Nepomniachtchi, Goryachkina Win Russian Championships


GM Ian Nepomniachtchi won his second Russian Championship title, exactly 10 years after his first. A quick draw in the final round proved enough after co-leader GM Sergey Karjakin was beaten by GM Daniil Dubov in brilliant style. GM Aleksandra Goryachkina won the women’s tournament, her third, after defeating IM Polina Shuvalova in an armageddon game.

How to watch?
The games of the Russian Championship Superfinal can be found here as part of our live platform. The women’s tournament can be found here

It wasn’t clear what would be happening on the final day after one of the leaders drew his game in just a few minutes. Nepomniachtchi was quickly done when GM Maksim Chigaev, with the white pieces, repeated moves in a 6.Be3 Ng4 Najdorf.

Nepomniachtchi finished his tournament on 7.5/11, and only Karjakin could still catch him. If he would draw his game, a playoff would be played but with a win, Karjakin would clinch his first-ever national title.

As it went, Nepomniachtchi was helped to his second title by Dubov, who beat Karjakin and played what is possibly the Game of the Year.

Dubov vs. Karjakin. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Dubov started in (Evans) gambit style and followed up with a bishop sacrifice (15.Bf6!) and then a queen sacrifice (19.Qg6!!) to reach a dominating position where even the Minister of Defense didn’t stand a chance. Don’t miss this gem of a game:

Dubov Karjakin Russian Championship Superfinal 2020
Nepomniachtchi checking on the Dubov-Karjakin game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

As a matter of fact, Dubov had also beaten the eventual winner Nepomniachtchi earlier in the tournament in what was a fairly spectacular affair as well. There, the opening specialist chose 1.d4 and caught his opponent in a Grunfeld.

Daniil Dubov chess
Daniil Dubov showed brilliant chess at the Superfinal. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Crucial for the tournament was Nepomniachtchi’s win against Karjakin in round seven. This was quite a theoretical game as well, with a novelty on move 15 in a Nimzo-Indian. Soon after, Karjakin went astray:

Nepomniachtchi - Karjakin Russian Championship 2020
Nepomniachtchi vs. Karjakin in round seven. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The tournament was marred because GM Mikhail Antipov tested positive for COVID-19 and had to withdraw after the sixth round. Because he had played more than half of his games, his results remained in the crosstable, and his next opponents all received a free point on an extra rest day.

73rd Russian Championship Superfinal | Final Standings










# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pts SB
1 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2784 2813 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 7.5/11
2 Karjakin, Sergey 2752 2781 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 7.0/11
3 Fedoseev, Vladimir 2674 2754 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 6.5/11 35.5
4 Dubov, Daniil 2702 2752 1 1 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 6.5/11 35
5 Chigaev, Maksim 2619 2727 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 1 6.0/11 33
6 Artemiev, Vladislav 2711 2719 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 6.0/11 29.5
7 Vitiugov, Nikita 2720 2687 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 5.5/11 28.5
8 Svidler, Peter 2723 2687 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5.5/11 27.75
9 Esipenko, Andrey 2686 2659 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 5.0/11 23.25
10 Matlakov, Maxim 2698 2658 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 5.0/11 22.75
11 Goganov, Aleksey 2594 2566 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 3.5/11
12 Antipov, Mikhail 2611 2436 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 2.0/11

All Games

In the women’s segment, IM Polina Shuvalova had a very different second half of the tournament. After her stunning start of 6/6, she failed to win another game, losing one to three-time Russian women’s champion IM Alisa Galliamova and drawing four others.

GM Aleksandra Goryachkina scored 1.5 points better in the final five rounds and caught up with Shuvalova in the very final one. The regulations stipulated a playoff.

70th Russian Women’s Championship Superfinal | Final Standings










# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pts SB
1 Shuvalova,Polina 2456 2596 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 8.0/11 41.5
2 Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2593 2584 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 8.0/11 38
3 Kashlinskaya, Alina 2494 2487 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 6.5/11 32.5
4 Garifullina, Leya 2348 2499 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 6.5/11 32
5 Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2471 2488 0 ½ ½ 1 0 1 0 ½ 1 1 1 6.5/11 29.75
6 Guseva, Marina 2359 2498 0 ½ 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 6.5/11 28.5
7 Pogonina, Natalija 2474 2456 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 6.0/11 29.5
8 Galliamova, Alisa 2438 2459 1 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 1 1 ½ 1 6.0/11 28.5
9 Girya, Olga 2464 2328 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 1 ½ 4.0/11
10 Gunina, Valentina 2451 2294 0 0 1 ½ 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 3.5/11
11 Grigorieva, Yulia 2290 2229 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 2.5/11
12 Getman, Tatyana 2302 2179 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 2.0/11

After the two rapid games ended in draws, Goryachkina won the armageddon game to clinch her third title, after 2015 and 2017.

Aleksandra Goryachkina 2020 Russian Championship
Aleksandra Goryachkina. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

All Games

The 73rd Russian Championship and the 70th Russian Women’s Championship were held December 5-16 at the Central Chess Club in Moscow. The tournaments were among the very few over-the-board chess events with top players during the pandemic after Biel, the Bundesliga, Norway Chess, and next month Wijk aan Zee.


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