The finale of the Russian Superfinal was easily the most exciting phase of the event, with a marked increase in decisive games in the Men’s final, and more action overall. After a six-way tie (out of 12 players) for first after seven rounds, it was Alexander Riazantsev who broke away to take clear first. Alexandra Kosteniuk all but left her rivals in the dust taking clear first in the Women’s a round in advance.
It had seemed like the competition was a tribute to sleeping pills, with the occasional spark, no question, but overall lackadaisical play. This was in spite of plenty of incentive to truly go for it. The first cash prize was certainly reasonable, with of course that ineffable item on a player’s CV: Russian Champion. Of course, the title of national champion is of note for any player in any country, but let’s be honest: winning the toughest and most famous stands apart from the rest.
There was great interest to see the final round, and the spectators were not left wanting
Still, this year’s championship had a very special first prize for both the winners of the Men’s and Women’s event: a Renault Kaptur car. Alexandra Kosteniuk actually explained that this held a special appeal to her and was key in drawing her to participate in this year’s championship.
After seven rounds, the Men’s event saw six out of the twelve players tied for first with 4.0/7, essentially meaning the tournament was still wide open. The first sign of things to come was when Alexander Raizantsev defeated tailender Dmitry Bocharov in round eight. This might not seem so unexpected considering Bocharov had been doing so poorly, but it had the virtue of finally creating a leader.
The final round still saw everything up for grabs. Everything. While it is true that both Riazantsev and Fedoseev enjoyed a half point lead over the rest with 6.0/10, there was a small pack of four 2700 players at 5.5/10, and every reason to believe a last-round miracle
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