Morozevich early leader in Kazan

by Alejandro Ramirez
12/1/2014 – What a month November has proven to be for chess! As if all the super-tournaments we have witnessed in Russia are not enough, the Russian Super Final has kicked off, along with the Women's section. In the Open tournament, which boasts six 2700s, Alexander Morozevich has taken an early 2.5/3 lead while in the Women's there is a three way tie. Early report of a promising event.

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As if November had not had enough high quality chess up until now, one last final Super-Tournament is being hosted, this time in Kazan! The Russian Super Final is currently under way. The tournament is a product of the cooperation between the Russian Chess Federation and the Charity Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timochenko, with the support of the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan.

Kazan is the capital and largest city of Tatarstan, with a population of about 1.1 million people. It is the eighth most populous city in Russian and it lies at the confluence of the Volga (like the Gambit! known in the west as the "Benko Gambit") and Kazanka rivers in European Russia. The Kazan Kremlin (pictured above) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kazan is famous for having a harmonious community of Muslim and Christian citizens.

The tournament is taking place in the State's Historical and Architectural Museum at the Kazan Kremlin. The Open section is unbelievably strong:

Name Rating
Karjakin, Sergey 2770
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2745
Svidler, Peter 2743
Vitiugov, Nikita 2738
Morozevich, Alexander 2724
Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2714
Lysyj, Igor 2686
Khismatullin, Denis 2679
Grachev, Boris 2663
Zvjaginsev, Vadim 2655

Concurrently the Russian Women's Super Final is also taking place.

Name Rating
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2541
Gunina, Valentina 2522
Pogonina, Natalija 2480
Galliamova, Alisa 2471
Girya, Olga 2457
Kashlinskaya, Alina 2439
Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina 2439
Goryachkina, Alexandra 2438
Bodnaruk, Anastasia 2411
Gritsayeva, Oksana 2335

Most of the top women players are playing in the Super Final, with the notable exceptions of Kateryna Lagno and the two Kosintseva sisters.

The time control of the event is 90 minutes for 40 moves, 30 minutes until the end of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. Participants are not allowed to offer a draw until move 40.

Opening Ceremony

The City Hall, one of the many beautiful architectural pieces in Kazan

A crowded room awaits the opening ceremony.
How many grandmasters can you recognize?

First off, a film about the Chess in Museums project

No opening ceremony would be complete without FIDE President Ilyumzhinov

The opening ceremony was held at Kazan City Hall. During Superfinals school students will be drawing players while they are playing! By the end of the tournament winners will be selected among the best studies, and the author will get a legitimate reward. In short, this time not only Caissa, but also patron of the arts - the muse - will keenly follow the games.

The opening ceremony held speeches by Andrei Filatov, who read a welcome letter from the President of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, Dmitry Peskov; FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov; Maria Morozova and 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov.

After that it was time for the drawing of lots...

Kosteniuk drew a number 10

Nepomniachtchi's nine gives him more blacks than whites

Alexandra Kosteniuk, Olga Girya nd Anastasia Bodnaruk

During the ceremony, Assistant to the President of Russia Igor Levitin presented the medal Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" to Olympic champion Valentina Gunina while the Russian Chess President presented them to Evgeny Najer (above) and Alexander Riazantsev, coaches for the Russian team.

A rendition of La Primavera from Vivaldi

Standings after Round Three

The players are surrounded by paintings by Kazan artist Nikolai Ivanovich Fechin

Three rounds have so far been played in Kazan, and a few of the results have been surprising.

In the open section Morozevich has bounced back beautifully from a bad performance in Tashir. Zvjaginsev, the lowest rated player in the event, has a superb showing so far with 2.0/3. Nepomniachtchi also has +1 by defeating Sergey Karjakin, who has not won a game yet, with 1.f4!?!?.

Rounds One to Three

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In the women's section there is no leader right away. The difference between first and last is only of one point. Girya, Kosteniuk and Goryachkina all have 2.0/3, interestingly enough none of them have drawn a single game! Gunina, a pre-tournament favorite, is struggling with only 1.0/3.

Kosteniuk already using a traditional Tartar hat

Goryachkina took out Valentina Gunina with Black in a key game

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Starting tomorrow we will be bringing you a round-by-round recap of the action from Kazan.

Information and pictures provided by Etery Kublashvili

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 a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

 




Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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hpaul hpaul 12/1/2014 05:09
In a single round-robin tournament, an even number of players means an odd number of rounds, which means that half the players will have more whites while the other half have more blacks. Since the advantage of white at the top levels is very pronounced, this means that the tournament is simply unfair. The solution is well-known: have an odd number of players. True, having eleven players requires one more day (and greater cost) than ten players, but if that's a barrier to staging the tournament it's better to go with one less player, to get an odd number. The built-in unfairness of uneven colors is significant enough that organizers and players ought to insist on round-robins that offer a level playing field.
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