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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Alisa Galliamova is Russian Women Chess Champion 2009

Hello everybody!

Alisa Galliamova became the new 2009 Russian women's champion! After a break of almost 3 years, she's made a wonderful come-back scoring 7,5 (!) out of 9 with a perfomance of 2709 in a very strong Russian Superfinal. The Silver medal was won by Nadezhda Kosintseva who showed also a very nice performance of 2649 and scored 7 points out of 9. The Bronze medal went to Valentina Gunina with 6 points of 9 who showed a perfomance of 2562.

Alisa Galliamova started the tournament very well: 5 out of 5, showing that despite a long break she is still a very dangerous opponent. In the 6th round she could have secured the victory in the tournament by winning against Nadezhda Kosintseva. But Galliamova wasn't precise till the very end and the game ended in a draw. So Nadezhda continued to follow Alisa very closely till the very last round.

Below is the game of the newly crowned Russian champion from the second round. Alisa Galliamova is playing Black against Elena Zaiatz:

This game is an excellent example of "weakening maneuvers" and is very instructive. The Black pieces moved forward and backwards but each time White had to weaken her position and finally it collapses. The position below is after the 18. dxe5, it's Black to move.

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

18. ... Ng4! the first move from a series of maneuvers that will force White to weaken her king side.

19.f3 Bxb5 20.Qxb5

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

20 ... Qg5! forcing White one more time to push the pawns forward. 21. f4

(21. fxg4 didn't work very well in view of the following variation 21. ... Qe3+ 22. Kh1 {Kg2 Qf2+ and then after 23. Kh1 Black can at least to win the piece back by taking the bishop on b2 23. ... Qxb2; White's king can't go to h3 - 23. Kh3 since he will be checkmated after 23. ... Ng5+ 24. Kh4 Qh2+ 25. Kg5 Qh6#} 22. ... Qf3+ 23. Bg2 Nf2+ 24. Kg1 Qe3 {threatening to give a smothered mate by playing Nh3+ - Qg1+! - Nf2#} 25. h3 here Black can either play with a safe plus after 25. ... Nd3+ or to continue the attack with 25. ... f4!?).

Qh6 22.Qe2

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

22. ... g5! continuing to play in a nice aggressive style 23.fxg5 Nxg5 24.Kh1
Ne4 This position is an excellent example on when the knights are stronger than the bishops! 25.Kg1

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

25. ... Kh8 preparing the g-file for the rook 26.Bd4 Rg8 27.Rc2

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

27...Nef2! another maneuver that forces White to make an unwanted pawn's move forward 28.h4 Ne4 and one more move back in order to use the advantages of the g3 weakness. White's position is defendless and Alisa finished the game with a few nice tactical moves. 29.Qe1 Nxg3 30.Rg2 Nxf1 31.Kxf1 f4 32.e4 Ne3+ 33.Bxe3 fxe3 34.Rxg8+ Rxg8 35.exd5 exd5 36.Ke2 Rg2+ 37.Kd3 Rd2+ 38.Kc3 Qc6+ 0-1

[Event "59th ch-RUS w"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2009.12.21"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Zaiatz,E"]
[Black "Galliamova,A"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "D11"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 e6 4.e3 Bd6 5.Qc2 f5 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 O-O
8.O-O b6 9.b3 Qe7 10.Bb2 Bb7 11.Nc3 Nbd7 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.Nb5
Rfc8 14.Qe2 Ba6 15.Rfc1 Ne4 16.Bf1 Ndf6 17.Ne5 Bxe5 18.dxe5 Ng4
19.f3 Bxb5 20.Qxb5 Qg5 21.f4 Qh6 22.Qe2 g5 23.fxg5 Nxg5 24.Kh1
Ne4 25.Kg1 Kh8 26.Bd4 Rg8 27.Rc2 Nef2 28.h4 Ne4 29.Qe1 Nxg3 30.Rg2
Nxf1 31.Kxf1 f4 32.e4 Ne3+ 33.Bxe3 fxe3 34.Rxg8+ Rxg8 35.exd5
exd5 36.Ke2 Rg2+ 37.Kd3 Rd2+ 38.Kc3 Qc6+ 0-1

Valentina Gunina (on the photo below) who took bronze,

played in her usual creative and attacking style. Here is one of her masterpieces from this tournament. It was the second round, Gunina is playing White against another Russian young star Anastasia Bodnaruk:

Black just played 21. ... e4 I'm sure Valentina didn't event think to move back 22.Bxe4! a nice positional sacrifice. fxe4 23.Nxg5 Nxg5 24.hxg5 Bxc3 According to Valentina's words: "The first sacrifice 22. Bxe4 was done by intuition but when the game reached the following position the solution was found pretty easily".

25.Bxd6! Qxd6 26.g6 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 Qe7 28.Rf7 Qxf7 29.gxf7+ Kg7

As the 3rd World Chess Champion Jose-Raul Capablance once said: "In positions with overwhelming advantage nice tactical shots are often easy to find".
30.Qh8+! a cute way to finish the attack
Kxf7 31.bxc3 Ke7 32.g4 Be8 33.Qe5+ Kd7 34.Qg7+ Kc8 35.Qe7 Bd7
36.g5 a5 37.Qxc5+ Kd8 38.Qf8+ Kc7 39.c5 Ra6 40.d6+ Kc6 41.Qxb8
Kxc5 42.Qc7+ 1-0

[Event "59th ch-RUS w"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2009.12.21"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Gunina,V"]
[Black "Bodnaruk,A"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "A48"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.e3 O-O 5.Be2 d6 6.O-O Nh5 7.Bg5
h6 8.Bh4 f5 9.c4 g5 10.Nfd2 Nf6 11.Bg3 e6 12.Nc3 Qe7 13.f4 c6
14.fxg5 hxg5 15.Bd3 Ng4 16.Qe2 e5 17.d5 c5 18.h3 Nh6 19.Qh5 Bd7
20.Nf3 Nf7 21.h4 e4 22.Bxe4 fxe4 23.Nxg5 Nxg5 24.hxg5 Bxc3 25.Bxd6
Qxd6 26.g6 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 Qe7 28.Rf7 Qxf7 29.gxf7+ Kg7 30.Qh8+
Kxf7 31.bxc3 Ke7 32.g4 Be8 33.Qe5+ Kd7 34.Qg7+ Kc8 35.Qe7 Bd7
36.g5 a5 37.Qxc5+ Kd8 38.Qf8+ Kc7 39.c5 Ra6 40.d6+ Kc6 41.Qxb8
Kxc5 42.Qc7+ 1-0

Unfortunately Natalia Pogonina who took the very brave decision to take part in this event just two months after giving birth to her son and started the tournament very well, later on got a fever and had to withdraw from the tournament. I wish Natasha to get well soon and to come back even stronger! Here is a nice example of Natalia's superb play from the first round against Marina Romanko:

20.Nf5+! the perfect moment to start the attack Kg8 21.Qh6 Qxc3

22.Rh3! Chess is not always about winning extra material but rather about checkmating faster.

Qxa1+ 23.Bf1 Qxf1+ (after Qh8 White checkmates by playing Ne7#)

24.Kxf1 Ba6+ 25.Ke1 Rfe8+ 26.Ne3 Re6 27.Qxh7+ Kf8 28.Rf3 Rd7
29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qg7 1-0

[Event "59th ch-RUS w"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2009.12.20"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Pogonina,N"]
[Black "Romanko,M"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "B60"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 g6 7.Bxf6
exf6 8.Be2 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Ndb5 f5 11.Nxd6 Bxc3 12.bxc3 fxe4
13.Nxe4 Qe7 14.Bd3 b6 15.Qf3 Bb7 16.Rfe1 Kg7 17.Qf4 Na5 18.Re3
Rad8 19.Ng3 Qc5 20.Nf5+ Kg8 21.Qh6 Qxc3 22.Rh3 Qxa1+ 23.Bf1 Qxf1+
24.Kxf1 Ba6+ 25.Ke1 Rfe8+ 26.Ne3 Re6 27.Qxh7+ Kf8 28.Rf3 Rd7
29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qg7 1-0

You can read more about the Superfinal in the reports of Misha Savinov on - the first report, the second report and the third report. The full tables and some statistics, as well as all games can be found on TWIC.

I congratulate all the winners of this tournament and wish them to have an even more successful and happy new 2010 year!

Happy winners. Left to right: Alisa Galliamova, Nadezhda Kosintseva and Valentina Gunina, photo by Eldar Mukhametov,

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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  • At December 29, 2009 at 3:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Alexandra--I have to aske a question, first of all I am very happy for Ms. Galliamova but something happened today and I have seen in previous competitions. The sisters drew their game after 13 moves, WHY would they want to do such a thing when a win by Nadezhda and a draw by Ms. Galliamova would have put them in a tie for first place. If you and Oxana were playing in a tournament with a chance for one of you to win the tournament wouldn't you play to win instead of agreeing to a draw after only 13 moves and of course after this game was drawn the other game was as well. It just doesn't seem right to me.

  • At December 29, 2009 at 6:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I don't understand why Chess Queen didn't participate in that Russian Championship tournament??? I'm sure she would win.

  • At December 29, 2009 at 8:13 PM , Blogger Alexandra Kosteniuk said...

    I've known the Kosintseva sisters for a very long time and they have always drawn their games very fast when they happen to meet in competitions. Actually I think it's good that they don't compete inside the family, and don't use any last round pairing to help one sister in one competition and the another one in another event, that would not be fair. Now I wonder what would happen if they ever meet in a knock-out tournament, as in that case they won't be able to draw.

  • At December 29, 2009 at 8:17 PM , Blogger Alexandra Kosteniuk said...

    This fall I had a very busy schedule and was away from my family for almost 2 months, I couldn't think of being away from them for one more month. I hope next year they will choose another timing for this tournament as the end of the year is not good for me.


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