Russian men's Superfinal – Svidler and Karjakin take lead

by ChessBase
12/13/2010 – After the somewhat sedate opening round, the second saw four decisive games and four players join Nepomniachtchi in the lead. The third round was marked by two victories, one by an inspired Svidler seeking an amazing sixth title, and the other by Karjakin over fellow Russian super talent Nepomniachtchi in an exciting game that lived up to the billing. Illustrated round three report.

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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 minutes for the rest of the game, and a 30-second increment as of move one.

The opening round of the Russian Men's Superfinal

Though the tournament got off to a slow start with all draws in the first round, with the exception of Ian Nepomniachtchi's win over Khismatullin, the second round showed it was a fluke with Grischuk, Svidler, Karjakin, and Tomashevsky all notching points, and joining Ian in the leadership.

The second round with fans and photographers

The tournament poster

The analysis room where the players present their games and spectators can follow
the action on the display.

Tomashevsky presents his second round victory over Potkin

The third round saw the emergence if two leaders, Svidler and Karjakin, who not only played excellent games, but with Karjakin notably beating Nepomniachtchi in the process. Sergey whose talent can never be questioned (GM at 12, what can one add?), had seemed to be drifting slightly after 2008, but he then married at the very ripe age of 19, and one must conclude that it seems to agree with him as he has been on the rise all year adding a good 50 Elo with possibly more depending on his final result here.

Sergey Karjakin, guns ablazing

Karjakin,Sergey (2760) - Nepomniachtchi,Ian (2720) [B90]
63rd ch-RUS Moscow RUS (3), 13.12.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Bc4 0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 A favorite of Nepomniachtchi. 10.Re1. 10.Qe2 Na5 11.Bd5 Bd7 12.Rfd1 Rc8 13.h3 b5 14.a3 h6 15.Nh2 Nc4 16.Bxc4 Rxc4 17.f3 Be6 18.Nf1 Qc7 19.Bf2 b4 20.axb4 Rxb4 21.Rab1 Rfb8 0-1 Andriasian,Z (2613)-Nepomniachtchi,I (2658)/Moscow 2010/Mega2010 Update 10 (51) 10...Be6 11.Nd5 b5 12.Bb3N. 12.Bf1 Rb8 13.c4 Nxe4 14.Qc2 Nc5 15.Rad1 Bxd5 16.cxd5 Nb4 17.Qd2 Nxa2 18.b3 Ne4 19.Qxa2 Nc3 20.Qxa6 Nxd1 21.Rxd1 1-0 Movsesian,S (2695)-Nepomniachtchi,I (2634)/Dagomys 2008/CBM 124/[Movsesian] (47) 12...Bxd5 13.Bxd5 Qc7 14.c3 Nxd5 15.Qxd5 Bf6 16.Red1 Rfd8 17.a4 Ne7 18.Qd3

18...Qc6? Instead 18...bxa4 19.Rxa4 d5! would have equalized. 19.axb5 axb5 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.h4 h6

22.Bg5! This must have come as a jolt, and is very unpleasant for Black. 22...hxg5 23.hxg5 Rd8. 23...Bxg5 24.Nxg5 f6 25.Ne6 Kf7 26.Qxd6 Qxd6 27.Rxd6 And White is up a pawn. 24.gxf6 gxf6 25.Nh2!

The knight has the chance to drive the opponent crazy, since after Ng4, it not only pressures f6 and h6, but can also go to e3 where it adds control of the d5 and f5 squares. 25...d5 26.Ng4 d4 27.Qg3 Threatening all manner of nasty discovered checks. 27...Ng6 28.Qf3 Kg7

Ian Nepomniachtchi suffered a slight setback in the third round, but will no doubt
make his next opponents pay for this.

29.Ne3. In the first round against Khismatullin, Nepomniachtchi had his knight hopping back and forth, taking advantage of a pin. Now he is on the receiving end. 29...Ne7 30.Qg4+ Kf8 31.Qh4 Kg7 32.Rd3 Qb6 33.cxd4 exd4 34.Qg4+ Kf8 35.Qd1 Ke8?

The decisive error. Instead, Black had to play 35...Qc5 protecting d4 and covering the h5 square. 36.Qh5! Rd6 37.Qh8+ Kd7 38.Ng4 Qc6 39.e5 Ng6 40.Nxf6+ Ke6 41.Qh3+ Kxe5 42.Ng4+ Kd5 43.Rd1 Qe8 44.Qf3+ Qe4 45.Qxf7+ Qe6 46.Ne3+ Ke5 47.Ng4+ Kd5 48.Qb7+ Kc4 49.Rc1+ Black will be mated. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Peter's game also showed a motivated and inspired Svidler who has had spotty appearances, but who is capable of anything (in the good sense) when he does, and is seeking his sixth national title.

Kurnosov,Igor (2676) - Svidler,Peter (2722) [B42]
63rd ch-RUS Moscow RUS (3), 13.12.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.Nb3 Be7 7.Qg4 g6 8.Qe2 d6 9.0-0 Nc6 10.c4 Ne5 11.h3. The first new move, normal being Nc3, however one wonders what it achieves that outweighs simple development. 11...Nf6 12.Bh6 Nh5 13.N1d2?! Missing Black's strong and highly original idea. In order to prevent Svidler's concept, Kurnusov had to play 13.f4! Ng3 14.Qf2 Nxd3 (14...Nxf1? 15.fxe5) 15.Qxg3 Nc5 16.N1d2 and White is better. 13...Nxd3 14.Qxd3

14...g5! 15.e5 dxe5 16.Qf3 Nf4!

The point is clear. Not only has Black secured a fine outpost for the knight, but he is even threatening the h6 bishop with a rather unpleasant Rg8-g6. 17.Bg7 Rg8 18.Bxe5 Qd3 19.c5?! Better was 19.Qe4 f6 20.Bxf4 Qxe4 21.Nxe4 gxf4 22.Rad1 e5 with a slight edge for Black, but nothing tragic. 19...Qxf3 20.Nxf3 f6 21.Bd6. White underestimates the strength of the knight, and should have exchanged it while he had a chance. 21...e5 22.Nfd2

22...g4! The protected bishop on d6 may look big and strong, but it is really biting on dust. 23.h4 Be6 24.g3 Nd3 25.Rab1 a5 26.Ne4 Nb4 27.Rfe1 a4 28.Nc1 Kf7 29.a3 Nc2 30.Rd1 Bf5 31.Bxe7? Bxe4! 32.Bd6 Nxa3 33.Ra1 Nc2 34.Ra2 Ke6 35.Rd2 Nd4 36.Kf1 Nf3 37.Re2 Bd5 38.Ra3 Bc4 39.Nd3 Nd4 40.Rc3. 40.Re1 Nb5; 40.Rd2 e4 40...Bxd3 41.Rxd3 Nxe2 0-1. [Click to replay]

The display crosstable in the elegantly decorated Central Club

Pictures by Yana Melnikova and Eldara Muhametova (

Current standings after round three


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