The games of round 8 of the Russian Championship, the 68th for men and the 65th for women, were played in Chita on August 17.
In the men’s section, Alexander Motylev and Denis Khismatullin played the only decisive game. The opponents tested each other in the Sicilian, where an unusual hybrid of the Najdorf and the Dragon Variation emerged on the board. In order to slow down White’s offensive on the kingside, Khismatullin offered an interesting pawn sacrifice aiming to trade off his opponent’s dark-square bishop. Motylev declined the sacrifice and gave away a rook for a knight and a pawn himself, but White’s threats proved to be not strong enough. After finding a few precise moves, Khismatullin regained the initiative and converted his edge convincingly.
The games Dubov – Lysyj, Khairullin – Jakovenko, Svidler – Vitiugov, Artemiev – Tomashevsky, and Bukavshin – Karjakin were drawn.
Alexandra Goriachkina defeated Marina Guseva and became the sole leader in the women’s tournament. The opponents exchanged queens rather early, and an endgame ensued with White having the two-bishop advantage. At one point, Black could have equalized, but made a gaffe that Goriachkina used immediately, outplaying her opponent in a complex endgame. Several black pieces were pinned in the center of the board and were unable to prevent the triumphant march of the white a-pawn.
The games Savina – Lagno, Girya – Kosteniuk, Pogonina – Ovod, Gunina – Bodnaruk, and Kashlinskaya – Kovalevskaya were drawn.
Standings after round 8:
1. Tomashevsky – 5.5; 2-3. Karjakin, Vitiugov – 5 each; 4-5. Artemiev, Jakovenko – 4.5 each; 6-8. Bukavshin, Dubov, Svidler – 4 each; 9-11. Khairullin, Lysyj, Khismatullin – 3 each; 12. Motylev – 2.5.
1. Goriachkina – 6.5; 2. Kosteniuk – 6; 3. Lagno – 5; 4-6. Gunina, Bodnaruk, Kovalevskaya – 4.5 each; 7. Savina – 4; 8. Girya – 3.5, 9. Pogonina – 3; 10-11. Kashlinskaya, Ovod – 2.5 each; 12. Guseva –1.5.
 Round 9 pairings:
Karjakin – Svidler, Tomashevsky – Bukavshin, Jakovenko – Artemiev, Khismatullin – Khairullin, Lysyj – Motylev, Vitiugov – Dubov
Kosteniuk – Goriachkina, Lagno – Girya, Kovalevskaya – Savina, Bodnaruk – Kashlinskaya, Ovod – Gunina, Guseva – Pogonina
The Russian Championship Superfinals are held by the Russian Chess Federation, the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation and the Zabaykalsky Krai Chess Federation, with support from the government of the Zabaykalsky Krai. The competition partners are Norilsk Nickel and the Baikalsk Mining Company.
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