Russian Team Championship 2010

The strongest national club championship in the World is taking place this week in Dagomys, Sochi in the Black sea resort near the border with Georgia. Many of the World's top 100 players are involved. Economist may be European club champions but only find themselves in third place at present.

In these 17th Russian team championships many of these teams are strong the whole way down as you'll see below. This is hardly surprising when one realises that 25 out of the World's top 100 are Russian.

There are 10 teams in the Premier league whereas there are seven teams (a curious number!) in the women's equivalent event that is running alongside.

Here are the leading three teams after 5 rounds:

SPb Chess federation (9 match points, 20 game points)

NameCountryRatingWorld ranking
Vasily IvanchukUKR274811
Peter SvidlerRUS27508
Nikita VitiugovRUS271028
Sergei MovsesianSVK270929
Vadim ZvjagintsevRUS2643101
Zahar EfimenkoUKR2640105
Konstantin SakaevRUS2635118
Vasily YemelinRUS2576236

ShSm-64 (9 match points, 19 game points)

NameCountryRatingWorld ranking
Boris GelfandISR27509
Sergey KarjakinRUS272521
Wang HaoCHN271525
Fabiano CaruanaITA268052
Boris GrachevRUS266760
Alexander RiazantsevRUS266071
Evgeniy NajerRUS266565
Boris SavchenkoRUS265283

Economist- SGSEu-1 (8 match points)

NameCountryRatingWorld ranking
Wang YueCHN274910
Pavel EljanovUKR273616
Evgeny TomashevskvyRUS270136
Evgeny AlekseevRUS270037
Ni HuaCHN266762
Alexander MoiseenkoUKR266859
Michael RoizISR265286

Other 2700 players present:

NameCountryRatingWorld ranking
Alexander GrischukRUS27567
Ruslan PonomariovUKR273715
Dmitry JakovenkoRUS272520
Vladimir MalakhovRUS272122
Alexander MotylevRUS270532

Highest Individual Scorers:

NameCountryRatingPoints from games played
Pavel EljanovUKR27364/5
Mikhail KobaliaRUS26374/5
Sergei RublevskyRUS26973.5/5
Sergei MovsesianSVK27093.5/4

A meeting between the European Champion and the highest rated player present.

Ian Nepomniachtchi (2656) - Alexander Grischuk (2756)

Dagomys (Russian Premier League 2nd round) 02.04.2010

Sicilian Najdorf (B90)

1.e4 c5 2.♘f3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.♘xd4 ♘f6 5.♘c3 a6 6.h3!?

Nepomniachtchi himself faced this slightly unusual move last year.

6...♘c6 7.♗e3

Some players prefer to continue with 7 g4, but the natural developing move is perhaps more solid as White keeps his options open. The direct 7.g4!? is more direct, and provokes Black to react in the centre e.g. 7...e5 8.♘de2 ♗e6 9.♗g2 ♗e7 10.♗e3 b5 11.♘d5 ♗xd5 12.exd5 ♘a5 13.b3 ♕c7 14.0-0 0-0 15.f4 Fressinet,L-Kosteniuk,A Mainz rapid 2008 and White retained the initiative.

7...e5 8.♘f3 ♗e7 9.g4

So this aggressive move comes anyway, whereas in Gashimov,V-Boidman,Y Mainz rapid 2008, White preferred 9.♗c4 as the bishop is quite nicely placed on the a2-g8 diagonal.


If Black plays 9...h6 I imagine that there is nothing wrong with ♗-c4 in reply and the possibility of g4-g5 will be annoying if Black ever castles kingside.

10.♘g5 h6 11.♘xe6 fxe6 12.♗c4 ♕d7

Black's structure is arguably slightly 'compromised' but White will need to create some kingside action if he is intent on putting his opponent under pressure.

13.h4! b5 14.♗d3

The e-pawn needed defending in view of ...b4.

14...♘d4 15.♖g1


Stopping the g-pawn advance, however 15...♕c6 16.g5 hxg5 17.hxg5 ♘d7 18.♕g4 ♘c5 came into consideration as Black's knights cover many important squares.


After 16.hxg5 hxg5 17.♗xg5 Grischuk no doubt intended 17...♖h3! and the weakness of the f3-square would come into the spotlight.

16...♖f8! 17.hxg5 hxg5 18.a3

Now 18.♗xg5 can be strongly met by 18...♘xg4! 19.♕xg4 ♗xg5 and the bishop is taboo.

18...♕b7 19.♖h3 ♔d7!?

Preferring to keep the king behind the central pawn mass rather than playing the routine 19...0-0-0


Two can play at that game! Nepomniachtchi basically gets his king out of the way.

20...♖f7 21.f3

Consolidating his structure.


The open f-file is one of the advantages of having played ...fxe6.

22.♘e2 ♘c6 23.c3 ♘e8 24.♕h1 ♘a5 25.♖d1 ♘c4+ 26.♗xc4 bxc4 27.♔c1

Castling long by hand! White has to be careful about the backward pawn on f3 (a consequence of the enthusiastic g2-g4!?) but otherwise he seems to be holding firm

27...♘c7 28.♖h7! ♕b8

Black's king becomes exposed after 28...♖xf3? 29.♗xg5 ♖8f7 30.♗xe7 ♔xe7 31.♕h4+

29.♖xf7 ♖xf7 30.♘g1

Using the under-employed knight to defend the main weakness (even from a distinctly passive square).


A second front, perhaps?

31.♖d2 ♕a2 32.♔d1

Time to un-castle by hand!

32...♕b3+ 33.♔e2 ♕b8 34.♔f2 ♔c6 35.♔g3

Hoping to keep out of trouble whilst holding onto f3. However Grischuk has noticed that the queen on b8 and the king on g3 are on the same diagonal and is tempted to exploit this.

35...d5! 36.♕h6 d4?

Tempting but not advantageous.

Instead Fritz suggests the right way to make progress: 36...♔b7! 37.exd5 ♕g8!! (threatening ...♖h7 trapping the queen) would in fact be rather strong. 38.d6 (38.♕h2 exd5 would leave Black in control) 38...♖h7 39.♕xh7 ♕xh7 40.dxe7 ♕xe7 41.♘h3 ♘d5 42.♗xg5 ♕h7 leaves Black on top, but White's position could be tenable as he has enough compensation for his queen.

37.cxd4 exd4 38.♗xd4 ♘b5+ 39.♔g2 ♘xd4 40.♘e2!

Here 40.♖xd4?? is of course refuted by 40...♕xb2+ winning material.


The fortieth move and a fatal one! Black would still have been able to draw with 40...♘xe2! 41.♕xe6+ ♔b5! 42.♕d7+ ♔b6 43.♕e6+ ♔b5.

41.♘xd4+ ♔b6 42.♘xe6

Suddenly Black's king is the weaker and he is a couple of pawns down.

42...♕e5 43.♕g6!?

Simpler is 43.♕h2!, as 43...♕xe6?? loses to 44.♖d6+.


After 43...♕xe6, White has 44.e5 winning back the piece with a clear advantage.


Another delicate tactical move.


Black has no hope after both 44...♔xc5 45.♖d5+; and 44...♕xc5 45.♕xf6+.

45.♖d5 ♔a7 46.e5!? ♕e3

White has everything under control after 46...♖xe5 47.♖d7+ ♔b6 48.♘e4.

47.♕c2 ♖xe5 48.♖d7+ ♔b6 49.♘e4 ♖xe4

Everything is falling to pieces so Grischuk tries one last shot at complicating matters.

50.fxe4 ♗e5 51.♕f2 ♕xf2+ 52.♔xf2 ♗xb2 53.♔e3

Grischuk was probably rather disappointed with the outcome (to say the least) and so decides that enough is enough; 53.♔e3 ♗xa3 54.♔d4 ♔b5 55.♖b7+ ♔c6 56.♖f7 ♔b5 57.e5


White's opening didn't really work and Grischuk managed to obtain a clear advantage which he rather threw away, presumably in time trouble. So it doesn't just happen to us, even the top players do it!

Women's team championship

The leading team:

Giprorechtrans (8 match points)

NameTitleCountryRatingWorld ranking
Natalia ZhukovaWGMUKR249217
Batkhuyag MunguntuulWGMMGL242859
Elena ZaiatzIM/WGMRUS239176
Irina VasilevichIM/WGMRUS2324153

Top Scorers

NameTitleCountryRatingPoints from games played
Batkhugay MunguntuulWGMMGL24283.5/5
Viktorija CmilyteIMLTU24853/3

For more information official tournament site

The relevant information is in Russian as the English version is out-of-date.

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