Russian men's Superfinal – Beauty and the beast

by ChessBase
12/11/2010 – The incredibly strong Russian men's championship Superfinal, with seven out of twelve players sporting 2700 ratings, just started with Grischuk, Svidler, Karjakin and Nepomniachtchi. The opening ceremony was a fun event followed by a robot challenge taking on two super GMs in a clock simul, and a knight odds against belle Mariya Fominykh. There are many beautiful pictures by Evgeny Surov.

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The Russian Men's championship Superfinal is being held from December 11-22 at the Central Club of Chess in Moscow, Russia. It is an 11-round round-robin event with a 3.5 Million ruble prizefund (~USD 115,000).

The time control is 40 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 30 mnutes for the rest of the game, and a 30-second increment as of move one.

Of all the national championships, the Russian men's has long been the strongest by far and is a considerable addition to a player's CV. This year's event includes pretty much all the top Russian players with the exception of Kramnik, who is playing in London, and Morozevich.


Alexander Grischuk
Sergey Karjakin
Dmitry Jakovenko
Peter Svidler
Ian Nepomniachtchi
Vladimir Malakhov
Nikita Vitiugov
Evgeny Tomashevsky
Igor Kurnosov
Vadim Zviagintsev
Dennis Khismatullin
Vladimir Potkin

Of noted interest are the young players Sergey Karjakin, who formerly played for Ukraine, and already represented his new home with a fantastic result in the Olympiads, and Ian Nepomniachtchi, who has had a fantastic year, winning the European Championship, scoring fantastically as first board for Russia-2, and winning outright the super semifanl to the Russian Championship ahead of close to 50 players rated 2500 and more.

The first round was an auspicious one in this sense as all games were drawn but one: Nepomniachtchi's victory with black over Khismatullin.

Khismatullin,Denis - Nepomniachtchi,Ian [D74]
63rd ch-RUS Moscow RUS (1), 11.12.2010

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.0-0 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.d4 Nc6 8.Nc3 Nb6 9.e3 Re8 10.Re1 a5 11.Qc2 e5. 11...a4 12.Rd1 h6 13.h3 Be6 14.e4 Qc8 15.Kh2 Nb4 16.Qb1 Bc4 17.Be3 e6 18.Qc1 Nd3 19.Qc2 Nb4 20.Qc1 Nd3 21.Qd2 Kh7 22.b3 Ba6 23.Bf1 Nb4 24.Nxa4 Nxa4 25.Qxb4 c5 26.Qd2 Bxf1 27.Rxf1 cxd4 28.Bxd4 Bxd4 29.Nxd4 Qc3 30.Rfd1 1/2-1/2 Huzman,A (2605)-Nepomniachtchi,I (2706)/Plovdiv 2010/CB42_2010 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Bxe5 14.e4 c6 15.f4 Bd4+ 16.Kh1

16...Nd5! 17.Rd1 [17.exd5? Rxe1+] 17...Nb4 18.Qe2 Qb6! 19.a3

Though the position is only equal, white is having trouble developing his pieces very much due to the bishop on d4. 19...Nd5! Again taking advantage of the pin! 20.Qc2 Nf6 21.h3 Preventing Ng4, but further weaking the kingside. 21...Be6 22.Na4 Qa7 23.Bd2 White is in serious danger of gettinng into big trouble, and this was the chance to open up some lines for the bishop and queen with 23.f5! gxf5 24.Qd2! An important zwischenzug. (24.exf5 Bd5! And Black is better.) 23...Rad8 24.Bc3 Nh5 25.Bxd4?! Rxd4 26.Kh2?

26...Rxa4! 27.f5 Trying to mix it up. 27.Qxa4 Qe3! 28.Rf1 Qxg3+ 29.Kg1 (29.Kh1 Bxh3) 29...Bxh3 30.Qc2 Nxf4 31.Rxf4 Bxg2 32.Qxg2 (32.Rf2 Bxe4+) 32...Qxf4 27...Rc4 28.Qe2 Bd5 0-1. [Click to replay]

Evgeny Surov took some wonderful pictures of the opening ceremony as well as the robot challenges.

Opening ceremony

Vitiugov with Evgeny Tomashevsky at the Dvorkovich's Club

Peter Svidler together with Mikhail Savinov

Enjoying some reading and perusing while waiting for the ceremony to get underway

The drawing of lots was done in a fun and humorous challenge: a position from each
of the players would appear on the display, and the players had to identify their game
as well as the move they played and why.

The players visibly took the challenge in good spirits

Karjakin identified his game literally within instants after it was shown

Not all were quite as fast

Svidler not only identified his game, but that it was his first victory over his coach at
the time, when he was 10 years old!

The chief arbiter reads out the pairings of the first round

Here one can see the crosstable

The lots drawn, and speeches made... time to eat!

Robot Challenges

Grischuk started the game played at 3m + 2s with a smile and in good spirits

Soon he put on his war face and focused

Gradually his face reflected the difficulty of his position

When things were truly dire, one didnt even need to see the game

"Ok, maybe the robot can play a little chess..."

A new challenge was offered to the beautiful WIM Mariya Fominykh

She was offered knight odds in the game, with the knight on b8 removed

Despite the advantage, she actually ended up losing on time, as the engine began
to play its moves literally instantly.

Though unable to save the game, she took it graciously

The next challenge was for the robot to play two players at the same time in a blitz
clock simul

Evgeny Bareev tried to use this to his advantage by playing extremely quickly

In spite of the clever strategy, the robot soon took the upper-hand

Do we really need to tell you the result?

The toughest tandem was comprised of Sergey Karjakin and Ian Nepomnachtchi

Karjakin opted for simplicty at all costs and ended up in a worse endgame, while Ian
soon became lost and ended up causing the game to be interrupted when he played
and executed his move before the robot had pressed the clock.

In all fairness, Karjakin's game was adjudicated as a draw, since all agreed that he
would have held.

Pictures by Evgeny Surov (


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