Russian Superfinal and the even more remarkable Mr Morozevich

12/28/2007 – The draw average in the Russian Championship Superfinal is a pleasing low 46%. The statistics are heavily influenced by Alexander Morozevich, who has thus far, after eight rounds, one draw and one loss to his account. Morozevich has won the last six games of the tournament, four of them with the black pieces, beating both Svidler and Grischuk. He is playing like a 2900+ rated player.

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Russian Superfinal – report after round eight

This is an experiment. Instead of the regular diagrams we tend to use – Fritz board with "USCF" piece set – we will today present you with an interesting alternative: our "live game font". Actually they are pictures provided by our colleagues over at ChessPro, who in round five concentrated, for once, not on the players but on the boards. Interesting, visually, but we will probably switch back to the traditional diagrams, that are easier to read.

Morozevich,A (2755) - Grischuk,A (2715) [D10]
60th ch-RUS Superfinal Moscow RUS (7), 26.12.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Bb5 e6 8.Qa4 Qb6 9.Nf3 Be7 10.Ne5 0-0 11.Bxc6 Rfc8 12.0-0 bxc6 13.Rfc1 c5 14.dxc5 Rxc5 15.b4 Rcc8 16.a3 d4 17.exd4 Qxd4 18.Nc6 Qd7 19.b5 Bf8 20.Qa6 Bc5 21.Rd1

21...Bd3? Fire up your chess engines and go through the horrendous tactical complications of this position. Grischuk overextends and Morozevich punishes him severly for that. 22.Bg3 Ng4 23.Qa4 f5 24.h3 f4 25.Bh4 Nh6 26.Ne4 Bf8 27.Qb3 1-0.


Alexander Morozevich vs Alexander Grischuk after 13...c5

Did anyone really believe we were going to generally substitute bitmap diagrams with this kind of picture (to help you follow the game)? No, of course not. We are just impressed by our colleagues at ChessPro who are doing some creative visualising of the event.


Morozevich and Grischuk analyse their game at the end of round seven

Svidler,P (2732) - Morozevich,A (2755) [B90]
60th ch-RUS Superfinal Moscow RUS (8), 27.12.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Nbd7 9.g4 Nb6 10.g5 Nh5 11.Qd2 Rc8 12.0-0-0 Be7 13.Kb1 0-0 14.Rg1 g6 15.h4 Qc7 16.Rg2 f6 17.Qf2 Nc4 18.Bxc4 Bxc4 19.Bb6 Qd7 20.Nc5 Qc6 21.Nd3 Bxd3 22.cxd3 Nf4 23.Rg4 fxg5 24.hxg5 Bxg5 25.Rh1 Ne6 26.Qh2 Qd7 27.Qh3 Rf7 28.Be3

Svidler has pinned his hopes on a massive kingside assault. Now Morozevich counters. 28...Rxc3 29.bxc3 Qb5+ 30.Kc2 Nd4+ 31.Bxd4 exd4

Black has great counterplay and White should go on the defensive (e.g. with 32.Rg2). But Svidler falters: 32.c4? The rest is pretty much forced: 32...Qa4+ 33.Kb1 Qb4+ 34.Ka1 Qc3+ 35.Kb1 Qxd3+ 36.Ka1 Qc3+ 37.Kb1 Qb4+ 38.Ka1 Bf6 and Black is threatening 39...d3+ with mate to follow. 0-1.

Poor Peter Svidler. He started with a loss to Rychagoc in round one, picked up a point against Dreev in round two, drew three games, beat Vitiugov in round six and then, before the above loss to Morozevich, suffered the following disaster:

Tomashevsky,E (2646) - Svidler,P (2732) [A29]
60th ch-RUS Superfinal Moscow RUS (7), 26.12.2007
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4 5.Nd5 Bc5 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 d6 8.e3 a6 9.d3 Ba7 10.Bd2 Nxd5 11.cxd5 Ne7 12.Qb3 c6 13.dxc6 Nxc6 14.Bc3 Rb8 15.d4 e4 16.Nd2 d5 17.f3 exf3 18.Nxf3 Be6 19.Kh1 Re8 20.Rf2 b5 21.Bd2 Bf5 22.Raf1 Be4 23.Ne1 Rb7 24.Bxe4 Rxe4 25.Nd3 Rd7 26.a4 bxa4 27.Qxa4 Re6 28.Rc1 Rc7?

Do you see the problems? The black rook and queen are prone to a skewer by the white bishop from a5, the white queen is casting an x-ray glance at the square e8, which poses a deadly backrank threat to Black, and the black rook on e6 is overloaded, protecting this square and the knight on c6. Tomashevsky saw it all. 29.Nf4 (forcing the rook to decide which duty is higher) 29...Rd6 30.Ba5 Nxa5 31.Rxc7 Bb6 (the queen cannot retake because of 32.Qe8 mate) 32.Rc3 and White has a full exchange with a better position. 32...h6 33.Qc2 Qe8 34.Qf5 g6 35.Qd3 Kg7 36.Kg2 Nc6 37.Qe2 a5 38.Qf3 Ne7 39.Qg4 Kh7 40.Qf3 a4 41.g4 Rf6 42.Qh3 Kg7 43.Qg3 Ba5 44.Rc1 Rb6 45.Nd3 1-0.


We feel your pain, Pyotr Svidler. You will be back with great tournaments

With this loss Peter Svidler, the second seed, is back to minus one and a dismal 2600 performance. Meanwhile Arty Timofeev, who had scored exactly half a point in his first six games, suddenly won two in a row. That did not get him away from last place, but it is bound to have an effect on his confidence for the remaining three games.

Sakaev,K (2634) - Timofeev,Arty (2637) [D31]
60th ch-RUS Superfinal Moscow RUS (7), 26.12.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Na6 9.Bd6 Qxg2 10.Qd2 Nf6 11.Bf3 Qg6 12.0-0-0 e5 13.Bxe5 Be6 14.Ne2 Qf5 15.Qe3 Nb4 16.Nd4 Nxa2+ 17.Kd2 0-0-0 18.Ke1 Rxd4 19.Rxd4 Nb4 20.Bd1 Re8 21.Rg1?


Okay, just this once: it is a key position and move that led to White's downfall

21...Bxc4 22.f4 Nbd5 23.Rxd5 Nxd5 24.Qxa7 Rxe5+ 25.fxe5 Qxe5+ 26.Kf2 Qxh2+ 27.Rg2 Qh4+ 28.Rg3 Qf6+ 29.Bf3 Qxb2+ 30.Kg1 g6 31.Qa8+ Kd7 32.Rg4 Qb3 33.Bg2 Qb6+ 34.Kh2 Ne3 35.Re4 Be6 36.Bh3 Qb2+ 37.Kg3 Qb3 38.Bxe6+ fxe6 39.Qf8 Nf5+ 0-1.

Standings Men's section

Draw statistics: of the 48 games just 22 were drawn, which works out to a very low draw average of 46%. Both White and Black won 13 games each, for a 27% win ratio each. Note that the positive statistics are heavily influenced by Morozevich, who has one draw and one loss to his account. That is a 12% draw rate, ladies and gentlemen. In this tournament Morozevich is playing like a 2900+ rated player.

Women's section

Four consecutive wins in rounds 5–8 has propelled Elena Tairova to the top of the table, where she leads alone, ahead of Ekaterina Korbut, Natalija Pogonina and Tatiana Kosintseva. All four players are separated by half a point from each other.


Natalija Pogonina vs Girya Tairova and Evgenija Ovod vs Tatiana Kosintseva in round seven


Girya Tairova (right) has brought her king to d1 and will take the full point from Natalija Pogonina in this key round seven game – which lasted 105 moves

Standings Women's section

Draw statistics: The women have played even more decided games than the men. Only 16 of 48 ended in draws, which translates to an average of just 34%. White won 35% of the games, Black 31%. The unhappiest person in Moscow is 18-year-old WFM Valentina Gunina, who apart from a tough second-round draw against Kovalevskaya has lost all the rest of her games. Her Elo performance so far: 1946.

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