Cue sports festival at Kremlin Palace – Dmitri Petropavlowsky and Anastacia Lyupova triumph at Kremlin Tournament in Moscow

Dmitri Petropavlowsky

The tournament last week in Moscow was one of the most dazzling events of the current Pyramid circuit. Being part of the annual "Rossiskaya Gazeta Cup" since 2006, this series is part of the European Committee of Pyramid calendar. The Moscow Confederation of Billiard Sports (MCBS) and Russia's leading newspaper "Rossiskaya Gazeta" made sure that the Moscow leg was a special event with the final rounds held at the State Kremlin Palace inside the Moscow Kremlin, seat of the government of the Russian Federation.

On the 8th of October at Moscow's Poligon Billiard Center, a record 34 women and 103 men from 11 nations entered the fray. More world class players than ever before came to Moscow to try to gain one of the coveted final round spots on Saturday, a 34.000 USD prize fund and world ranking points. MCBS Executive director and vice president Vitaly Mant commented: "Concerning the proportions the Kremlin Tournament this year is still greater than the editions before. We are thinking about changing the modalities next year to come up to that enormous inflow. On the other hand we get more and more offers by companies and federations to collaborate with us. Lets look....."

Although the prelims were filled with present Pyramid stars, only a few of them could snatch a ticket for the Kremlin as the young guns dashed forward. Kirill Annishenko, world's number one and defending champion from Russia, prevailed over number three Alexander Palamar (Ukraine) 5-4, before he was beaten by 17 year old Einar Samaleyev from Tatarstan (Rus) 4-5 in the second to last round. World Dynamic Pyramid champion K.Saguinbayev (Krg) was defeated by Daniil Bogushevsky, the reigning Russian champion, in the same round. The next and deciding last 16 stage became the final station for another two favourites: The reigning world Combined Pyramid and Asia Open champion Alikhan Karaneyev from Kazakhstan lost to Pavel Mechovov (Rus) 3-6, while Russia's Jury Pashinsky, former world and reigning European champion, was defeated by compatriot Pavel Kouzmin 4-6.

At the same time the women's division saw a rum start when this year's high flyer Yelena Bounos (Belarus) was defeated by compatriot Violetta Klimova with a 2-3 in last 16 round.

On Saturday at the State Kremlin Palace, some hundreds of invited guests from sports, society and politics were watching the start of the women's semis and men's quarter final matches. Spectators included sports celebrities, members of the Russian government and lots of cue sports personalities from the nations of Commonwealth of Independent States.

In the women's division, Anastacia Lyupova from Moscow never let anybody put her over a barrel. The 2 times European champion whitewashed Svetlana Maximova (Armenia) 3-0 in the semis, before she defeated Natalya Trofimenko (Moscow) 3-1 in the final (8-1, 3-8, 8-6, 8-5).

Quarter finals men:
Vladimir Vinetswige (Rus) 4-5 Pavel Kouzmin (Rus)
Vladimir Lyutov (Rus) 5-2 Andreiy Gloushanin (Blr)
Dmitri Petropavlovsky (Rus) 5-2 Arsen Saakov (Rus)
Pavel Mechovov (Rus) 5-2 Stanislav Tshemodanov (Rus)

Pavel Kouzmin, the 2007 Longoni Cup champion and last remaining Top Ten player, as well as Pavel Mechovov, current world's number 13, seemed to be the favourites for the final, but again the young savages would not be deterred from their plan to reach the Kremlin final. With a 5-2 score Lyutov beat Kouzmin, while Petropavlovsky overcame Mechovov with a narrow margin of 5-4.

In the final, Lyutov quickly went to the fore after he brought the first 3 frames to his account. In the 4th frame Lyutov seemed to come closer to the win with some spectacular in-off shots, but Petropavlovsky struggled through that to earn his first point. From that point,  Petropavlovsky dominated the match. Lyutov, on the other hand, seemed to lose his way. With a 5-3 score at the end, Dmitri Petropavlovsky captured his first big title as the new Kremlin king.

Frame results: 8-0, 8-6, 8-1, 6-8, 2-8, 3-8, 6-8, 1-8