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Russian Championship Superfinal R6: Vitiugov In The Lead
Nikita Vitiugov, here in his game with Aleksandra Goryachkina. Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Russian Championship Superfinal R6: Vitiugov In The Lead

PeterDoggers
| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Nikita Vitiugov is the sole leader at the Russian Championship Superfinal on the rest day, after six rounds. In the women's section, there's a three-way tie among GM Valentina Gunina, IM Evgenija Ovod, and IM Polina Shuvalova.

How to watch?
The games of the Russian Championship Superfinals can be found here: Open | Women.
Russian Championship Superfinal 2021


This year's Russian Championship Superfinal takes place in Ufa, a city with about a million residents located to the west of the southern Ural Mountains, roughly in between Samara and Chelyabinsk. Although it's still a very strong tournament, lots of big names are missing, such as the eight-time champion GM Peter Svidler but also e.g. GMs Alexander Grischuk, Sergey Karjakin, Vladislav Artemiev, and Daniil Dubov.

Veteran chess journalist Leonard Barden recently speculated that there's a link to the upcoming world championship match: "The implication is that some at least of the missing names are toiling away at Nepomniachtchi’s training camp, seeking out opening novelties or probing for weaknesses in the Norwegian’s repertoire."

However, there is nonetheless a special name in the field: that of GM Aleksandra Goryachkina, the first woman ever to qualify for the open section of the Russian Championship Superfinal. The 23-year-old grandmaster from Orsk had a dream start: after a draw as Black in the first round she defeated GM Alexander Motylev with the white pieces the next day.

Afterward, she said that her opponent did not seem to be well prepared in the opening as he spent some time thinking, although she played 11. Rfe1 twice before in recent months.

She knew that 14...Bb4 is not the strongest move and geared the game towards the structure with a long-term positional pressure for White.

At that point, Goryachkina was concise about her perspectives and plans: "Everyone is so strong. I can think only about my next game."

Aleksandra Goryachkina vs. Alexander Motylev
Aleksandra Goryachkina. Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Goryachkina lost the next day to GM Kirill Alekseenko but with her three draws in the subsequent rounds, including against the tournament leader, she is still on a 50 percent score.

That tournament leader is Vitiugov, who scored a solid, unbeaten plus two before the rest day. Besides four draws, the St. Petersburg resident beat 2021 World Cup semifinalist GM Vladimir Fedoseev and also 2013 World Cup finalist GM Dmitry Andreikin.

Again, we have that game with a few remarks from the winner:

Vitiugov Andreikin Ufa 2021
Vitiugov playing Andreikin. Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Round 6 standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Vitiugov,Nikita 2727 2786 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.0/6
2 Fedoseev,Vladimir 2704 2737 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 3.5/6 9.75
3 Esipenko,Andrey 2720 2724 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.5/6 9.25
4 Alekseenko,Kirill 2710 2722 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 1 3.5/6 9.25
5 Matlakov,Maxim 2682 2720 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 3.5/6 8.75
6 Andreikin,Dmitry 2728 2687 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 3.0/6 9.5
7 Goryachkina,Aleksandra 2602 2682 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 3.0/6 8.75
8 Ponkratov,Pavel 2659 2621 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 2.5/6 8.5
9 Chigaev,Maksim 2639 2635 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 2.5/6 7.75
10 Motylev,Alexander 2624 2623 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 2.5/6 7.5
11 Rakhmanov,Aleksandr 2657 2611 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/6 7.25
12 Predke,Alexandr 2666 2569 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.0/6

Also in the women's section, anything is possible in the remaining five rounds. The three leaders are on a 4.5/6 score and in fact a point ahead of the pack. Also, all three remained unbeaten, thus far.

Gunina is always good for a few spectacular games, such as her win in round five with the black pieces:

Valentina Gunina 2021 Russian Championship
Valentina Gunina. Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Round 6 standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Ovod,Evgenija 2331 2617 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 4.5/6 12.25
2 Shuvalova,Polina 2509 2595 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 4.5/6 11.75
3 Gunina,Valentina 2462 2618 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.5/6 11.25
4 Kashlinskaya,Alina 2493 2493 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 3.5/6 9.75
5 Galliamova,Alisa 2421 2466 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 3.5/6 8.75
6 Garifullina,Leya 2409 2429 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/6 7.75
7 Pogonina,Natalija 2467 2397 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/6 7.25
8 Girya,Olga 2410 2375 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 2.5/6
9 Voit,Daria 2357 2286 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/6 4.5
10 Guseva,Marina 2394 2317 0 0 0 0 1 1 2.0/6 4
11 Bodnaruk,Anastasia 2415 2228 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1.5/6 3.5
12 Bivol,Alina 2392 2248 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/6 3.25

Yury Solomatin assisted with this report.

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