Riazantsev and Kosteniuk are 2016 Russian champions

by Albert Silver
11/1/2016 – The finale of the Russian Superfinal was easily the most exciting phase of the event, with a marked increase in decisive games in the Men’s final, and more action overall. After a six-way tie (out of 12 players) for first after seven rounds, it was Alexander Riazantsev who broke away to take clear first. Alexandra Kosteniuk all but left her rivals in the dust taking clear first in the Women’s a round in advance. Read the report and enjoy the excellent games.

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Photos by Alexei Zieler

It had seemed like the competition was a tribute to sleeping pills, with the occasional spark, no question, but overall lackadaisical play. This was in spite of plenty of incentive to truly go for it. The first cash prize was certainly reasonable, with of course that ineffable item on a player’s CV: Russian Champion. Of course, the title of national champion is of note for any player in any country, but let’s be honest: winning the toughest and most famous stands apart from the rest.

There was great interest to see the final round, and the spectators were not left wanting

Still, this year’s championship had a very special first prize for both the winners of the Men’s and Women’s event: a Renault Kaptur car. Alexandra Kosteniuk actually explained that this held a special appeal to her and was key in drawing her to participate in this year’s championship.

After seven rounds, the Men’s event saw six out of the twelve players tied for first with 4.0/7, essentially meaning the tournament was still wide open. The first sign of things to come was when Alexander Raizantsev defeated tailender Dmitry Bocharov in round eight. This might not seem so unexpected considering Bocharov had been doing so poorly, but it had the virtue of finally creating a leader.

Round ten saw another player join him: 20-year-old Vladimir Fedoseev, who played a superb game in almost impeccable fashion

Vladimir Fedoseev - Dmitry Bocharov

The final round still saw everything up for grabs. Everything. While it is true that both Riazantsev and Fedoseev enjoyed a half point lead over the rest with 6.0/10, there was a small pack of four 2700 players at 5.5/10, and every reason to believe a last-round miracle might see them lifting the trophy.

Vladimir Fedoseev (right) faced Gregory Oparin but was unable to make anything of the game and actually lost, putting him almost certainly out of contention

Alexander Grischuk faced Dmitry Kokarev and won in a mere 27 moves. This meant that if by any chance Fedoseev and Riazantsev failed to win theirs, he could win on tiebreak.

On the other hand both Svidler and Tomashevsky (above) drew their respective games

The game of the round was Dmitry Jakovenko who had white against co-leader Riazantsev. It was as tense a game as could be. If Jakovenko won, he would tie with Fedoseev for the lead (presuming the latter drew) and at the very least level with his other rivals should they also be successful in their missions.

A magnificent and thrilling win providing a worth conclusion to the 2016 Russian Championship, and a clear winner.

Dmitry Jakovenko - Alexander Riazantsev

Riazantsev might have been the surprise winner of the 2016 Russian Championship, but he was also a worthy one, winning when it mattered the most and holding his nerve at the very end

The trophies awaiting the winners

Men's final standings

Natalia Pogonina could no longer vie for first in the last round, but she took sole second nonetheless

Charochkina had no more luck against Kosteniuk than the others, and drew

Women's final standings

A jubilant Alexandra Kosteniuk with her husband GM Pavel Tregubov

Exclusive statuettes for the winners

Kosteniuk receiving her first prize trophy. She won a full 1.5 points ahead of the field and outperformed her rating by 100 Elo

The two winners, Riazantsev and Kosteniuk in high spirits

The group shot of the winners and organizers (click image for high-res)

There was a special reception after the championship in which the players were presented with their special prizes: a brand new Renault Kaptura (photo by V. Barsky)


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 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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vinniethepooh vinniethepooh 11/3/2016 04:36
"on the other hand both svidler and tomashevesky drew their respective games"

tomashevesky won the last round
yesenadam yesenadam 11/2/2016 10:24
genem: Now 32 is over the hill? geez. hehe
genem genem 11/2/2016 07:29
Former Women's World Chess Champ Alexandra Kosteniuk has shown a lot of staying power. Ranked 5th in the world, bunched up with 3rd-5th. Still winning after all these years - cool.
sizenando sizenando 11/2/2016 04:14
Next time I think Gunina should play on Men's final to dramatically decrease the number of draws there. She played 11 decisive games! Take that, Mr. Peter "10 draws" Svidler! :)
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