So, to use a football term, the second legs have started. After an unplanned draw with Zhiguli, SSM needed to win today. But St Petersburg are major rivals for gold, and are picking up speed. After a draw in their match in the first cycle, this round the last word went to them.
SSM – MEDNY VSADNIK 2.5:3.5
1.Karjakin (SSM) – Svidler (Medny Vsadnik)
On top board, two Spanish experts met. Playing for a team always add extra responsibility and in addition, Sergey has a world championship match to think about. He showed a certain degree of hesitation. 22.Rab1 – Is the sacrifice correct? 22…Nxa5 23.Bc2 Rxb1 24.Rxb1 Bd5 25.Be4 Nc6 26.Bxd5 Rxd5 27.Qe4 Qe6 28.Nc4 Bf8 29.Qxf4 Rc5 30.Ne3 Rxc3 – Black has retained the extra pawn and won the endgame. (0:1). The score could have become more disappointing. Lenier Dominguez was attacking the eternal optimist Yan.
2.Dominguez (Medny Vsadnik) – Nepomniatschi (SSM)
29.a4! Qf7 30.Qb5 Rb7 31.a5 Bd7 32.Rc1 Rbb8 33.Ba2 Qf5
34.a6? – The passed pawn advances, but the Bb6 is left undefended. 34…Nd3 35.Bb1 Qf4 36.Qxd3 Bxc6 37.Rxc6 Qa4 38.Qa3 Qxa6 39.Bc7 Qb7 – The bishop has been saved, but the queen lost… 40.Bxb8 Rxa3 – and the black queen later had the last word. (0:1)
4.Bu Xiangzi (Medny Vsadnik) – Zvjagintsev (SSM)
18.e5 Qc5 19.Kh1 Qxe5 20.Bf3 b4 21.Nd5 Nxd5 22.Bxd5 e6 23.Bf4 Qb2 24.Bxa8 Qxd2 25.Bxd2 Rxa8 26.Bxb4 – and after some adventures, White realised his extra exchange. (1:0). The «Horsemen» move into second place, while SSM can only pin their hopes on round 7, when they face Siberia again.
5th round. Alexander Zlochevsky full of feelings of foreboding?..
Maybe Daniil Dubov should not have been rested?
While the Muscovites' hopes were being dealt a blow, the favourites convincingly dealt with Lada, using the well-known principle "draw with Black, win with White".
SIBIR – LADA 4.5:1.5
1.Kamsky (Lada) – Grischuk (Sibir)
The Kazan leader made desperate efforts to get the ball in the net: 33.Ne4 f5 34.gxf5 gxf5 35.Nxc3 f4 36.exf4 Rd8 37.Qb5 Qxb5 38.Nxb5 a6 39.Nc7 Bxd4 40.Nxa6 Ba7 41.Rc7 Bb6 42.Rb7 Rd6 43.Nb4 Ba5 44.Rb5 Bxb4 45.Rxb4 Rd3
The game continued another 30 moves, but Alexander stood his ground and only for one moment was on the edge of the precipice:
The computer offers the following recommendation: 60.Rd6 h5 61.Kb6 Ra1 62.a7 h4 63.Rd1 etc.,assessing it as +4,65. Do we believe this? Gata instead played: 60.Kb7 and the game soon ended in a draw ( ½ : ½ ).
2.Tomashevsky (Sibir) – Artyemov (Lada)
An at first sight harmless endgame conceals some poison: 28.Nb5 Kf8 29.Rd6 – and it turns out that Black must allow the rook to the 7th rank. 29…Nd8 30.Rd7 Ne6 31.Rxa7 – Evgeny Tomashevsky's technique did not let him down and White duly won. And the match score was already clear:
4.Korobov (Sibir) – Yandemirov (Lada)
34.Qf4 Rf8 35.Rxf7 Bxc2 36.Rxf8 Bxf8 37.Rxc2 Qa4 38.Qd2 Bh6 39.Qd3 Kf7 40.f4 Bf8 41.f5 gxf5 42.gxf5 Be7 43.fxe6 Ke8 44.c6 – Black resigns (1:0). Ramil Faizrakhmanov made a terrible blunder:
6.Bocharov (Sibir) – Faizrakhmanov (Lada)
After 37…Ne6 it is still possible to fight for a draw, but he played instead 37…Nf3?? 38.Qh6 – Black resigns (1:0).
The game is on and the Ol;ympiad is not far away. Sergey Rublevsky checks the mood of his charges.
Friends meet again - Evgeny Sveshnikov and Naum Rashkovsky
Photos by Vladimir Barsky from the RCF website
Russian Team Championship Round 6: The Northerners do Siberia a favour