Ukrainian Championships: Kuzubov, Muzychuk win

by Sagar Shah
11/28/2014 – The Ukrainian Championship was a strong tournament with an Elo average of 2659 (category 17). Before the last round three players shared the lead and after a last-round win Yuriy Kuzubov won on tie-break. Things were much clearer in the women's tournament. Here Anna Muzychuk smoothly won with 7.0/9, not losing a single game. Report and games...

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Kuzubov and Muzychuk win Ukrainian Championships 2014

The Ukrainian Championships took place in Lviv from 11th to 22th November 2014. The men's tournament was a 12-player round-robin, the women's a ten-player one. With an average Elo of 2659 (category 17) the men's event was particularly strong. The fact that Ukrainian superstar Vassily Ivanchuk took part made the tournament even more interesting.

Brillant but unpredictable: Vassily Ivanchuk

Before the last round the atmosphere was quite heated up because three players shared the lead with 6.5/10 each: Yuriy Kuzubov (2661), Pavel Eljanov (2719), and Ruslan Ponomariov (2711)

Yuriy Kuzubov

Ruslan Ponomariov

In the last round Yuriy Kuzubov, who had the best tie-break, faced his direct rival Ruslan Ponomariov, while Pavel Eljanov had to play the lower-rated Alexander Zubov (5.5). But of course Zubov was not be underestimated as he had beaten Kryvoruchko and Areshchenko in the previous rounds.

Pavel Eljanov at the beginning of his crucial last round game against Alexander Zubov

A lot of prestige was at stake and the player with the best nerves would become Ukrainian champion, that is, champion of a country with an outstanding chess culture. In such a situation it is difficult to play to your full potential. But Yuriy Kuzubov rose to the occasion and played a fantastic game to overcome former World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. Of particular note is the way in which Kuzubov sacrificed a pawn in the middlegame to activate his pieces and to put pressure on his opponent.


With this win, Kuzubov moved to 7.5/11. All eyes were now on the battle between Eljanov and Zubov. After a queenless middlegame the players reached some kind of an equal/slightly better endgame. From that point onwards Eljanov, who had white, manoeuvred his pieces like a magician. He lined all pieces up against the isolated d5 and quenched all possible counterplay by Zubov. It is a game worth studying over and over.


Thus, after eleven rounds of intense fighting two players emerged as winners with a score of 7.5/11 Kuzubov edged out his rival thanks to a better tie-break to become the 2014 Ukrainian Chess Champion. In some ways it was the right result as in their individual encounter Kuzubov had beaten Eljanov.

The tie-break had to decide: Yuriy Kuzubov (left) and Pavel Eljanov (right) both finished with 7.5/11. But Kuzubov won the title.

Yuriy Kuzubov, Ukrainian Champion 2014


Pavel Eljanov had to settle for second place

Anton Korobov finished third with a score of 7.0/11.

Yuriy Kuzubov and GM Nazar Firman look at the beautiful chess cake.

Kuzubov had every reason to celebrate because he not only won the tournament but gained 20 Elo points as well! The star player of the tournament, Vassily Ivanchuk, might want to forget this event quickly: he finished seventh and lost 11 Elo points

The winner's trophies

Final standings




Women's tournament

The women's tournament was a ten-player round robin event. As mentioned in the previous report, Anna Ushenina quit the tournament after her first round loss against Iulija Osmak.

The tournament was dominated and won by top seed Anna Muzychuk (2545). The new Ukrainian Women's Champion, played a fine tournament: she scored 6.0/98 and remained unbeaten.

Anna Muzychuk scored a smooth victory, winning four, drawing four

The other GM in the field, Natalia Zhukova (2470), scored 5.5/8 and finished second.

Natalia Zhukova

16-year-old Iulija Osmak (2246) had a great tournament, scoring 6.0/9 and gaining a no less than 85.6 Elo points.

Anna Muzychuk (right) with the winner's trophy, Olga Kalinina holds the chess cake.

Lulija Osmak and Inna Gaponenko agree that presenting the players with a chess cake was a wonderful idea!

Final standings


Rg.   Name Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pkt.  Wtg1 
1 GM Muzychuk Anna 2545 * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1   6.0 20.00
2 GM Zhukova Natalia 2470 ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1   5.5 18.75
3 WFM Osmak Iulija 2246 ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1   5.0 17.00
4 IM Muzychuk Mariya 2529 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 0 1 1 1   5.0 16.50
5 IM Gaponenko Inna 2381 ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1   4.5 16.50
6 WGM Kalinina Olga 2259 0 0 ½ 1 ½ * 0 1 1   4.0 12.75
7 WGM Doluhanova Evgeniya 2284 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 * ½ 0   3.0 12.25
8 WFM Tarleva Vira 2127 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ * ½   1.5 4.50
9 WIM Tantsiura Maria 2302 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ *   1.5 3.75
10 GM Ushenina Anna 2494                   * 0.0 0.00

Anna Ushenina withdrew after the losing in the first round against Iulija Osmak, and her results do not count.



Pictures from the official website and the the Facebook page of Ukrainian Chess


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.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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