Games from Satka

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

71st Russian Championship
SuperFinals, Satka, Russia
August 24-September 6, 2018

Final Standings
1-2. Dmitry Andreikin 2710, Dmitry Jakovenko 2748, 7.0/11

3. Evgeny Tomashevsky 2702, 6.5/11

4-6. Ernesto Inarkiev 2690, Vladimir Fedoseev 2707, Ian Nepomniachtchi 2768, 6.0/11

7. Grigoriy Oparin 2609, 5.5/11

8-9. Alexey Sarana 2613, Daniil Dubov 2691, 5.0/11

10-11. Mikhail Kobalia 2619, Nikita Vitiugov 2730, 4.5/11

12. Denis Khismatullin 2634, 3.0/11

Average ELO 2685 Category 18

Time Control: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves then another 30 minutes for the rest of the game with 30 seconds added to your clock after every move starting move 1.

The two Dmitry’s tied for first in the Russian Superfinals; there was a play-off the Grand Master (GM) Andreikin won the title of Russian Champion and a new car which went with it, a Renault Kaptur — roughly, it looks like the new Toyota Rush. This is his second time — in 2012 Andreikin figured in a gigantic six-way tie for first in the SuperFinals with Sergey Karjakin, Peter Svidler, Jakovenko, Evgeny Alekseev and Vladimir Potkin and he won the subsequent play-off. This was the beginning of Andreikin’s reputation of “nerves of steel.”

Dmitry Jakovenko (born June 29, 1983) had to content himself with the silver medal but at least this is an affirmation of his current good form — last November he shared first place with Levon Aronian in the Palma de Majorca leg of the FIDE Grand Prix and then in June 2018 he won the 2018 edition of the Karpov Poikovsky super GM tournament. Also, just last month he was named to the Russian national team to the 2018 Batumi Olympiad.

I think though that although Daniil Dubov finished in 9th place out of 12 he did a lot to advance his reputation. In his younger days Dubov was coached by GM Sergey Dolmatov, one of the top students of the famous Soviet/Russian chess trainer and coach Mark Dvoretsky. Dolmatov had cut off working with Dubov because the student was “unpromising.”

GM Sergey Shipov then took over. At that time Dubov had a solid and strategic style but his new coach sharpened it up and successes followed: the grandmaster title at 14, he won the Russian Higher League in 2012 at 16 (this is the qualifier for the Russian SuperFinals. In 2013 he knocked out former world champion and KO Tournament specialist Ruslan Ponomariov from the World Cup in their 2nd round match which went all the way from two classical games, two rapid games, four blitz games up to Armageddon. That one was really impressive.

The following game is nowadays typical of Dubov’s style — good opening preparation and once he gets a grip he is merciless.

Inarkiev, Ernesto (2690) — Dubov, Daniil (2691) [E61]
RUS-Ch SuperFinals Satka RUS (3), 27.08.2018

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.e3

This system with 4.e3 and 5.Be2 has become popular of late. One of the ideas behind it is that the usual 4.Nc3 can be met by 4…d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5. In the Anti-Gruenfeld we see in this game White’s knight is not on c3, so if Black now plays 4…d5 then 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 and the black knight cannot exchange itself off and has to retreat.

4…0–0 5.Be2 c5

Black can either go for a King’s Indian formation with 5…d6 followed by 6…Nbd7 and 7…e5 or he can play as Dubov does here and transpose to the Modern Benoni. In either case we get a fighting game.

6.d5 e6 7.Nc3 exd5 8.cxd5 d6 9.0–0 Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 Nbd7 12.Qc2 a6 13.a4 c4

Aiming to put his knight on c5. The drawback of this move, of course, is that he might lose the pawn on c4. In fact, White immediately goes for it.

14.Be2 Rc8

Black can also play 14…Qc7 . After the game Dubov indicated that he preferred the text move as then his rook can go to c5.

15.a5 Rc5 16.Qa4 Re8 17.Rd1

[17.Bxc4? b5 18.axb6 Nxb6 Black wins a piece]

17…Ne4 18.Nxe4 Rxe4 19.Bd2 f5

Not 19…Bxb2 right away as 20.Rab1 Nf6 (the idea now is that 21.Rxb2? is refuted by 21…c3. However, White need not take the bishop right away) 21.Bf3! c3 22.Bxe4 Nxe4 23.Qxe4 c2 24.Re1 cxb1Q 25.Rxb1 Rb5 material is equal but Black’s pieces are awkwardly placed.


Best as 20.Bb4 is met by 20…c3! exploiting the pin along the 4th rank.

20…Rb5 21.Rab1 Rb3

Dubov’s play is like a symphony — each move flowing into the next and pushing back Black’s forces.


[22.Qxd6? Be5 the white queen is in danger. It can only go to e6 and after 23.Qe6+ Kf8 Black will be winning White’s queen with …Nc5]

22…Nc5 23.f3 <D>


23…c3! 24.fxe4?

White probably figured that since he was going to fall under attack he might as well have some material for it. However, 24.bxc3 was forced. After 24…Rxb1 25.Qxb1 Re7 26.c4 Bh6 White is under pressure but he is still fighting.

24…cxd2 25.Bc4 Qg5!

Dubov gives away his b3 rook but has obviously calculated his attack to the end.

26.Bxb3 Qxe3+ 27.Kh1

Where else can the king go?

27.Kf1 Nxe4 and next move either …Ng3 or …Qf2, with mate in either case.

27.Kh2 Nxe4 28.Bc4 Be5+ 29.Kh1 Nf2+ 30.Kg1 Nxd1+ 31.Kh1 Qe1+ the end.


With …Be5 coming up.

28.Rf1 Be5 0–1

Inarkiev resigns with the devastating …Ng3+ staring him in the face.

Playing White in the next game is GM Denis Khismatullin. He is the long-time second of GM Dmitry Jakovenko but is a very strong player in his own right. Back in 2014 the UAE player Salem A.R. Saleh (I believe he was rated around 2550 at that time) was making a big push to compete on even terms with the chess elite and some sponsors organized an 8-game training match with Khismatullin. This was a demoralizing affair, for GM Saleh was wiped out by a score of 1-7. And the Emirati player is no slouch — later that year he won both the Asian Championship and the Asian Blitz. His current rating is 2660!

Here in the SuperFinals though Khismatullin was not in good form and finished last with 0 wins 6 draws and 5 losses.

Khismatullin, Denis (2634) — Dubov, Daniil (2691) [A48]
RUS-Ch SuperFinals Satka RUS (4), 28.08.2018

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.Be2 0–0 5.0–0 d6 6.b3 Nc6 7.Bb2 Bf5 8.c4 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Qc1

Now White realizes that his 9th move was a mistake. He cannot exchange queens because 10.Qxd8 Rfxd8 11.Nxe5 Ne4! 12.g4 (12.f4 Nd2 wins material for Black) 12…Bxg4 13.Bxg4 Nxe5 the vulnerability of his bishop on b2 is going to cost White 14.Be2 Nf3+ 15.Bxf3 Bxb2 16.Bxe4 Bxa1.

Nor can White take the e5–pawn now: 10.Nxe5 Qxd1 11.Rxd1 Ng4! 12.Bxg4 Bxg4 13.Rd5 (13.f3 Nxe5 14.fxg4 Nf3+) 13…Be6 14.Rc5 Rad8 15.Na3 Rd2 16.Bc3 Nxe5! 17.Bxd2 Nd3 both of white’s rooks are attacked.

10…Qe7 11.a3 Rad8 12.b4 Bg4 13.Ra2

On 13.h3 the Chessbase website notes that Dubov’s intention was to play 13…Bh5! On 14.g4 he planned further 14…Nxg4 15.hxg4 Bxg4 “with a tough-to-play position for White, while Black doesn’t risk anything.” (Dubov) For instance, 16.Nc3 e4 17.Nh2 Bh3 with the threat of Qg5+. 18.Kh1 Bxf1 19.Nxf1 Qh4+ 20.Kg1 Ne5 and Black has a big edge..

13…e4 14.Bxf6

Now you see why White played Ra2.

14…Qxf6 15.Nd4 Nxd4 16.Bxg4 h5! 17.Bd1

[17.exd4 hxg4 is no good for White. After 18.d5 Qe7 and then f7–f5 and possibly Kf7 with Rh8 and an attack along the h-line. (Dubov).

17…Nf3+! 18.Kh1

[18.gxf3 exf3 threatening …Qf6–g5+–g2 checkmate. It looks like White cannot save the game: 19.Kh1 (19.e4 Rd3! followed by …Qf6–h4–g4) 19…Qh4! 20.Rg1 (20.Bxf3 Be5 mate next) 20…Be5 21.Rg3 Bxg3 22.fxg3 Qxc4! with a triple threat on f1, c1 and a2]

18…Qh4 19.h3

[19.Bxf3 exf3 20.gxf3 Qh3 21.Nd2 h4 doesn’t save White either plus of course he didn’t want to mangle the kingside pawns]

19…f5 20.c5 Ng5 21.Qc4+ Kh7 22.f4

A trick. 22…exf3 is of course met by 23.Qxh4.

22…Nxh3! 23.gxh3 Rxd1! 24.Kg2

[24.Rxd1 Qxh3+ 25.Kg1 (25.Rh2 Qf3+) 25…Qg4+ snares the rook on d1]

24…Rd3 25.Re2 g5 0–1

After 25…g5 Khismatullin resigns as he had no wish to see 26…gxf4 27.Rxf4 Qg5+ 28.Kf1 Rxe3! unfold over the board.

GM Daniil Dubov was in the lead for the first half of the tournament but noticeably tired at the end and suffered several reverses. He should not worry about that too much though — he is only 22 years old — still a lot of tournaments for him to win in the future!


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.