Ian Nepomniachtchi and Sergey Karjakin share first place before the final round of the Russian Championship Superfinal, with the deciding games to take place on Wednesday. Both play Black, with Sergey taking on Daniil Dubov while Ian plays Maksim Chigaev. If the players end tied for first we’ll get a rapid play-off for the title. In the women’s section, Polina Shuvalova is leading Aleksandra Goryachkina by half a point, but in the final round Aleksandra has every chance of catching the leader.
After Mikhail Antipov dropped out of the tournament after testing positive for the coronavrius everyone feared that the Russian Championships might be stopped, as happened with the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg, which has proved impossible to resume for almost a full year.
It seems, however, that those fears were unfounded. No more players have tested positive, and there’s just one round to go, starting today at 15:00 Moscow time, or 13:00 CET.
Let’s take a look at the most interesting events from Rounds 9 and 10.
Chess fans were anticipating a decisive clash between Polina Shuvalova and Aleksandra Goryachkina, which would decide the fate of the Russian Women’s Championship title. But as the Russian footballer Andrey Arshavin once said, “Your expectations are your problem”. The women didn’t even put up the pretence of a struggle as they made a well-known Berlin draw in just 15 moves.
In Round 9 Polina Shuvalova, who was leading the tournament, played Yulia Grigorieva, who was in last place. It seemed the outcome should have been predictable, but it proved anything but. Yulia managed to completely outplay her opponent and reach a technically won ending with an extra pawn and an exchange. But, instead of the sensation we were expecting, we got some real drama.
The logic behind such a decision was understandable. Polina Shuvalova had White and understandably feared her experienced opponent, while Aleksandra Goryachkina also had reason to hope to catch Polina in the final round, since she has White against tournament outsider Tatiana Getman, while Polina faces a tough game with Black against reigning Russian Champion Olga Girya. The fate of the title will be decided on the final day, with the chances of a playoff high.
Leya Garifullina, who was in sole third place, drew her game. Garifullina has missed a number of winning chances during the tournament, but on this occasion it was her opponent Natalia Pogonina who missed a chance to win.
- Official website
- Russian Championship games with computer analysis: Open | Women
- Russian Superfinals 1-2: Karjakin and Nepo among the leaders
- Russian Superfinals 3: Karjakin and Shuvalova lead
- Russian Superfinals 4: Nepo catches Karjakin
- Russian Superfinals 5-6: Shuvalova keeps on winning
- Russian Superfinals 8-9: Antipov out after COVID-19 positive