Intense fights at the Ukranian Championships

by Sagar Shah
11/19/2014 – With 85 GMs and 198 IMs Ukraine is one of the strongest chess countries in the world. And this year a lot of the top players start in the National Championship, among them Vasily Ivanchuk, Ukraine's number one. He is one of five players in the category 17 tournament with an Elo of 2700+. However, after seven rounds another player emerged as sole leader.

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Kuzubov leads in 83rd Ukrainian National Championships

This Ukrainian National Championships are taking place in Lviv from the 11th to 22th November 2014. The men's tournament is a 12-player Round-Robin event while the women's is a 10 player one. The former is probably the strongest Ukrainian Championship ever with an average Elo of 2659. And who is the biggest attraction for the spectators?

Vassily Ivanchuk: the man who has chess all over him!

Known as one of the most brilliant and original players in chess, Ivanchuk's participation has surely enhanced the stature of this event. Along with Ivanchuk, former World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov, Pavel Eljanov, defending champion Yuri Kryvoruchko and Alexander Moiseenko are also in action - these are the five players in the event with an Elo of 2700+. The tournament has been a complete street fight with just about every player taking a beating from the other. After seven rounds Yuriy Kuzubov leads with 5.0/7.

Yuri Kuzubov (2661) is currently leading the tournament after he took down erstwhile leader Pavel Eljanov in the sixth round.

GM Pavel Eljanov

GM Pavel Eljanov was having a great tournament and was leading with 4.0/5 until Kuzubov stopped his run in the sixth round. It must be mentioned that Eljanov did beat the top seed of the event Vasily Ivanchuk in smooth positional fashion.

Let's check the game that was crucial at the half-way mark between Eljanov and Kuzubov.


Ivanchuk, often affectionately called "Chucky", has not been having the best tournament of his life.

GM Alexander Zubarev

Before beating Ivanchuk in round six, Zubarev (2588) had a horrible score of 0.5/5. Maybe his win over the strongest Ukrainian player will give him the much needed confidence for the second half of the event.


Ruslan Ponomariov (2711) has been pretty impressive in this event with wins over Areshchenko and Kryvoruchko.


On the receiving end of Ponomariov's h3-Najdorf: GM Alexander Areshchenko (2655)

Anton Korobov (2680). He is the only one in the tournament who has beaten
Ponomariov but suffered a surprising defeat against the only IM in the event.

IM Stanislav Bogdanovich is perhaps one of the highest rated International Masters
in the world with an Elo of 2590. Some of the readers might
remember him from his 210 move marathon in the 2013 Ukrainian Championships.

Alexander Moiseenko (2701): The only other unbeaten player in the tournament
apart from Kuzubov is on 4.5/7 and in shared second place.

The reigning champion: Yuri Kryvoruchko

GM Alexander Zubov (2588)

GM Alexander Kovchan (2585)

With four rounds more to go it will be an intense fight to the finish line.


The Ukrainian women's final is also a strong event with as many as three grandmasters participating: Anna Muzychuk, Natalia Zhukova and Anna Ushenina. The average rating of the event is 2364.

Maybe you wonder why some players have played four games, others five, and Anna Ushenina only two?

Well, GM Anna Ushenina (2494), former World Champion, withdrew from the tournament.

In the first round Ushenina was paired against 16-year-old Osmak Lulija. The game witnessed fluctuating fortunes as Ushenina built up a winning game from an equal position only to blow it away with some inaccurate moves.


While this loss could have played a part in Ushenina not turning up for the second round game without informing the arbiters, sources say that she also had problems with the lighting of the tournament hall and accommodation. These issues were solved and the reason remains unclear as to why the former World Champion withdrew from the tournament and took a train to Kiev on the next day itself. As things stand, there will be a bye in every round as now only nine players play in the event.

Top seed, Anna Muzychuk, (2545)

GM Natalia Zhukova (2470)

The other Muzychuk sister: Maria (2529)

Friendly family rivalry?

It is always interesting when two closely related people (be it siblings or married couples) have to fight with each other on the board. Anna and Maria Muzychuk were paired against each other in the first round. They split the point, which definitely was to stay in the family, in 25 moves.


WFM Osmak Lulija (2246), is the only player in the event who will not get a
bye as she played GM Ushenina in the first round. But that game brought her
some of the 16 Elo-points she would gain from the tournament
were it to end after five rounds.

In high spirits before the game: WGM Evgeniya Doluhanova (2284)

IM Inna Gaponenko (2381) has five draws and is yet to receive her bye

WGM Olga Kalinina (2259)

WIM Maria Tantsuria

WFM Vira Tarleva (2127)

Pictures by Eugene Kravs from the official website

A special thanks to the youngest ChessBase author, 15-year-old IM Akshat Chandra, for lucidly annotating the three games in the men's section

Akshat Chandra


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server with full GM commentary. If you are not a member of Playchess get instant access, but you can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to log on.


Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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