Russian Club Championships begin

4/24/2006 – The idyllic town of Black Sea town of Sochi is paying host to the Russian Club Championship, which runs from April 19 to May 1st. Present are stars like Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Gelfand, Shirov, Ponomariov, Kasimdzhanov, Grischuk and many other world-class GMs – including a large contingent of foreign legionaries. Big photo report.

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Russian Club Championships

The XIII Russian Club Championship and VII Russian Women’s Club Championship are being held from April 19th to May 1st, 2006, in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. The championships consist of

  1. The Men's chess club championship Premier League (round robin system, 11 rounds; 6 main players and 2 reserves) Participants: L. Aronian, A.Morozevich, R. Ponomariov, A. Shirov, A. Karpov etc.;

  2. The Men's chess club championship First League (round robin system, 11 rounds; 6 main players and 2 reserves);

  3. The Women's chess club championship (round robin system, 11 rounds; 4 main players and 1 reserve) Participants: A. Stefanova, K. Lahno, V. Cmilyte, E.Kovalevskaya, E. Paetz, A. Skripchenko, T. Kosintseva etc.

  4. The Open children's chess club championship (Swiss system, 9 rounds, 27 teams, 6 main players and 2 reserves). Participants: Russia, China, Germany, Ukraine etc.

Four top teams will qualify for the European Club Cup. 30 games of the tournaments are being broadcast on the Internet. They can be viewed live on the official site or Playchess.com.

Sochi is located very close to the Russian border with Georgia. It is famous for its spectacular scenery, with the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains overlooking the gentle shores of the Black Sea. The resort has a temperate climate and boasts many sanatoria and mineral baths. Greater Sochi is The city is 147 km in length, making it the second longest city in the world. The population is just over 300,000, with millions of guests pouring in every summer.


The playing hall in Sochi

The Russian Club Championships are becoming stronger each year. With the exception of Kasparov, Kramnik and Svidler practically all the strongest Russian Grandmasters are participating, and there is a division of foreign legionaries which is constantly growing! The Ukrainian team has arrived with its full “Olympia Gold” contingent: Ivanchuk, Ponomariov, Karjakin, Volokitin, Moiseenko, Eljanov, as well as the new stars Areshchenko and Efimenko. Interestingly on the first two boards of the 24 leading teams there are only five Russians:Karpov, Grischuk, Morozevich, Jakovenko and Alekseev.


Ruslan Ponomariov spooked by Zvjaginsev's 1.e4 c5 2.Na3!? (right Sergey Karjakin)

In round one former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov suffered a traumatic defeat at the hands of Vadim Zvjaginsev, who these days has specialised in the brazen opening 1.e4 c5 2.Na3!? But the high point of the first round was a beautiful Morozevich sacrifice against Ukrainian GM Moiseenko.

Morozevich,A (2730) - Moiseenko,A1 (2662) [C42]
XIII TCh-RUS Sochi RUS (1), 20.04.2006
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Re8 9.c4 c6 10.Nc3 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Rxe1+ 12.Qxe1 h6 13.Ne5 Be6 14.c5 Bc7 15.f4 Qc8 16.Rb1 b5 17.Rb2 Bxe5 18.fxe5 Bf5 19.Bf1 Nd7 20.Qg3 Bg6 21.Rf2 Nf8 22.Be2 a5

23.Bxh6 gxh6 24.h4 Qd8 25.Rf6 Kh8 26.Qf4 Nh7 27.Rxc6 b4 28.cxb4 axb4 29.Bf3 Rxa2 30.Rd6 Qg8 31.Bxd5 Ra1+ 32.Kh2 Re1 33.c6 b3 34.c7 b2 35.Ba2 Rc1 36.Rd8 Rxc7 37.Rxg8+ Kxg8 38.e6 Rb7 39.Qe5 fxe6 40.Qxe6+ Kg7 41.Qg8+ Kf6 42.Qh8+ Rg7 43.Qd8+ 1-0.


Alexander Morozevich (right) at the start of his game against Alexander Moiseenko

In the Women's Championship the first round highlight was the game between ex women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova, Bulgaria, and current world women's junior champion Elisabeth Pähtz, Germany. Stefanova, who turned 27 the day before this game, gave herself (and her team ABC) the following miniature as a birthday present:

Stefanova,A (2502) - Paehtz,E (2438) [D00]
VII TCh-RUS w Sochi RUS (1), 20.04.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 d5 3.Nd2 e6 4.e3 c5 5.c3 Nbd7 6.f4 Qc7 7.Bd3 b6 8.Ngf3 Bb7 9.Ne5 a6 10.Qf3 Bd6 11.0-0 a5 12.Qh3 Ba6 13.c4 dxc4 14.Ndxc4 cxd4 15.exd4 b5 16.Nxd7 Nxd7 17.Ne5 Qb6 18.Kh1 Nf6

19.Bg6 Bxe5 [19...fxg6 20.Qxe6+] 20.fxe5 fxg6 21.exf6 0-0 22.f7+ Kh8 23.Rf4 h5 24.Be7 Qc7 25.Qh4 Bb7 26.Re1 Qc6 27.Qg5 Kh7 28.h3 1-0.


Antoaneta Stefanova at the start of her game against Elisabeth Pähtz


One of Russia's great talents: Alexander Grischuk


Former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov


IM Viktorija Cmilyte, 22, of Lithunia


IM Irina Vasilevich, 22, of Russia


WGM Ekatrina Korbut, 21, Russia


WGM Tatiana Kosintseva, 20, of Russia


WFM Marya Fominykh, 19, of Russia


IM Kateryna Lahno, 16, Ukraine


IM Ian Nepomniachtchi, 15, Russia


Alexander Khalifman and Boris Gelfand before the start of their games


Analysis after the games, with Akopian (right) and Aronian (third from right)


IM Almira Skripchenko, Moldova/France, gives a TV interview

Information and pictures provided by Eldar Mukhametov



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