Korobov and Buksa are the 2018 Ukrainian champions

by Mikhail Golubev
12/24/2018 – Ukraine organised its national championships from December 10th to the 20th at the Hotel Raziotel in Kiev. Some big names were absent, but good fighting chess was in display anyway in both ten-player round robins. Rating favourite Anton Korobov got first place in the open section with 5½ points, while Nataliya Buksa managed a better score, 7 out of 9, to become the new Ukrainian champion in the women's category. Analyses and results from the seventh most populous city in Europe. | Photos: Ukrainian Chess Federation

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A close fight 

The Ukrainian Championships are the best organised tournament in the country, and this year's events were no exception, even if a number of the country's top players were not participating, especially in the women's championship. The main section, nonetheless, boasted a 2603 rating average with six out of ten participants above the 2600 Elo barrier. 

The most remarkable game of the open championship was played in round one: it was a somewhat surprising but extremely nice victory by Alexander Kovchan over the tournament's rating favourite Anton Korobov.

 

Ukrainian champion Anton Korobov

Eventually this turned out to be Kovchan's only win in the championship. While Korobov, despite losing one more game in round four, became sole winner and the Ukrainian Champion for the third time in his career. It must be said that luck was on his side at times. He achieved his most clear and convincing win against former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov.

 

Besides this unfortunate game, Ponomariov had a good tournament and got an interesting victory against Stanislav Bogdanovich.

 

Ruslan Ponomariov finished on 5/9

The championship was very hard-fought, as the difference between first and last place was a mere two points. Despite eventually finishing last, Bogdanovich scored two wins, including this good game from the penultimate round.

 

The last round in Kiev

Final standings - Open section

 

All games - Open section

 

Fortune favours the brave

In the women's championship, where both Muzychuk sisters, Anna Ushenina and Nataliya Zhukova were absent, the fight was comparatively more unbalanced, but also quite tense — no one scored less than 3 points out of 9.

On the whole, the Elo favourites dominated. IM Nataliya Buksa, who recently married Azerbaijani grandmaster Rauf Mamedov, won her first Ukrainian Championship title. After looking at Buksa's decisive victory in the final round, one can say that 2018 was indeed a lucky year for her.

 

Buksa's final round win over Babiy secured her first place

The experienced fighter Inna Gaponenko arrived as first seed but finished in second place. She achieved a nice win over WIM Anastasiya Rakhmangulova in round seven.

 

Last year's champion Iulija Osmak was not in her best form. The following curious but chaotic game, which she won, rather confirms this observation.

 

Iulija Osmak defeated Nadiia Shpanko with the white pieces

Final standings - Women's section

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Buksa Nataliya 7,0 0,0
2 Gaponenko Inna 6,5 0,0
3 Osmak Iulija 5,0 0,0
4 Doluhanova Evgeniya 4,5 0,0
5 Martynkova Olena 4,0 1,0
6 Rakhmangulova Anastasiya 4,0 1,0
7 Babiy Olga 4,0 1,0
8 Dolzhykova Kateryna 3,5 0,5
9 Shpanko Nadiia 3,5 0,5
10 Berdnyk Mariia 3,0 0,0

All games - Women's section

 

Additional reporting by Antonio Pereira

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Mikhail Golubev is a Ukrainian grandmaster, chess journalist and organizer. In 1996 he won the Ukrainian national championship in Yalta.
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royce campbell royce campbell 12/24/2018 04:25
Do we know why the four absentees were not there? Another tournament somewhere?
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