Tomashevsky, Girya Win Russian Championship Titles
In the playing hall. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Tomashevsky, Girya Win Russian Championship Titles

Marignon
Marignon
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5 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Evgeny Tomashevsky and WGM Olga Girya are the winners of 2019 Russian Championships Superfinals, which took place in Izhevsk and Votkinsk, Udmurt Republic. 

A view of Votkinsk. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Each year the Russian Chess Federation chooses an unusual venue for the national main event—and in recent years it has selected locations in the Ural region. Like Satka chosen a year ago, Udmurt Republic has never seen a remarkable chess event, even in Soviet times, which can be explained by the shroud of secrecy imposed by its defense industry. The most famous citizen of Izhevsk was Mikhail Kalashnikov, the developer of AK-47 assault rifle, and biathlon is the region's most popular sport.

The total prize fund for both events was 10,000,000 rubles (more than $150,000) with Renault Arkana cars for the two champions, but even these generous conditions could not bring in top Russian players: Ian Nepomniachtchi and Sergey Karjakin chose to play in St. Louis, Peter Svidler to comment that event, Alexander Grischuk stayed with his family and Dmitry Andreikin, the reigning Russian championopted for the Chinese league.  

Is it over for the fans? | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Nevertheless, the open championship gathered a strong field with five 2700+ players among 12. It was also remarkably even: the lowest rating was equal to 2650, just 107 points below the rating leader. All that resulted a very tense competition with a multitude of draws. As a result, GM Evgeny Tomashevsky, the first player who reached a +2 score, did that no earlier than in round seven.

Evgeny Tomashevsky. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Before the tournament, some pundits predicted that the rating leader, young GM Vladislav Artemiev who already had won the titles at Gibraltar Chess Festival and European Chess Championship this year, had good chances for success, but he was not in his best playing shape. Moreover, he did not try to hide it with drawish openings and ended the tournament as the only "troublemaker," who had more loses or wins than draws. In the next game, GM Nikita Vitiugov, called "The Iceman" for his tranquility over the board, punished Artemiev for another risky decision.

Nikita Vitiugov | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Artemiev needs to improve within the few weeks before the first round of the Speed Chess Championship, where he faces none other than Alexander Grischuk.

Before the final round, Vitiugov and Tomashevky led with 6/10 scores, which allowed other GMs to challenge their leadership and try for the tie-break. GM Ernesto Inarkiev spent more than an hour to find the refutation of a provocative move prepared at home by a famous theoretician GM Alexey Dreev. The game shows how the opening tricks can misfire even if they hit: Inarkiev made an unapparent mistake and Dreev claimed material advantage, but the resulting positions of the white king and the center are so complex that Dreev himself started to make errors and lost.

Ernesto Inarkiev. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
GM Maxim Matlakov took advantage of one inaccurate move by GM Alexander Predke and also reached a +2 score.

Maxim Matlakov | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The games of both leaders went deep into endgame but followed different scenarios. Vitiugov tried hard but could not defeat GM Alexey Sarana.


In the same time, Tomashevsky got a big advantage against GM Kirill Alekseenko early in the opening; the conversion took about 60 moves, but he ended a half-point ahead of the competitors.

The win is a big success in the career of Tomashevsky, who has been staying a 2700+ player for about ten years (since November 2009) but is rarely seen in top level competitions. This is his second Russian title as he won the Russian Championship Superfinal in 2015.

Russian Championship Superfinal | Final Standings

# Title Player Rating FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score TB
1 GM Tomashevsky,Evgeny 2706 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 7 37,25
2 GM Vitiugov,Nikita 2728 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 6,5 35,25
3 GM Matlakov,Maxim 2710 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 6,5 35
4 GM Inarkiev,Ernesto 2682 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 6,5 33,5
5 GM Artemiev,Vladislav 2757 0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 0 1 ½ ½ 5,5 29,25
6 GM Motylev,Alexander 2668 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 5,5 29,75
7 GM Predke,Alexandr 2650 ½ 0 0 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 5,5 28,25
8 GM Alekseenko,Kirill 2668 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 5,5 28
9 GM Dreev,Aleksey 2662 ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 5 26,75
10 GM Fedoseev,Vladimir 2671 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 1 4,5 23
11 GM Sarana,Alexey 2655 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 4,5 25,25
12 GM Jakovenko,Dmitry 2704 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 3,5 20,25

Download Open Superfinal PGN

Games via TWIC.

The Women's Russian Championship usually sees fewer no-shows than the open tournament. This year the only missing top player was GM Katerina Lagno. In the Women's Championship, draws were much rarer than in the open, and the games were more exciting for the viewers.

How often do you see one 2500 GM defeating another a full rook down? That's what happened in the following game. What a fight!

 
WGM Olga Girya, an important member of the Russian Olympic squad, started the tournament very confidently with seven points after eight rounds.

Olga Girya. | Photo: Russian Chess Federation.

The intrigue was reborn in round nine when GM Alexandra Goryachkina, the Women's World Championship Candidate, defeated the leader in her trademark endgame.

Alexandra Goryachkina. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Girya finished with two draws, scoring 1/3 in the three last rounds and was caught by the reigning Russian champion, WGM Natalya Pogonina. Her game versus GM Valentina Gunina in round 10 was a must-win for both players. Gunina risked more and even too much to complicate matters—as she does in every game.   

Natalya Pogonina. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Girya and Pogonina went to a tie-break—a year ago the Russian Women's Championship saw the same pair of finalists. In fact, Pogonina played on three tie-breaks in three consecutive championships. Last year, she won confidently, but in Izhevsk Girya showed her determination to win by choosing an extremely sharp opening in the first tie-break game. 

In the next game, Pogonina retaliated by converting a space advantage, and it came to a nerve-breaking and unpredictable Armageddon.    

Girya was the Olympic champion  in 2014, as well as World and Europe champion in 2017, all with the Russian team, but the Russian champion title is her best individual achievement so far.

Russian Women's Championship Superfinal | Final Standings

# Title Player Rating FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score TB
1 WGM Pogonina,Natalya 2457 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 1 1 1 1 8 38,75
2 WGM Girya,Olga 2462 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 8 38,5
3 GM Goryachkina,Aleksandra 2564 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 7,5 39,25
4 GM Gunina,Valentina 2497 0 0 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 0 1 7 34,25
5 WFM Potapova,Margarita 2335 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 1 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 6 31,75
6 IM Kashlinskaya,Alina 2491 ½ ½ 0 0 0 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 6 28,5
7 GM Kosteniuk,Alexandra 2507 1 0 ½ 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 5,5 25,75
8 IM Charochkina,Daria 2352 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 0 ½ 1 1 1 5 20,75
9 IM Bodnaruk,Anastasia 2429 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 4 19,25
10 WIM Shuvalova,Polina 2419 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1 4 17
11 WIM Tomilova,Elena 2376 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 3 17,75
12 WFM Shafigullina,Zarina 2332 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 1 2 9

Download Women's Superfinal PGN

Games via TWIC.

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