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Russian Championship Superfinal Tournament

Ian Nepomniachtchi7/11(+4 -1 =6)[games]
Sergey Karjakin7/11(+4 -1 =6)[games]
Alexander Grischuk6.5/11(+2 -0 =9)[games]
Peter Svidler6.5/11(+3 -1 =7)[games]
Vladimir Malakhov5.5/11(+2 -2 =7)[games]
Nikita Vitiugov5.5/11(+2 -2 =7)[games]
Dmitry Jakovenko5/11(+0 -1 =10)[games]
Vladimir Potkin5/11(+0 -1 =10)[games]
Igor Kurnosov5/11(+1 -2 =8)[games]
Evgeny Tomashevsky5/11(+1 -2 =8)[games]
Denis Khismatullin4/11(+0 -3 =8)[games]
Vadim Zvjaginsev4/11(+0 -3 =8)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Russian Championship Superfinal (2010)

The 63rd Russian Championship Superfinal was played in the Central Chess House in Moscow, Russia, 11-22 December 2010. Rest day: December 17. Time control: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, 30 more minutes to the end of the game, with a 30 second increment from move 1. Games started at 3 pm, last round at noon local time. Prize fund: 3.5 million roubles (~$115,000). Karjakin and Nepomniachtchi both ended on 7/11:

Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 =1 Nepomniachtchi 2720 * 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 7 =1 Karjakin 2760 1 * ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 7 3 Grischuk 2771 ½ ½ * ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 6½ 4 Svidler 2722 0 ½ ½ * 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 6½ 5 Malakhov 2712 ½ 1 0 0 * 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 5½ 6 Vitiugov 2709 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 5½ =7 Jakovenko 2726 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 5 =7 Potkin 2646 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ 0 ½ ½ 5 9 Kurnosov 2676 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ * ½ ½ ½ 5 10 Tomashevsky 2699 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ * ½ ½ 5 11 Khismatullin 2659 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ 4 12 Zvjaginsev 2676 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * 4

Category: XIX (2706). Chief arbiter: Alexander Tkachev

The tie for first place was resolved by a playoff on December 22, only about an hour after Round 11. After two draws in the Rapid (25 minutes + 10 seconds) games, Ian Nepomniachtchi held the Armageddon game (6 versus 5 minutes) to a draw with black, and took his first Russian championship title. Grischuk was 3rd on tiebreak. Playoff games: Karjakin vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2010, I Nepomniachtchi vs Karjakin, 2010 and Karjakin vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2010.

Official site 1:
Official site 2:
Wikipedia article: Russian Chess Championship#2010
Video (Armageddon game):

Previous: Russian Championship Superfinal (2009). Next: Russian Championship Superfinal (2011). Women's event: Russian Championship Superfinal (Women) (2010)

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 66  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Grischuk vs Jakovenko  ½-½292010Russian Championship SuperfinalD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. Vitiugov vs Svidler  ½-½382010Russian Championship SuperfinalA15 English
3. Khismatullin vs Nepomniachtchi 0-1282010Russian Championship SuperfinalD74 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O
4. I Kurnosov vs Zvjaginsev  ½-½402010Russian Championship SuperfinalC11 French
5. Karjakin vs Potkin  ½-½342010Russian Championship SuperfinalC11 French
6. Tomashevsky vs V Malakhov  ½-½482010Russian Championship SuperfinalD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
7. Jakovenko vs V Malakhov  ½-½362010Russian Championship SuperfinalC67 Ruy Lopez
8. Potkin vs Tomashevsky 0-1402010Russian Championship SuperfinalD38 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation
9. Zvjaginsev vs Karjakin 0-1332010Russian Championship SuperfinalB53 Sicilian
10. Nepomniachtchi vs I Kurnosov  ½-½452010Russian Championship SuperfinalC67 Ruy Lopez
11. Svidler vs Khismatullin 1-0452010Russian Championship SuperfinalB07 Pirc
12. Grischuk vs Vitiugov 1-0362010Russian Championship SuperfinalC02 French, Advance
13. Tomashevsky vs Zvjaginsev  ½-½272010Russian Championship SuperfinalE46 Nimzo-Indian
14. V Malakhov vs Potkin  ½-½782010Russian Championship SuperfinalA13 English
15. Karjakin vs Nepomniachtchi 1-0492010Russian Championship SuperfinalB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
16. I Kurnosov vs Svidler 0-1412010Russian Championship SuperfinalB42 Sicilian, Kan
17. Vitiugov vs Jakovenko  ½-½252010Russian Championship SuperfinalD16 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
18. Khismatullin vs Grischuk  ½-½182010Russian Championship SuperfinalA13 English
19. Nepomniachtchi vs Tomashevsky 1-0512010Russian Championship SuperfinalC45 Scotch Game
20. Svidler vs Karjakin  ½-½222010Russian Championship SuperfinalC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
21. Jakovenko vs Potkin  ½-½452010Russian Championship SuperfinalD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
22. Zvjaginsev vs V Malakhov  ½-½192010Russian Championship SuperfinalB32 Sicilian
23. Vitiugov vs Khismatullin 1-0602010Russian Championship SuperfinalE81 King's Indian, Samisch
24. Grischuk vs I Kurnosov  ½-½412010Russian Championship SuperfinalD70 Neo-Grunfeld Defense
25. V Malakhov vs Nepomniachtchi  ½-½1082010Russian Championship SuperfinalB53 Sicilian
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 66  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: Btw, Dmitry Andreikin is also born in 1990. Same goes for Ildar Khairullin, but he has not quite fulfilled the expectations from when he was one of the strongest pre-teenagers in the world.
Dec-23-10  DCP23: <Troller: Malakhov has a history of cracking in critical situations, but not so this time.>

That's because it was a critical situation for Karjakin, not for Malakhov.

Dec-23-10  siamesedream: That's good that Ukrainian did not become Russian Champion.
Dec-23-10  siamesedream: Video of Armageddon decider in chessbase report:

Dec-23-10  percyblakeney: <A coin toss would determine who would get which color, though the winner invariably takes Black as the odds are clearly in his favor>

These things are said so often about Armageddon games that I wonder who came up with this idea in first place... When I've looked at the results of Armageddon games white wins most of the time. This is what roman_l wrote in the Chesspro forum, by the way:

<Before the game Karjakin drew a white pawn and had the opportunity to choose, he chose to play white>

Dec-23-10  fisayo123: Why on earth did he choose white.In my opinion black has a big advantage.Just play solidly thats all.
Dec-23-10  DCP23: <siamesedream: That's good that Ukrainian did not become Russian Champion.>

This has been discussed to death, but once again: Karjakin himself and both of his parents are Russian by ethnicity. The only thing that changed is his passport, which is also Russian now. So how exactly is he Ukrainian? He isn't.

Dec-23-10  nigelsnoru: Fully agreed on Armageddon. The other thing I dislike is that you get disasters like what's-her-face vs Irina Krush, when all you are playing for is time to run out. This is championship-level chess?

I would propose 6 minutes for White, 1 minute for Black, 1 second increment, black draw odds. Some argue that Armageddon won't work with an increment. I disagree. This would eliminate the time scramble factor, while balancing the draw odds somewhat. White might have an advantage in the early game, with Black obviously having the advantage later.

If 6/1/1 doesn't work, try a different balance that will even things out. But not 6/5/0 or 5/4/0. That's just ridiculously weighted towards Black.

Dec-23-10  Eyal: Karjakin actually came very close to winning the Armageddon game:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. e5 Nd5 8. Ne4 Qc7 9. f4 Qb6 10. c4 Ne3 11. Qd3 Nxf1 12. Rxf1 c5 13. Bd2 Bb7 14. O-O-O Qc6 15. Bc3 O-O-O(??) 16. Ng5 Qxg2 17. Nxf7 Be4:

click for larger view

And here 18.Rg1! leads to a rather easy win (18...Qxg1 19.Qxe4 followed by mate in 2 if the queen escapes). Instead, Karjakin played 18.Qd2 and still should have won with the exchange up, but somehow Nepo managed to escape.

Dec-23-10  Monoceros: Oh, joy, an "Armageddon" game decides another important title. Aside from joining in the general hatred for the system, I'd like to offer a pertinent question: have the actual odds of the usual Armageddon rules actually been worked out in any way?

I think we can agree that, at this level, even a small intrinsic inequality in odds makes a huge difference. There ought to be more care than usual in making sure that the system will actually guarantee equal chances to the two contestants. But instead, we get an extravagant display of arbitrary rules that seem practically designed to insure flashy but unsound results.

Has anyone actually defended Armageddon time controls on anything like an objective basis? It seems to me you'd want to try out Armageddon rules first--say, in some sort of themed tournament perhaps--and study the results before using them to decide a national title or anything else.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: BTW why were there no blitz games? Rapid and then Armageddon?!
Dec-23-10  nigelsnoru: Based on recent memory, I think Carlsen was the only one to actually win an Armageddon game as white. So in my mind, black has an enormous advantage. Maybe others know of additional cases where White won. That's why I favor a huge time advantage for White - but in my mind there must be an increment.
Dec-23-10  Eyal: I know that <percyblakeney> used to keep track of Armageddon statistics, and - as he already mentioned on this page - overall White is actually doing quite well. For example, in WC 2004 + World Cup 2007 + Women's WC 2008 (KO events where you could have Armageddon games at every stage, not just once during the whole event) White won 14 out of 18(!) games. Maybe he can give us some up-to-date figures...

Armageddon is usually a "last resort" - a tiebreaker of a tiebreaker - so one of the important questions is what are the chances of getting to it in the first place, depending on how many rapid/blitz games would come before that. An extreme example is the recent world cup, where I don't think a single Armageddon was played even though the rules allowed for it, because first they had the opportunity to decide the match in 4 rapids + 5 pairs of blitz games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <An extreme example is the recent world cup, where I don't think a single Armageddon was played even though the rules allowed for it, because first they had the opportunity to decide the match in 4 rapids + 5 pairs of blitz games.>

Yes... Even more - in that last world cup only one match needed more than two pairs of blitz games (Akopian-Tregubov in the first round, all five pairs had to be played).

Dec-23-10  Monoceros: <Eyal: Armageddon is usually a "last resort" - a tiebreaker of a tiebreaker...>

And that prompts another question. Why make Armageddon time controls so constricted? The point of the Armageddon game is that it's guaranteed to be decisive because of draw odds given to Black; how much time's on the clock doesn't matter. The point of forcing tiebreaking games into rapid and blitz time controls is quite different and requires paired games to mean anything. Why incorporate *both* tiebreaking methods in one game? It doesn't make any sense.

Dec-23-10  nigelsnoru: <both> That was tried in the US Championship a while ago, I believe. White would have 60 minutes. Each player secretly "bid" on the amount of time that Black would have. The lowest bid received Black and draw odds. Kamsky bid 25 minutes and managed a draw, winning the match.
Dec-24-10  polarmis: A bit late (Merry Christmas!) but here's an interview with Nepo after winning the Russian Championship (he talks e.g. about why he fell behind the other class of 1990 players - Carlsen and Karjakin). There's also his commentary on the win against Svidler.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Despite the inherently unsatisfactory character of rapids, blitz and/or Armageddon games as tie-break methods, for the sake of historical completeness, hopefully CG will eventually include the tie-break games in its database.

By the way, what was the format of the tie-break? Hopefully there were at least some rapids games before the Armageddon game.

Finally, FWIW, I offer a thought on 2-player tie-break formats. Given the fact that rapids game bear at least some resemblance to chess, and given that they have a greater tendency than regular time controls to yield decisive outcomes, what would seem reasonable to me would be to play four (4) rapids games and, if they yield a 2-2 score, then to play up to 2 or 3 additional pairs of rapids games (with the match being decided if either player scores at least 1.5 from any pair of games). If the score remains tied after a total of 8 or 10 rapids games, perhaps it would be appropriate to forbear from further tie-breaking attemps and to declare co-champions.

Dec-24-10  drnooo: Well, Ive said it before: but just ask yourself if Fischer would ever ever ever have allowed any championship to be decided by rapid games. In that sense that is how far championship chess had descended. And before you laugh too much, consider this: the last worlds championship was only one game short of having it decided by a bunch of stupid rapid games. Had Anand not won that, we would have been treated to a real comedy, whats the rush everybody else can leave, go on their merry way, the two finalists can stick around a while play a few more games if they really want to play classical chess. If not, quick turning classical chess into a circus.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kamalakanta: Rapid games and Armageddon games seem bad, but I recall a World Chess Championship Candidates match being decided by a casino roulette...(was it Smyslov-Huebner?) Rapid games and Armageddon games are not that bad!
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <kamalakanta> Yes it was Hübner-Smyslov, and in the first attempt the ball landed on zero !!
Dec-25-10  Kazzak: A roulette ball dropping into a red slot of the wheel gave Vasily Smyslov of the Soviet Union his victory in his quarterfinal world championship candidates match with Robert Hubner of West Germany. To have such a contest decided by chance is undesirable, but so far FIDE (the International Chess Federation) has no better solution.

Smyslov and Hubner had played to a 5-5 tie in their regulation series and were deadlocked at 7-7 after their four tie-break games were drawn. That's when the handy roulette wheel - this match took place in the casino at Velden, Austria - was pressed into service.

The ball rebelled by registering zero at the first spin but at the second turn dropped into the color Smyslov had called. Thus, Hubner was out and Smyslov advanced to the semifinal round.

Dec-25-10  SetNoEscapeOn: <drnooo: Well, Ive said it before: but just ask yourself if Fischer would ever ever ever have allowed any championship to be decided by rapid games.>

It depends on his other options. If they had told Bobby "if the match with Spassky is tied 12-12, either he can just keep the title or you can play a rapid match to determine the champion" I'm sure he would have chosen the latter. He wasn't stupid.

Premium Chessgames Member Russian Championship Superfinal (Tiebreaks) (2010)
Dec-31-10  TheChessGuy: <SetNoEscapeOn> It wouldn't hurt that Fischer was a much better rapid player than Spassky.
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