Belarusian Chess Championship Print
Saturday, 23 January 2010 04:05
The 76th Belarusian Chess Championship was held in Minsk from 12th until 22nd January. Twelve players competed in an all-play-all tournament with 11 rounds, and among them were eight Grandmasters. But even in such a strong field, with five players being rated 2600 elo and higher, the untitled Evgeny Podolchenko (2450) exceeded all expectations and gained a full point advantage prior to the last round.

Needing only a draw to safely clinch the title, and having at hand huge probability that even a shared first place brings him the best tiebreak, Podolchenko took on the experienced GM Sergey Azarov (2622) in the last game. The final day attracted huge interest and spectators poured into the playing hall to follow the action.

Sergei Azarov tried to pose problems in every possible way, but the future champion managed to avoid all the pitfalls and reduce the position to an absolutely equal endgame with a minimum material and pawns one flank. The game was drawn and Podolchenko grabbed the well-deserved gold medal! He collected 8.0 points.

Meanwhile, Alex Fedorov (2619) and silver medalist from the 2009 World Junior Championship Sergei Zhigalko (2668) were engaged in a race for the second place. After a long struggle, both players won their games, against GM Tichonov and GM Lucko respectively, and Zhigalko claimed second place with 7.5, while Fedorov remained third with 7.0 points. Fourth was GM Azarov with 6.5.

Full standings and games for download are available on the official website


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Top three: Zhigalko, Podolchenko and Fedorov

 
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