General Nov 28, 2014 | 12:29 PMby Colin McGourty

2014 Russian Championship – can Svidler make it 8?

The inimitable Peter Svidler at the drawing of lots | photo: Eteri Kublashvili, Russian Chess Federation

You know an event is tough when Vladimir Kramnik failed to qualify! The 2014 Russian Championship Men’s and Women’s Superfinals start today in Kazan, Russia, with Peter Svidler looking to win an incredible 8th title. His main competition is likely to come from Sergey Karjakin, although guys like Alexander Morozevich and Ian Nepomniachtchi are unlikely to give them an easy ride. Follow all the action live with video commentary here at chess24.

The Russian Championship Superfinals are 10-player all-play-all tournaments to determine the 2014 Men’s and Women’s Russian Champions. 

Magnus Carlsen's first words on touching down on Norwegian soil were apparently, "it's cold" - the same could be said of the Kazan Kremlin where the players will compete | photo: Eteri Kublashvili, Russian Chess Federation 

The playing venue highlights that this is a continuation of the Chess in Museums project promoted by the Russian Chess Federation and the Timchenko Foundation | photo: Eteri Kublashvili, Russian Chess Federation

The venue is the Kremlin, not in Moscow but Kazan, but if democracy is alive and well anywhere in Russia it’s in the system for determining the qualifiers. 

For the men’s event that gave us:

Last year’s Top 3:

  • Peter Svidler, 2743
  • Ian Nepomniachtchi, 2714
  • Nikita Vitiugov, 2738

The Top 2 rated Russians on July 1, 2014:

  • (Alexander Grischuk, 2795)
  • Sergey  Karjakin, 2770

Sergey Karjakin is the highest rated player in the tournament | photo: Eteri Kublashvili, Russian Chess Federation

The Top 5 from the Russian Higher League qualifying event:

  • Boris Grachev, 2669
  • Denis Khismatullin, 2679
  • Dmitry Jakovenko, 2745
  • Vadim Zvjaginsev, 2655
  • Igor Lysyj, 2686

So Vladimir Kramnik and, for instance, Dmitry Andreikin, failed to qualify. That may be one reason – apart from no doubt generous conditions – that the Russian former World Champion finds himself in Qatar just now (where not everything is going to plan).

Erwin l'Ami can't believe his eyes as Vladimir Kramnik fails to finish off his 2484-rated opponent | photo: Dmitry Rukhletskiy, Qatar Masters Open

You’ll notice in the list above, though, that Alexander Grischuk’s name is in brackets. The Russian no. 1 and world no. 5 is a surprise absence from the event, although chess fans are unlikely to be too disappointed with his replacement: Alexander Morozevich, 2724.

Valentina Gunina is the reigning Russian Women's Champion | photo: Eteri Kublashvili, Russian Chess Federation

Another surprise absence, in the women’s event, is Kateryna Lagno (2530), who after her recent switch from Ukraine is currently no. 2 on the Russian women’s rating list. The Kosintseva sisters are absent, though that would be hard to class as a surprise, and Russian no. 1 Alexandra Kosteniuk (2541) will be among those trying to rest the Russian crown away from no. 3 Valentina Gunina (2522).

Alexandra Kosteniuk was getting into the spirit of the local Tatars | photo: Eteri Kublashvili, Russian Chess Federation

As was Sergey Karjakin's wife Galiya! | photo: Galiya's instagram page

Can he do it again? | photo: Eteri Kublashvili, Russian Chess Federation

The overall prize fund for the men’s tournament is 5 million roubles or 80,000 euros, with around 19,000 euros for first place. The women’s tournament prize fund is 2 million roubles. Curiously although there’s no zero tolerance if you are late for a game you have to pay a fine of 10,000 roubles or 160 euros that goes into the tournament funds! No draws are allowed before move 40.

You can watch all the action live here on chess24, with commentary in English by Alexander Khalifman or in Russian by Sergey Shipov: Men’s tournament | Women’s tournament 

See also:


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