Alisa Galliamova wins Russian Women's Superfinal

11/28/2010 – The Russian Women's Superfinal had seen no fewer than three outright leaders, and by round 6 it was the turn of 17-year-old Nazi Paikidze. However, a fierce burst by the reigning champion Alisa Galliamova, with four straight wins, changed this, and it seemed hers. Again, nothing was as it appeared, and nerves were the deciding factor in the final stretch. Illustrated report of a thrilling event.

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Alisa Galliamova: Russian women's champion

Russian women championship Superfinal is the round robin final stage of the national championship. It is held in Moscow from November 15 to 27. The prize fund of the tournament that brought in all the best players in the country, including the entire national team, is 1.4 million rubles (around 35 thousand Euros) with 400 thousand rubles (around 10.000 Euro) going to the winner. The Russian chess federation as the event organizer, with the generous support by the sponsors “Gazprom”, “Sberbank”, “Almaz-Antei”, and “E4 Group”.

The time control is 40 moves for 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game and a 30-second increment as of move one.


The playing hall with daily spectators enjoying the action up close

The ultra combative Superfinal continued its course, with no leader able to break away from the pack for more than a round or two. After being gunned down in rounds four and five, reigning Russian women’s champion, Galliamova managed to catch up and overtake the 17-year-old leader, Nazi Paikidze, with three consecutive win in rounds six, seven, and a crucial one against Paikidze herself in round eight. In the meantime, two more players moved up the crosstable with bids of their own: Pagonina and Tatiana Kosintseva.


Natalia Pogonina facing Tatiana Kosintseva

Although Tatiana was obviously good for it, being the event’s highest rating, her start had been quite lackluster, with a loss and two draws in the opening rounds. It was her sister who had seemed ready to take the event by storm. Instead Nadezhda slowed down in the next couple of rounds, and fell in the path of Galliamova’s tornado. This seemed to demoralize her as she lost the next two games, falling into the second half of the pack. Tatiana on the other hand was on a rush, and caught up with the other wolves by the eighth round. At this point, Galliamova was sole leader with 5.5/8, followed by Tania Kosintseva, Pogonina, and Paikidze, all on 5.0/8.

In round nine, Galliamova maintained her lead with a crushing victory over Nebolsina, moving to 6.5/9, while Paikidze was the only one to be able to keep the pace when she outplayed Bodnaruk in a fine positional display. If it now seemed as if the event would see Galliamova’s second consecutive win, round ten showed just how combative and volatile the event is, when Gunina, who shared last place at this point, beat Alisa, allowing both Tatiana Kosintseva and Paikidze to share the leadership entering the last round with 6.5/9. The only other player who might threaten them was Pogonina who was just a half point behind on 6.0/9. The way the tournament had gone, it was truly anyone’s guess what might happen in the last round decider. To spice things up even more, both Alisa and Tania were paired against each other.


Gunina signs an autograph for a young fan


On the other hand, Nadezhda Kosintseva received a unique present by an artistic
fan: a painted protrait set in a lyrical background.

Again, the last round was no exception and provided its own share of surprises. The first was the rather quiet 18-move draw between the two leaders, leaving the path wide open for Paikidze to snatch the title if she was able to win her game against Nebolsina. Tragically, the strain took its toll, and in a balanced position, she buckled and self-destructed in a couple of moves, losing her game in what had to be a heart-breaking moment. On the other hand, Pogonina, who had a rollercoaster game against Shadrina, with nervy missed opportunities by both, managed to have the last word, and joined Galliamova and Kosintseva at 7.0/11. Since both she and Alisa had the best tie-break, Tatiana was forced to be content with third prize while they decided their fates in a mini-match of speed chess.


Pogonina and Galliamova in their second speed chess tie-breaker


Evgeny Bareev provided colorful color commentary, allowing spectators to chip in a
few moves of their own, which made for an entertaining interactive experience.

Their first game was a draw, but in the second game, Alisa prevailed and finally managed to secure the title that had almost slipped out of her grasp.


2010 Russian women's champion Alisa Galliamova


Natalia Pogonina, second place


Despite the competition's bloodiness over the board, outside, smiles and sportsmanship
were the norm.


The three proud winners of the Superfinal

Pictures by Anna Burtasova (Russian Chess Federation)

Final standings

Links

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 the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!


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