Russian Women's Superfinal: Nazi Paikidze leads

by ChessBase
11/24/2010 – The Russian Women's Superfinal is underway, and can be seen as a preview for the upcoming Women's World Championship, as all of the prominent Russian players are in both. The tournament is extremely hard-fought, the lead having changed hands several times. Nadezhda Kosintseva started well, but faltered, and the 17-year-old Paikidze is sole leader. Pictorial report by Anna Burtasova.

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Nazi Paikidze leads Russian women Superfinal after 7 rounds

By Anna Burtasova

Russian women championship Superfinal is the round robin final stage of the national championship. It is held in Moscow from November 15 to 27. The prize fund of the tournament that brought in all the best players in the country, including the entire national team, is 1.4 million rubles (around 35 thousand Euros) with 400 thousand rubles (around 10.000 Euro) going to the winner. The Russian chess federation as the event organizer, with the generous support by the sponsors “Gazprom”, “Sberbank”, “Almaz-Antei”, and “E4 Group”.

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

The playing hall after the end of the game Pogonina – Bodnaruk, won by white after
almost 6 hours of play.

The players won their right to participate in the prestigious event by different qualifying criteria:

5 players qualified from the Swiss “High League” tournament – Nazi Paikidze (2401), Olga Giria (2435), Tatiana Shadrina (2384), Svetlana Matveeva (2389), and Vera Nebolsina (2377).

3 were winners of the previous year’s Superfinal – Alisa Galliamova (2487), Nadezhda Kosintseva (2576), and Valentina Gunina (2479).

3 players qualified by rating – Alexandra Kosteniuk (2507), Tatiana Kosintseva (2581), Natalia Pogonina (2472).

One player was seeded by invitation of the Russian Chess Federation – Anastasia Bodnaruk (2407).

The average rating of the tournament is 2458.

The cups wait for their winners in the playing hall

The players are not allowed to agree a draw between themselves; any player wishing to offer a draw must do so at the arbiter’s discretion. Nevertheless, if you take a look at the crosstable, you will understand that this rule is pointless since women do not want to agree to a draw, they want to fight!

Start of the round

During the first seven rounds, the leaders changed several times.

At the onset, Nadezhda Kosintseva took the lead with 3.0/3, however, after two draws in a row, first with the talented young Olga Giria, and next with her sister Tatiana, Nadezhda was caught up by Natalia Pogonina, who won the 5th round game against Vera Nebolsina from eastern Novosibirsk.

Pagonina shared the lead after round five

In the next round everything changed: Nadezhda Kosintseva lost her first game in the event to the defending champion Alisa Galliamova, while Natalia Pogonina lost her game to Valentina Gunina. Gunina, who defended the last board of the Russian national team at the Olympiad in Khanti-Mansiysk, started the tournament badly – with an arid zero out of three.

Valentina Gunina had a miserable start with zero in three, but
bounced back strongly with 2.5 in the next three games.

Her mother, who supports her at the tournament, was puzzled: “Valentina prepared very seriously for the tournament, and was in a good physical condition…But she is very nervous for no apparent reason. Maybe that is why she hasn’t played well so far.” This statement, made after the third round, was erased in the next games after Gunina first drew with Tatiana Kosintseva, then won against Matveeva and Pogonina.

Matveeva facing Paikidze, the leader after seven rounds

With the leaders falling in round six, before the rest day, it was Nazi Paikidze’s best chance to punish the timid, and the 17-year-old won against Shadrina, a highly experienced player, also a children coach in Kstovo, a tiny city in the Nigniy Novgorod region, and took the lead with 4.5/6. Paikidze had also won against Gunina, Tatiana Kosintseva, not to mention a very lucky game against Kosteniuk – thus beating half of the Russian national team all by herself!

Alexandra Kosteniuk readies herself before the round

In round seven, she drew against Girya, while Nadezhda Kosintseva lost a second game, a rarity for her, considering that she played throughout all of 2009 undefeated. Galliamova, the title-holder, sensing weakness in the leaderboard, overcame Bodnaruk, and trails the leader by a half a point, together with Pagonina. The very interesting continuation of the encounter “Paikidze against Russia-1” will continue in round 8 when she is scheduled to play Galliamova and later in round 10 against Nadezhda Kosintseva.

Galliamova, current Russian Women's champion, trails the leader
by only a half-point.

Nazi Paikidze has lived in Russia since 2006 and is a Russian citizen, allowing her to participate in the national championship, even though she represents the Georgian chess federation in international events.  She says that she loves chess and greatly enjoys studying the game.

My plan for the tournament was not to lose any games – and if I managed, I would consider the tournament a success. It is true, I already lost, but I won a lot too”, says the new leader of the event. “In the first game, to be honest, I was lucky – it was a draw, but I won. Then I won against Tania Kosintseva. With Pogonina I had a drawish endgame but blundered in one move. On the other hand, in the game with Kosteniuk, I won a position that…well... was not won at all. I hope that I will continue in the same good manner. I do not think about the result. I just like to play chess and so I simply enjoy every game.

The room next to the playing hall allows spectators to watch the games on the screen

Nazi’s family moved to Moscow from Tbilisi because of her elder brother, who is a football player. Unfortunately, he was injured and could not continue his football career, but Nazi likes it in the Russian capital: “There are plenty of tournaments, and I play very often. Plus the coaches are good – for two years I have been training with GM Vladimir Belov and he helps me a lot.

Paikidze said that she already received the offer to transfer to the Russian chess federation and that she is considering it. The current leader of the Russian Superfinal should carefully consider it as it is said that the next year it, participation in the national championship would require players not only be Russian citizens but that they also play under the aegis of the Russian Chess Federation.

Current standings after seven rounds

Not everyone finds it easy to read the crosstable


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