Ilya Shikshin 7d (l) swept the 8th annual Japanese Council Cup, held March 25-27 in St Petersburg, Russia. Mitsubishi was the tournament’s main sponsor, providing a rich prize purse as well as covering travel and hotel expenses for the top players. This year the top 16 players in the Cup competed in a new A section while the rest of the field — nearly 80 players up to 3d – comprised the B group. As expected, Alex Dinerchtein 3P and Ilya Shikshin 7d wound up battling for the first place; while Shikshin is a bit higher on
the European rating list, Dinerchtein has better numbers in the Russian ratings and has a favorable score in their head-to-head matches. The two – who both teach online in the KGS Insei League — dominate the current Russian tournament scene, winning half the recent major titles. Shikshin won the showdown (see game record at right) with Dinerchtein at the Japanese Council Cup, sweeping the tournament 6-0, while Dinerchtein took second place. In third was Svetlana Shikshina 7d, who’s not been as active in tournaments recently, occupied with her 4-year-old son Slava. Oleg Mezhov 6d was fourth and Andrej Kashaev 5d fifth. Finns took three of the top five places in the B group, with Samuel Ritakallio 3d from Finland – a former student of Dinerchtein’s – in first place and Pekka Lajunen 2d in second, Dmitrij Kirakosjan 2d of Russia in third, Reino Karttunen 1d (Finland) in fourth and Sergej Vinokurov 1d (Russia) in fifth. “I have the feeling that Finnish 3-dans are able to fight on even with our local 5-dan players,” Dinerchtein tells the E-Journal.
This was the deciding game between Shikshin and Dinerchtein for 1st place. “Notice that it was possible to kill Black’s group by playing W 74 at L2,” says Dinerchtein. “After the game Ilya was not able to show me any geta on the right, which I was afraid of, and said that ‘I was very lucky here.’”