"Iron Horsemen" lead Russian Team Championship

by André Schulz
5/5/2021 – In the Russian Team Championship in Sochi, Mednyi Vsadnik St. Petersburg defended its lead by defeating KPRF Moscow in round 4. In the women's tournament, Chess Team Moscow, with Kateryna Lagno, Polina Shuvalova and Alexandra Kosteniuk on the top boards, won its fourth match in a row and is clear first. | Photos: Russian Chess Federation

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The Russian Team Championships are played centrally and over-the-board, with protective measures. There are plastic walls between the players but masks do not seem to be obligatory.

Traditionally, the venue for the highest Russian team competitions is the Black Sea resort of Sochi. The open championships are divided into two "leagues", the Premier League with nine teams which play a round robin and the Higher League with 26 teams which play a Swiss tournament. The same applies to the Women's Championship, for which 16 teams have registered.

Favourite in the open tournament is the team of the "Iron Horsemen" from St. Peterburg. The name refers to the bronze statue of Tsar Peter the Great which was erected in 1782 and is one of the landmarks of St. Petersburg.

Fedoseev behind walls

The "Iron Horsemen" of St. Petersburg have an Elo average of 2682 and the team consists of strong and well-known Russian Grandmasters: Nikita Vitiugov, Maxim Matlakov, Kirill Alekseenko, Andrey Esipenko, Vladimir Fedoseev, and Konstantin Sakaev. Plus GM Pavel Ponkratov and Alexey Goganov as reserve boards.

However, in the match St. Petersburg against KPRF Moscow, Vladimir Fedoseev had trouble against Sergey Rublevsy but then managed to turn the game around.

 

23.Ra3 Also possible was the immediate 23.c4, with the idea 23...Qxc4 24.Qxc4 Bxc4 25.Rxd6.

23...Ne5 23...Ra8!? would have been uncomfortable for White.

24.c4 Nxc4 24...Bxc4!? After 25.f4 (25.Rc1 Rfc8) 25...Be2 26.fxe5 Bxd1 27.Qxd1 dxe5 both sides have chances.

25.Rc1 Qd7?! Black tries to get counterplay and wants to exploit the position of White's knight on a4 and White's rook on a3. After 25...Rfc8 26.Rxb3 Bxa4 27.Rxb8 Qxb8 28.Rxc4 Rxc4 29.Qxc4 Bb3 White is a pawn up but Black can fight for the draw.

26.Rxc4 Bxc4 27.Qxc4 Rfc8 28.Qd4 Rc1+ 29.Kh2 Qc7

 

30.Qe3?! Attacking the pawn on b3. But Black's next move gives him counterplay. 30.Qf6!? with the idea 30...Kg8 31.e5 dxe5 32.Bd5 was a good alternative.

30...Rc2 31.Ra1?! 31.Rxb3? Rxb3 32.Qxb3 Rxf2

31...Qa5 Now almost all the white pieces have to defend another piece. Black seized the initiative.

32.Qf4? 32.h4 h5 33.Kh3!? 32...Kg7 33.Qxd6? 33.Qe3 was better.

33...Rd8 34.Qa3 White's queenside does not make a good impression.

34...Rd3 34...Rdd2 would have been immediately decisive. 35.Rf1 Qa7

35.Qe7 Other moves do not save the game.

35...Rdd2 36.Nc3 Qxa1 37.Qe5+ Kh7 38.Nd5 Threatening a perpetual again, but...

38...Rxd5 39.Qxd5 Rxf2 40.Qxb3 Qf1 0–1


The Elo average of the "Chess Team" Moscow is only a bit worse than that of the "Iron Horsemen". Moscow plays with Alexandr Predke, Vladimir Malakhov, Sanan Sjugirov, Alexey Sarana, Evgeniy Najer, Boris Grachev, and Ivan Popov.

The team of "Gogolevsky 14" has named itself after the address of the Central Chess Club and with Aleksandra Guryachkina it has the only woman, who is playing in the open group, in its ranks. The Women's Vice World Champion plays on board two behind Alexander Motylev, and after four rounds she has collected 2.5 points and easily keeps up with her male colleagues.

Aleksandra Goryachkina (on the right)

Results of round 4

Kimmeria (Crimea) - Wildberries Molodezhka (Tyumen region) 0-6
SShOR (Saint Petersburg) - Ladya (Tatarstan) 3-3
Moscow Chess Team - Gogolevsky, 14 (Moscow) 4-2
KPRF (Moscow) - Mednyi Vsadnik (Saint Petersburg) 2.5-3.5

The Mikhail Botvinnik school did not play in round 4.

Standings after 4 rounds

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 «Медный всадник» (г. Санкт-Петербург) 8
2 «Гоголевский, 14» (г. Москва) 6
3 «Ладья» (Республика Татарстан) 5
4 «Wildberries Молодёжка» (Тюменская облас 5
5 «КПРФ» (г. Москва) 3
6 «Шахматная сборная Москвы» (г. Москва) 3
7 «Школа М. Ботвинника» (г. Москва) 1
8 «СШОР по шахматам и шашкам» (г. Санкт-Пе 1
9 «Киммерия» (Республика Крым) 0

Women's Tournament

In the Women's Championship, Chess Team Moscow with Kateryna Lagno, Polina Shuvalova and Alexandra Kosteniuk are clear favourites and so far they have won all their matches.

Kateryna Lagno

Polina Shuvalova

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Results of round 4

Kimmeria (Crimea) - Moscow Chess Team 1.5-2.5
Ugra - Amazonki ADDA (Kursk region) 3.5-0.5
Southern Ural-1 (Chelyabinsk region) - SShOR-1 (Saint Petersburg) 3-1.

Standings after round 4

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 «Шахматная сборная Москвы» (г. Москва) 8
2 «Югра» (ХМАО - Югра) 6
3 «Южный Урал» - 1 (Челябинская область) 6
4 «Киммерия» (Республика Крым) 6
5 «Ладья» (Республика Татарстан) 5
6 «Южный Урал» - 2 (Челябинская область) 5
7 «СШОР по шахматам и шашкам - 1» (г. Санк 4
8 «Московская область» 4
9 СШ «Юность Москвы» (г. Москва) 4
10 «Амазонки АДДА» (Курская область) 4
11 «Ветераны России» 3
12 «Букавушки» (Самарская область) 3
13 «Воронеж» (Воронежская область) 2
14 «СШОР по шахматам и шашкам - 2» (г. Санк 2
15 ЦРИВС НИУ «БелГУ» (Белгородская область) 1
16 «Зато Красивые» (Нижегородская область) 1

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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