Sergey Karjakin and Ian Nepomniachtchi continue to lead the Russian Championship Superfinal after scoring 4.5/6. Friday is a rest day, before they meet head-to-head on Saturday, when Nepomniachtchi will have the white pieces. Meanwhile in the women’s section 19-year-old Polina Shuvalova continues her amazing run. She’s now racked up six wins in six rounds, with her closest pursuer, Aleksandra Goryachkina, a full 1.5 points behind.
Round 5 was relatively calm in the men’s section, with five draws and only one decisive game.
Sergey Karjakin was playing Aleksey Goganov, who sprung a surprise on move 6 by playing a new idea in the Catalan Opening, 6.Nh3!? According to the chess24 database, that was the first time the move had been seen at grandmaster level. It brought nothing significant, however, with Karjakin calmly exchanging all the pieces to enter a slightly more pleasant queen ending, which after the exchange of queens became an absolutely drawn pawn ending.
Ian Nepomniachtchi decided to test his opponent Nikita Vitiugov in a long theoretical variation of the Scotch Game. Nikita turned out to be prepared and the game ended in a forced draw by 3-fold repetition on move 25.
While only one game was decisive among the men in Round 5, there was only one draw in the women’s section – Alina Kashlinskaya was unable to win a rook ending against Natalia Pogonina.
Polina Shuvalova scored a fifth win in a row. Her opponent Valentina Gunina put up long and stubborn resistance, but on move 79 she had to concede defeat.
Alexandra Kosteniuk managed to get back to 50% after suffering two losses at the start. Her opponent, Tatiana Getman, allowed a black pawn to advance to c2 and was unable to find counterplay on the kingside. After mass exchanges the endgame with such a pawn was absolutely hopeless for White.
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- 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