ALEXANDER KENTLER. CROSSROADS: DOUBLE VICTORY OF SAINT PETERSBURG
The Saint Petersburg grandmasters Ekaterina Korbut and Evgeny Alekseev, which are both 21 years old, managed to win the titles of Russian champions 2006. To tell the truth, nobody expected such an excellent result.
The fact is that all the stars of Russian chess (except Alexandra Kosteniuk) took part in the Women's Superfinal. They are: the finalist of the latest World Championship Alisa Galliamova, Svetlana Matveeva who reached the semifinal of the World Championship, world's strongest female chessplayers Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, Tatiana Kosintseva and Nadezhda Kosintseva.
Peter Svidler and Sergey Rublevsky were the main favorites of the Men's Superfinal. The winner of the High League Ernesto Inarkiev and Dmitry Jakovenko were rated high as well.
This brilliant success of Petersburg chess rides the titanic work and solid collective of the local chess organization, doesn't it? God forbid! But now we will not be sad because the New Year is just ahead. Let's celebrate it merrily! As to the materials devoted to the development of chess in Saint Petersburg, we will publish them next year.
Several words about the champions:
Ekaterina Korbut was born on February 9 1985 in Tashkent. She is the apprentice of an excellent trainer Pinchuk. During her childhood Ekaterina played for Uzbekistan. Then she moved to Orel together with her coach. Having left school, she removed to Saint Petersburg on her own. It happened because in the University of Economics and Finance they began to show a favourable disposition toward chess. The development of chess in any institute of higher education occurs only if there is an enthusiast that is not only ready to help the chessplayers as to the education but is also able to inspire the management with the interest to the game and the players. Such is indeed the case in FINEC. Vladimir Bykov has become a person that definitely shares the success of the student and champion Ekaterina Korbut. Vladimir Vladimirovich has controlled her studies for five years and he is going to recommend her to the post-graduate study. Now there is no need to agitate for the chess in FINEC. The women's team has already managed to win all kinds of Russian Championship's medals. Moreover, they became the silver medal winners of the European Championship 2004. Ekaterina Korbut usually plays excellently for the University. As for her other achievements, it is necessary to note her victory at the World Junior Championship 2004, two gold medals of the Russian Junior Championships (2003, 2004), the title of Saint Petersburg Women Champion 2004.
Ekaterina's trainer international master Oleg Biriukov helped her during the Superfinal.
Evgeny Alekseev was born on November 28 1985 in Pushkin. He is a student of two institutes of higher education. They are the North-West Academy of Public Service and the State University of Physical Culture. As to the second one, he is a student of chair of the national and off-center sports.
At first Evgeny played chess in the Vyborgsky chess club and then in the Primorsky one. Afterwards he studied in the School of the Olympic Reserve and "Svetlana". I would like to mention his victories at the Russian U-14 championship (1998, 1999). He also took the second place in the Russian Juniors Championship (2005), became the bronze medal winner of the World U-16 Championship 2001 and World U-20 Championship 2005. Moreover, Evgeny won the Junior Chess Olympiad 2000 and came out second in the Saint Petersburg Championship 2001.
Evgeny's father Vladimir Evgenievich played a great part in his son's results. He was always ready to haunt every threshold for his son's sake. When there were people who could really help his son's development, he managed to achieve their help!
Beilina was the first trainer of Evgeny Alekseev. Then he worked with Korsunsky and later on with Yakovlev. Lukin, Sivokho and Ionov helped Evgeny since 2000 to 2004. Sergey Dolmatov is a person who works with Alekseev at present time.
Ekaterina Korbut is the first chessplayer of St Petersburg that became the champion of Russia during the post-Soviet period. The fact is that Irina Levitina scored her 4th title of the USSR champion in 1980. Since then St Petersburg women haven't achieved such results.
Evgeny Alekseev continued the great traditions of Petersburg chess. There were fourteen Russian Championships since 1992. Petersburg chessplayers came out first six times: Peter Svidler (1994, 1995, 1997, 2003), Alexander Khalifman (1997) and Konstantin Sakaev (1999). Alekseev became the fourth player from Saint Petersburg that managed to become Russian champion.
I tried to find the examples of the double victories of St Petersburg chessplayers in the history of the USSR championships. The fact is that there were no such victories in the championships of RSFSR because Leningrad chessplayers couldn't take part in those tournaments. To be honest, I managed to find the only success. Olga Semenova-Tian-Shanskaya became the USSR champion on January 2, 1935 and Leningrad chessplayers Rabinovich and Levenfish shared the first place in the Men's Championship that ended on January 27. But for all that, the women played the previous year's championship. That's why Olga Izmailovna had to play the match against Olga Rubtsova in November 1935. She lost that match and the next USSR championship was held only in April 1937. The student of the philological faculty of Leningrad State University Valentina Borisenko became the USSR champion in 1945. Mikhail Botvinnik also took the first place in 1945 but the problem is that then he had already removed to Moscow. At last, Valentina Mikhailovna managed to win her last gold medals in 1960 and 1962. At the same time the representative of Leningrad Viktor Korchnoi took the first places. However, by that time Borisenko had already moved to Sverdlovsk with her husband.
Let me add that shortly before the Superfinal Konstantin Sakaev became the winner of the Russian Cup. It would be sensible to allow the winner of the Russian Cup to participate in the next year's Superfinal. It will enhance the prestige of the Cup and attract more strong chessplayers.
So now "We are the champions!". We would like to listen to this song more often.