Lysyj & Gunina Winners 2014 Russian Championship

Lysyj & Gunina Winners 2014 Russian Championship

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Dec 7, 2014, 9:57 AM |
6 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Igor Lysyj won his first Russian Championship on Sunday in Kazan, Tatarstan with a score of 5.5/9. After a nerve-wracking final round GM Valentina Gunina won the women section.

The Superfinal of the 67th Russian Championship was a mixture of famous top GMs and lesser-known — but still very strong — grandmasters. One player from the second category was leading from the early rounds, and stayed there until the end: Igor Lysyj.

In a tournament where everyone could beat anyone, and almost two-third of the games ended in draws, a score of 5.5/9 was enough to finish sole first. Lysyj's excellent first half (3.5/5 — see Mike Klein's first report) was followed by a 50 percent score in the last four games, which was just enough.

Round 8 in action — besides the players, the playing hall hosted an exposition of paintings by Nicolai Fechin, a famous artist born in Kazan. | Photo Eteri Kublashvili.

In round 6 he defeated Denis Khismatullin from the white side of a King's Indian with an early ...Bf5. This system was covered by GM Pentala Harikrishna in the September issue of The Master's Bulletin. Black was doing OK out of the opening but somehow his Exchange sacrifice didn't work out as planned.

However, the next day the tournament leader suddenly suffered his first (and only) defeat, just when his game with Zvjaginsev seemed to be heading to a draw. 

Draws with Ian Nepomniachtchi and Boris Grachev in the last two rounds sealed the deal for the 27-year-old grandmaster who is originally from Nizhny Tagil.

Among club players Lysyj is known as the co-author of two opening books (together with Roman Ovetchkin): The Open Games for Black and The Berlin Defence. Together they form a complete repertoire for black against 1.e4 based on the solid 1...e5.

Igor Lysyj, the 2014 Russian Champion. | Photo Eteri Kublashvili.

Where non-favorites win, favorites stumble. Peter Svidler, who entered the tournament after his commentary job at the Sochi World Championship, was not in top shape. The seven-time Russian Champion only managed to compensate his early loss (against Alexander Morozevich) in the final round (see below) while drawing all other games.


Sergey Karjakin did even worse. After his loss against Lysyj in round 5 he was even on minus two! He then defeated Zvjaginsev (see below), but in the last three rounds the world number eight, who will turn 25 in a month from now, had to settle for draws.

As a result, Karjakin left the tournament with a loss of 12.9 rating points, which means he's not a top 10 player anymore in the live ratings. (Vladimir Kramnik is back there thanks to his 7.0/9 in Qatar.)

Karjakin dropped to #11 in the live ratings. | Photo Eteri Kublashvili.

One remarkable detail about the tournament was the appearance of Henry Edward Bird's first move, 1.f4, in not one, but two games! After Nepomniachtchi used it to beat Karjakin in round 2, Svidler decided to give it a try as well. With the Leningrad Dutch becoming quite a popular choice for black at top level, maybe we'll see 1.f4 more often?

And now that we're at it: what about f2-f4 on the second move — the good old King's Gambit? Whenever the opening of openings appears at this level, it deserves to be mentioned:

2014 Russian Championship Superfinal | Final Standings

# Name Title Fed Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts Perf
1. Lysyj GM RUS 2686 phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 0 ½ 1 2795
2. Jakovenko GM RUS 2745 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 5 2751
3. Svidler GM RUS 2743 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 2708
4. Nepomniachtchi GM RUS 2714 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 2712
5. Khismatullin GM RUS 2679 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 0 ½ ½ 2716
6. Vitiugov GM RUS 2738 0 ½ ½ 1 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ ½ 2709
7. Morozevich GM RUS 2724 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ 2711
8. Zvjaginsev GM RUS 2655 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 4 2675
9. Grachev GM RUS 2669 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 4 2674
10. Karjakin GM RUS 2770 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 4 2662

The Russian Women's Championship was a 10-player round robin as well. WGM Aleksandra Goryachkina started strongly with 4.0/5, but couldn't keep her lead: with three draws and a loss she fell back to shared third place.

The tournament was decided in a nerve-wracking final round, with WGM/IM Alisa Galliamova and GM Valentina Gunina sharing the lead (6.0/8) and playing each other!

Local fans probably rooted for Galliamova, a former World Championship contender who was born in Kazan. In what was an absolutely crazy game, she reached a winning position but eventually lost. Here it is, with some light notes:

Not Galliamova... | Photo Eteri Kublashvili.
...but Gunina emerged as the winner. | Photo Eteri Kublashvili.

2014 Russian Women Championship Superfinal | Final Standings

# Name Title Fed Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts Perf
1. Gunina GM RUS 2522 phpfCo1l0.png 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 7 2665
2. Galliamova IM RUS 2471 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 0 1 1 1 1 ½ 6 2576
3. Goryachkina WGM RUS 2438 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 2535
4. Girya WGM RUS 2457 0 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 2532
5. Kashlinskaya IM RUS 2439 0 1 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ 1 1 5 2497
6. Kovalevskaya IM RUS 2439 1 0 ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 ½ 1 2454
7. Kosteniuk GM RUS 2541 0 0 1 ½ 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 0 2443
8. Bodnaruk IM RUS 2411 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 2292
9. Pogonina WGM RUS 2480 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2284
10. Gritsayeva WFM RUS 2335 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 1 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 2 2246


The tournaments were hosted in the halls of the Khazine National Art Gallery, situated in the heart of Kazan’s Kremlin. The total prize fund was 5 million rubles for the men (about U.S. $94,000) and 2 million rubles (about U.S. $37,500) for the women.


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