd3 Bb6 26.Ra2 Kg7 27.g3 b4 28.Re1 Rbc8 29.Bc4 f4 30.gxf4 exf4 31.Bxd4+ Rxd4 32.Kf1 Rd2

Things got really bad for Morozevich when Dreev was able to penetrate to the second rank with his rook. 33.Re6?! Be3 34.Rxa5 Rxc2 35.h4 Rd8 36.Rd5 Ra8 37.Rd7+ Kh6 38.Ba6 Rf2+ 39.Ke1 Rxb2 40.h5 Rb1+ 41.Ke2 Rb2+ 42.Ke1 Rxb3 43.hxg6 hxg6 44.Rdd6 Rb1+ 45.Ke2 Rg1 46.Kd3 Rb8 47.Ke2 b3 48.Bd3 Rg8 49.Re5 Ra8 0-1.

Timofeev,Arty (2637) - Grischuk,A (2715) [B12]
60th ch-RUS Superfinal Moscow RUS (9), 28.12.2007
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Be3 e6 5.Nd2 Nd7 6.c3 f6 7.Ngf3 Bg6 8.h4 Bh5 9.Be2 Ne7 10.Bf4 Qb6 11.0-0 Bf7 12.b4 Qd8 13.Re1 f5 14.Ng5 Bg8 15.h5 h6 16.Nh3 g5 17.hxg6 Nxg6 18.Be3 Bf7 19.g3 Be7 20.f4 a5 21.a3 b5 22.Nb3 a4 23.Nc5 Nb6 24.Kf2 Nc4 25.Rh1 Qc7 26.Bh5 Rg8 27.Nd3 0-0-0 28.Ng1 Nh8 29.Qf3 Bxh5 30.Rxh5 Nf7 31.Ne2 Rg4 32.Ra2 Rdg8 33.Nb2 Bf8 34.Nxc4 dxc4 35.Rd2 Qd7 36.Ke1 Nh8 37.Bf2 Qd5 38.Ng1 Ng6 39.Qxd5 cxd5 40.Nf3 Ne7 41.Ke2 Kd7 42.Nh2

42...Rxg3 43.Bxg3 Rxg3 44.Rc2 Rg2+ 45.Kd1 Rg1+ 46.Ke2 Rg2+ 47.Kd1 Rg1+ 48.Ke2 Ra1 49.Rh3 Rxa3 50.Rg3 Nc6 51.Kf2 Bxb4 52.Rg7+ Be7 53.Nf1 b4 54.Ke3 Ra1 55.cxb4 Rxf1 56.b5 Nb4 57.Rf2 Rxf2 58.Kxf2 a3 59.b6 a2 60.b7 Nc6 61.Rg1 Kc7 0-1.

Rychagov,A (2528) - Grischuk,A (2715) [D44]
60th ch-RUS Superfinal Moscow RUS (10), 29.12.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Bg5 dxc4 5.Nc3 c6 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.exf6 gxh4 10.Ne5 Qxf6 11.g3 Nd7 12.Qe2 c5 13.Nc6 Bg7 14.Bg2 cxd4 15.Nd5 Qf5 16.g4 Qg5 17.f4 d3 18.fxg5 dxe2 19.Nc7+ Kf8 20.Nxa8 Bb7 21.Nc7 Nb8 22.Nxb8 Bxg2

A key game: Andrey Rychagov vs Alexander Grischuk (position after 22...Bxg2)

23.Kxe2 Ke7 24.Nba6 hxg5 25.Nxb5 Bxb2 26.Rab1 c3 27.Rxb2 cxb2 28.Rb1 f5 29.gxf5 g4 30.Kf2 Bb7 31.Nc5 g3+ 32.Kg1 Bd5 33.Nc3 Bf3 34.Rxb2 exf5 35.Rb4 Kf6 36.Rf4 Ba8 37.Ne2 Re8 38.Nxg3 hxg3 39.hxg3 Re3 40.Nd7+ Kg5 41.Ra4 Bc6 42.Rxa7 Re7 43.g4

Grischuk pondering what to do after 43...g4

43...f4 44.Ra5+ Kh4 45.Nf6 Kg3 46.Nh5+ Kxg4 47.Nf6+ Kg3 48.Ra3+ f3 49.Nh5+ Kg4 50.Ra5 Re6 51.Kf2 Rh6 52.Rc5 Bb7 53.Rb5 Bc6 54.Rc5 Be8 55.Rc4+ Kxh5 56.Kxf3 Ra6 57.Kf4 Kg6 58.a4 Kf6 59.a5 Rxa5

Grischuk has swapped down to a theoretically drawn endgame. In the middle of the 19th century Kling and Horwitz had shown how this ending can be held. Rychagov plays it impeccably for a while.

60.Rb4 Bc6 61.Rc4 Rf5+ 62.Ke3 Re5+ 63.Kd4 Rd5+ 64.Ke3 Bb5 65.Rd4 Rh5 66.Kf4 Ke6 67.Ke4 Bc6+ 68.Kf4 Rf5+ 69.Ke3 Ke5 70.Rd3 Rh5 71.Rc3 Bd5 72.Kd2 Rh2+ 73.Ke3 Rh4 74.Kd3 Rg4 75.Ke3 Bc4 76.Kf3 Rh4 77.Ke3 Re4+ 78.Kf3 Be2+ 79.Kf2 Kf4 80.Rc2 Bd3 81.Rb2 Re3 82.Rb4+ Be4 83.Rb2 Rh3 84.Re2 Bd3 85.Rd2 Rf3+ 86.Kg2 Bf1+ 87.Kg1 Ke3 88.Rd5 Bd3 89.Rg5 Be4 90.Kh2 Kf4

Everything has gone well for White so far, as our Endgame Tablebases confirm. Now Rychagov has to find 91.Rg3 (stalemate trap) or 91.Rg7. Everything else loses, as the following computer display shows:

91.Rg8? The tablebases tell us that this move allows a win in 52 moves, although of course it is too late for Black to capitalise, due to the 50 move rule. 91...Rf2+ 92.Kg1 Ra2? Black needed to play 92...Rc2 to win in 50 moves, our tablebases tell us. Now it is a draw again. 93.Rb8? 93.Rc8 draws, this move loses in 49 moves. 93...Bd5? Draw again, 93...Rg2 or 93...Ra1+ was required. 94.Rd8 Kg3 95.Kf1 Bf3

Here White can play his rook to e8 or g8 to hold the draw. Rychagov plays 96.Ke1? Allows a win in 14 for Black. 96...Re2+ 97.Kf1 Re3 98.Rg8+ Bg4 99.Rg7 Re8 100.Rg5 Rh8 and White resigned, since there will be a piece capture (or mate) before the 50 moves are up. 0-1.

The loneliness of the five-piece endings players

Women's section

Elena Tairova had been leading, together with Ekaterina Korbut, both a point ahead of the field. In round eleven Elena lost a violent tactical skirmish against Tatiana Stepovaia, while Ekaterina went down to Evgenija Ovod in time trouble with white. Evgenija had caught the leading pair. Meanwhile the other two contenders, Tatiana Kosintseva and Natalija Pogonina battled it out against each other. Natalija, who had started brilliantly, had the white pieces, but ran into terrible trouble with Tatiana's a-pawn, which decided the game on move 36.

Final standings in the Women's section

Draw statistics: The women's section saw even less draws than the men's. Of the 66 games just 22 were drawn, which gives us a sensationally low 34% draws. White won 24 games, Black 20. Elena Tairova, who came equal first with 1.0/11, had the lowest drawing ratio, with just two draws = 18%. Actually she was topped by 18-year-old WFM Valentina Gunina, who drew only one game (=9%). But she lost eight games and won two, one against the tournament winner Tatiana Kosintseva in round nine.

Back to earth: WFM Valentina Gunina

Gunina,V (2359) - Kosintseva,T (2492) [E15]
57th ch-RUS w Moscow RUS (9), 28.12.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Nc3 0-0 8.e4 d5 9.cxd5 Bxf1 10.Kxf1 exd5 11.e5 Ne4 12.Kg2 c5 13.Re1 Nc6 14.Qe2 f5 15.exf6 Bxf6 16.Rad1 Re8 17.Qd3 Nb4 18.Qb1 Nxd2 19.Rxd2 Qd7 20.Red1 Rac8 21.a3 Nc6 22.Ne2 c4 23.Nf4 Na5 24.Ne5 Qb7 25.bxc4 dxc4+ 26.f3 Nb3 27.Re2 Nxd4 28.Rxd4 Rxe5 29.Red2 c3 30.Rd7 Qa6 31.Rc2 Qxa3 32.Nd5 Rxd5 33.Rxd5 Qa4 34.Qd1 b5 35.Qe2 Rb8 36.Rc5 Qb3 37.Qe4 b4 38.Rc4 Rd8 39.Re2 a5 40.Qc6 Rf8??

41.Qe6+ Kh8 42.Qf7 (oops) Rg8 43.Re8 1-0.


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