Russian Club Cup

Russian Club Cup‎

WGM Natalia_Pogonina
29 | Chess Players

Right now I am playing in the Russian Club Cup. This tournament has a relatively long history, and accumulates top players not only from Russia, but from all over the world. The event is a round robin. Six main boards + two reserves for men, 4+2 for women. In the men’s section four teams qualify for the European Cup-- three in the women’s section.

Due to financial problems this year there are only 12 teams in the men’s section and 8 in the women’s. To give you some names: Ivanchuk (2779), Ponomariov (2743), Gelfand (2733), Svidler (2730), Nepomniatchi (2729), Wang Hao (2728), Eljanov (2724), Vitiugov (2720), Jakovenko (2718), Caruana (2716), Movsesian (2716), Malakhov (2714), Efimenko (2708), Tomashevsky (2707), Dreev (2697), Giri (2690), Alekseev (2688), etc.; Lahno (2531), Cmilyte (2526), Stefanova (2523), Kosteniuk (2503), Galliamova (2497), Socko (2495), etc.

Women are chatting while men are at work. Photo by Maria Bolshakova, 2011

I have been playing in the Russian Club Championships since 2005. First for the “Platinum” team (Krasnoyarsk), then for “Economist” (Saratov), and five times for “AVS” (Krasnotur’insk). As a team we have never won the event (although there were silver and bronze finishes), while I got three gold medals for best performance on my board (2006, 2007, 2010). The best score was in 2007: 8 out of 9.

The first tournament in 2005 was probably the most memorable. Our friendly team (me, Irina Vasilevich, Ekaterina Ubiennykh, Tatiana Grabuzova, Maria Fominykh), a dark horse among super clubs, clinched 4th place by beating a formidable Ladia club in the last round and qualified for the European Club Championship. Great atmosphere, a nice result and a spectacular blitz event as a follow-up – what can be better? As a 1st board player, I got to face Aronian, Grischuk, Gelfand and other super grandmasters. It’s a pity that in the years to follow the blitz tournaments have been abandoned.

One doesn't get to play the likes of Gelfand on a daily basis

During these 7 years I have tried all boards from 1 to 4. In AVS, my current club, I usually play on the 3rd board. As I have already mentioned in previous articles, team events are special as compared to regular tournaments. At the Russian Club people are friendly and merry, but in the chess sense the competition is fierce. As the tournament is taking place at a beautiful resort beside the Black Sea, participants take a chance to rest and, for example, play soccer. The guys seem to be ambitious on the field too, and sometimes even get traumatized.

AVS last year: Stefanova, Muzychuk A., Pogonina, Muzychuk M., Shadrina, Savina. Team captain - GM Georgiev V.

To wrap up the article, please try to solve a few tactical puzzles from my games played at the previous Russian Club Cups:

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