Part I was published last week.
The third round became the duel of heavyweights. SHSM-64 vs Tomsk-400, St. Petersburg vs Ugra. Saratov was facing a solid team Nagivator (Moscow) with Sutovsky and Sasikiran on the top boards. Given the short distance (7 rounds), each misstep would be critical. SHSM-64 drew Tomsk on all 6 boards. St. Petersburg Chess Federation sensationally lost to Ugra 2-4. On board 1 Jakovenko defeated Svidler with Black.
Svidler vs Jakovenko. Photo by Mariya Fominykh, chesspro.ru
Economist-SGSU scored 4.5/6 against Navigator. Our team drew Kazan. We were actually having a very tough time; the only player to save the day was Michail Antipov who won his 2nd game in a row.
Just like last time, here are some puzzles for you to solve. Be careful not to view the annotations before trying to figure out the continuation for yourself:
Round 4, the mid-point. I was playing pretty badly (0.5/3), so the captain decided to offer me a rest day. It turned out to be a good decision: I scored 2/3 in the remaining rounds and, which is much more important, played more confidently. Our team finally won a match – against Atom. Meanwhile, the top teams were battling to the extreme. Economist defeated SHSM-64 due to Andreikin’s win over Potkin. Tomsk-400 lost to St. Petersburg Chess Federation 2.5-3.5. Ugra was stopped with a draw by Universitet (Belorechensk). Korobov lost to Panarin, and it looked like Ugra would even lose, but Dreev managed to convert a rook+knight+2 pawns vs the same material against GM Brodsky. This is absolutely unbelievable and spawned many jokes in different reports. Even Kramnik and Aronian had a hearty laugh after game two when Kramnik said something like: “And then I was in a rook endgame with two pawns each and, remembering the recent game won by Dreev, I thought, ok, Dreev won it with one pawn, then two pawns is definitely winning”. Of course, they were discussing a dead drawn position.
“Why are we often calling unpredictable results “women’s chess,” when a male GM can lose this position for Black?" – inquired the official tournament reviewer GM Kryakvin.
[editor's answer: because "we" are misogynist as well as rude]
After 4 rounds the standings of the top teams were the following (2 points for a won match, 1 point for a drawn match):
- Economist-SGSU: 8/8
- St. Petersburg Chess Federation, Navigator, Chigorin Club – 6/8
- SHSM-64, Tomsk-400, Ugra, Universitet – 5/8
Many spectators started congratulating the mighty club from Saratov on their victory in advance. Little did they know how things were going to turn at the end of the tournament…
Three more brain-teasers to give you a sense of what was happening at the championship:
To be continued...