GM Joel Benjamin
This week I’ll wrap up the Russian Team Championship, give the lowdown on the Sigeman tournament, and check in on the Women’s World Championship.
The Russian Team title was not decided until the last round, when the Bronze Horsemen of St. Petersburg took a lead into the last round over Legacy Square Capital of Moscow. Legacy took on the tailenders and duly crushed Zhiguli Samara by a near maximum score. The pressure was on Miedny Vsadnik to defeat the underachieving but powerful Sima Land team. They got it from two clutch wins, first from Maxim Rodshtein when a critical error allowed him to cash in a superior position:
Kirill Alekseenko added the exclamation point with a crushing counterattack against Sergey Rublevsky:
The traditional Sigeman tournament in Malmo, Sweden economized with a six-player round-robin that provided good quality if not quantity.
Nils Grandelius led most of the way and ended up tied for first, fueled by this initial victory featuring unconventional attacking maneuvers.
The Indian Grandmaster Vidit, at this point in his career, has to be considered the top competitor here, and he was able to catch up to Grandelius with a couple of endgame wins, most notably over the one-time best player in this field, Alexander Morozevich, in a game that looked like a dead draw just a few moves from the end.
Both grandmasters scored 3.5/5.
Finally, the women’s world championship is producing fighting, if not particularly accurate play. It feels like Ju Wenjun wants to win with a big score to augment her reputation. Or perhaps she is just not very good at playing with the lead in a match. In any case, she has allowed Tan Zhongyi to come back twice, and with the margin at one game, anything can still happen. Tan got in striking range with this most recent decisive game from game 6.
In game 8, Ju missed a golden opportunity to regain a commanding lead when she missed a winning continuation beginning with a simple capture.