Andreikin and Pogonina Win Russian Championship Titles
Dmitry Andreikin and Natalija Pogonina won the Russian Championships. | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation

Andreikin and Pogonina Win Russian Championship Titles

Marignon
Marignon
Sep 6, 2018, 12:50 AM |
22 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Dmitry Andreikin and WGM Natalija Pogonina are the winners of the 2018 Russian Championship's Superfinals, which finished today in Satka. Both players won a rapid playoff held after the final round, vs GM Dmitry Jakovenko and WGM Olga Girya respectively.

For Andreikin this was his second Russian champion title (after 2012) and his first major success since 2013, when he became World Cup finalist and played in the Candidates' tournament.


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During the rest day, the competitors enjoyed local nature at Ziuratkul lake near Satka. | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Dmitry Andreikin played very solidly and remained undefeated for the entire tournament in Satka. In round eight he scored an important point vs Daniil Dubov by sacrificing his h-pawn. Black had to give up the exchange to avoid mating threats and almost reached a balanced endgame, but ultimately the position opened up and the mobile white rooks prevailed.

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Dmitry Jakovenko is totally absorbed by the position. | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Dmitry Jakovenkothe winner of the Poikovsky tournament this year, began with a loss and four draws, but he scored 5/6 in the second half of the tournament. His vertical rise started with a victory versus top-rated Ian Nepomniachtchi, who played very actively in the opening. However, in the middlegame his centralized knights lost support and soon the decisive breakthrough followed. 

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Nepomniachtchi lost twice in the first half, but later won three games in a row. Will he become the joker of the Russian Olympic team?  | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

In round seven, Jakovenko defeated Alexey Sarana, the Russian Higher League winner, who was among the half-way leaders. Ultimately, the more experienced player took better decisions in a very sharp and complex position.

In the last round, Jakovenko drew quickly and waited for the outcome of the fight between Vladimir Fedoseev and Andreikin. They both were one point behind, so any winner could challenge him in the play-off and in case of a draw, Jakovenko would have become the champion immediately.

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Dmitry Andreikin. | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Both play-off games with 15+10 time control were exciting. In the first one, Jakovenko gained material advantage early -- winning with the classic time control in such position would have been a relatively simple task, but he had only about one minute when his lucky opponent produced a cascade of swindles. 

What a game! Andreikin was visibly disappointed with its outcome, but Jakovenko, who did not show his feelings, was probably more nervous as in the next game he went all-in.

It was known before the Superfinal that Jakovenko will play for the Russian squad at the Olympiad and he seems a solid choice. Speaking about his teammates, Vladimir Kramnik and Sergey Karijakin did not participate, Nepomniachtchi lost twice in the first half of the tournament, then won three games in a row, but never was a contender and Nikita Vitiugov finished in the lower half of the table with two losses and no wins. It remains the question if the new champion will get the invitation to the national team.

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Evgeny Tomashevsky took the bronze medal by finishing half a point behind the leaders. | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Let's look at a couple of exciting moments by other players. Sarana showed his talent by finding a brilliant sacrificial escape in the endgame. Even modern engines need to spend much time before they can appreciate the move.

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Alexey Sarana, the youngest participant, impressed many with his mature play. | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Fedoseev defeated Vitiugov using a flexible 1.b3 opening. He took inspiration from the Alexander Grischuk vs Wesley So game in Saint-Louis and achieved a sizeable opening advantage, then Black equalized and finally the game ended in a blunder and a checkmate tactics. 

Superfinal Championship 2018 | Final Standings

# Player Rtg. Fed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score T1 T2
1 Jakovenko 2748 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 7 5 38
2 Andreikin* 2710 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 7 5 36.5
3 Tomashevsky 2702 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 6.5 6 34.5
4 Inarkiev 2690 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 6 6 32
5 Fedoseev 2707 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 6 6 30.25
6 Nepomniachtchi 2768 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 6 5 30.25
7 Oparin 2609 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 5.5 6 28.25
8 Dubov 2691 0 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5 6 24.75
9 Sarana 2613 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 5 5 26.25
10 Vitiugov 2730 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.5 6 25
11 Kobalia 2619 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 4.5 5 25.75
12 Khismatullin 2634 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 3 6 16,5

*Won after playoff

Games via  TWIC.

There was equal drama in the Women's Superfinal. Before the final round, Olga Girya, Aleksandra Goryachkina and Natalija Pogonina were leading at 7/10. Girya drew quickly and saved tons of nerves (or lost them watching the games of her rivals).

Pogonina had won three games in a row earlier, and was clearly winning the fourth one vs Alina Kashlinskaya. It meant that Goryachkina, the reigning champion, had to defeat Valentina Gunina to repeat last year's play-off (when she outplayed Pogonina). However... 

Trying to win at all costs and losing was not necessary as, Pogonina also blundered and could not convert an extra pawn in the ending. 

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Valentina Gunina tries to win all positions, even lost ones. | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

However, when the play-off started, Pogonina played with confidence and force, winning the first game.

In the second game Pogonina forced a repetition in a much better position and took her second Russian Women's champion title.

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You cannot lose with such a smile. Natalija Pogonina is the new Russian women's champion. | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/Russian Chess Federation.

Superfinal Women's Championship 2018 | Final Standings

# Title Player Rtg. Fed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score T1 T2
1 WGM Girya 2462 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 7.5 6 40.25
2 WGM Pogonina* 2469 0 0 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 7.5 6 36.5
3 GM Goryachkina 2535 ½ 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 7 6 33.5
4 IM Kashlinskaya  2440 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 ½ 7 5 35.25
5 GM Kosteniuk 2559 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 0 0 1 1 1 1 6.5 6 30.5
6 GM Gunina 2528 ½ 0 1 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 6.5 5 31.5
7 IM Galliamova 2424 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 1 ½ 1 6 5 29.5
8 WIM Shuvalova 2413 0 ½ 0 1 1 0 0 ½ 1 0 1 5 6 25.25
9 WFM Gritsayeva 2391 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 ½ 4 5 19.75
10 WIM Tomilova 2413 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 ½ 3.5 5 15.5
11 IM Bodnaruk 2449 ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 0 3 5 18.75
12 WFM Protopopova 2332 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 1 2.5 6 10.25

*Won after playoff

Games via TWIC.


Correction: an earlier version of this report erroneously stated that Jakovenko chose the Dutch defense to defeat Sarana.


Earlier report:

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