Russian Team Championship:Round 2. The capitals set the pace

Team events are great because one often gets shocks where they were least expected and the intangible "team spirit" can bring great successes for weaker teams against the favourites. 

SSM - SIBIR

1.Karjakin (SSM)-Grischuk (Sibir)

Naturally, the game involving the world championship challenger was the centre of attention.  This was especially so, given that the Scandinavian had just shown what he can do at Stavanger - now it was the Russian's turn!

After 23…Qa5 the exchange of queens and knights is inevitable and the four-rook ending has a drawish character, which perfectly suited Sergey, as his team included three European champions! The Muscovites struck a big blow as the Siberians suffered fiascos on board 3-5. 

3.Inarkiev (SSM)-Jakovenko (Sibir)

29…b4? – One does not often see such a terrible blunder in games involving top players. In one move, Dmitry gives away everything.  30.Bxa7 Rb5 31.Bb6 Kb7 32.Nxc4 Nf5 33.Nxd6 Nxd6 34.cxb4 Nc4 35.Bd4 Rxb4 36.Bxg7, and now the h-pawn promotes, on top of everything else. Black resigns  (1:0).

4.Rublevsky (Sibir) - Zjagintsev (SSM)

Vadim chose a rare variation (the game left theory at move 9), which he handled in his very original manner. After the queen exchange, Black resolutely carries out his plan of advancing the cnetral pawns.  21…Qe6 22.Qxe6 fxe6 23.Rd2 Kf7 24.a3 Bc6 25.Nh2 Rab8 26.Ng4 Bd5 27.Rc1 Rb3 28.Ne3 Ke7 29.Re1 Kd7 30.Red1 Kc7 31.Kf1 Bb7 32.Ke1 Ba6 33.Ng4 d5 34.Ne5 Rf8 35.Rc2 Kd6 36.Nf3 Rfb8 37.Nd2 Bd3

38.Rc3 Rxc3 39.bxc3 Rb2 40.Ra1 Rc2 41.a4 Rxc3 42.a5 Ba6 43.Rb1 Kc7 44.Nf3 Ra3 45.Rb6 Rxa5 46.Rxe6 d4 47.Rg6 Ra1 48.Kd2 Ra2 49.Kc1 Bd3 50.Rxg7 Kd6 51.Rg4 Kd5 52.Nd2 Ra1 53.Kb2 Rd1 54.Nb3 Rb1 55.Ka3 Bc2 56.Nd2 Rd1 57.Nf3 Be4 58.Nh4 c4 59.f3 c3

White resigned on move 67 (0:1). It was clearly not Sergey Vladimirovich's day…

5.Dubov (SSM)-Korobov (Sibir)

22…e5?! - Oversights rarely come alone. Just as Dmitry blundered, his teammate did the same... 23.dxe5 Nxe5 24.Bxe5 Rxe5 – A sad necessity, as taking with the bishop allows 25.е4! and Black suffers material losses. Now Artyom's position is bad. 25.Nxe5 Bxe5 – and now anyway: 26.e4! Nd4 27.Qb1 dxe4 28.Qxe4 – Later the Ukrainianй «mercenary» lunged forward and burned his boats, but Daniil was calm.  White won (1:0). The final score was 4,5:1,5, giving the Siberians a huge grudge against the Muscovites, which they will try to avenge in the second cycle.

ZHIGULI-MEDNY VSADNIK

1.Sjugirov (Zhuguli) – Svidler (Medny Vsadnik)

In a Spanish, Peter has reacted in a less than convincing way to White's aggression, but his next move finally loses the game: 48…Bc2 (?) 49.Bd4 – Check is not mate! 49…Qxd3 50.Kb2 Kg6 51.Qxg7 – and White has made real progress: 51…Kh5 52.Qe5 Kg4 53.Qf5 Kg3 54.Be5 Kg2 55.Qg4 Kf1 56.Qf4 Ke2 57.Qh2 Kd1 58.Qh5Black resigns (1:0).

The Northern capital's team caught up and managed to win the match thanks to a victory on boards 2 and 6:

2.Dominguez (Medny Vsadnik) – Lysyj (Zhiguli)

The representative of the island of freedom has pressed impressively against the ex-Russian champion and got his reward. 67…Bc8?! – Missing a break through the centre. He can resist with 67…Kd7. 68.Kd5 Bb7 69.Rf5! – All the white pieces are irresistible. 69…Rb6 70.Kxc4 Re6 71.Rxh5 Bxe4 72.Bxf6, and White won on move 92. (1:0).

The Samara side were not willing to give in and Oparin, Predke and Frolyanov all held their own against stronger opposition, but the match was decided as follows:

6.Fedoseev (Medny Vsadnik) – Geller (Zhiguli)

This could have been different if Yakov had played 22…Nd5 and the pin on teh c-file could be fatal for White. The GM from Togliatti instead played the idea one move too late: 22…Rxd4 23.Rxd4 Nd5 and gradually lost his advantage. After the time control, distressed at missing his chance so close to the win, he blundered horribly: 

Black is the one who must now think of saving himself, but he need not have allowed mate: 42…Kh7 43.Nf7Black resigns  (1:0). The match ended 3,5:2,5 in favour of the St Petersburg team.

Links: 1, 2

Photos from the  RCF website