Ponomariov wins 80th Ukrainian Championship with 2853 performance

by ChessBase
6/22/2011 – The strongest championship ever was full of exciting chess. That can be especially said of the winner, 27-year-old Ruslan Ponomariov, who showed aggressive, fighting spirit to the very last game. Only needing a draw to clinch the championship he went on to beat his main rival with the black pieces. He has gained thirteen points and will appear in the top ten in the next rating list. Final report.

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80th Ukrainian Chess Championship

The twelve participants of this round robin event were all grandmasters, three with a rating above 2700 and six other participants with a rating higher than 2600. The average rating was 2650.5, which corresponds to a Category 17 tournament, making it the strongest Championship ever in the history of independent Ukraine.

The games were played in the center of Kiev at the hall “Kobzarska Svitlytsia” at
“The Ukrainian House” (Kiev, European Square)

Chess poster (white and blue) in front of the Ukrainian House during the event

Kiev - Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti)

This championship was all about Ruslan Ponomariov, who in 2002, at the age of eighteen, won the FIDE world championship. He completely outclassed his opposition with aggressive, fighting chess, as we see in his last two games.

Ponomariov,R (2754) - Kovchan,A (2558) [D87]
80th ch-UKR 2011 Kiev UKR (10), 20.06.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Be3 Na5 11.Bd3 b6 12.Rc1 e5 13.dxc5 Be6 14.c4 bxc5 15.Bxc5 Bh6 16.f4 Re8 17.Bf2 exf4 18.Nd4 Bg7 19.Be2 f3? 20.Nxf3 Rc8 21.c5 Bxa2 22.Ba6 Qxd1 23.Rfxd1 Bb2

24.Bxc8 Rxc8 [24...Bxc1 25.Rxc1 Rxc8 26.Ra1] 25.Ra1 Bb3 [25...Bxa1 26.Rxa1] 26.Rxa5 Bxd1 27.Rxa7 Bc3 28.Ng5 Bb4

29.Nxf7 Bxc5 30.Nh6+ Kh8 31.Bxc5 Rxc5 and Ponomariov won the endgame with an extra pawn effortlessly. 32.h3 Rh5 33.Nf7+ Kg8 34.Kf2 Bb3 35.Nd6 Rc5 36.Kf3 h5 37.Rb7 Be6 38.Ne8 Rc3+ 39.Kf4 Kf8 40.Nf6 g5+ 41.Ke5 Bc8 42.Rh7 g4 43.h4 Ba6 44.Rxh5 Rg3 45.Rh8+ Kf7 46.Rh7+ Kf8 47.Rc7 1-0.

In the final round Ponomariov only needed a draw for a clear first place, but he went out and beat Moiseenko (who was half a point behind the leader) in an explosive game with the black pieces!

Moiseenko,A1 (2679) - Ponomariov,R (2754) [D38]
80th ch-UKR 2011 Kiev UKR (11), 21.06.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.e3 c5 8.Bd3 Qa5 9.Qc2 0-0 10.0-0 c4 11.Bf5 Re8 12.Nd2 g6 13.Bh3 Bxc3 14.Qxc3 Qxc3 15.bxc3 Ne4 16.Nxe4 dxe4 17.Rfb1 Nb6 18.Bxc8 Raxc8 19.Rb5 Rc6 20.Ra5 f6 21.Bf4 Rd8 22.Rxa7 Nd5 23.Rxb7 Nxc3 24.Bh6 Rdc8 25.Rg7+ Kh8 26.a4 Nd5 27.Rd7

27...Nb4 28.d5 Rc5 29.Bg7+ Kg8 30.Bxf6. White is two pawns up and has the black king, it would seem, in a death trap. But Black has put his money on the c-pawn. 30...c3 31.d6 c2 32.h4 Rd5 33.Kh2 c1Q 34.Rxc1 Rxc1

Can Black survive the onslaught of rook, bishop and e-pawn on his highly exposed king? Sure he can. 35.Rg7+ Kf8 36.Rxh7 Nc6 37.Rc7 Ke8 38.Rc8+ Kd7 39.Rc7+ Kxd6 40.Rg7 Ke6 41.Bb2 Rc2 42.Rxg6+ Kf7 43.Rf6+ Ke7 44.Kg3 Rdd2 45.h5 Rxb2 46.Rxc6 Rxf2 47.h6 Rxg2+ 48.Kf4 Kf7 49.a5 Rbf2+ 50.Kxe4 Rg4+ 51.Kd3

Black has ended up with a rook for three pawns. The two distant passers may look daunting but the 27-year-old Ukrainian GM has everything under control: 51...Ra2 52.a6 Rga4 53.h7 Kg7 54.h8B+ (yes, he actually took a bishop) Kxh8 0-1.

From title contender to fourth place: Alexander Moiseenko

In equal third place with 7.0/11 points: Zahar Efimenko

In clear second with a 2777 performance: Pavel Eljanov

The closing of the Ukrainian Championship was attended by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who He noted that today Ukrainian chess is taking up a leading position in the world and that the victory of the Ukrainian National team at the 39th World Chess Olympiad is the best confirmation for that.

Chairman of the National Olympic Committee Sergey Bubka, FIDE President
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Ukraine Chess Federation President Viktor Kapustin

Ilyumzhinov added that the 80th anniversary championship had became one of the strongest chess national championships in the world (FIDE Category 17). Such results were achieved thanks to the fruitful work of the Ukrainian Chess President Viktor Kapustin. In attendance was also the Chairman of the National Olympic Committee, Sergey Bubka, who thanked the FIDE President for the care and concern he renders to Ukrainian chess. Bubka praised the "active role Mr. Ilyumzhinov plays in international social life," citing especially the FIDE President's recent visit to Libya. According to the famous athlete, "Ilyumzhinov showed to the world community that chess can decrease the intensity in the unstable regions of the planet."

Sergey Bubka, one of the world's greatest athletes, won pole vault event in six consecutive IAAF World Championships, from 1983 to 1997. He holds the current outdoor world record of 6.14 metres (20 feet 13/4 inches), set on 31 July 1994 in Sestriere, Italy, and the current indoor world record of 6.15 meters, set on 21 February 1993 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Bubka broke the world record for men's pole vaulting a total of 35 times in his career. Exactly how high he could have jumped at his best is unknown. Because of the large prizes on offer from event promoters for breaking world records, the majority of his world record attempts were made at one cm higher than the existing record, and once achieved, he would not attempt another record jump until the next opportunity to collect a prize, even after a substantial clearance showing he could have achieved a higher height.


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 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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