Russian Team Championship. Winners determined early

A second defeat against SSM brought Sibir to the brink of catastrophe - a small catastrophe, perhaps, but even so, the champions of Europe look like finishing only second (or, even worse, third!) in their national championship. Alas, they did not manage to dodge the bullet, thanks to the decisive mood of the St Petersburg musketeers:

SIBIR – MEDNY VSADNIK 1.5:4.5

4.Dominguez (Medny Vsadnik) – Rublevsky (Sibir)

Whose passed pawn will promote sooner? 32…g5? – after  32… Rb2 rough equality is maintained. But now: 33.Rb5 Rc8 34.a5 c3?! – The Be4 occupies an ideal position - it helps its own passed pawn and controls the enemy's. It needs to be driven away immediately – 34…f5. 35.a6 Bc4 36.a4 Rc7 37.Rb7 Rc8 38.a7 Bd5 39.Rb8 – Black resigns (1:0).

5.Korobov (Sibir) – Matlakov (Medny Vsadnik)

The pawn on c2 deprives White of peace of mind, but how can he best neutralise it? 38.Rc4?! After 38.Be4 the white-squared bishops are exchanged and then White can turn his attention to the c-pawn. 38…Qa7! – Saving the passed pawn and deciding the game quickly.  39.Kh2 Rxe3 40.Qg1 Rb1 41.R4xc2 Bxc2 42.Bxf7 Rxc1 43.Qxc1 Qd4 – White resigns (0:1).

6.Rodstein (Medny Vsadnik) – Kokarev (Sibir)

18.g3 Nc7 19.Nc4 Ne8 20.Bd2 f5 21.Ne3 fxe4 22.Nxe4 Nf6 23.Nxf6 Qxf6 24.Rc7 Rg7 25.Qf3 Nh5

26.Be2?! – The fearless Stockfish takes the knight, not fearing  26…Be8 27.Ng4 Bxh5 28.Nxf6 Rxc7 29.Nxh5 Rc2 30.Be3 Rxb2 31.Rc1 etc. But the text is also sufficient: 26…Qxf3 27.Bxf3 Be8 28.Rec1 Nf6 29.Rxg7 Bxg7 30.Rc7 b6 31.Bb4 Bg6 32.Bxd6 e4 33.Bg4 Nxg4 34.Nxg4 e3 35.fxe3 Be4 36.Be5 – The bishops are exchanged, and the two white pawns advance, supported by rook and knight, so Black resigns (1:0) The match was lost cleanly, and along with it first and probably also second places. Rehabilitation will have to come in Europe! As for the winners, St Petersburg's first place overall is hardly in any doubt. For SSM to get the miracle they want, as well as themselves beating Zhiguli (which is perfectly feasible), they need the outsiders to beat the leaders (unlikely, but who knows what can happen in a team event?). 

Sanan Sjugirov has not had great results on top board, but who can put a price on the experience of playing a double-round all-play-all against Kramnik, Svidler, Nepomniatschi and Kamsky?!

Azat Sharafeev and Artyom Timofeev listen with interest to their younger colleague  

LADIA – ZHIGULI 2:4

Vladik Artemiev, who is having an unusually bad time in Sochi, scored his first win:

2.Lysyj (Zhiguli) – Artemiev (Ladia)

Material is equal, but Black gets to shoot first! 40…Qd2 41.Nxe6 Kf6 42.Nf4 Qxf2 43.Bg2 Nd2 – White resigns (0:1). This inspired the Kazan team to the end. Grigory Oparin won his mini-match against the experienced Artyom Timofeev – 2:0. «Horse sickness» destroyed Yandemirov's pieces:

4.Predke (Zhiguli) – Yandemirov (Ladia)

13.Qe6 Qxe6? – The position is difficult, but it was better to part with material by means of 13…0-0-0, which offers greater chances of resistance. 14.Nc7 Kd8 15.Nge6 Kc8 16.Nxa8 etc. White won (1:0). Finally, on board 6 Ladia also failed to hold, as Faizrakhmanov lost to Geller. 

Alexander Predke

Yesterday, by beating Ugra, the SSM women's team ensured themselves the gold with a round to spare. The game Kosteniuk - Ushenina ended in a draw.

This report uses photos by Vladimir Barsky from the  RCF website