This weekend: The Russian Championship 'Superfinals' begin

by ChessBase
8/9/2019 – The first round of the Russian Superfinals will be held on Saturday, August 10th, in Wotinsk, the Republic of Udmurtia. Vladislav Artemiev and Aleksandra Goryachkina are the favourites. The twelve-player round-robin tournaments are incredibly strong — the Open tournament carries an average Elo rating of 2688! Chess has recently become a compulsory subject in Russian schools, so the pace of Russian players isn't likely to diminish anytime soon. | Photo: Patricia Claros / Eteri Kublashvili

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Artemiev and Goryachkina the favourites

The Superfinals of the Russian National Championships will start Saturday and from from August 9th to 23rd. The Open championship is being held for the 72nd time and the Women's Championship isn't far behind, being contested for the 69th time.

In the Open championship Vladislav Artemiev, who has already had an impressive year, is the Elo favourite. The young grandmaster is the current European Champion. However, he faces strong competition — even the "weakest" participant is rated 2650!

In the Women's Championship, Aleksandra Goryachkina is the top seed. The 20-year-old is fresh off her surprise win at the Women's Candidates Tournament, and she's set to challenge Ju Wenjun for the World Championship later this year. Goryachkina has already won the title in 2015 and 2017.

The two tournaments will be held in parallel with 12 participants each at the same venue, in the Udmurt Republic:

The region is about 1200 km East of Moscow, between Nizhny Novgorod and Yekaterinburg

The tournaments will start in Wotinsk on the grounds of the Peter Tchaikovsky Museum and then will move, on August 13th, to the International Friendship Center in Izhevsk, the capital of the Republic of Udmurtia.

Peter Tschaikovsky was born in Wotinsk in 1840, and spent the first eight years of his life there.

Tchaikovsky Museum

3D-Tour of the Tschaikowsky Museum

The tournament is part of the program "Chess in Museums", which has been carried out by the RCF together with the Timchenko Foundation since 2012. 

Players (Open)

In rating order.

  1. Vladislav Artemiev (2757) 
  2. Nikita Vitiugov (2728) 
  3. Maxim Matlakov (2710) 
  4. Evgeny Tomashevsky (2706) 
  5. Dmitry Jakovenko (2704) 
  6. Ernesto Inarkiev (2682) 
  7. Vladimir Fedoseev (2671) 
  8. Kirill Alekseenko (2668) 
  9. Alexander Motylev (2668) 
  10. Aleksey Dreev (2662) 
  11. Alexey Sarana (2655) 
  12. Alexandr Predke (2650)

Players (Women)

In rating order.

  1. Aleksandra Goryachkina (2564) 
  2. Alexandra Kosteniuk (2507) 
  3. Valentina Gunina (2497) 
  4. Alina Kashlinskaya (2491) 
  5. Olga Girya (2462) 
  6. Natalia Pogonina (2457) 
  7. Anastasia Bodnaruk (2429) 
  8. Polina Shuvalova (2419) 
  9. Elena Tomilova (2376) 
  10. Daria Charochkina (2352) 
  11. Margarita Potapova (2335) 
  12. Zarina Shafigullina (2332). 

Organizers of the championships are the Russian Chess Federation, the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation and the Government of the Udmurt Republic.

The competition is supported by Renault Russia, the Federal Grid Company of the Unified Energy System (Rosseti Group) and PhosAgro, a partner of the RCF since 2010, which is also the chief sponsor of World Chess. The "logistics partner" of the Russian Chess Federation is the Russian Post.

The total prize fund is 10 million rubles (about USD $153,000), of which 6.5 million rubles goes to the Open and 3.5 million rubles for the Women's Championship. 

The two winners will also receive a brand-new Renault ARKANA coupé crossover, the "official vehicle of the Russian Chess Federation".


The Russian Champions win a new car in addition to cash


Times in UTC.

Round Date Time
1 August 10 11:00
2 August 11 11:00
3 August 13 11:00
4 August 14 11:00
5 August 15 11:00
6 August 16 11:00
7 August 17 11:00
8 August 19 11:00
9 August 20 11:00
10 August 21 11:00
11 August 22 10:00

In case of a draw of two or more participants for the first place, a quick match will be played. 

Live commentary will be available in English, hosted by GM Pavel Tregubov and GM Daniil Yuffa, and in Russian, with comments from GM Sergey Shipov.

Russia introduces chess as a compulsory subject in all schools

Following the positive experiences of pilot projects in Khanty-Mansiysk and Moscow schools, the Russian Ministry of Education has now decided to make chess a compulsory subject throughout Russia. Corresponding changes to the national syllabus have been in the works since 2017.

Olga Vasilyeva, the Minister of Education and Science in Russia, said:

I am convinced that we should play chess at school. It is difficult to argue against statistics, and at home and abroad, children playing chess have better academic performance on the order of 35-40%. Engagement with the chess helps the children with mental development.

Olga Vasilyeva

Russian Minister of Education Olga Vasilyeva

Chess has a strong influence on cognitive abilities, according to the Russian daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, citing psychological and pedagogical scientific work.

In April 2019, chess lessons were introduced in 18,000 Russian schools, in almost half of all general education schools in Russia. Programs and textbooks for the classroom are already available. The teachers will now be comprehensively trained.

Starting September 1st, all Russian first graders will study chess for at least 33 hours per year. Chess replaces the third period of physical education class, which many parents and teachers felt was excessive in any case.


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