Closing Ceremony in Kazan

by Eteri Kublashvili
12/9/2014 – After nine tough rounds, Lysyj took the gold. He led the event most of the way, though he was far from the pre-tournament favorite. In the women's section one of the favorites, Gunina, started the tournament on the wrong foot, but she turned things around and won the tournament. Eteri Kublashvili brings us her impressions of the final round and the closing ceremony from Kazan.

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The Russian Chess Championship Super Final, the 67th for men and the 64th for women, took place from November 27th until December 8th in the city of Kazan, in a branch of the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan (the Khazine Gallery). The Super Final is the main individual competition in the Russian chess calendar: it pitches together the country's strongest male and female chess player. The tournament is a follow-up of the Chess in Museums project, an international programme run by the Russian Chess Federation (RCF) in conjunction with the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation.

The Super Final's participants were playing in a hall hosting an exposition of paintings by Nicolai Fechin, a famous artist born in Kazan. The works exhibited in the hall include the famous pictures Slaughterhouse and Showering with Water. Students of the Fechin Kazan Art School were attending the tournament every day to do sketches of the players. The jury awarded prizes to the best works.

Final Round

In the final round of the men's tournament, Nikita Vitiugov destroyed Ian Nepomniachtchi with Black. The opponents played out a complex opening line in which Black was in a very promising position. White failed to castle and Black launched a powerful central attack. Vitiugov won major material and soon drove the point home.

A close call for Khismatullin against...

Jakovenko, who tried hard to play for the win

Peter Svidler outplayed Vadim Zvjaginsev in a long duel. The latter sacrificed a pawn in the middlegame but did not obtain any serious compensation. The extra pawn had its say in the endgame and Peter finished the tournament on a winning note.

The games B. Grachev – I. Lysyj, D. Khismatullin – D. Jakovenko and A. Morozevich – S. Karjakin ended in draws.

Igor Lysyj became the Russian Champion with 5.5 points in 9 games. The silver medalist was Dmitry Jakovenko, who lagged behind the winner by half a point. Denis Khismatullin took third place, gaining 4.5 points, like four other participants, but staying ahead of them in terms of additional indicators.

In the women’s tournament, it all boiled down to one game: the match between the leaders Alisa Galliamova and Valentina Gunina, which ended in the latter’s favour. Valentina sacrificed a pawn in the opening and obtained compensation. During time trouble, the game swung like a pendulum and, at one point, White had a decisive edge. But then Galliamova made a blunder and the advantage swung back to Black. Valentina Gunina brought the game to a ruthless conclusion and became the Russian Champion for the second time in a row. Alisa Galliamova won the silver.

Valentina Gunina and Alisa Galliamova in the decisive round

The round also saw a sensational defeat of Alexandra Kosteniuk, playing Black, by Superfinal first-timer Oksana Gritsayeva.

Anastasia Bodnaruk, who had also done very badly in the tournament, outplayed Olga Girya, who had been among the leaders for nearly the entire event. Olga made a mistake in a better endgame and Anastasia achieved a win.

In a lengthy tug-of-war, Alina Kashlinskaya gradually outsmarted Natalija Pogonina with Black.

Ekaterina Kovalevskaya and Aleksandra Goriachkina drew. The 16-year-old Aleksandra took third place, overcoming Olga Girya in terms of additional indicators.

Final results:

Final Results women:

The Superfinal’s closing ceremony was held at the Khazine Gallery on the same day. The participants received congratulations and awards from Vladimir Leonov, Tatarstan Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports; Igor Baradachev, Deputy General Director of the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation; Gennady Zakharov, President of the Tatarstan Chess Federation; and Mark Glukhovsky, Chairman of the Management Board of the Russian Chess Federation.

Alexander Khalifman, Pavel Tregubov and Sergei Rublevsky before the closing ceremony

Valentina Gunina, new Russian Champion,
was interviewed seconds after she was done with her game

Commentator Sergei Shipov and second place Alisa Galliamova

The prizes ready to be handed out

In good spirits! Vitiugov, Svidler and Jakovenko

Anastasia Bodnaruk, Alina Kashlinskaya and her mother

The winner! Igor Lysyj with his second, IM Nikolai Oglobin

Aleksandray Goryachkina achieved third place

Bronze and Silver: Goryachkina and Galliamova

Valentina Gunina doesn't have enough things to hold,
so she was awarded the album "Chess in museums around world"

Khismatullin's last round draw got him the third place

Winners in the open: Khismatullin, Jakovenko and Lysyj

Prizes were also awarded to students of the Kazan Art School, who had been sketching the players during the event. Ulyana Babakayeva won the third-place prize, whereas the second prize went to Ksenia Vlasova and the first to Elvina Sabirova.

The winning pieces

The artists with their own awards

Gennadiy Zakharov organizers presented a book about Nicolai Fechin

Andrey Filatov, President of the Russian Chess Federation, summed up the event: “The Kazan Superfinal has been a real feast for both participants and fans and has yet again showcased Russia’s outstanding chess talent. I congratulate with all my heart Russian Champions Igor Lysyj and Valentina Gunina on this great victory.

On behalf of the Russian Chess Federation, I would like to thank the first President of the Republic of Tatarstan, head of the Organising Committee of the Superfinal Mintimer Shaimiev, thanks to whose personal involvement the competition was held at the highest standard; head of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin for the opportunity to hold the tournament at one of Russia’s best regional museums; and our loyal partner ‒ the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation.

As part of the Chess in Museums project, we were able to combine chess and art once again. This combination not only provides an impressive backdrop to the dramatic chess matches, but also brings new audiences to museum halls. The Superfinal gave chess fans a unique opportunity to enjoy the participants’ good play and to familiarise themselves with works by the great Russian-American artist Nicolai Fechin. The RCF and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation will continue this project and I am confident that a large number of impressive games held in Russian and the world’s best museums are still ahead of us.”

Deputy General Director of the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation Igor Baradachev said: "To conclude another Russian Championship Superfinal jointly held by the RCF and the Timchenko Foundation as part of the Chess in Museums project, I would like to thank everyone who has made a huge contribution to making this event happen at the highest level here in Kazan. I hope that the participants and the audience have truly enjoyed the harmony of beauty, art, elegance and sport on the chess boards and the easels. For the first time, a synergy of chess and art has given us not only chess champions, but also nice paintings drawn during the game, their authors receiving well-deserved awards."

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Eteri Kublashvili is a chessplayer and reports and photographs from all official tournaments for the Russian Chess Federation.


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