Part I of this story dealt with the first five rounds of the championship. I was the leader with 4/5, and among my pursuers were Olga Girya and Alisa Galliamova, whom I was to face in the rounds to come.
During the rest day I decided to take a ferry ride on the Moscow river. It was hot, so in the evening I discovered that my skin, especially cheeks and knees, became sunburnt. So, no more skirts for me, but at least the impressions from the trip have more than compensated for this disadvantage. Alas, at some point I noticed that the batteries in my camera were low, so I didn’t get to take pictures. However, here is part of the bridge right next to the hotel:
Round 6 was rather challenging. I made the wrong choice in the opening and ended up in a tricky position. Alisa didn’t make use of some of her chances, and the game ended in a draw.
Last year’s winner Valentina Gunina caught a cold (so she was wearing a scarf now) and lost the second game in a row. Olga Girya defeated Evgenia Ovod and caught up with me.
Round 7 was a critical match-up between the leaders. I had Black against Olga Girya.
Photo my Eteri Kublashvili, russiachess.org
Another example from the same round:
Women’s chess is always fighting, and in round 7 all the games were decisive. Surprisingly, White won just one encounter, while Black prevailed in the other four duels. On a separate note: computer preparation has supplied us with many ideas how to hold for Black. While previously most people were searching for positions where White has an advantage, now it’s about finding a line which is complicated and/or unexpected by the opponent. Black tends to do rather well. This is probably due to the fact that many people overrate White and press for the win too strenuously. The motto “win with White, draw with Black” doesn’t work that well anymore. One should be able to win with both colors. The only difference is that with Black one usually has to equalize first before trying to play for a win.
So, I became the sole leader again, but in round 8 I was to face Nadezhda Kosintseva with White. She surprised me with a Najdorf line that she doesn’t normally play. I had certain pressure on her position, although the game ended peacefully.
Photo by Eteri Kublashvili, russiachess.org
Valentina Gunina aided me by having won two games in a row: first vs. Alisa Galliamova, then vs. Tatiana Kosintseva.
Before the final game it became clear that I would win clear first in the championship if I managed to draw the game as Black vs. Baira Kovanova. The match didn’t last long and ended in a move repetition. I won my first adult Russian Champion title with 6.5/9 and a 2620 performance!
Another important chess clash in terms of distributing the prizes was the game between Olga Girya and Valentina Gunina. Olga had a large advantage, but she didn’t win. Valentina got silver (5.5 points). Tatiana Kosintseva lost with White to Daria Charochkina and didn’t get a medal. Nadezhda Kosintseva managed to wrestle a full point from Alisa Galliamova and get bronze with 5.5/9.
Finally, one more tactical shot:
The tournament table
As you can see, most of the games at the championship were decisive. I managed to remain undefeated: in some of the games I missed a win, in some I could have lost. One of the main factors of my success was the Olympic Games in London. I am a hardcore sports fan, so every evening I used to watch the competitions for a few hours. Sometimes I had the TV on and also two laptops so that not to miss anything important This helped me not to get overemotional about the tournament and the current games/standings. All my worries were aimed at the Olympics, while at the chess board I was calm and focused. This didn't go unnoticed by chess artist Mike Magnan, who painted a picture called "Pogo Zen" featured in this article.
Photo (C) ChessPro.ru
P.S. Sorry, for the next two weeks you won't see my columns, because I will be playing at the Chess Olympiad. This is usually an extremely exciting tournament, so make sure you don't miss it. Chess.com will obviously be covering the event. The official website is here. My website will also be offering prompt updates. Have a nice time!