Malachite & Ugra Winners Russian Team Championship

Malachite & Ugra Winners Russian Team Championship

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Malachite won the 21st Russian Team Championship and Ugra the 15th Russian Team Championship for Women on Sunday in Loo, Sochi. Alexander Grischuk, who played second board for Malachite behind Sergey Karjakin, drew two games and won five. The Russian GM won 15 rating points and climbed to #3 in the world rankings. 

Photos © Vladimir Barsky courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation

It was a relatively short event, with seven rounds played over seven days,  6-14 April in Loo, Sochi. After three rounds the teams Malachite and University had 6 match points, two more than Ugra, Moscow, Chigorin Club and St Petersburg. Let's immediately go to the games of rounds 4-7 as this year's event saw a high number of fascinating battles!

Thursday: Round 4

On Thursday the match between the leaders, Malachite of Sverdlovsk vs. University of Belorechensk, ended in six draws. An excellent result for the latter team, who were lower rated on all board.

The top game was the most interesting, with Jobava defending against Karjakin with a Fort Knox French. The Georgian's interpretation was different again, and he seemed to get under pressure when Karjakin sacrificed a pawn. But Jobava reacted well, played actively until the endgame and was the one playing for a win.

In the match Ugra-St Petersburg (2.5-3.5) it was Leinier Dominguez who decided the match as Black. An excellent game from the Cuban, who combined positional play with nifty tactics:

Leinier Dominguez

Friday: Round 5

Also on Friday University held their own against a stronger team: another 3-3 against St Petersburg. Jobava scored his second win with his 1.e4 pet system 1...e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Be2!?. Against Svidler it became some sort of Philidor with reversed colors where White won the battle on the queenside as Svidler's attack on the king led nowhere. Sometimes defending is not more than asking your opponent: are you threatening anything?

Vladimir Barsky, whose photos are used in this report, asked Jobava whether it is 'about time to call this the Jobava system' but Baadur remained modest and said he simply wants to avoid theory: “I just play the Philidor Defense as Black and I'm doing well, so I thought that with an extra tempo it will be even better.”

People winning games with black are of the highest value in team competitions. Dominguez did it again, swapping the right pieces in an Alapin to reach a better ending, winning a pawn, losing one again but keeping an edge, and not being happy with a draw:

Malachite defeated Ugra convincingly: 2-4. Grischuk defeated Tomashevsky in a complicated ending with only heavy pieces:


Peter Leko won a good game as Black in an English:

Peter Leko

Saturday: Round 6

Suddenly things became more exciting as on Saturday Malachite couldn't beat Lada (Kazan), allowing Moscow to join them in the lead. Karjakin almost lost against Kamsky, who played a wonderful game but let his opponent slip away in a knight ending. First, try to find a combination for Black in the following position.

Below you'll see the full game:

The fun was over for University, who went down 2.5-3.5 against Moscow due to the following game:


In St Petersburg vs. Kazan, Svidler defeated Sjugirov in what could be a theoretically important game in the English Attack:



Peter Svidler

The following win by Dominguez is an interesting attempt to revive the 11.c3 Sveshnikov for White:



Sunday: Round 7

And so, with Malachite and Moscow tied for first place, the final round was going to be an exciting affair. 

The leaders of Moscow & Malachite, Nepomniachtchi & Karjakin

The clubs from the two largest Russian cities faced each other, and this was another match where all six games were drawn. Still, it was a great match to watch. What about board one? 


Or board six, where the ever-fascinating Botvinnik Semi-Slav was seen:


Malachite didn't have much trouble beating Polytechnic of Nizhny Tagil. Grischuk set his final score to an undefeated 6.0/7, winning 15 rating points in one week - a lot at this level!


Shirov played a lovely attacking game from the white side of a Grünfeld:



The winning team: Malachite


Here's one more game by Jobava - can't help it! More fireworks, but this one he lost:



That was a truly great week of chess in Sochi!

Russian Team Championship 2014 | Final Standings

# Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 MP BP
1 Malachite 7 6 2 4 3 4 4 3 5 4 8 3 9 4½ 12 28½
2 SHSM Moscow 10 3½ 1 2 9 4 11 4 12 5½ 4 3½ 3 3 11 25½
3 St. Petersburg 9 3½ 8 3½ 1 2 5 3½ 4 3 7 5½ 2 3 10 24
4 University 13 4 5 3½ 8 3½ 1 3 3 3 2 2½ 12 4 10 23½
5 Ugra 6 4 4 2½ 7 5 3 2½ 1 2 + 3 8 4 8 23
6 Chigorin Club 5 2 13 4 11 2½ 8 3 + 3 9 3 10 3½ 8 21
7 Lada 1 0 10 4 5 1 9 3 11 4 3 ½ + 3 7 15½
8 Rook 11 4 3 2½ 4 2½ 6 3 10 3½ 1 3 5 2 6 20½
8 Polytechnic 3 2½ 12 5 2 2 7 3 13 3½ 6 3 1 1½ 6 20½
10 Turbopump 2 2½ 72 12 4 3 8 2½ 13 3½ 6 2½ 6 20
11 Moscow region 8 2 + 3 6 3½ 2 2 7 2 12 2 13 3½ 6 18
12 Atom + 3 9 1 10 2 13 3½ 2 ½ 11 4 4 2 6 16
13 Yamal 4 2 6 2 3 12 2½ 9 2½ 10 2½ 11 2½ 2 17

The women's section was won by Ugra (Viktorija Cmilyte, Natalija Pogonina, Baira Kovanova, Marina Guseva and Tatiana Shadrina), who finished one point ahead of Moscow (Valentina Gunina, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, Alina Kashlinskaya, Daria Charochkina and Anastasia Savina). These teams tied both their matches 2-2, but on top board Cmilyte defeated Gunina twice:

Cmilyte, who was commentator during the Candidates’ Tournament in the same city together with her now-husband Peter Heine Nielsen, was inspired enough to start with 5.0/5 but then lost her last game, to Alisa Galliamova.

Viktorija Cmilyte (and, left, Natalija Pogonina)

Russian Team Championship (Women) 2014 | Final Standings

# Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 MP BP
1 Ugra 4 2 2 2 3 3 4 3½ 2 2 3 2½ 9 15
2 SHSM-Our Heritage 3 2 1 2 4 3 3 2 1 2 4 2½ 8 13½
3 Rook 2 2 4 3½ 1 1 2 2 4 2½ 1 1½ 6 12½
4 Chigorin Club 1 2 2 1 3 1½ 2 1½ 1 7

The championship was held in Loo, a microdistrict of the Lazarevsky City District of the city of Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia, located 18 kilometers from the city center. Games & tables via TWIC.

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