Esipenko Enters World's Top 30 At Russian Team Chess Championship
Andrey Esipenko at the Russian Team Championship. Photo: Vladimir Barsky/Russian Chess Federation.

Esipenko Enters World's Top 30 At Russian Team Chess Championship

| 22 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Andrey Esipenko, the 19-year-old Russian who beat GM Magnus Carlsen at the 2021 Tata Steel Chess Tournament, continued to impress this week. At the Russian Team Championship, Esipenko scored 6.5/7 while playing for the winning team, Mednyi Vsadnik.

How to watch?

You can find, play through, and download all games of the event on our Events page: Premier League | Women's Championship | Higher League.

Russia is one of many countries that are partially lifting their restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. This change made it possible to host a much bigger over-the-board event than the Candidates in terms of the number of players: the national team championships.

Standard safety and security regulations were in place as well as a measure that we have seen during the 2020 Biel Chess Festival. Also in Sochi, the players played with plexiglass in the middle of the board to avoid the spread of aerosols.

Dubov Vitiugov Russian Team Championship 2021
Daniil Dubov and Nikita Vitiugov starting their game in round 1. Photo: Vladimir Barsky/Russian Chess Federation.

The event consisted of three sections: the Premier League (a round-robin of nine teams with six boards and two reserves), a women's section, and a lower section called Higher League (both with four boards and two reserves).

The winning team, Mednyi Vsadnik (Bronze Horseman) from St. Petersburg, secured victory with a round to spare and ended up winning all its matches. The runner-up was the Moscow Chess Team, followed by another team from the capital named Gogolevsky 14, which refers to the address of the famous Central Chess Club.

Rk. Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 TB1 TB2
1 Bronze Horseman 4 5 5 16 34,5
2 Moscow Chess Club 4 3 4 5 5 13 29,5
3 Gogolevski 14 2 4 5 5 12 28,0
4 KPRF (Moscow) 3 2 9 26,0
5 Wildberries Youth (Tyumen) 4 3 6 7 25,5
6 School of M. Botvinnik (Moscow) 2 2 3 4 5 23,0
7 Rook (Tatarstan) 2 3 3 3 5 22,0
8 SSHOR Chess and Checkers 1 1 1 2 3 3 16,5
9 Cimmeria (Crimea) 1 1 1 0 2 11,0

The star of the Bronze Horseman team was Esipenko, whose 6.5/7 was the best performance of any player in the league. Interestingly, five of his six wins were scored with the black pieces.

An impressive game was in round three against GM Alexey Sarana. Esipenko's play (or perhaps just that octopus on d3!) evokes GM Garry Kasparov's power chess:

Esipenko won 15.4 rating points in Sochi, is now at 2716.4, and is the new world number-26, passing the English number-one, GM Michael Adams, as well as two other Russians, GM Daniil Dubov and GM Peter Svidler.

The women's section was won by the Moscow Chess Team. Headed by GM Kateryna Lagno, who also scored 6.5/7, the team finished three points ahead of Southern Ural-1 (Chelyabinsk region), the same club that did manage to win the Higher League.

Mednyi Vsadnik Russian Team Championship 2021
The winning team Mednyi Vsadnik with Esipenko (second from the right) in between GMs Vladimir Fedoseev and Kirill Alekseenko. Photo: Vladimir Barsky/Russian Chess Federation.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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