Goryachkina 1st woman to qualify for the Russian Championship Superfinal

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General manager Aleksandra Goryachkina is the first woman to qualify for the open section of the Russian Championship Superfinal. The 22-year-old grandmaster from Orsk, Russia finished second in the Top League tournament in Cheboksary, Russia.

Goryachkina also broke the 2,600 Elo mark, something five women in history have achieved before her. His score of 6.5 / 9 was good for a performance rating of 2714.

Because Goryachina is one of the strongest players in the world, it doesn’t make much sense for her to play in the women’s section of the Higher League, which is a qualification for the Superfinal (the main Russian league). Since 2016, she instead plays in the open section to gain invaluable practice against powerful grandmasters. This year, it paid off.

In what was a big Swiss tournament with 54 participants, including 24 GM and 14 IM, Goryachkina finished among the top five players. These five have all qualified for the Superfinal which will take place later this year.

Russian Championship Superior League 2021 | Final ranking (Top 15)

Rk. SNon fed Title Last name Rtg pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 9 DG Pavel Ponkratov 2627 7.0 51.5 47.0 5
2 7 DG Maksim Chigaev 2630 6.5 49.0 45.0 4
3 17 DG Aleksandra Goriatchkina 2596 6.5 46.0 43.0 5
4 3 DG Alexander Rakhmanov 2651 6.0 49.5 45.0 4
5 6 DG Alexander Motylev 2639 6.0 47.0 43.5 4
6 16 DG Mikhail Antipov 2596 6.0 46.0 43.0 4
7 11 DG Evgeny Alekseev 2605 6.0 46.0 42.5 4
8 8 DG David Paravian 2629 6.0 45.0 41.5 4
9 5 DG Alexei Sarana 2640 5.5 49.0 45.0 4
ten 1 DG Maxim Matlakov 2688 5.5 46.0 41.5 2
11 13 DG Anton Demchenko 2600 5.5 44.5 41.0 4
12 22 DG Ilia Iljiushénok 2530 5.5 43.0 40.0 4
13 14 DG Evgeny Romanov 2599 5.5 41.0 37.5 4
14 28 I AM Polina Chouvalova 2489 5.0 50.0 45.5 4
15 12 DG Igor lysyj 2605 5.0 46.5 42.5 2

(Full final standings here.)

The Russian championship will take place for the 74th time. They have been played in different formats over the decades, but since 2004 the finals have been closed round robin tournaments called Superfinals. While it’s not yet clear whether she will play there, the fact that Goryachkina has qualified is a feat unique to Russian chess.

The last time a player attempted the main title in Russia was in 2000, when MI Alisa Galliamova competed in the Russian Open. She scored 7/11 and finished in seventh place out of 62 participants.

The playroom in Cheboksary. Photo: Anastasia Domchenkova / Russian Chess Federation.

The 6.5 / 9 from Goryachkina to Cheboksary, a town along the Volga 120 kilometers northeast of Kazan, included five victories with the white pieces. Goryachkina lost just one game to tournament winner GM Pavel Ponkratov.

Among the players she beat were GM Aleksey Dreev, GM Alexandr Predke and, in the final round, GM Alexey Sarana.

Her trade sacrifice against Dreev was spectacular, but she almost let her very experienced opponent slip away. The 52-year-old general manager missed a draw in an informative madman of the opposite color final:

Also against Predke, she was tactically alert, and again, she combined that with some good endgame technique:

2021 Goryachkina Superior League Russian Championship
Goryachkina next to Ponkratov at the award ceremony. Photo: Anastasia Domchenkova / Russian Chess Federation.

Sharing second place with Goryachkina, 24-year-old general manager Maksim Chigaev, who played a brilliant game in the second round of the tournament:

The Russian Championship Higher League took place from June 26 to July 5, 2021 in Cheboksary, Russia. The format was a nine-round Swiss. The time control was 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with a 30 second increment per move, from the first move.

Chess players who crossed the 2600 mark
Only six female chess players crossed the 2,600 mark.


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