Super start Superfinal

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superfinalYet another big event started today: the Superfinal of the Russian Championship. Participants include the world's no. 2 Alexander Morozevich, Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk. An ill Grischuk had to withdraw. Round 1 report.

At Moscow's Central Chess Club the Russian Championship Superfinal takes place from October 3 to 15. Normally this event is played at the end of the year, but like the Tal Memorial the Superfinal has been moved forward on the calendar - probably because of the Dresden Olympiad in November and/or the 3rd FIDE Grand Prix.

The following participants are fighting for a prize fund of 5 million rubles (approximately 140,000 Euros): Alexander Morozevich (2787), Dmitry Jakovenko (2737), Peter Svidler (2727), Evgeny Alekseev (2715), Artyom Timofeev (2670), Ernesto Inarkiev (2669), Alexander Riazantsev (2656), Alexander Lastin (2651), Evgeny Tomashevsky (2646), Konstantin Sakaev (2640), Nikita Vitiugov (2638) and Konstantin Maslak (2544). Unfortunately Alexander Grischuk had to cancel his participation due to illness - he was replaced by Sakaev.

The rate of play is 1 hour and 40 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to end the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move. Like last year, the players cannot offer a draw directly to their opponents; it has to be done via the arbiter. Play starts daily at 15:00 hours Moscow time, which is 13:00 CET and 07:00 EST. Live games, as usual, at russiachess.org/online/.

Round 1 results Konstantin Sakaev - Alexander Morozevich 0-1 Peter Svidler - Ernesto Inarkiev 1-0 Alexander Lastin - Evgeny Tomashevsky 1-0 Konstantin Maslak - Alexander Riazantsev 0-1 Nikita Vitiugov - Evgeny Alekseev 1/2 Artyom Timofeev - Dmitry Jakovenko 1/2



The Superfinal had a super start, with four decisive games. Rating favourite Morozevich tried his new love, the Gr?ɬºnfeld, again. Against Sakaev's novelty 12.Bd3 he immediately replied very creatively but Grischuk's stand-in held is own for a long time. The ending might even be a tiny bit better for White but as from move 34, probably in timetrouble White started to make mistakes.

Svidler deviated from Gelfand-Leko, Dortmund 2007 (12.Bg5) with the more modest 12.b3 and soon reached a very promising position because Inarkiev allowed 17.e5! which could have been prevented by 16...Bf4. Black had to give up an exchange but there was not much compensation.

Lastin-Tomashevsky was a very sharp Archangelsk Ruy Lopez where Black was probably doing fine until a few moves before the end. His 37...Bf5 was already not the best square, giving White some chances for tricks, and at the end the difficult defence 39...Qe2 40.Bd5 Rf8 was necessary.

Maslak-Riazantsev was an instructive example of a bishop dominating a knight on the rim. The two draws of today showed that the Sofia Rule sometimes works very well: interesting endings fought out till the end, and with some instructive moments too.




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