Valeriy Aveskulov is the 2007 Ukrainian Champion

12/14/2007 – He is 21 years old, has played since he was five, won multiple youth medals and received his GM title a year ago. Now Valeriy Aveskulov has won the 76th Ukrainian Chess Championship. Top players Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Ponomariov and Moiseenko, were absent, but still Valeriy had to compete with 19 other GMs. He finished sole winner with 6.5/9 points. Illustrated report by Olena Boytsun.

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The 76th Ukrainian Men's Chess Championship

Report by Olena Boytsun – with photos by Anatoliy Lisenko

Valeriy Aveskulov is an International Grandmaster, rated 2545, born on the 31st of January 1986 – which means he is 21 years old. He is from the Lugansk region, where he also started to play chess, but now he studies and lives in Kharkiv. Valeriy saw chess for the first time when he was five; his father showed him the rules of the game and some simple combinations. He received the title of international grandmaster in autumn 2006. He was a multiple medal winner of the Ukrainian Youth Championships, a medal winner of the World Youth Championships (France 1998, rapid chess; Greece 2003) as well as the first prize winner of a number of other international tournaments.

Why is all this the beginning of the article, you will ask. And the answer is simple: because Valeriy Aveskulov is the new Ukrainian Chess Champion.


The Rector of the National Law Academy in Kharkiv, Vasyl Tatsiy, congratulates Valeriy Aveskulov

The 76th Chess Championship of Ukraine was held in Kharkiv, in the Palace of Students of the National Law Academy of Ukraine, from November 16-25, 2007. There were 28 participants, among them 19 international grandmasters from different regions of Ukraine, who fought for the title of the "Champion of Ukraine" in nine rounds.


Announcement of the Championship on the streets of Kharkiv

Three years ago Kharkiv already hosted the championship. In 2004 it was a knock-out event, with Ivanchuk, Karjakin and Moiseenko participating. This year the tournament clashed with other important events, with the World Cup, for example. That is why the top-players were not able to participate. But still – it was the same big venue, a strong tournament (19 grandmasters, don't forget!) and great support from the city administration and the management of the Law Academy.


Viktor Petrov, the President of the Ukrainian Chess Federation, Mikhailo Dobkin, the mayor of Kharkiv

As the President of the Ukrainian Chess Federation, Viktor Petrov stated: "The tournament was possible thanks to the combined efforts of the Ukrainian Chess Federation, Kharkiv State Administration and National Law Academy of Ukraine" Mikhailo Dobkin, the mayor of Kharkiv, also emphasized the importance of the activities of the Academy for the city and the region: "The fact that the 76th Championship is taking part in Kharkiv means that the old traditions of our city as the leading chess center of Ukraine are revived."

There was a fighting spirit throughout the tournament. After the fifth round Valeriy Aveskulov took the lead, thanks to his win against Krivoruchko; one can say that it was one of the crucial moments of the tournament. But Yevgeniy Miroshnichenko and Yuriy Kuzubov were close, so after the eighth round three grandmasters had an equal number of points – 5,5 out of 8. Four more people were breathing down their necks with five points. Nothing was clear until the last game.


The playing area

The end of the tournament was also rather dramatic. Miroshnichenko and Kuzubov made a quick draw, but Aveskulov won the last game and the whole tournament.


Yevgeniy Miroshnichenko vs Yuriy Kuzubov


Valeriy Aveskulov (left) with chess friends

Valeriy Aveskulov is already a legend at his native chess school in the small town Antratsit in Lugansk Region of Ukraine, where he started to learn the game. "I just like chess," he said in an interview with a local paper, "the game develops your logic, teaches your to think. I would advise every parent to teach their children to play chess. The ability to think, to seek the best solution of a problem, I believe, will help a child in adult life, and it doesn't depend on how long the child will pursue chess."

The new champion of Ukraine is a student of law at the National Law Academy, and has no idea so far whether he will become a professional chess player with a good knowledge of his rights, or a professional lawyer with a great ability to think strategically. I personally believe that both choices are great.

The second place was taken by Yevgeniy Miroshnichenko (above), rated 2651, from Donetsk. Yevgeniy was already Ukrainian Champion in 2003, and he won some prizes both in personal and team competitions as well.


Yuriy Kuzubov vs Yuriy Drozdovskiy


The famous Ukrainian grandmaster Oleg Romanishin from Lviv

The 17-year old student of the famous Kramatorsk chess school, Yuriy Kuzubov (2582) came in third, with 6.0 points out of 9 games.

Apart from the money prize, the winner and the prize winners got medals and diplomas from the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sport of Ukraine. The same prizes were given to their coaches as well. The closing ceremony was splendid, with live music and many people who came to congratulate the new Ukrainian Chess Champion, Valeriy Aveskulov.


The medalists: Yevgeniy Miroshnichenko (second), Rector Vasyl Tatsiy, Valeriy Aveskulov (winner) and Yuriy Kuzubov (third)


The participants and orginizers of the 76th Ukrainian chess championship

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About the author

After working on her PhD in International Economics at the Russian and Eurasian Studies Center, St. Antony's College, Oxford University, Olena Boytsun has returned to Ukraine and is currently working in Kiev as head of the marketing department of Alfa-Gorizont, a Ukrainian-based company that produces and sells crushed granite and sand for the national and European market.

Olena has played chess since her childhood. Her current title is Woman International Master. She is a regular contributor to the ChessBase news page

Olena plans to submit the PhD by the end of December, to publish two fiction books by the end of January – and to survive the windy snowy winter in Ukraine by the end of February.

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