Kirill Alekseenko wins Chigorin Memorial

by ChessBase
10/29/2015 – The 18-year old Kirill Alekseenko is one of the most promising Russian talents. 2012 he already had three GM-norms but he did not manage to get the 2500 rating which he needed for the title. Until 2015. Once Alekseenko was GM he went from success to success. In October he won the strong Chigorin Memorial in St. Petersburg. Pictures, report, interview.

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Kirill Alekseenko wins Chigorin Memorial

By Dorsa Derakshani

The Winner of the Chigorin Memorial 2015: 18-year old GM Kirill Alekseenko

The Chigorin Memorial St. Petersburg took place from 3. to 11. October and the Classic Open is one of the strongest open tournaments in Russia. This year it attracted 372 participants from 35 countries.

Tournament poster

After starting with 6.5/7 Alekseenko had every chance to win the tournament but in round eight he stumbled and lost against Vladimir Belous. However, he recovered and won in the ninth and final round. With 7.5/9 he won the tournament on tie-break, ahead of Chanda Sandipan and Dmitry Kokarev who also had 7.5/9.


The tournament winners (from left to right): GM Dmitry Kokarev,
GM Chanda Sandipan, the tournament arbiter, and GM Kirill Alekseenko

Final standings 

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1 
1 19 GM Alekseenko Kirill RUS 2539 7,5 53,5
2 15 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2567 7,5 52,5
3 5 GM Kokarev Dmitry RUS 2603 7,5 50,0
4 1 GM Khalifman Alexander RUS 2618 7,0 56,5
5 20 GM Timofeev Artyom RUS 2539 7,0 56,0
6 3 GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2606 7,0 55,0
7 21 GM Eliseev Urii RUS 2536 7,0 54,5
8 16 GM Belous Vladimir RUS 2566 7,0 54,5
9 9 GM Andriasian Zaven ARM 2591 7,0 53,5
10 18 GM Rozum Ivan RUS 2547 7,0 52,5
11 23 GM Stupak Kirill BLR 2531 7,0 51,0
12 14 GM Tukhaev Adam UKR 2569 7,0 46,5
13 45 IM Malakhov Igor RUS 2438 7,0 45,5
14 7 GM Sakaev Konstantin RUS 2594 6,5 54,5
15 22 GM Can Emre TUR 2531 6,5 54,5
16 29 GM Volodin Aleksandr EST 2491 6,5 52,5
17 36 IM Lugovskoy Maxim RUS 2470 6,5 52,0
18 52   Sarana Alexey RUS 2413 6,5 51,5
19 4 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2603 6,5 51,5
20 2 GM Turov Maxim RUS 2609 6,5 51,5
21 64 FM Duzhakov Ilya RUS 2381 6,5 51,0
22 48 GM Ushenina Anna UKR 2426 6,5 50,5
23 28 GM Kharchenko Boris UKR 2500 6,5 50,5
24 77 IM Khanin Semen RUS 2359 6,5 50,0
25 38 IM Bodnaruk Anastasia RUS 2459 6,5 50,0
26 50 IM Smirnov Artem RUS 2419 6,5 49,5
27 13 GM Esen Baris TUR 2570 6,5 49,5
28 53 IM Guseva Marina RUS 2411 6,5 49,5
29 84 IM Yandarbiev Ruslan RUS 2344 6,5 49,5
30 34 GM Soffer Ram ISR 2479 6,5 49,0
31 6 GM Demchenko Anton RUS 2595 6,5 48,5
32 8 GM Amonatov Farrukh TJK 2591 6,5 48,5
33 82 FM Musaev Rasul RUS 2351 6,5 48,0
34 128 IM Iljin Timofey UKR 2266 6,5 48,0
35 39 IM Andersen Mads DEN 2457 6,5 47,5
36 56 IM Korchmar Vasiliy RUS 2402 6,5 47,5
37 10 GM Bok Benjamin NED 2591 6,5 46,5
38 12 GM Pridorozhni Aleksei RUS 2575 6,5 45,5
39 115 IM Mishuchkov Nikolai M. RUS 2295 6,5 44,5
40 11 GM Maletin Pavel RUS 2581 6,5 44,5
41 126   Pogorelskikh Sergey RUS 2272 6,5 44,0
42 40 IM Golubov Saveliy RUS 2453 6,5 44,0
43 58 IM Khusenkhojaev Muhammad TJK 2398 6,0 53,5
44 61   Lobanov Sergei RUS 2394 6,0 53,5
45 27 GM Levin Evgeny A. RUS 2508 6,0 50,0
46 26   Predke Alexandr RUS 2527 6,0 49,0
  33 GM Atabayev Maksat TKM 2483 6,0 49,0
48 85 FM Yeletsky Ivan RUS 2342 6,0 48,5
49 42 IM Usmanov Vasily RUS 2450 6,0 48,5
50 32 IM Paravyan David RUS 2486 6,0 48,0


Winner of the women's prize was former Women's World Champion Anna Ushenina who scored 6.5/9.


Anna Ushenina

The second and the third women's prize went to IM Anastasia Bodnaruk and IM Marina Guseva who also scored 6.5/9.


Focused from the very start: Anastasia Bodnaruk

I (Dorsa Derakshani) won the fourth women's prize with 5.5/9 points.

WIM Dorsa Derakshani (2356) This picture was taken during my previous visit to Russia. I like it!

Alina Bivol, winner of the silver medal at the World Junior Championship 2015 won the fifth women's prize. 

WIM Alina Bivol

The tournament attracted a number of strong players. Top seed was Alexander Khalifman.

Alexander Khalifman 

Before the main event was played there was a chance to warm up in a 13-round blitz tournament. It was won by Farrukh Amanotov.

Farrukh Amanotov

Silver in blitz went to GM Daniil Lintchevski from Russia, bronze was won by GM Aleksei Pridorozhni who also is from Russia.

With its rivers and lakes, its classical buildings and its Eastern European look Saint Petersburg is a very, very beautiful city - but it also seems to be quite windy. However, the city is definitely worth a visit - though maybe one should go during the warmer parts of the year.

Map of St. Petersburg

The two parts of St. Petersburg are divided by the river. Going from one part of the city to the other can be tricky: from 2am to 5am the main bridges let the ships pass and you cannot cross them.

No way to cross the bridge at night (Picture: Google)

The tournament took place in the Park Hotel

The park near the hotel. The colors are just amazing!

No words can describe the peace and joy of walking in nature.

An old church that is no longer used as a church.

The church at night

The famous palace square

The buildings around the square at night

The square from a different perspective

Another aspect of the Palace Square

These music bands and many others play on Nevsky street - and only on Nevsky Street!
Almost every night you can hear live-music.

Nevsky Street 8 PM

St. Petersburg 2 AM


Kirill Alekseenko was kind enough to answer some questions after his tournament win. He also sent an annotated game.

Dorsa Derakhshani: Kirill, congratulations for winning the Chigorin memorial!

Kirill Alekseenko: Thank you!

DD: How does it feel to win such a tournament?

KA: It’s a big pleasure! After all, the Chigorin Memorial is one of the strongest open tournaments in Russia. I honestly feel that is my first great result!

DD: I am sure many more good results will follow. But do you play chess full-time?

Kirill Alekseenko 2014

KA: No, I play professionally but not full-time. I also study International Management at the Polytechnical Universitiy here in St. Petersburg.

DD: When did you start to play chess?

KA: My grandfather was a big chess lover and I spent my whole childhood with him. When I was four years old he taught me the rules. Three years later I played my first tournament and took part in the St. Petersburg U8-Championship. But except from my grandfather no one in my family plays chess - they do not even know the rules. My father is a soldier and my mother is a teacher, and I think it’s rather unusual to play seriously in such a family.

DD: Tell us something about your previous successes and achievements!

KA : I won a number of youth championships - on Russian, European, and World level. In 2007 I won my first gold medal at the European Youth Championship and another followed 2013. I usually don’t show my best in Russian championships but in 2013 I also won gold there. At the World Youth Championship 2010 in Greece I won bronze, but one year later, 2011 in Brazil, I won the gold medal. This was followed by a silver medal 2012 in Slovenia and another bronze medal 2013 in Al-Ain. In Al-Ain I was basically leading throughout the tournament but after starting with 8.0/9 I lost the two final games and ended up with bronze!

DD: What about non-junior events?

KA: On a high level, I did not really have any spectacular results until this year. But in 2015 things changed. I have played six classical tournaments this year and won five of them. In January I won the Andranik Margaryan Memorial. I then won the Championship of St. Petersburg, the Polugayevsky Memorial, became first with my team in the Russian Team Championship U18 and now won the Chigorin Memorial. It was a very successful year, in which I gained about 75 elo-points! I hope, things will continue in this way.

DD: By winning the Andranik Memorial in January you also became a grandmaster?

KA: Yes. I already had all necessary norms in March 2012 but it took me two-and-a-half years to reach a rating of 2500.

DD: In the Chigorin Memorial you started with 6.0/6, then drew with Khalifman in round 7, and lost against Belous in round 8. But in the final round you won against a higher rated opponent. Can you tell us what went wrong in round 8 and how you managed to recover from the loss to win the final round?

Kirill Alekseenko playing against Vladimir Belous

KA: It is true, I was very upset after my loss against Belous because I wanted to score at least 8 points in this tournament. I don’t know what happened. I played one terrible move after the next. I just could not calculate anything! When I came home I immediately went to sleep and forgot the final round in the morning. I thought the last game would start at 5 pm like all the other rounds and I did not have time to prepare in the morning. But it helped. This way I saved my energy for the endgame. And I played carefully and well in the most difficult moments of the game.

DD: Did you think you could win this tournament when you decided to play?

KA: I wanted to have a great result but of course I did not expect to become first.

DD: In your game against Anna Ushenina you played 2.Be2. What made you play this move?

KA: She knows theory so much better than I do. I just wanted to avoid her preparation.

DD: Which of your games in this tournament do you like best?

KA: My game against Sakaev in the final round, not only because it brought me victory in the tournament but also because it was pretty good. But I also played a crucial game in round six, which I liked.


The final round in progress. In the middle Alekseenko is playing against Sakaev.

DD: What other interests do you have besides chess?

KA: I like active sports such as soccer. I actually played it rather seriously from the age of 11 until 14. However, it became impossible to play both chess and soccer so I chose to focous on chess!

DD: How do manage to play chess professionally and studying at the university?

KA: Well, actually it's not that difficult - you just have be patient and work hard.

DD: What about your future plans and tournaments?

KA: I will play in the U18 World Youth Championships participate, which I hope to win. After that I will study and study.

DD: I noticed that you registered at the very last minute for the WYCC. Was there any particular reason for this late entry?

KA: At first, I thought I could not play, but the generosity of the Russian Chess Federation finally made this possible.

DD: I wish you the best. In chess and in life!

KA: Thanks, Dora! Same to you!

Official website of the Chigorin Memorial

Dorsa Derakhshani

Dorsa is a Women International Master from Tehran. She currently lives and studies in Iran, but is a passionate World traveler. This year alone she has played in tournament spanning from her home country Iran, passing through Moscow and even the Thailand Open in Bangkok.

Born in 1998 she currently has a rating of 2356, making her the third highest rated Iranian female player. She was the u14 and u16 female Asian Champion in past editions of their Continental Youth Tournament.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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