Russian Higher League starts strong

by Albert Silver
6/7/2014 – With a lineup of dozens of grandmasters, at least one rated 2700, and many rated in the very high 2600s, it would sound like a national championship at least, but not so. This prodigious platoon actually comprises the field for the Russian Higher League, held in Vladivostok, Russia, at the eastern-most border of Russia, and is the qualifier for the Russian Super Final. Report and pictures.

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Obviously players such as Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk are already guaranteed a place by virtue of rating, but in a country with so many strong players and rising stars this is what a 'mere' qualifier looks like.

To try to list all the noteworthy players as a taster would be an exercise in futility, but among the very highest rated seeking their spot in the sun are Dmitry Jakovenko (2736), Alexander Motylev (2696), Evgeny Tomashevsky (2695), Alexander Riazantsev (2692), Maxim Matlakov (2689), Ernesto Inarkiev (2682), and the list just goes on and on.

Dmitry Jakovenko is the heavy favorite by virtue of rating, but the compeittion is fierce

Evgeny Tomashevsky is but one of the serious contenders

Simultaneously, the Women's Higher League is also being held with Olga Girya as top seed, followed by Alexandra Goryachkina, and Alina Kashlinskaya among others. Both events are organized as a Swiss open and play for nine rounds from June 3-14, 2014.

In the women's section, Aleksandra Goryachkina and...

... Alina Kashlinskaya are among the favorites.

Goryachkina, Aleksandra - Nasybullina, Alfia

15-year-old Goryachkina beat her third-round opponent with a nice
tactical shot. White to play and win (solution at bottom).


The tournament is being held in Vladivostok, Russia, which is located right on the Sea of Japan,
next to North Korea, and a small plane hop from Japan and South Korea.

It goes without saying that by virtue of its geographic location, Vladvostok is an important
port. Here is a view of the "Dalzavod" where ships are built and repaired.

The name Golden Bridge will immediately be linked to San Francisco, but here there is a
bridge with a similar name, and impressive appearance

Vladivostok is a cosmopolitan city that is home to different faiths.
Literally located on the same street one can find the Catholic Church
of the Blessed Virgin,...

... an Armenian church,...

... a Protestant church,....

... and of course an Orthodox church, of which there are many, understandably.

Artillery in the yard of the Military Historical Museum of the Pacific Fleet

A tribute to its heroes

Triumphal Arch of Crown Prince Nicholas

Not having suffered from the devastation that cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg
from the world wars, Vladivostok still has many beautiful old buildings from another era.

The tournament is being held in this impressive modern building

The opening ceremony included several musical and dancing spectacles

The president of the local federation greets the players and inaugurates the competition

Solution to combination:

[Event "64th ch-RUS HL w 2014"] [Site "Vladivostok RUS"] [Date "2014.06.06"] [Round "3.3"] [White "Goryachkina, Aleksandra"] [Black "Nasybullina, Alfia"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "2432"] [BlackElo "2095"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1b2brk1/3n2p1/2N2n1p/2Pp1p2/2qN4/6P1/2QB1PBP/R5K1 w - - 0 24"] [PlyCount "3"] [EventDate "2014.06.04"] 24. Bxd5+ $3 {and Black resigned since the queen is lost.} Qxd5 (24... Nxd5 25. Qxc4) 25. Ne7+ 1-0

Men's standings after three rounds

Women's standings after three rounds

Pictures by Evgeny Vashenyak and Eteri Kublashvili


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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