GM Fedoseev vs. GM Zvjaginsev
Opening: D00: Queen's pawn
Player(s): Fedoseev, Zvjaginsev
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If I ever start moaning about not making the U.S. Championship, I can think about all the 2600 and even 2700 players that have to slog it out in the Russian Higher League for the chance to play in the Russian Superfinal. I first encountered Vadim Zvjaginsev in 1997, when the 21-year Russian knocked me out of the World Championship tournament in the first round-in triple overtime.
I was impressed by his unorthodox opening style, which I did not expect in a young player. He reminded me a bit of myself. Now 37, Zvjaginsev often goes unnoticed among the myriad of powerhouses in Russia, but in the Higher League he tied for first, ensuring a spot in the Superfinal. He did so by fending off a challenge from the young generation. 19-year-old Vladimir Fedoseev is largely unknown despite sporting a hefty 2662 rating. He was the first to steer into unorthodox channels, provoking an aggressive reaction from Zvjaginsev, and a tense position from the start.