Russian Championship Superfinals: Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi Lead; Shuvalova Stuns With 6/6
Polina Shuvalova started with 6/6 in Moscow. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Russian Championship Superfinals: Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi Lead; Shuvalova Stuns With 6/6

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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47 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Sergey Karjakin and GM Ian Nepomniachtchi are tied for first place after six rounds at the Russian Championship Superfinal that is underway in Moscow. IM Polina Shuvalova, who started with 6/6 in the women's section, is the surprise of the event so far.

How to watch?
The games of the Russian Championship Superfinal can be found here as part of our live platform. The women's tournament can be found here


The 73rd Russian Championship and the 70th Russian Women's Championship are underway in the Central Chess Club in Moscow. The tournaments are among the very few over-the-board chess events with top players during the pandemic. We've only had Biel, the Bundesliga, Norway Chess, and next month Wijk aan Zee.

The playing conditions are similar as in Biel. Plexiglass screens are placed over the boards between the players, and face masks are not mandatory. The coronavirus has taken its toll in Russia as well. In a population of 145 million, 2,597,711 cases and 45,893 deaths have been confirmed. The numbers are likely to be higher than officially reported.

There were different ways for the players to qualify for the Superfinals. For starters, the top three players from last year were eligible, as well as the top five of the Russian Championship Higher League. The remaining players were selected based on rating.

This report is published on the rest day after the first six rounds have been played. Among the men, Karjakin and Nepomniachtchi are both on 4.5/6. It's hard to believe but Karjakin is chasing his first-ever Russian title; Nepomniachtchi has one title that he obtained one decade ago. The two will face each other in round seven on Saturday.

Russian Championship Superfinal | Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2784 2867 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 4.5/6 10.75
2 Karjakin, Sergey 2752 2845 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 4.5/6 10.5
3 Artemiev, Vladislav 2711 2751 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.5/6 10
4 Fedoseev, Vladimir 2674 2738 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.5/6 9.25
5 Chigaev, Maksim 2619 2705 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 3.0/6 9.5
6 Svidler, Peter 2723 2677 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/6 9
7 Vitiugov, Nikita 2720 2688 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/6 8.75
8 Dubov, Daniil 2702 2675 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 3.0/6 7.25
9 Goganov, Aleksey 2594 2596 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 2.0/6 6.5
10 Esipenko, Andrey 2686 2581 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 2.0/6 6.25
11 Antipov, Mikhail 2611 2584 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/6 5.75
12 Matlakov, Maxim 2698 2583 0 0 0 1 ½ ½ 2.0/6 5.5

Karjakin has been quite active with online chess in 2020 (including a lot of Titled Tuesdays), but he hadn't played over-the-board chess since the World Blitz Championship that ended December 30, 2019. (The only exception was his game against cosmonauts in June, but even then his opponents weren't exactly close by!)

His last classical game was on December 16, 2019 at the Jerusalem FIDE Grand Prix. As he jokingly tweeted afterward, Karjakin had a year to prepare for his nice win against GM Mikhail Antipov:

Karjakin also won against the St. Petersburg grandmasters GM Nikita Vitiugov and GM Maxim Matlakov and drew his other three games.

Nepomniachtchi is undefeated as well. He also beat Antipov and Matlakov, as well as GM Aleksey Goganov. Also for Nepomniachtchi, we give the game from the first round:

Ian Nepomniachtchi Russian Championship Superfinal
Ian Nepomniachtchi. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

All games

In the women's segment, IM Shuvalova is having a sensational tournament so far. She won all of her initial six games, and her victims include two of the three grandmasters in the field: GM Alexandra Kosteniuk and GM Valentina Gunina.

The third, GM Aleksandra Goryachkina, is currently in second place, 1.5 points behind. The 10th round will see the clash between Goryachkina and Shuvalova.

Russian Championship Superfinal (Women) | Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Shuvalova, Polina 2456 3225 1 1 1 1 1 1 6.0/6
2 Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2593 2602 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 4.5/6
3 Garifullina, Leya 2348 2560 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 4.0/6
4 Pogonina, Natalija 2474 2501 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 3.5/6
5 Galliamova, Alisa 2438 2421 0 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 3.0/6 7.75
6 Guseva, Marina 2359 2411 0 0 0 1 1 1 3.0/6 6.5
7 Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2471 2429 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 3.0/6 5.5
8 Kashlinskaya, Alina 2494 2359 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 2.5/6 6.75
9 Girya, Olga 2464 2326 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 2.5/6 5
10 Gunina, Valentina 2451 2325 0 0 0 1 1 0 2.0/6
11 Getman, Tatyana 2302 2259 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 1.5/6
12 Grigorieva, Yulia 2290 2049 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0.5/6

A very interesting game was Shuvalova's clash with IM Alina Kashlinskaya in the second round. 

Polina Shuvalova Russian Championship Superfinal
Polina Shuvalova. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

All games

Russian Championship Superfinal 2020
The venue is the Central Chess Club on Gogolevsky Boulevard. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Russian Championship Superfinal 2020
At arrival, players have their temperatures checked. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Russian Championship Superfinal 2020
The start of the third round, with all players shaking hands—hopefully after having disinfected them. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Russian Championship Superfinal 2020
Special chess facemasks are available for players who wish to wear them, such as the young talent Andrey Esipenko, who we'll see next month in Wijk aan Zee as well. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Russian Championship Superfinal 2020 Peter Svidler
Eight-time Russian Champion Peter Svidler also wears one... Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Russian Championship Superfinal 2020 Vladimir Fedoseev
...as does Vladimir Fedoseev, who has had a fantastic online chess year. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Russian Championship Superfinal 2020 Daniil Dubov
Daniil Dubov chooses to play without... Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Russian Championship Superfinal 2020 Sergey Karjakin
...like Sergey Karjakin. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Russian Championship Superfinal 2020 Alisa Galliamova
Alisa Galliamova wears it "half." Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Polina Shuvalova Sergey Shipov
Polina Shuvalova with commentator Sergey Shipov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
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